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
On Saturday, I found myself in Denver meeting up with fellow bloggers Jill, Tara, 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.
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:
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
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
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 picture, this 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: