Monday, October 19, 2009

Denver Half Marathon 2009

I signed up for this race back in August for a couple of reasons. First, I really like this race - it showcases the best of Denver and it is about as flat as you can get at altitude. Second, I thought it might make some sense to have a half marathon under my belt going into Clearwater, at best this would be a quality training day and I was hoping to PR or it would just be a good training day. And third, I figured if I was going to do it, may as well sign up before the big price increases!

On Saturday I woke up with a scratch in my throat after sleeping 10 hours....not a good sign. And then my tummy turned on me. Not good, but may have been attributable to the mass amounts of coffee I ingested earlier in the day. A PR?? Really, my goal was to beat my 1/2 marathon time off the bike at Kansas 70.3 earlier in the year. But could I do this without the good 2.5 hour "warm-up" of being on the bike? With a cold? I knew I would get up and race regardless of how I felt and I knew that I would do whatever I could with the run with whatever I was "given" on that particular day.

But race morning was kind of interesting! Sure, I still had that horrible cough/itchy throat thingy going on.....got my breakfast down (and yes, it was my favorite pre-race breaky Mix1!!) and then realized that I was indeed a tad bit nervous! Why was this? I am usually not nervous before a running race so this was a bit unexpected. And then I figured out why.....I wanted to PR. I had a time in mind and I knew it was realistic and I really wanted to do it, I'm pretty sure I haven't approached a run race with that mindset before!

Michael and the kiddos got me to the race in plenty of time to warm up (PIC Sonja ran down to the race site even though she wasn't racing and she warmed up with me!!!) and then I got positioned around the right pace group. I felt pretty good at this point but maybe a tad dehydrated so I knew I would need to take in some fluids along the way. No worries though and then we were off!

I was towards the front of the start line so the pace was a bit quicker from the get-go. I kept my eye on my heart rate and the first mile came in around 7:50. Perfect. Next mile was a bit quicker at 7:33 and I had to remind myself that I also wanted to negative split this. So I just kept my heart rate in the range I knew would get me to the finish line. And so it went for the first 6 miles, keeping myself in check so that I could pick it up (or in this case maintain my pace) to the end. As the miles ticked by I knew that I had a good chance at my PR but as I hit mile 10 and that uphill to Cheesman Park, my legs started feeling heavy and my breathing was a bit more labored. Uhhhhhgggghhhh, a 7:54 on that mile. Got to the top and kept pushing on the downhill and then I got a sight for my sore tired eyes. Boo Yah Tyler was at the Park cheering on the runners!! I loved seeing him and although I couldn't speak, I waved to him and that gave me a little lift on the remaining downhill. Now onto mile 11 and I heard Bethie cheering (didn't know it was her at the time!!) and that gave me another lift. And then PIC was there running beside me telling me to watch my breathing, relax my shoulders and hands and that I was doing great and to keep the pace up. That mile clocked in at my fastest at 7:21......I managed to tell her something to the effect of you're killing me but really what I wanted to say was thank you. And then I was in the final mile running up Lincoln. I had no capacity to pick it up but my pace did not slow down. I even passed a girl in the finish chute.

1:41. A PR!!! And 9th in my age group, 68th woman overall. I will not lie, those last couple of miles hurt, but you know what? It is supposed to hurt. I even had those thoughts....you know the ones. The why am I doing this? But then I crossed the finish line and saw my wonderful family. The hurt subsided and I was left with a great feeling of accomplishment. So thank you to my peeps, PIC, and my family for the cheering and everything else. And to Trakkers, it was a great experience to wear the device (didn't even notice it!) and hopefully help them out bringing it to market.

With that report, I have just one more race on the schedule for the year: Clearwater!!!

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