Carbondale’s Vickers enjoying life outside the spotlight
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Chasing a spot at the Olympics takes a lot out of a person.
Just ask Carbondale’s Carrie Vickers, who last year at this time was in the thick of a bid to represent the United States in Beijing in track and field’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. She didn’t quite get there, and the journey left her a little spent.
“Track is really intense, especially kind of at that international, elite level,” Vickers said. “You get on a stage and it can be a lot.”
Life is tamer for Vickers these days. She’s enjoying a less hectic daily grind and carving out a new identity as a road racer. Judging by Sunday’s Strawberry Shortcut, she should have no problem there.
Vickers easily won both the five- and 10-kilometer installments of the annual Glenwood Springs foot race, which served as a training run for an iron-lunged 32-year-old who’s accustomed to competing on an international stage.
But a break from that international spotlight is something Vickers is welcoming with open arms. She’s spent many a summer traveling to races in all corners of the globe, worlds away from her Carbondale home.
“It’s been nice to tone things down a little this year and have fun and run the roads,” said Vickers, who guessed that she hasn’t been home in June in probably seven years. “I’m usually out on the circuit, going to Europe or Brazil. It’s been nice to be home.”
She still trains religiously, and by no means is Vickers purging competition from her life. While she’s enjoying a break from the Olympic chase right now, she doesn’t plan on staying away forever.
“Olympic years are always so intense,” she said. “Sometimes it’s nice to just step back. There’s plenty of time until 2012. I’m toying with the idea of going for the marathon. That’s going to be a big step for me.”
Vickers and her husband, Matt, hope to have a child before then.
She’ll certainly be keeping her running skills sharp in the short term. The road race circuit heats up late in the summer, and she still has big goals on the docket for 2009.
“There are a lot of national events on the road,” Vickers said. “It’s a big fall. I’d like to try and place in the top three at the U.S. 5K nationals. I was fourth last year. I’d like to be competitive in the U.S. 10K nationals and maybe try to get into a half marathon. I’m trying to establish myself on the road now like I did on the track.”
Again, judging from Sunday’s Shortcut and Vickers’ track record as a competitor, that shouldn’t be a problem.
And it’s safe to say she’ll be sure to have plenty of fun along the way.
“It’s nice to step back and enjoy running and have it not be so intense and a job,” Vickers said. “As amazing as it is, it can be a very high-pressure job. It’s like, ‘OK, me running this time and getting this place depends on me making money for the month.’ You have to do well here to get into this race and this race.
“It can all be real quick to go out the window. It’s tough, but it’s also an amazing experience.”
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Interstate 70 through the Glenwood Canyon reopened around 6:15 p.m. Thursday after a flash flood warning expired.