26.2 miles of rain and cold | AspenTimes.com

26.2 miles of rain and cold

Joel Stonington

I ran nearly every day this spring and summer, only to have the Golden Leaf canceled in September. So I reset my sights high on the Seattle Marathon during Thanksgiving weekend. Out here, winter started early and I bit it on icy sidewalks more than once. But I figured it was worth it to put the training to the test in a marathon.So it was with some chagrin that I sat in front of the tube on Nov. 25 and watched the Seattle weatherman gleefully (in that serious weatherman way) call for an inch or two of snow on the 26th – race day. I went to bed wondering if the race would be canceled, but when I woke up, it just hadn’t gotten cold enough for the snow to stick.At the start line it was raining and 35 degrees, but into the first mile, I was feeling great. Training at altitude made it feel like I was running with an oxygen tank. Further – though there were clothes being torn off and thrown by the wayside – I had dressed well and felt relatively comfortable.My concentration held up early and I stayed on a solid 7-minute mile pace for the first 4 or 5 miles before speeding up into the 6:30s and holding on until the midway point of 13.1 miles.My pace at the half was 6:38 per mile and I was still feeling good. So good that I busted out back-to-back 6s and promptly died. I could feel it coming on through 17 and when I hit the 18-mile point, it was like a brick to the head. I stopped and walked. Rain continued to fall. Eventually, for a reason I still don’t understand, I began running again. I guess it’s because no one was there to pick me up at 18 and I figured finishing was the quickest way to yummy food and a warm tub. The hills at the end actually felt good after so much flat, and I somehow crossed the finish line after three hours and nine minutes. Less than 48 hours later, I was back on Aspen Mountain skiing on the precipitation from the same storm. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.comThe Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.