Tuesday, October 20, 2009

toot toot.

So... one Amy Sawyer has demanded a "randish" blog post about the half, and she shall get it, unfortunately sans photos.

This past Sunday morning, Jeromie & I downright conquered the Denver Half-Marathon. I say conquered because we both had a pretty bum few weeks leading up to it. I got sick. Jer got busy. We both felt beat AND we made the (possible) mistake of eating PIZZA as race-fuel. Not even delicious BlackJack's BBQ Chicken! Not even McKinner's many delicious awesomes! Dominoes, I tell you! We ate Dominoes!

With good friends, of course.

But that still does not make up for the fact that pizza is not always runner-friendly the night before a race/run/event/whatever.

That said, we were both planning to just settle for finishing.

So. The Half. I will definitely be doing another one, and hopefully another after that.

Looking back on the morning, the Denver course was an excellent place to attempt my first actual half-marathon. I'd run the distance many times in high school, just to get away from life, but I hadn't ever done a formal half-marathon, and I hadn't run that far in YEARS (like 10 of them). The course was fairly flat (except for fun little hill early on, and another one between miles 9 & 10 in the Cheeseman Park area), the race was not huge participant-wise, and the weather turned out to be amazing.

We took the light rail into downtown so we wouldn't have to worry about parking, and managed to get to the Civic Center Park (starting line area) by about 6:30am. As is almost always the case before a race, we ended up spending most of our time before the start waiting in the lines for the restrooms. Bah. Anyway... we managed to get through the lines, check our gear bags, and make it to somewhere near our pace-marker by a few minutes before the start. Of course, at that point I realized I'd forgotten my little snack-gel thingies, but oh well. I think it took about 4-5 minutes to get to the actual starting line after the race began, and that time basically served as my warm-up. Next time... I'll get there earlier.

We'd agreed the night before to just run our own paces, so we parted ways within the first quarter mile. I spent the first mile or two weeding my way through the crowd and trying to feel out how my calves would behave for the day. I wasn't paying much attention at all to time or pace and thus missed hitting my watch until the 3 mile marker. After that, I hit my watch joyfully at every mile because I was that much closer to being done AND I was kind of interested to see what pace I had settled into.

I don't remember much about the running part itself except the silly, quirky thoughts & lovely "runner's high" that strike me on good days. I remember being utterly blown away as I approached City Park (somewhere in mile 5?) and saw the front-runners fly past in the opposite direction... they were several miles ahead of me and booking it. I remember cheering for the first & second women I noticed in that pack. I also remember getting passed at about that same time by a boy running a leg of the relay who looked like he was maybe not even ten. Oh yeah... and I remember loving the fact that I was running down the big fat middle of the road, with no worries about drastic camber or much of anything else!

Somewhere around mile 7, there was a station for grabbing GU, and I gladly grabbed one. My last experience with chocolate-flavored GU (about 10 years ago?) was NOT a good one, but I figured I'd shot my own self in the foot by forgetting my stuff and I was not about to risk crashing later. Surprisingly, whatever I grabbed was actually palatable... almost like chocolate frosting. So... I hung onto that for about 2 miles & ate it whenever I could see water up ahead.

Mile 11 was probably the hardest mile of the run... my knees were aching and my ears were doing this weird popping deal from the cold I had a few weeks back. At this point, I just decided that there was no quitting and no complaining and off I went.

Somewhere around Mile 12, the marathon and half-marathon courses parted ways. I knew that my internship site was just a block past the split, so I was maybe-just-a-little tempted to add a block to my run, but when it came down to it I was just glad to head for the finish.

The end was unremarkable, but at the same time SUCH a relief. My official time was 2:01:59, which works out to an average of 9:19 per mile. All I can say is that I was (and am still) pleasantly surprised.

Since Sunday morning, I have taken A LOT of ibuprofen. I've also cursed at the two flights of stairs that I must go down to leave the apartment. Today, I commuted in to campus on my bike (+ a few extra miles for good measure), and that was a HUGE help in taking the edge off the soreness in my quads and calves.

So... that was the half. I'm already plotting and scheming for running a whole in May - the Denver Colfax Marathon. I may even have a training partner! :-D

(P.S. The post title is because I wasn't planning on writing about this... it just felt a bit like tooting my own horn. I was going to let Jer do the posting, but he told me to write my own...)

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