A race with meaning

I've been doing the Rescue Run on and off since at least 1988 (earliest photographic evidence of me running it.) Started out with the 5k and graduated to the 10k about 97 or so - never did get to run the 10k on the Norris Penrose course. It was always a great way to start the year - with a challenging race and lots of familiar faces. It also benefits the El Paso County Search and Rescue, which was another good reason to race. The EPCSAR is at most of the local races and even have a kazoo band during the Pikes Peak races. I've pretty much grown up with the Rescue Run, knowing that if I'm in town I am most likely gonna run. I've run on dry roads and in warm sunshine to slick as snot ice and sub zero temps with everything in between. This year was no different - come January 1st, it was time to race. But this year was a little different - I was running for fun, but also because this was the first year where I've known people who have required the assistance of EPCSAR. So there was a little more personal meaning to the race this year - and a few more mountain bikers pretending to be runners!
Perfect 7 year old running form! With matching tights and gloves to boot...

Cold, sunny and a biting wind greeted me at Palmer Park. I was very happy that Nick had come and would be able to take some warm clothes back to the car for me. (He was meeting some friends to ride while I was running.) Have just started a running block mixed in with the cycling, I wasn't sure what to expect as the gun went off. I knew the hills were going to be hard and the wind brutal on Yucca Flats. Making the turn onto Paseo road, I found myself in the lead. Surprising, given how tired my legs were at the start. Oh well, I'd set the pace so it was time to try and hold it. Climbing the monster hill in the first mile and I could see the shadows of the runners behind me, including one with long hair wrapped into a bun. After the first mile, the other woman - Sarah G, another local COS runner who has grown up with the Rescue Run - pulled along side me. She had an easy, fluid stride and I knew it was only a matter of time. But I still tried, keeping pace with her and a few guys for the next mile or so. Then my legs decided the uphill was a little much so soon after a hard bike workout and I slowed just a little. Not too much, I could see the third place woman just behind us. The wind wasn't as bad as I'd anticipated as we ran around Yucca Flats, but it was picking up. Swirls of dust teased my ankle with the occasional gust sand blasting the runners just starting the loop. Back onto the pavement and the wind was blowing me down the road. I could tell how strong it was by the posture of the 5K racers making thier way back down the blacktop. I also knew I needed to try to pick up the pace as the third place woman had pulled along side of me. Good thing there was only one more huge hill! After the water station and the 5K turn around, we had a little breathing room to run. I love the growth of the race - 900 entrants this year! - but where the 10K and the 5K share the course gets a little crazy for the leading 10K racers. I was able to pick up the pace a little on the flat road leading to Grandview and saw that I'd gotten a few seconds on third. Time to keep running hard! I was able to hold the momentum thru to the long downhill. Dodging the 5K runners, I watched the finish clock ticking up. 43:45 - I would have to sprint to break 44:00 minutes. Alas, it would not happen as I crossed the line in 44:01, taking second for the second year in a row.

Another successful Rescue Run. I love coming out every year and testing myself on the hills. This year, with two different episodes where friends needed the assistance of EPCSAR, it was even better. Hopefully this year everyone will stay and EPSCAR bored!

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