Monday, October 18, 2010

Rock and Roll Denver Marathon: Race Report

Time:3:23:53 – A new PR!!
Place: 176/ 2894 Overall, 33/ 231 AG
Pace: 7:47 (Garmin said 7:40) – that extra 0.4 killed me
Distance (via Garmin): 26.63

If you read my race preview, you'll remember that I said that I was going to treat this race as a training run.  Well, since I ran a PR, I suppose I have some 'splaining to do.  I promise that I didn't intentionally sandbag my goals.  I really didn't.....

I flew to Colorado a few days early to spend some time with my mom who lives in Colorado Springs.  It was great to spend some time with her and take advantage of altitude's effect on drinking alcohol get used to the altitude as best I could.  I went for a rather hilly run on Friday and thought that my lungs were going to jump out of my lungs.  Stupid altitude.

On Saturday, I found myself in Denver meeting up with fellow bloggers JillTara, and Beth.  True to form, we met at a Microbrewery (even though it was a chain one - Rock Bottom).  It was really great to put voices with the names that I've seen - as well as nerd out on running, blogging, and more running.  Although, I couldn't help but wonder what ailment was going to fall on me should I accidentally breathe in any of their germs.  To summarize what I mean:

Jill has been having heel troubles
Tara has a pain in the ass (piriformis)
Beth was on full blown crutches with a femoral neck sFx.  Little did she know that just because she was on crutches that didn't mean that I wouldn't challenge her to a race to the corner.  Little did I know that she is JUST as fast on crutches as she is on 2 feet.

Myself, Jill, Tara, SUAR's husband, and Beth (SUAR)
Surprisingly, Beth's beer did NOT spill!

I love how TALL I look in this picture!  I guess being injured makes you shorter?

The expo was just like any other RnR expo.  It was average sized - smaller than San Diego or Phoenix, but larger than New Orleans.  We did get quite a few free samples even though I was relatively late in getting to the expo on Saturday around 2:30.

My little sister and I basically being normal at the expo

That said, one thing that sort of bugged me was that the Miller 64 booth was missing one important thing..... BEER!!!  They were handing out wrist bands that they expected you to wear the entire race to avoid getting carded for your free beer at the finish line.  Unfortunately, I'm sure that more than one person had a lovely hand-cuff style chafe mark.  Everyone knows those chafe marks are best left to the bedroom.

Miller Girls?  Check.  Beer??  FAIL.

Once we got checked in at the expo, I went to go get checked in at the hotel.  Turns out that because I spend more time in hotels than I do at home I was upgraded to the Presidential suite (for free!).  The thing was literally bigger than my first apartment.  Proceed to be jealous - I'll wait:

Of course, I assume that some 'light reading' before the race could only help by calming my nerves, feeding my thirst for hunger, and re-energizing my soul.
Just another day at the office.
"Why hello there, sorry - I was just deep in thought after reading this huge book"

This is why I can't have nice things
(See also vase in upper left of previous picture)

A few things about the race. I knew that it was going to be two things: A sharting good time It was going to be at high altitude and was going to have lots of turns. The course looped around 2 large parks and would be very hard to run tangents as it bobbed in and out of the park. Turns out I was correct with both. My Garmin read 26.6 miles at the finish.

Because I’m sure everyone is wondering, I did do my nutrition like a race. Gels every 5.5 miles. I got up an hour or so before I wanted to leave for the race (2 hours before gun time) and had a cup of coffee. I then tried to relax while reading more of those big books dorking around on Facebook waiting for the coffee to “take hold”. It did – and I was 2 pounds lighter for the patience.

I walked to the race from the hotel, got lined up, and before I knew it we were off. As planned, I started out with 13 or so miles of MP running at about 7:30 pace. My wife, mom, and little sister were cruising the course and were able to see me 4 separate times. It never ceases to amaze me how seeing people along the course helps me speed up 30 seconds a mile with no additional perceived effort. Additionally, Jill was cheering on her neighbor and was therefore out on the course and was able to run with me a number of times. It was REALLY great to have her run with me for 20 seconds or so.

Here I am at mile 5 feeling great

Ok, here is my “I wasn’t sandbagging” argument. When I started this race, I wanted to treat it like a training run. However, I always said to myself that if I felt like I was doing good, I’d play it mile by mile during the second half until about mile 21 or so. At that point if I was still feeling good I might as well go for the PR.

I crossed the half in 1:39:00 – right at a 3:18 marathon pace - right where I wanted to be. I.FELT.GREAT! The altitude wasn’t affecting me such that I could tell and I felt like I could run for miles. Which was good, because I still had miles and miles and miles to run.

Unfortunately though, I realized that the curves in the course were starting to take their toll. I was a full 0.3 miles long based on my Garmin. 0.1 miles long is probably fine, 0.3 miles is a full 2 minutes of running. Something that is very hard to make up so late in the race.

