"Only those who risk failing greatly can ever succeed greatly." –RFK
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Death Valley Borax Marathon - Dec. 6, 2008
Christmas in Death Valley!
Early in the year, Tim and I planned the back-to-back marathons in Death Valley and Las Vegas this weekend as our final high(er) mileage week in preparation for Across the Years. We didn't plan then on having some grumbling injuries, but those are par for the course and we had to roll with the little punches.
We arrived in Vegas and made the 2-1/2 hour drive to Death Valley, my favorite place in North America. I love the drive and the beautiful never-ending layered mountains. It's funny how you can see forever into the distance and how your are tricked into thinking you are driving slow, making no progress. Over and over again, Tim would check the speedometer and realize that we were driving 100 mph. DOH! He'd slow to 85 or 90 and it would feel like we were just crawling.
The Death Valley Borax Marathon started at "8-ish" in the morning. It's one of the things I just love about Dave Horning's races. They are so laid-back and for the "Type E" personality, as his slogan goes. It was warm and brilliantly sunny. After singing "American the Beautiful," he said "Go" and we were off, 13.1 miles from Furnace Creek toward Stovepipe Wells, and then back. There was a 10k and a 1/2 marathon too. You would think it would have been too crowded on the road, but given the expanse of the desert, it never felt at all crowded.
As this was a training run, our only goals were to not flare our nagging injuries and to have fun. If all went ok, we'd shoot for a 3:40 or so.
Well, all went well. How could it not? There we were in one of the most exotic places on earth running with the sun on our faces, filled with joy. It was fabulous. We kept a fairly steady pace until I slowed down a bit on the last 3 mile climb to mile 24. That's where Chris Kostman and Elizabeth found us, and that was a big boost. They were on their bikes and it was their last day of 8 touring around Death Valley.
We finished in 3:40 as planned.
We quickly showered at the pool and made the long and relaxing drive back to Vegas....well until we hit the city.
We assessed our bodies and decided to give the next thon a whirl too, so we picked up our packets. Later in the evening, however, after walking around through the casino and hotel, my achilles started to get a creakiness in it. You could even hear it. Knowing that was not something to mess with, we decided to nix the Vegas Marathon. It was the right decision. We've got Across the Years to look out for.
So, we're headed to Red Rock and I think the BodyWorks exhibit is at the Luxor. So, we've got plenty to do.
What a fabulous weekend, not yet over.
Full Death Valley Borax Marathon results are HERE.
I am an ultra runner, physician and have been medical director of some of the toughest ultras. I tend to be a mover and a shaker and louder than my size suggests. However, my Gemini twin is gentler and contemplative, an artist, a writer, and a poet. I am a dog lover, a believer in souls, and have a special affinity for those who struggle because I have been there.
This is my crazy lovable huggable Weimaraner, Steely Dan. I call him Steely. He left us in January of this year at only 6 years from lymphoma that did not respond to chemotherapy treatments. Steely was a total goof. He loved trail running, road running, treadmill running, new experiences, making eye contact, sleeping on his back, me, kids, and liver treats. He was Zappa's best friend. We miss him dearly.
This is Stella. A rescue from the shelter. She's about 6 months old and a Border Collie. She is a joyous bundle of energy and curiosity and now also Zappa best friend. She will make a nice running partner when she grows up.
This is the now the big brother of my family - a rescued Greyhound. His name is Frank Zappa. I call him Zappa. He's 7 years old and has learned all about life beyond the track and crate from Steely when he was with us. It was very rewarding to watch his personality bloom as he settled into the family. And yes, he runs like the wind!
This is Natasha, my dearest friend. She was with me through college, medical school, residency, and she moved with me from Chicago to Spokane several years ago. She was my best running partner for 10 years. My sweet Natasha died from bone cancer in 2006. I miss her still. I hung a windchimes over the deck outside. When it chimes, I smile and think she has finally -- wherever she is now -- caught a squirrel!