Sunday, October 19, 2008

Denver Half Marathon

It's hard to believe but today I did my first half marathon.  I have attempted a half twice before....the first one I never even got to the start line due to tasting the Easter Bunny Cake batter.  Yep, came down with salmonella poisoning the night before the 2007 Platte River Half.  I was sick for 3 weeks.  Public service announcement:  eating cake batter with RAW EGGS can be very, very, very bad for your health.  The second time I attempted a half was just a couple of months ago:  the Pikes Peak Ascent.  Sure, it was uphill (to 14,000 feet to be exact) the entire way and I'm sure my time would have resembled a full marathon time but hey, it was going to be a half.  Well, I ended up doing 18 miles.  Sure, I've done a marathon (Denver Marathon 2007), lots of training runs of 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 miles long.  But never the OFFICIAL HALF.  

So today was the day!  PIC Sonja and I rode our bikes from the Rez to the Capitol for a nice warm-up.  It was 5:15 and dark! But we had a nice chat and NO pre-race nerves which was kind of strange.  I think I was more nervous about riding in the dark but that ended up being a non-event!  The only issue was the cold, by the time we met Troy (Son's hubby) at their car, my hands were cold and my feet were numb. It was 6:40 and the race started at 7.  And the line to the porta-potty???  About a zillion miles long.  There was NO way we were going to get through that line and make 7.  So, we did what any rational racer does, find an appropriate tree to pee.  Ours just happened to be in front of the courthouse.  Now I apologize in advance for the following details, but grow up, it's just poop.  Yes, I only pooped once before leaving the house at 4:50am.  And if you know me, you know I need at least 2 pre-race poops to feel good and ready to go.  Well, that just wasn't going to happen today.  NOPE.  But, whaddya going to do?  I lined up at the start, wishing I had gone #2, and started to run.

I had very specific race instructions today from Steve:  the first 2 miles at 8:45, then descend each mile by :05 from there.  That would be approximately 7:55 for the last mile.  In a perfect world.  First mile?  8:55.  Oops a bit slow but not a bad start, my heart rate was LOW.  So I picked it up a bit.  I missed my second mile split (turned out to be 8), and then looked down for mile three.  Oops.  8:00.  Huh, I should have been around an 8:40.  I was a bit concerned because it seemed too fast.  But my heart rate was still under control and I felt good.  Clearly 8's were the pace for me today because the next several miles I just kept hitting 8.   So my new strategy was to keep steady.  Now for a poop update:  I kept passing porta-pottys thinking I should stop in, but nothing was ever urgent enough, just that I should probably go feeling.  But I didn't stop because it just seemed a waste of time.  I hoped that this decision wouldn't end badly....Especially now that I was knocking down 8's, I couldn't remember the pace chart but I knew this could be good.  Even at mile 9 up the hill at Cheesman Park, 7:59.  And it was here that I started to feel I was working.  But I only had 3 miles left.  My last three miles:  7:34, 7:36, 7:21.  So, I guess all in all, I descended my miles and stuck to my original plan.   The last mile was really great, I started hurting a bit and my heart rate was climbing.  I heard someone shout my name (THANKS!) and I picked it up.  Then I saw PIC and managed a smile until she told me to get moving and finish with everything I had.  That made for a long 2 blocks. 

It was a really fun morning and the weather couldn't have been any better especially after last year's suffer-fest (drizzle, cloudy, COLD).  The course is great - running through downtown, past Coors Field, to 17th and City Park, then on to Cheesman Park and up Lincoln to the finish.  I kept thinking about the marathon last year, that was also an amazing day but for many different reasons.  And this year I was sooooo happy to make the turn today for the half.  

At the finish, I met up with all the fabulous Practical Coaching crew.  It seems that everyone had great races!  But the best part?  Seeing my girlfriend Lisa at the finish.  It was a bittersweet day for her as her family had to put their awesome dog Chaco (and Primo's buddie) to sleep on Friday and she misses him terribly.  But it was her 1st half and she knocked it out of the park!  And she did this in her brand new age group: 40-44. Happy 40th Birthday Lisa!!  

We all went for breakfast afterwards and had a great time talking, planning, catching up, and whatever else came to mind.  I finally got home and although I didn't feel my best (yep, issue #2) the family headed over to the community fall festival for pony rides, pumpkin painting, apple cider and more.  What a great day!

Results you ask?  In my last race as a 39 year old:
1:46:00 (8:05/mile I think)
22 out of 486 (not bad for an old lady!!!) 

Peace Out:)

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