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Jul 13 2015

July 9, 44.4 miles Day 5 Colorado Run towards Wyoming. 203 Miles Run in 5 days from Pueblo

How'd I get here? Background: Running 203 Miles in 5 Days across Colorado.  
July 5, 2015. Made it 51 miles.  Quite an interesting story with lots of photos, (Read here). It had to do with biting flies in 93F/34C between Pueblo, Fountain, and Colorado Springs.
July 6, 2015. Ran over 31 miles today Day 2 Colorado Run, after yesterday's 51 miles. 82 miles 2 days. Pretty good day, (read about it here). 
July 7, 2015. 41 Miles, Highways, Byways, Rain, Country to City “I’m actually doing this!” Colorado Run – Denver (Read todays Report and Photos here
July 8, 2015. 35 Miles north from Denver. Rain, drained and slow going. 158 miles in 4 days! Dave A & kids ran a mile, boosting energy (Read Day 4 Report and Photos here)

Day 5 - 203 MilesThe Last Day – The Final Push. 44.4 miles towards Wyoming. 203 Miles Run in 5 days.  
 

Ultimately I got to within 12 miles of the Wyoming border -oh so close! – but after 203 miles run in 5 days (of vacation), my legs had enough with 44.4 miles. A few mishaps, and trying to consume enough calories plus hydration while carrying enough food for 200 miles it's huge, heavy and difficult. At Six Days in the Dome race last year, I did 207 miles. So about the same distance in 5 days, plus I was carrying a pack, dealing with rain, and solo, I count this as a tremendous success! I still think it's the best performance I've ever done. An achievement of a lifetime. Race or not. 203 Miles Winging it.  Colorado is huge! Seen so much,

              186 miles and feeling it drained 190 miles More rainWill Allender was helped me out tremendously by crewing after his work as I ran towards Fort Collins the day before.  He'd gotten me to Mead Exit 245 of I-25 on the Frontage road before calling it a day late the night before.  I'd started 4 days earlier at exit 97 in Pueblo. I couldn't believe my seeing the exit numbers in the 200s, and believing how far I'd come on foot.  Exit numbers correspond with mile markers on the interstate in case you're wondering.  So Thursday morning would be my final and last day.  After a short 6 hours sleep, repacking Will would bring me back out to Exit 245 around 7am.  

It wasn't until he was driving me out there that he mentioned the frontage road went all the way too Wyoming.  This was huge, I mean massive huge and changed my entire plan and thoughts toward my Colorado Run.  I'd been studying the maps for over 6-7 months and had never noticed the frontage road went all the way up I-25 to Wyoming!  I've poured over the route for weeks, months, hours, days, finding the best way up Colorado, and had I known the Frontage Road went up the interstate all the way to the border, it would have mad planning so much easier!  No more trying to get east to Greeley to go up Highway 85, adding miles or remote areas.  My goodness I wish I'd known this on my so long ago, especially on day 4!  Yesterday I'd sort of given up, knowing I had too far to reach the border having only done 35 miles and thinking I had 70 miles if I had to go through Greeley.  From the place I stopped yesterday, had I known earlier in the day about the frontage road, I'd have added 5-10 more miles on trying to make day 5 easier since it would be within reach.  So as Will drove me out to exit 245, I know knew I had about 57 miles to run to reach the Wyoming Border.  I thought maybe it would be reachable with a good day, but very very hard because of how slow I'd gone yesterday. I'd also be carrying my pack with extra clothes, rain gear, food, water, etc… for at least 11 hours adding to the difficulty of the task. 

At 7:07am, I was heading north again for the final day. 57 miles did seem impossible, but was still excited to try. I felt the first few miles go pretty quick (I mean 15 min/miles – remember carrying a pack, and already having gone 158 miles…) and the first 10 miles seemed to go by quick enough. I wore earplugs going up the frontage road, because the traffic was just so loud, it helped.  I was also quite aware how much so many people were rooting for me to make it to Wyoming and following the tracker, and believing I could do it.  It was exciting, yet difficult to convey just how hard everything was out there on the ground.  I just kept going and going, trying to get food whenever I saw it.  Truck stop snacks, burritos,  apple pie, what ever I could find, carry and eat quickly and keep on going. For the 2nd day in a row, I felt my body in a calorie consuming frenzy, I just needed more and more food. And with long distances between exits, it was hard to maintain. 

