That Dam Run Half Marathon was held on Sunday March 4th, the day after my first training run with the American Cancer Society DetermiNation group. We did a short easy run around Wash park, which was a good pre-race warm up. Eileen, my mentor and now very close friend, said she would come out for my race – YEAH someone to cheer for me!
Race morning was beautiful, the sky was blue and the sun was out. The start and finish of the race were on the top of the Dam Road at the Cherry Creek Reservoir. I live close, so it was nice to have a more relaxing morning at home before heading to the start. Once I did arrive, I walked around the various vendor tents and did some stretching. By this time, the wind started to pick up a bit. There were a lot of people there, I thought wow this is a pretty big race. Not until we were told to line up at the start did I realize that most of those people were running the 5K and not the half marathon. I was very glad they let the half marathon runners start first.
GO! We’re off! It was an out and back course and we ran across the Dam Road then down to the Cherry Creek Trail. This was the first race that ran right by my house! Maybe I should go have breakfast…not. The wind just kept picking up, REALLY?! I thought to myself, must we have a headwind? Of course, when we turned around, so did the wind! No tailwind for me – ugh!
As I worked my way back to the Dam Road, I thought, wow I bet the wind is even worse on the top of that dam… I was right! Luckily, as I rounded the corner back to the top of the dam, there was Eileen cheering me on! She ran the final 3 miles to the finish with me. I was so glad to see her, she really helped me finish. We started picking people off, like girl in the purple, I couldn’t let her beat me, then man in orange and so on. I really think if Eileen had not of been there, I would of walked in to the finish, for I was finished from running in that headwind all race. Thank-you Eileen!
Eileen and I arrived late to the DetermiNation training run, due to missing a turn, so we ran around the park for a 3 mile pre-race warmup run on our own. Steve, Eileen and I were all going to be running the Platte Sunday. We had to tell Steve NOT to run the scheduled 10 mile training run (he is a rookie runner) and just do 3. I believe he ended up doing 4 to 6 because he got lost on the route.
After the run we headed out to packet pick-up for the race. There was a small expo, so we got our packets and walked around for only a short while and then headed home. I took it easy the rest of the day, got a nap or two in and watched movies. As the day progressed so did the bad weather. It poured down rain all afternoon and got cold out! I thought OH GREAT its going to be a wet race tomorrow.
Sunday morning came and there was a break in the weather! It was still quite cool, but it was not raining. I’ll take cold over rain. Steve and Eileen met at my place so we could carpool to the race. Once we arrived, we saw quite a few overdressed runners. I always layer so I can adjust to the weather as needed.
This was to be Steve’s first half marathon. We had him sign-up at Runners Roost during one of our training runs. We checked our gear bags, for after the race, stretched and were ready to go.
GO! I warmed up quite quickly, so by mile 3 I had taken my gloves and long sleeves off. This is good, going to be a beautiful race. The race was a point to point that started in downtown Littleton, worked its way alongside the Platte River (or should I say creek because it is so small), and makes its way into Denver at the 10th and Osage Light Rail Station. Everyone is given a Light Rail pass to get back to the start after you are finished.
Everything was going as planned and I was on track in the first half of the race for a Personal Record (PR)… then the wind blew in at mile 7 and literally blew my race apart! It was so strong at times I seriously thought I was going to blow right into the Platte River! Head and side winds really slowed me down, at times, to a halt. This sucks! Back on went the long sleeves just in time for the rain to start at mile 9. I never thought I’d be so glad to see the mile 12 hill, that brought you back over the freeway and into the finish. YEAH this thing is almost OVER!
The finish changed from the previous year, but the line for the food did not, it was still 3 miles long! I headed to the beer tent to look for Steve and Eileen, couldn’t find them so I got a beer (priorities people – don’t judge). Called Eileen to find out they were in the food area. Told her the line was 3 miles long, so she got me a burger and we all headed back to the beer tent. My burger almost blew off the plate! I was so glad we had some shelter from the wind so I could warm up. there was a live band, so after we ate, the 3 of us got up and danced – great post run stretch of the legs! After the band finished, we headed back to the start on the Light Rail and headed back to my place for showers and relaxation.
April showers don’t bring May flowers, they bring more showers! REALLY?! Saturday May 12th, the morning before the Colfax Half Marathon it POURED down rain all day! I thought I was going to have to bring a kayak to the race Sunday morning! Our Saturday training run was at the Bear Creek Trail and boy was it a WET run! I couldn’t see it was raining so hard. I only ran 3 miles since I was doing the half Sunday, so Eileen was going to do 7 and Steve was going to do 15.
After my rain soaked 3 miler, I changed into a dry shirt and headed over to Target to buy some towels and get a Starbucks coffee to warm up. Once again, the so called “out and back” trail was NOT and eveyone got lost. Steve made it back before Eileen, and I had been told by a passing biker about 40 minutes prior that she was about 3 miles away. I was getting worried, 5 more minutes and we were going out to find her. Then here she came around the corner drenched and cold. Horrible time for all of us. We all got warmed up and we said good-bye to Steve, who was leaving for Massachusetts later for a week. Dropped Eileen off at her place and headed home for my nap.
Eileen brought me dinner from her dad’s restaurant (Um, YUMMY) and we relaxed to a movie – perfect pre-race evening. I took a shower, built my little Kristen and called it a night.
Sunday morning arrives and NO RAIN!!! WAHOOO!!!! In fact I was able to wear shorts and a short sleeves for the race. It was a 6am race start, so Eileen was going to see me at the finish. Got to City Park and searched all over for the gear check. I finally asked a volunteer, to be directed back across the park behind some trees – REALLY can we hide it more??? Checked my bag and headed for my starting coral. It was packed, we were spilling outside of the barriers. No worries, with chip timing, it is not a big deal, for your time does not start until you hit the starting mat.
GO! We are finally OFF! Started out good for the first mile, then I started feeling a pain in the ball of my left foot below my pinky toe. Kept running and it started getting worse. Mile 3 I stopped and took off my shoe to see if my sock was messed up or something, no it was fine and so was my shoe. Put it back on and kept going, and it kept hurting more and more. Almost to the point that I thought I was going to have to stop running all together and pull out of the race.
Mile 5 a miracle happened, my foot no longer hurt and I took off! So the first half sucked and I rocked the second half, so no PR set this time. I didn’t even look around in the finishing chute, I just ran! Got my water, snacks and exited the finish area. Now to find Eileen, which proved not to be easy. The place was PACKED with people, tents and vendors. So I decided to go get my bag out of gear check and call her. I worked my way over to the gear tent and was floored by the mile long line of people waiting to get their bags – are you freaking KIDDING ME?! I had no choice, I needed my bag. After waiting for over a half hour, someone that had just retrieved their bag told us to go around to the other side of the tent to the shorter line. We all ran over there, but it didn’t move. I decided to go up front and peer in the tent to see if I could even see my bag – THERE IT IS! No one heard me, so I went in and got it myself. WORST bag pick-up EVER! Called Eileen and we met by an RV and I sat down and ate.
Recapped my horrible race for her and just relaxed. Once I finished eating, we headed back to our cars and met at Starbucks for a relaxing coffee on the patio.
A bad start to my race, turned itself around and made for a great day. Race number 4 of 12 complete for 2012…
Never give up! Run Happy!