This is going to be long but well worth the read!
In January of 2012 a friend of mine asked me if I would be interested in running the Rock n Roll ½ Marathon in Denver. At that time I had just had surgery and was still recovering. I kept this in the back of my mind for many months. In July I officially signed up for the race and talked two other friends into running it also. My thoughts at this time were “can I really run for 13.1 miles”?
I started my Warrior Dash training the first week in June and new that my ½ training needed to start the last week in June. I think this is what nudged me to officially sign up. I was already running why not just add 10 miles to it…
There are a few things that I love about running. It’s very hard for me but gets me into great shape very quickly, I love that it clears my head and love that running burns a great deal of calories.
Let’s get to race week!
So race week is actually a pretty easy week of running. Monday I did 4 easy miles, Tuesday 3 easy miles, Wednesday rest day and Thursday 2 easy miles and Friday the day before the race rest day.
My friends and I met at our hotel to check in. The entire lobby was covered with 250 University of Oklahoma students in town for a convention. Pure craziness…I had been hydrating while driving to downtown Denver and really needed the ladies room. I managed to find it rather quickly. Why is it when you are hydrating you get stuck in traffic. I am so not a city girl. Once we succeeded to get checked in we walked down to the convention center for the Fitness Expo and packet pick up.
Prior to race day you receive an e-mail asking that you print out a confirmation and release sheet. On the sheet you are assigned a corral number based on the time you thought you could finish the race in.
Once inside the expo it’s very fast and efficient. You check in with your drivers’ license at the corral that is assigned to you. They handed us our bibs and safety pins at this time. A couple of girls wanted to change their corral numbers. This was a very easy process. They had a table set up specifically for start time changes. Each person who changed his or her corral received a green dot. Once this was done we moved on to the t-shirt pick up and swag bag pick up. No lines anywhere! 🙂
Into the expo we went. There are tons of different vendors and booths throughout the convention center from Brooks to Sprouts. I think we all made one purchase at the expo. I stopped at the Razzy Roo for a couple of headbands.
We found a booth that sold running t-shirts. I loved these shirts but didn’t think they were worth $26.99.
Front of the Shirt
We stopped at the GU station and taste tested many different kinds of protein bars. Most of them were ok but not great.
Last stop at the expo was the 21 and over wristband stop. This was by far the smartest thing we did. I will explain more about why this was so smart later in my race review.
Time to find Maggiano’s for dinner! We had a reservation for a later time and tried to get in early but there was a very long line of runners waiting for a table. So we stopped at Earls for ONE glass of wine before dinner. Once we got our table we all shared an artichoke appetizer. Each of us ordered the Tuscan Bean soup and we split the lasagna and spaghetti & meatballs. Once we were completely full we walked back to our hotel to get sleep before the big day!
All three of us set our alarms 5 minutes apart. We wanted to make sure we didn’t over sleep! At 5:18 one of the phones started ringing and woke us up. It was my friend’s sister wanting us to find her at the start. We got up at 6:00 got dressed ate a banana and nutella tortilla wrap with a cup of coffee.
Out the door we go! Our hotel was about 4 blocks from the beginning of the start. We dropped the “Gazelle” off at corral #3 her goal was to finish in 1:50:00. Myself and my German friend head to corral #11 stop at corral #7 to say hi to her sister on the way. We meet up with my mile high running buddy. We are standing around talking and people watching. My teeth are chattering at this point. Not because it’s cold mostly from nerves.
Finally the 7:15 shotgun goes off the race has started. Each corral is held for 30-60 seconds. We are taking pictures and listening to the announcers and music until our corral makes it to the start.
And we’re off! Running downtown Denver. We run about .25 of a mile and my mouth is already dry. I tell my friend’s jeeze we just started and my mouth is dry. My German friend said the same thing. Lucky for us I have some Quench gum. What a savior it was at this time.
The first mile is just running down 14th street passing lots of spectators, the convention center and the performing arts center. We had a great non-rabbit start. This will help us finish strong!
Mile #2 takes us around to the Pepsi center down to Coors Field. We’re all feeling good and holding our pace. At this point we passed 3 different bands. Seemed like all the bands on the course were playing the same song. “Sweet Home Alabama” Once we reached the 5K mark we all commented on how easy a 5K is now.
After the 5K we turned the corner and up hill we went down 17th street to the city park/zoo. There were spectators cheering us on. So many fun signs to be read. “Your feet hurt because you’re kicking so much butt.” The best one was “I don’t know you but I am proud of you!”
I did stop at each drink station to have either water or Gatorade. At mile #4 I had part of a shock block and did eat one every other mile. By the end I was sick of these sweet things wanted something salty. Could have just licked my arm but that would have been disgusting.
Miles 5-8 were running around the City park/zoo. These miles went by really fast. Maybe it’s because my mile high friend and I were in a deep conversation at this point. The relay hand off was just right before mile #8.
We now are running on 17th to Colorado Blvd we could see other runners facing us. At this point we are just waiting and waiting and waiting for the turn to hit the #9 mile marker. Once we hit #9 I get a huge amount of energy. Making friends on the run cheering others on. I hear someone say my name it just happened to be a girl who worked for me back in my restaurant days. She ran with a bit until her hamstring was too tight and needed to walk.
Mile 9 -10 took us up through a little neighborhood that was shaded up hill but very beautiful and relaxing. Someone on the course told us that the last 3 miles were down hill hahahaha not true. We did have a little down hill here and I was pacing my breathing and staying in my groove. My quads were beginning to feel really tight. I would try to kick my heels up to my butt to stretch them out.
Cheesman Park brought us from mile 11- 12. The very end of the park was all up hill. I wanted to walk so bad. I kept telling myself don’t walk just slow your pace. I managed to get to the top of the hill and see the #12 mile marker. Shewwww only one mile to go!
This mile seemed like FOREVER. I was listening for the music hoping once I could hear it that would mean I am close to the finish. Well, I made it to the music but it wasn’t even near the finish. Somewhat, motivating because I love the song that was playing. I really wish they had the last mile marked.
Woo Hoo! I crossed the finish line! OMG I really did it! What an emotion this accomplishment is!
WE DID IT!
Getting our wrist band at the expo allowed us to not wait in line to get into the beer garden for our FREE Michalob Ulta!
Will run for beer!
Swag = Little back pack, Shirt, Bib and Medal!
I am sure there is tons that I have forgotten will post more as I think of things. If you have any questions about the Rock n Roll Half Marathon make a comment!