Mile 18 – feeling a little less great (but still good) and looking a lot more sweaty

In spite of my drunken mule course, I held a 3:20 marathon pace (7:38 miles) through mile 22. That is when the wheels officially fell off the unicorn pissing rainbows truck. I’m still not sure if it was me hitting the wall or if it was the altitude, but all of a sudden I got dizzy, my hands got really tingly, and I was out of breath. So, while most miles up to this point were right around 7:30, mile 24 was 8:15 – and mile 25 was 10:04. Frick. Head meet wall, lungs meet altitude.

I tried really hard to hold pace but was completely demoralized when I turned a corner during mile 24 and was greeted by a massive bridge to run up and down. I didn’t have it in me and had to walk a bit. The remainder of the race was a death march to the finish.

Mile 26 – feeling like death…….and maybe looking a bit constipated

I eventually crossed the finish line and almost immediately started bitching about how my legs hurt. You know, because they did. But, once I shoehorned on my recovery socks on and got some dry/warm clothes on I started to feel a bit more human.

My cheering squad. I couldn’t have done it without them (and I still look like the uni-bomber)

Since this was my 10th marathon, I thought that I would get a little retrospective and answer a question posed to me by Kim @ iLax studio: Does finishing races ever get old or routine? I’ve ran 35 hours of marathons and I can quite honestly say that it does not, not in the slightest. I still get the same nervous energy at the start, still enjoy every spectator cheering, still want to punch every spectator who says “you’re almost there” at mile 20, and still mist up after finishing and getting my medal.

Oh, and Kim asked if I ever drink beers right after a race. Well, other than this picture, this picturethis picture, or this picture (or even this one from the 2008 Chicago marathon)…………yes, yes I do:

Eyes closed, enjoying the sweet embrace

Finally, since I always forget (and catch hell for not posting it), here is the race medal. The Rock and Roll series really puts some thought into their medals and this one was no exception:


Barefoot Neil Z said...

You left it all out there are was duly rewarded! Great job! The suite had to have helped the pre-race jitters i'm sure!!

Barefoot Neil Z said...

AND was duly rewarded.. dang.

Julie said...

Way to go Adam! You kicked big time butt! I am thrilled for you:)

You were so lucky to have a cool little bloggy meet up with the Colorado girls:) Great pictures! Congrats to you!

Madison said...

Seriously, you write the best race reports! Congrats on the PR. You are way out of my running league. That would be the slow and steady league. :)

Allie said...

Way to go and way to go for doing it while looking like the unibomber, style and grace man!

Jill said...

Way to go, Adam! It was so fun seeing you along the course and running a minute with you and I was so happy that you were doing so well! I felt bad I never saw you in Wash Park, as I mentioned, but didn't matter cuz you nailed it!!! Was a blast meeting you - hopefully we'll meet up again soon!

Adrienne said...

Nice job and Congrats again on the PR.

Where was the hot tub in the presidential suite? They are usually right in the middle of the room on TV.

Adrienne said...

Nice job and Congrats again on the PR.

Where was the hot tub in the presidential suite? They are usually right in the middle of the room on TV.

Jamoosh said...

Absolutely nothing wrong with changing your strategy during the race. In fact, I that's the best way to go! Great run.

Andrew Opala said...

What amazes me is not that time - because I expected it of you.

It's that you can drink that beer!!!

You are stronger and braver than me.

Evolving Through Running said...

Great job and great time, although unicorns actually poop rainbows. May seem trivial to you, but don't ever make that mistake in front of a unicorn. Doesn't end well.

destinationathlete said...

DAMN - you rocked that race!!

Great job - and jealous that you got to meet Beth (SUAR)!

Chad said...

That photo at mile 25 really captures your pain. Just when you're making it sound so easy, that photo makes me realize that I never want to run a marathon. You are dumb for having done ten. That is all.

The Laminator said...

Congrats to you Adam...that's amazing! Awesome job!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Thanks again for not embarassing the elites, especially during a "training run." Beth says you can't get hurt because you have a penis, so that's good news for all of us guys.

C2Iowa said...

Outstanding and record breaking. I am happy for you so much that I am green with envy!! Congrats Adam!!!

Teamarcia said...

Great job out there Adam! And I'm jealous of your bloggy meetup too!

Tim Wilson said...

Great job Adam! Way to pull it all together when everything fell appart!

Emz said...

YAY you!! Way to go.

Hugely jealous you got to meet up with all the hot blog chicks.

Tricia said...

Totally forgot to tell you: when we were watching the finish my son said "what is that on his ears?"

:) I may or may not have told him you're part robot

RunnuRMark said...

Well done, sir. Well done indeed. And while I also enjoy a good beer (I said good beer, not MGD 64), I wonder if a tall glass of freshly pissed unicorn rainbow would be more beneficial for recovery. You should experiment with that.

Luke said...

great new PR, I want to be you when I grow up.