Sleeping on groundAt one the frontage road takes you on a 10 mile  detour a couple miles east of the highway, and there was no food in this area.  I started getting tired and sleepy again, like yesterday found a cement pad in a field and laid down for 10-15 minutes closing my eyes.  Some flies buzzing around, manure stench, and rain starting got me going again.  I'd run low on food and water again, and thought there'd be some re-fill area I could grab water and snacks in Timnath east of Fort Collins, but quickly found nothing in the town.  It was 4.5 more miles to the closes food I could see ahead, a McDonalds.  That 4.5 miles was probably one of the longest spans of my journey.  I rationed my water, but literally took all the last sips with about 2 miles to go. I could see the McDonalds sign far ahead in the distance, but couldn't get my legs to move me quick enough to get there. I think I was going a snails pace 21 or 23 minutes a mile because I was just so drained and was hitting 184 miles in 5 days.  I finally got to McDonalds and ordered some bacon cheeseburger thing and a coke and downed maybe 3 cokes refills in a row to just get some calories in me.  I never though McDonalds would be good, but it helped me here.  I was going again in about 30 minutes, and tried to speed things up.  My legs were still only going fast walking speed, and my pack was feeling heavy from carrying it all day long, and putting the rain gear off and on a couple drained 190 milestimes. North of Fort Collins, the weather was a little nicer, and with the sun lower in the sky and fields, the scenery wasn't that bad.  Will arrived around 6:30 or 7pm to crew me again after his work.  I think I was at about 28 miles for the day, by far my slowest day.  He brought some fruit and pasta food, I ate it during each mile he went ahead.  I felt better being able to go without the pack, and just started going about a mile at a time.  

Next Service 30 MilesFinally making it north of Wellington as the sun was setting, it was kind of nice out, cool weather, and scenic and I was having my doubts about making it to the border.  It was still a long ways off.  There was a sign indicating the Wyoming border was 20 miles ahead, and each mile was just taking so long.  15-20 minutes each mile.  By mile 35 my hamstring, shins, knees, ankles were all hurting, but none of them actual injuries.  I was actually surprised it'd taken this long for anything to start hurting.  No blisters WyStateLine 20 Milesstill either. But the hamstring was worrying me because I was limping and didn't want to have any long term injuries over this.  I kept going, and going, and into the darkness, Will kept crewing.  I wanted to hit at least 42 miles for the day giving me 200 miles crossing Colorado in 5 days.  So we kept going till I got 42 miles.  The next interstate junction was over 2 miles away, so I kept going to that.  44.4 miles for the day was enough.  Sure, I could have limped 12 more miles to the Wyoming Border, but it wouldn't have been wise, and it probably would have taken another 5 hours, sadly.  I thought 203 miles running solo – and except for the times Will and Bob crewed was unsuporrted – was mighty good for 5 days of running.  I was so thankful Will was out there crewing the evening and night hours, but I still had to get back.  Tired and Done 203 MilesWe took a few photos and headed back to the center of Colorado.  I'd made it to Exit 288 on I-25 after starting at Exit 97 just 5 days earlier.  Detours and extra miles east and west of the interstate made it 203 miles on foot up the middle of Colorado.  That's a 3 1/2 hour drive at full speed in a car.  I'd also made it further than when I RACED a 6 day race in Alaska last year. On day 5, on a flat surface, without rain or carrying a pack I'd run 166 miles.  Now I'd gone 203 with all that was thrown at me. Though I'd set out to run to Wyoming, I was still so happy to do what I did, and just "go for it" on Sunday and see what happened.  Of course I couldn't have done it alone, without those who helped crew, give equipment, time, food.. I'll write my post even report next with lessons learned and all that fun stuff.  Thanks again for reading! 

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