A few things I learned:
*Don't eat like crap the week in between races
*Get more sleep
*Don't see the 8 PM showing of Iron Man II the night before
*Did I mention don't eat like crap?
The race was put on by Mammoth Marathons. They sponsor five different races, and they do a good job. They don't do timing chips, just nice small races. There were probably only 250 people total combined for the marathon/half/10K/5K. I met a lot of nice people and I had a great time, for the most part.
The race started in the small town of Palisade, CO, which is just outside of Grand Junction. Grand Valley is absolutely gorgeous. We ran through the wine country, I didn't realize Colorado had a wine country, along the Colorado River. It was a pretty run. The hills were killer, which didn't bother me. The wind, on the other hand, I could have done without.
I started feeling fatigued at about 14.5 miles. I ate a GU at the aid station and as I approached 15.5 miles I saw a lady on the side of the road talking on the phone bending over...those of you tender hearted dog lovers feel free to skip down to the next paragraph...the lady had just hit a dog and it killed it. I won't go into the details but just know that I lost it, started crying, couldn't run or breath. It completely wiped me out! I had to keep pushing the sad images out of my head the rest of the race.
Emotionally I was spent, my bowels were acting up (even after two Immodium) and I was feeling sick. The stars were not aligned for me at this race. But I finished! Not my best time ever, but definitely not my worst!
#18 Done! Keep running.