RunningLaur said...

1. Are your gloves Halloween themed or did you join a biker gang on Saturday as well?

2. I love how you have so many post race beer links.

Jess said...

Great report! And why do they serve such crappy beer at races? They should reward runners with something tasty and delicious! Who needs a LIGHT beer after running 26.2 miles?!

Matty B. said...

Congrats, dude. You rocked the marathon again and at altitude.

Also, you have again posted the androgynous unicorn. What was your Google Image Search to find that anyway?

Tara said...

haha! Loved this race awesome! Congrats again on the PR! Very happy for you!

We'll work on moving that uphill bridge at mile 24. That just ain't right.

Pam said...

Another awesome race! Congrats again!

RnR does usually have some pretty sweet medals. They posted a pic of their Vegas medals on FB a couple of days ago. Meh... it's so-so. It looks like a playing card, which is pretty cool, but there's no color (marathon has black spades and HM has red diamonds) and it's got a big ZAPPOS across it. Looks more like an advertising billboard than a race medal.

Michelle said...


Most excellent. Congrats Adam.

Raegun said...

Awesome recap - well done!

Forward Foot Strides said...

Sweet race! And thanks for the link to sandbagging, otherwise I would have assumed it was the same thing as teabagging.

K said...

Congrats! I'm glad your lungs didn't jump out of your lungs.

Her Name is Rio said...

That. Is. Awesome!!!!
I had a feeling a PR was going to happen. After all, you had the power of the unicorn behind you!

Chris K said...

I submit to you the words of the great poet Jim Rome,
"Scoreboard". I mean really, does anyone look fresh as a daisy while PR'ing a marathon. Congrats!

Cynthia O'H said...

Awesome job, Adam! Drinking beer after a run? I'd fall over.

So glad that your hard work paid off.

Alma said...

Love it! Awesome race report! Pretty impressive that you bonked & still ran a PR. I'm curious to see what your next race will have in store for you.

Christina said...

yep, you're a sandbagger. Great job on the training run PR and I love the constipated picture. :)

kilax said...

Congrats on your PR Adam! I am so excited for you! :) That is one schweet medal! What do you think happened in the last few miles when you got so dizzy? How will you avoid that in the future?

I love the pics with your sis and your cheering squad! Does your sis live with your mom?

LOL. I love your pic reading the book. Ha ha ha ha! And the pics of you running look great!

Ha! Thanks for asking my question about if marathons get old! I had so much fun at my first, I was wondering if my second would be as fun. I know it won't feel the same as it won't be my first, but I know if I go forward with a positive attitude like you always do, I will have a blast.

And thanks for answering my question about the beer! :)

Do I get to ask one more question? You seem to be really good at recovery... have you written a post about your recovery tips? I would love to read about it!

Glenn Jones said...

Congrats Adam! Outstanding effort despite the alititude. Awesome!

Johann said...

Super run, well done! I always run like I feel and that's what you did. You felt great and ran a great race. Awesome report and photos. Rest well!

ShutUpandRun said...

Hey you speedy freak of nature. Don't ever play all shy with us again...ohhh...the altitude...ohhh this is just a training run...then you whip out a PR. What the hell? I think it was me who inspired you. Was it something I said? Give credit where credit is due.

Seriously CONGRATS!!!!

Did you know they ran out of beer at the finish? So not only did they not have it at the expo, but lacking at the finish too.

Did you and Tiffany do roundoff backhandsprings in that hotel suite?

Nice meeting you in person!

Ed said...

For a second there, I said to myself, "Really... no explanation for that rainbow-peeing unicorn?"

Thanks for clearing that up. Haha! Congrats on the PR man! Sounds like you pushed through hard to the very end. Loved the pre-RR, actual RR, and post-RR. You ROCK (and ROLL), dude!

Morgan said...

SO I actually read this last night with Spike and we were both laughing so hard! You are hilarious. Congrats again on such an awesome race and snagging a PR!!!!

Kate said...

Wow! You were flying. Great job!

"and I was 2 pounds lighter for the patience." LOL.

EricaH said...

Great race report and nice bling :)

Jeri said...

great job on the race and the PR. I hear you on the dizzy + tingly hands..... I had the same thing happen doing the wild west relay... and that was a bit shorter than 26.2 miles consecutively. :p CONGRATS!

P.S. the constipated pic is my fave. :)

Dash said...

Congratulations! Nothing better than a job well done and with friends! I love the skull gloves!

Ace said...

Awesome race and race report! Well done on the PR.

aron said...

sheesh you are just killing marathons left and right. NICE JOB on the PR and even up in the altitude - impressive :)

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

wahooooo way to go on the amazing PR!! I hate when I finish and garmie says way more, i had that in seattle.

love the girlie meet up, I'm pretty sure that's what fueled you

*~* *~* Tracy said...

Great job on your PR!

karyn said...

Congrats on the PR!!