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Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs.

In a recent post, Las Vegas Marathon, I wrote about how my then wife, Barb, and I unexpectedly won quite a large amount of money in that 1986 race.  Three months earlier, in the space of a week, we had smaller, but no less welcome, successes in two fun runs.

Although still September, a cold front moved through on a bleak Saturday as we drove into Colorado Springs with the intention of running in the El Paso Chiropractic Association 5 Miles race the next morning.  We camped at nearby at Manitou Springs and went for an evening run in light snow through the nearby awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods park.  A cold night followed, with the temperature dropping to 22°F, and we woke to a snowy white world.  Our first challenge was the drive to the start at Palmer Park on the empty ice-covered roads.  We slid in slow motion all the way to the bottom of one hill, lucky to avoid hitting anything along the way.

Palmer Park, Colorado Springs.

The adverse weather impacted the race turnout and there were only about 40 entrants in bitterly cold weather.  I was the only person running in shorts, with everyone else more appropriately dressed for the weather, when we set off following a lead car.  On a largely snow-covered hilly road course with icy corners and descents, I won easily (24:33, short course) after attacking the last slippery descent, and surviving, while my nearest rivals took a more circumspect approach.  Barb was first in the women's division, and we each won a dinner for two at a local restaurant.  We had been planning to drive to Denver straight after the race, but negotiated to have one of the dinners that night, handed the other prize back, and hung around until evening to enjoy our prize.  Being on a very tight travelling budget, this was the first time we had eaten at a restaurant in six months on the road, and the quality four-course meal was much appreciated.

Wildcat Hills, Nebraska.

The following Saturday, while visiting Scottsbluff, Nebraska, we found out about the Wildcat Hills 5 Mile Race to be held in the nearby Wildcat Hills the following morning.  We entered the race at a local sports shop, and that night slept in our campervan parked near the start point for the race.  We were woken the next morning by the sound of car doors slamming as competitors arrived.  The field was again small, and I won overall (26:22) after a hard-fought race with a guy who had driven 200 miles from Denver for the event, while Barb was just pipped by his girlfriend in the women's division.  We were a little disappointed to find the prizes were medals, but then my name was drawn in the competitor raffle, and I won a Pizza Hut voucher for their store back in Scottsbluff.  We drove back into town, ordered our pizzas, and then headed west on the highway across the prairie eating our pizzas and dribbling melted cheese from broad smiles.

Yesterday's long run aggravated my chronic right knee and Achilles tendon injuries and I limited my exercise this morning to a 5km walk around Copa.

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