Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I Rocked The Rock and Roll Half Marathon
I have been running for years, and have yet to successfully complete a half marathon. My first, The Other Half in Moab UT, was a horrendous experience, though I did finish. The second, The Canyonlands Half also in Moab, I got injured during training and was unable to run the full distance and instead ran the 10K. After these two unsuccessful runs in Moab I vowed never to return until I had a few successful halves under my belt.
I am happy to announce that I have my first successful half marathon down in the books. This past Sunday, October 9th, Anne and I ran the Rock and Roll half marathon in Denver. The weekend ended up being a great laid back girls weekend since soccer got canceled, complete with great dinners and even a movie, making the success even sweeter!
The run started at 6:55, so we walked the 3 blocks to the race start through the dark frigged Denver morning.
I was feeling so jittery and nervous. As soon as our wave was started, we began weaving our way around the mass of people. This typically means you run faster than your normal pace. But once we were clear of the mass and had a little open running room our pace was still pretty quick! We kept looking at our Garmin 305 in disbelief at the 8:45 (and sometimes 8:30) pace we were keeping through the first 5 miles. We finally made ourselves slow down (9:20) when we got to miles 6-9 for fear of collapsing at the end.
As we turned the 9 mile marker, I saw the pacers for the 2 hour group, and got so excited! Finishing in 2 hours was within my grasp! (I had a secret personal goal of finishing in at least 2:05) Anne was not feeling the same surge of excitement and gave me the ok to forge ahead with the 2 hour pacers. As soon as I left Anne it was like the pacers picked up speed, and I didn't want to spend the last 4 miles in misery, or worse, completely gassed at mile 11. So I slowed to a 9 min/mile pace. From about mile 11 on the course is gradual to very downhill, I took advantage of this and picked up my pace, still amazed at how good I was feeling. At mile 12 I looked at my watch and realized that I could actually complete this thing in 2 hours or less if I picked up my pace again. As we rounded the final corner I literally gave it my all and crossed the finish line with an OFFICIAL time of 2:00:56! I'd say that is technically running a half marathon in two hours!
I was, and am still, so happy with my finish time (which is 18 minutes faster than my time at The Other Half)! 3 days later and I am still feeling the adrenaline rush of it... so much so that I want to sign up and do another race this weekend, or ASAP! But I am going to take a break for this week and then see how I feel before I make a commitment like that.
This was a really fun race to run, being it is the Rock and Roll series of marathons, there are all kinds of bands playing along the race course. I almost didn't bring my iPod, but am glad I did; you only hear the bands for the few seconds that you are running past. There were also a lot of people lining the course (especially later into the race). They had all kinds of funny and encouraging signs. Some of my favorite were:
"I bet this seemed like a good idea 6 months ago!"
"Chuck Norris never ran a race."
"Your feet are hurting because you are kicking so much 4$$."
There were also some motivating racers. At one point Anne and I passed a soldier dressed in full fatigues, boots, and completely packed backpack. It was pretty awe-inspiring to see him running with the extra 80 pounds and clunking boots. Later another male runner passed us and his shirt said "I survived Roe vs. Wade".
The race expo and the after race goodies were the best of any race I have ever been in... yes, even better than the BoulderBOULDER... though I didn't see free beer being handed out at the finish line... We scored so many different energy and protein bars, juices, and drinks, even CHOCOLATE!!
Learned: Sometimes the best training is rest; two weeks out from the race I found myself completely exhausted. I couldn't even get out of bed or walk across the room with out my legs burning as if I had just ran 13.1 miles. I heeded the advice of an old friend who knows her stuff and took 5 days off and loaded up on Brewers Yeast, Cod Liver Oil, Vegetable Glycerin, and red meat. She promised that if I took the time off I would be amazed at how strong and fast I was... She was right!