The 2008 US Bank Rim Rock Run was positively perfect and turned out very well for the athletes of the ‘Gunnison Endurance Project. ‘The trip itself was logistically flawless and very comfortable. Tim had arranged lodging with the family of an old friend of ours from the college days. The house was awesome; very comfortable and there was ample food to keep us energized for the race day. We left Gunnison in the early afternoon hours of Friday, Nov. 6th, and easily made the drive down. We went right into town and picked up our race numbers and packets. We then took a quick jog to shakeout the drive from our legs, ate some dinner; had some fantastic conversation, and turned in for bed. The race itself is held in the Colorado National Monument outside of Grand Junction, CO. The race runs on the 22.6 mile paved road stretch between the Grand Junction-Monument entrance and the Fruita-Monument Entrance: Gate-to-Gate. It is a very scenic course; possibly one of the more scenic road races in the country. I recommend it to all.
My wife Annie was entered and ready to race her longest race/run ever. She had prepared well and was looking to run at sub. 10 min/mile pace. Friend and GEP teammate Tim Parr was looking for a ‘W’ and a fast time. Keri Nelson, also a GEP teammate was looking for another win; which would be her 3rd in a row. I was looking for a PR and a fast time of 2hrs. 20 min. (last year I ran a 2:23:45 race on a hobbled foot and a hobbled leg). I was fit and healthy but not specifically trained for this fast road race; but I was game for the competition.The previous couple of weeks I had it in my head that I just couldn’t wait to really hurt again; this is a great way to learn about yourself.
The weather was perfect; right around 40 degrees as we started at 8:00 am. For me, the race went something like this: I started out in about 10th place on the early climbs, held that position for a mile, and while not speeding up, ended up passing about 6 guys over the next two miles. By mile ‘3’ I was firmly in 4th place, immediately behind and with Bernie Boettcher: an established competitor and 2 time winner of this race. I maintained that position and an even pace for the next 7 miles. By this time I knew I would have only a few more opportunities to get away from Bernie before the big down-hills nearing the finish. I did not want to leave it to the end; so on a little rise at about mile ‘10.5’ I attacked Bernie, and I simply took off, carried my momentum up and over the top of that bump; and I proceeded to fly on the down-hills. I heard Bernie’s breathing for a while, and then realized that I was clear from him.
I was so focused on the task at hand that I did not look back the entire race. Each mile from mile ’11’ on, I was so focused on running strong, hard, and with confidence that I did not even care who was where, I just ran; as fast as I could. I was feeling good and ended up coming into the finish in 3rd place with about a 3.5 minute advantage over Bernie. I just ran hard and got away from him, and that was that. This race was a good one physically, but it was a real victory mentally for me, I just shut up, remained calm and ran as fast as I could. Now I really need to take this same approach into all my races. Tim ended up winning and breaking the ‘unbeatable’ course record by running a very fast 2:06:51. Incredible!! He beat a very talented Austin Vigil who was 2nd place in a 2:09 ish time. I then came in 3rd with a huge PR of 2:15:12, and was ecstatic. Bernie cam in 4th with a Master’s winning time of 2:18:30. Great race for him. Keri won the women’s race by an unbelievable 20 min!!!! Her time was 2:35:45 and placed her 10th overall!! Annie beat her goal by running a 3hr. 45 min race and running sub. 10 min. miles!!