Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 4: Center of the Nation Series: Colony, WY- September 18, 2013

Almost 2 weeks have passed since September 18, 2013, the 4th day of my 6 day/6 half marathon adventure. I am still struggling with how to fully write this and do these stories the justice that they deserve. I think in the end though, though I rarely allow myself to "just settle," I feel I have no choice in this matter. No matter what I say or do, nobody will ever understand what we went through during this adventure than the amazing men and women who joined me to log this kind of intense mileage. All I can do is try to tell this story to the best of my ability, and hope that I do this story justice...

So, If you haven't figured it out yet, this is part 5 (day 4) of a seven part (6 day) set of entries.

The next installments are coming, so stay tuned...

I woke up early on the  morning of Day 4 with some tummy troubles but that wasn't going to stop me. This, afterall was not only the 3rd day of the Center of the Nation series and miles 39.3-52.4 of my 6 day running adventure, but it was also Boston Day. One of the fellow runners in the series had run The Boston Marathon and was active in fundraising for the Boston One Fund. This generous man asked that everyone wear Boston related gear to the WY race, and in exchange, he would donate $5 for each to the One Fund. So of course I was looking forward to Boston Day, and of course Brina and I wore our Boston Strong Shirts. It was too cold for just our tanks so early in the morning, but we quickly shed our jackets. And it was worth every moment of being chilly to join together to remember the tragedy at Boston.

Day 4 brought us to Colony Wyoming, AKA "The Bentonite Capital of the World." Colony is so small that county officials and the US Census Bureau don't even bother to keep track of the town's population. From what I understand the only thing that really exists in Colony Wyoming is Bentonite, the factory, spectacular sunrises and views, and wonderful people like Janet and Thorval Jansen who graciously opened their land up for us to run (and play) on.

Just me!
My game plan for the day was to once again take it easier. I knew what my body and mind needed were a nice relaxing day enjoying the sunrise and the beautiful scenery. I needed to recoup, regroup and prepare myself for the last 2 races of the series. My stomach was bothering me (perhaps just from normal travel issues like not eating the right things at the right times, or perhaps related to runners issues), and this made me realize that slower was better. I had long since resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't be impressing myself with good finish times, and had already moved to the point that my goal was to just finish the series.

I don't want anyone to think that I had given up, because that most certainly was not the case, but I know my body. I know what I am capable of. And you know, if there is one thing that I have realized is that the fast times aren't what make you an impressive athlete. Yes, having an amazing half marathon time of 1 hour and 45 minutes makes you an impressive endurance runner. But meeting all of these people out there caused a shift in my thinking.

Without her permission, I didn't want to post her photo.
Because people like me are impressive too. We go out there and put one foot in front of the other for consecutive hours. It is a different type of endurance. And it doesn't make sense to compare the 2 types of people out there. So I know that I am way off topic now, but I have to say that there were some impressive runners out there who ran 3.5 hour marathons each day, but there was one woman who blew me away. I think each day she finished her full marathons in 7-8 hours. I could NEVER be a strong and dedicated as this woman and my hat goes off to her. She was the type of inspiration that I needed on Day 4 (and 5.... and 6).

Because despite the gorgeous course, the spectacular sunrise, the perfect running surface of shale, the amazing people I was enjoying my time with... my body was failing me. My stomach issues quickly spiraled out of control and I spent enough time in a port-o-potty to last me a lifetime. Then my heel was bothering me and I felt myself altering my gait a bit, which quickly had some blisters re-emerging. Between the bathroom breaks and the emergency blister surgery, I was a hot mess and wound up sitting out for a combined total of 40 minutes of the race.

By the end of the race, it was mind over matter. One foot in front of the other. And eventually I would get there. It took me 4 hours and 16 minutes, and was my longest half marathon time to date, but I finished.

And I didn't beat myself up over the time. Because I had spent the morning realizing that the term "endurance athlete" doesn't always have to do with a fast time. Sometimes it is about time in general.

And what a time it was!


  1. Tummy troubles are awful at the best of times, during a half marathon they are just terrible. Great job persevering through that and finishing!

  2. I had major tummy issues on Day 5 / Nebraska..lets just say it was 'explosive' but I made it through, and happy to actually have finished 36 min better han Day 1.