I love big, snowy, thin-air-at-the-top, mountains. A lot. Within 4 hours of arriving in Denver, I was already on top of Mt. Evans at over 14,200 feet. I couldn't wait to stand on the summit just like in '08 and see the glorious Rocky Mountains around me. Officially, I'm here in Colorado for school. For 2+ weeks I will be standing in a cold freezer cutting and working with ice core samples. When I'm not in the lab though, I will be playing as much as possible in the nearby wonderland of awe. I simply love it here. Even when it's 97 degrees outside, it's a dry heat, and feels cooler than a humid 75 back East. Similar to the feeling I get when I traipse around New Zealand, I simply feel at home here (although not quite as much as in New Zealand).
Since I'm here, I figure I should probably do a couple of crazy runs...just because I can....but also to prep myself for the Finger Lakes 50 when I return and simply to keep my fitness level up to speed. Before I left, on a complete "whatever" whim, I signed up for the Mt. Evans Ascent. I mean...if I'm going to be crazy, I might as well go full out bat shit crazy right? So why not run a 14 mile race that STARTS at 10,600 feet and ends at 14,200 with the entire course being a long climb? It's not like I just came from sea level or anything. Should be fun! And think, I can tell people that I ran in "America's Highest Road Race". *grin*. In all likelihood I'll be lucky to walk most of it...but we'll see. I also put my name in for a downhill half-marathon the following weekend that starts in the Loveland Ski Area. I read that the after race party and food is tops in the country! How could I not sign up, right? I mean, it's all downhill? Easy Peasy. Yeah yeah...I know. Here's the deal: I need to put in some long runs on the weekends anyway...why not have some fun with it? These races weren't expensive, and I love seeing amazing scenery while I'm out there and to try new and challenging things. If I don't keep pushing and challenging myself, I won't truly be living. The last thing I want is to get into that day-in-day-out rut again that I talked about in a previous post. I want to keep that "feeling" alive inside of me. That "feeling" I get when I know I'm running in a crazy race, doing something ridiculous....just to see if I can. Or that "feeling" I get when thru-hiking the PCT, or breaking the tape at Leadville.
Long story short, I've been in Colorado for all of 2 days and I'm already loving the mountains. I try to make the most of the opportunities that I am afforded...as this is my only time through this life of mine. Why not seize every possible moment that might bring me a sliver of happiness? When elderly people are interviewed late in life, they inevitably talk about how they regretted not taking more risks in their youth, and seeing more of the world. Doing more adventurous things. I don't want to be one of those people when I'm old.
So....let's run up Mt. Evans. What do you say?