Colfax Marathon: Street of Pain

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The concept is great: a marathon on the longest non-highway street in America. It's the reality that sucks, at least for those of us who subjected ourselves yesterday to the torture that was the Colorado Colfax marathon.

The course is an uphill battle of Colfaxian proportions, with the majority of the 700 ft. elevation gain coming in the last 7 miles. As part of a 5-person relay team, I only had to suffer through the 10 set mykm (6.2 miles) third leg from Syracuse to Elati, but I fought my share of battles along the way. My carbohydrate-laden meal from Saturday night (pizza and beer) had me fighting to the front of the 30-person-deep lines for the Port-o-Pottys near the start of my leg. My teammates ran a blazing first two legs of the race, which any other day would have inspired me to run a similarly speedy stretch, too. But on this morning, all it did was pull me out of the Port-o-Potty line prematurely and set my inner battles in a rage.

Between the adrenaline, the nerves and World War III going in my stomach, my first few miles were less than magnificent. The sun was behind me, and all I had to chase was the long, pitiful shadow that it cast. Spectators were cheering us on through the Bluebird district, volunteers were handing us paper cups of Gatorade and rock bands were playing inspirational cover songs like "Born to Run," but I had trouble appreciating any of it. As I made the turn into City Park, I even thought about walking for a minute to calm the storm.

Then, as I made my way out of City Park and back on to Colfax, my inner demons were silenced, and I realized that I was not only going to be able to finish the race - I would do so without shitting my pants. The clouds receded, and my thoughts shifted from my bowels to the 6-pack of Deschutes beer for $6 that Argonaut was advertising. I picked up my pace as I clicked off the blocks - York, Franklin, Downing, Pearl, Grant, Lincoln, Broadway. When I crossed Broadway, I made a what I thought at the time was a pretty good kick to the finish line of the third leg on the other side of Civic Center Park. In retrospect, it was probably more of a mad dash for the shitter, but nonetheless, I finished, as did the rest of my teammates (in a respectable combined time of about 3.5 hours.) A couple of celebratory beers later, I vowed never to run Colfax on a stomach full of pizza and beer; next time, I'll just take the 15 bus. --Rick White


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