Ultra - take two

Well, I didn't get to run my first 50k on Saturday. At packet pickup, the wind was howling and clouds hung low over the mountains. But no snow or rain yet. We were all hopeful that Colorado Springs would dodge the weather bullet and the race would be a chilly, fun day. The race directors had taken the precaution of moving the aid stations to allow the volunteers to be dry under pavilions and we were all ready to face what promised to be epic conditions.  I had a tub full of clothes for all conditions and all kinds of options for water proof and wind proof gear. I was ready - maybe not looking forward to spending 5+ hours in the howling wind, wet conditions and mud, but I was ready.

The first thing I did when I got up Saturday was check Facebook for any news on the race. Nothing at 4:30. Time to eat and get mentally ready for the race. It was just blowing like crazy outside, with some rain and a few white flakes drifting down. I had my breakfast, enjoyed my coffee and made a thermos of tea to bring with me. I figured something warm to drink at the halfway point would be a nice treat! At 6:00, I was getting ready to go - with my tub of gear in the living room to be loaded and my car warming up. Hadn't checked my phone yet. The weather hadn't changed in my neck of the woods, so I figured that I would still be slogging my way through the snow and wind. Just before I loaded up my gear, I checked my phone to see an email saying that they "might" cancel as the weather had deteriorated in the last hour or so. Huh. A quick check of Facebook revealed that yep, the race was canceled. The weather wasn't safe enough to have volunteers standing out for hours, let alone having stubborn runners attempting to finish 50k of mud and snowy slush while battling blizzard conditions. After the initial wave of disappointment, I crawled back into bed. It was only 6:30 and I'd been up for two hours. I should have just headed out the door for a long run before the weather went to hell! As it was, I slugged my way through 15 miles on the roads, cursing the wind and cranky before calling it a day. A super long run was not to be that day.

The poor race number and shoes that didn't get abused as planned...

And then the good news. Colorado Springs' running community is pretty tight and news of a race cancelation spreads pretty darn quickly. Before too long, the plan B was in place. Tim and Michael stepped up to offer all Rattler runners an entry into the Cheyenne Mountain State Park Trail Race - the following Saturday and offering the same spread of race distances. Extend the taper a little, modify the training and there was another race to do! If that didn't work, Mad Moose was offering 50% off another event within a year. Options. It's very rare to have one, let alone two options for racing when weather forces a cancelation. Lyme events didn't have to extend the invitation to their races. Mad Moose didn't have to offer the discount to future races. I've seen bigger race organizers do far less for runners when Mother Nature decides it's time to have a fit.

So now instead of the rocks of Palmer Park, I'll be tackling the hills of Cheyenne Mountain State Park for my first ultra. A few modifications to my training schedule and it will be a great weekend for a long run with some friends. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this time!


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