OK, Here goes! the wrap-up of my 2011 Denver Rock n Roll Marathon Adventure. It started a few months back when my Daughter, Kenzie and I signed up to run the 2011 race. I had Grand ideas of building on last year’s 1/2 Marathon Split of 2 hours 10 minutes and possibly getting very near or under 2 hours. Training started off well enough, but I didn’t really have someone to keep me accountable, and some of my training runs fell by the wayside. Kenzie and her friend that she convinced to run also, were doing well with their training, but that soon tailed off as well, because Kenzie started Rugby Practice and games 6 days a week. Towards the end of my “training” I got an 8 mile run in, that I felt pretty good about, so I knew I would finish, and my goal time turned into finishing in under 3 hours.
It turned out that 2 of my next-door neighbors were also running the 1/2 so I decided to be the designated driver. Since I was driving, I got to dictate the time we were leaving, and I am known for getting to races EARLY! We left Castle Rock at 4:45am for a 30 minute trip to Downtown Denver and a Start-time of 6:55am. Two minutes in, and I realized I had forgotten my Garmin! I wheeled around and grabbed it. As we get on the Freeway, my Garmin watch starts beeping and indicates that the battery is 0% charged! That is odd because it was on the charger for 24 hours! I am not sure what the issue is, but that might be a whole other Blog! Anyway, we get to the Araria Campus parking lot, and make the trek to Civic Center Park, Myself, Kenzie, Jenni and Candis. Temperature was just above 38 degrees, but shaping up to be nice running weather. We all hit the NO LINE Port-o-lets and then went off to check in our drop bags.by this time there were plenty of folks there (somewhere around 15,000 total racers!) and we headed to our Corrals, Candis (6), Me (10 (way out of my league)) Kenzie (15) and Jenni (15). No nerves this year, and I really knew I could finish as opposed to last year’s Marathon, where I was questioning a finish.
The 1st Corral went of right at 6:55am and each Corral after that was 2 to 3 minutes after, My Corral (10) went across the start line at around 7:16am. I was still pissed that I had no way to track my progress, as my non-operable Garmin was now sitting in the glovebox of my truck, still beeping, and not working. But I had my music and a group of Gladiators, yes Gladiators (shields, swords, helmets and SANDALS) to keep me pre-occupied. I really like the Course which changed towards the end, from last year, but it still takes you past some great sights in Denver.
Mile one takes you out past the Convention Center and around to the Pepsi Center, I was running a good pace, but a bit slower than I wanted. Mile Two runs out to Union Station and over to Coors Field, and I was still feeling pretty good. Mile three was more cruising through the Downtown streets and there was actually a HILL, but just a couple hundred yards, but it struck me as odd since I think of Downtown Denver as very flat. Walked through the Water Stop during mile three, but felt good still. Mile four is a long straight stretch and I can’t stand those, so I just kind of put my head down so I can’t see where I have to run to, which was hard because I somehow forgot my hat! Anyway, that is where I turned up my music and zoned out. too loud I guess, because that is also where Scott and his family were cheering for Candis and the rest of the Neighborhood runners were, but I missed them, they did see me though. Miles five, six, and seven took us through City Park, and those were the miles that I did start to walk for a bit but was trying to stick to 10 minutes running, 1 minute walking (It would have been easier with my Garmin!!!) . Mile eight and nine are just a long out and back on 17th street, and I saw Kenzie in her Bright Neon Greenish-Yellow running top! It was good to see her and she looked strong. I was about 1 mile in front of her, but thought that there was a slight chance that she would catch me before the finish. During mile nine was a slight change from last year, and we got to run past East High School, which is one of the older Schools in Denver. Mile ten takes us towards Cheesman Park, which kind of gets a bad rap, but it is a nice park as far as I could see, and it means only a little over 3 miles left! Just before entering the Park, there was a guy who was handing out ice-cold Pabst Blue Ribbons, in sealed cans! and since I am not one to pass up an opportunity to add some carbs, I grabbed one. I was only good for about 3 sips though. Mile 11 was in Cheesman Park, and this is where my total disregard for actually training really hurt! I am pretty sure that I walked as much of that mile as I ran, but I knew it would be coming, I just didn’t know when. I was able to run past the Marathon-1/2 Marathon split however, because I remember how I felt last year, when I saw everyone else going the 1/2 Marathon way. Mile twelve leaving the park and into a neighborhood and then downtown, still trying to keep the running going, and looking for Kenzie to catch up to me, but that didn’t happen! I somehow missed the mile thirteen marker, and went around a corner, and there was the FINISHLINE at the bottom of a small hill! Pace picked up and I finished my ill-trained-for 1/2 Marathon, and nowhere near the 3 hour mark, I actually finished in 2:31:51 and while it is not a very braggable time, I was still happy with it. a few minutes later, I was able to get a short video clip of Kenzie, finishing her FIRST 1/2 Marathon, and by far the farthest race she has ever run (longest before the 1/2 was a 5K!).
I know a lot of people who do not like big multi-event Corporation-Like events, but I think the Rock n Roll series does things pretty well, and they make changes where they can when they get negative feedback. One of those changes was in the finishing chute, with the lack of food last year. This year, they had bottled water and Cytomax, the also had fresh fruit, bagels, energy bars, and Veggie Burrito’s from Evol Burritos! There were other snacks, but not that I grabbed. It was also nice to see minor changes to the course so it is not exactly the same from last year.
All-in-all, it was a great time for the Neighborhood runners, which was capped off by Smash Mouth playing the running After-party! I was able to get my free finisher’s Beer also, something that I was not able to do last year. I can now tell you, that I am not a big fan of Miller Lite! Which is odd, coming from someone who previously drank a PBR on the course.
In talking to Kenzie afterwards, she wants to run more 1/2 Marathons in the future! Something about the cool medals, so we will be looking for new runs in the future, maybe the Surf City 1/2 next year, I hear their medals look like Surfboards!