Platte River Half Marathon – Run like the WIND

I had no goals for this one; DC showed me what the legs could do, but I was convinced that required a low-altitude and my running-in-DC high. My head told me it wouldn’t translate to Denver (yet), D told me otherwise.

Here’s what we knew about the Platte River course: flat, point-to-point, only 3,000 runners (compared to 17,000), one hill at the end.

Here’s how we prepared for another 13.1:

Pre-race pizza & beer: Check! Having fun with the Family here for the race: Check!
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Lauren woke up an hour ahead of the alarm with a lot of energy; I woke up pleasantly surprised by sunshine and ready to watch her cross another Finish line!

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The Crew: Mom, Sis, D, Dustin (sis’s boyfriend), Lauren and me!

Clearly we had a little pre-race photo shoot; arriving almost an hour early allows for a little extra fun. This is my favorite shot, “let’s do this!”:


 Miles 1-7
8:12, 8:03, 7:37, 7:40, 7:41, 7:38,7:39
We ran together for a mile – keep the effort easy, and let this set the tone. This would be the first of many flashbacks to the last race, comparing negative splits, effort, average pace, etc. I found the 7:40s quickly, and surprisingly found consistency (something that’s not usually my forte!). Those splits were comfortably hard, but I was curious – could I keep it?

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D’s words played in my head; he asked why I would go easy, why not push it a little and see what could happen? He always has his own goals for me that he hints at, more often than not it’s those words that push me to run a little harder.

At the “half-way” sign, my clock read “51:xx”. Yup, it was a possible-PR.

Miles 8-12
7:48 (Gatorade stop), 7:40, 7:59, 8:05
I was sweating in the long-sleeve, but wind gusts presented chills that made the decision to keep it on. I stopped for Gatorade as a precaution (sweat = electrolyte loss); to be honest, it was unnecessary. (Hydration is important! But listening to your body is, too. Don’t force it unless that’s what you’re used to.) It gave me a little stomach ache, and no energy boost. But better safe than sorry, I hoped.

It had been windy all morning, but it was definitely worse in the second half. We were running on the Platte River trail for 90% of the race, often sandwiched between the river and a road. The only safe spots were ducking under overpasses, few and far between. Between miles 10-11 it was so bad that my effort stayed the same but my pace slowed as if I were running uphill. I couldn’t even hear the music playing right into my ears. Crowd support was slim and my mind was checked out! The only motivating factor was “Run faster, Finish faster”.

I could see the PR slipping out of reach, but it’s worth it to try, anyway!

Miles 13-13.1
7:50, 7:02
Seeing the infamous hill was actually refreshing, we turned a corner away from the wind and this meant the Finish was definitely close.

After running on a mostly-flat trail, a 10% grade is a shock to the system. I powered up with a hard-effort, felt a little nauseous at the top but reminded myself we got to go back down soon.

Enjoy the decline, pick up the pace, turn another corner, SPRINT IT IN!

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Official Clock Time – 1:42:21
Age Group: 5/92

Not quite a PR, but a new test to what my legs & lungs can do whether at altitude or not. Lesson learned, and challenge accepted!

Lauren came in at 1:57, taking a minute off of her first race (PR) and I couldn’t have been more proud of her! We’re already on the search for race #3 🙂

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A HUGE Thanks and a lot of love to our personal-photographers, supporters & race-buddies. Dustin, D & Mom – it meant everything to have you guys there for us, thanks for joining the fiesta!



Filed under family, good days, learning, pictures, race report, weekends

22 responses to “Platte River Half Marathon – Run like the WIND

  1. Dustin

    yay Heather! I had a blast this weekend! It was so much fun to be in Denver again, and seeing the two of you race! And great pictures! 😀
    See you soon!


  2. Awesome showing by both sisters!!! Congrats on strong races all around. You were DARN close to a PR, especially given the altitude. No selling yourself short next time. 😉

  3. Lauren had a lot of energy? That’s crazy talk!

    Congrats to you both for running another awesome sister race.

  4. You know I loved reading every word of this! You really are speedy, Heather, and especially in the altitude with hills. Your overall fitness is definitely shining through in your races. 🙂 It motivates me to keep it up with CrossFit and yoga – I know the 2 will benefit my running and any future races. Congrats to you and the sis! I’m glad you each ran your own race, and you got to watch her cross the finish line…just like my big sis and me! xoxo

  5. Elizabeth

    Well done! I love those first couple photos of you two running together.

    Congrats on an altitude-PR, even if it’s not *technically* your fastest! 🙂

  6. Seriously impressed, as usual. You are a rockstar! I was reading this post thinking I could never ever be that fast! How long have you been running if I may ask? And have you always been fast or has that come with time?

    • Heather C

      I ran my first half 3 years ago (almost to the day!), and have done ~9 since then! Each has been very different, aside from the most recent. My times hovered betwen 1:45-1:55 and were not consistent performances at all 🙂 Some really good, some really bad.

      more recently, I’d attribute the progress to more focused training, more speedwork, and challenging myself in other areas like strength training & yoga. I never thought I’ see “7:xx” paces for an endurance race, but it definitely has the wheels turning…

  7. Awesome work, Heather! That course sounds great and the weather looks perfect. Love all the cute happy photos. Nice speed. I found myself doing the same thing with fueling yesterday (thinking I should have some even though my stomach didn’t really want it). Sometimes, I’m not sure which is better even when running super long distances.

  8. Lauren

    I had so much fun!! All my thoughts will be coming soon 😉 Love you!

  9. Way to go out there chica and congrats to the sister! I love all the race shots, especially the “Let’s Do This” one. You both are so itty-bitty!!!! Looking forward to seeing what’s next… I def smell a PR brewing!

  10. Abby

    Great race! Love the pics of the pre race shoot!

  11. AWESOME! sounds like a tough race, and your pacing was pretty sweet! congrats!

  12. Amazing time! Great job 🙂

  13. Mamacita

    It was a great weekend and I am so proud of my daughters! Love all the pics! Thanks for everything and already looking forward to the next Denver visit.
    Love, Mamacita

  14. Nice job to you and to your sis! 🙂 Keep up the great work!

  15. i’m in awe of runners 🙂 you guys are inspiring and like super heroes to people like me. i ran my first 5k last year and i hope to make that “my” race and run more this year, even though i’m nervous and want to bail on this goal. congrats to you on using this experience to challenge yourself and learn, too! and of course, sharing it with us. bravo.

  16. p.s. your giant white gloves and green shirt are super cute!

    • Heather C

      ha, those gloves didn’t stay on too long! We have a collection of them from different winter races in DC – they’re “throwaway gloves” – I tossed them at the water station around mile 6 🙂

  17. You and your sister are so cute! Congrats on a solid race…

  18. I thought for SURE you’d PR with that fab-o green shirt. 😀 On second thought, perhaps the green channeled the wind from here to head over to Colo. :/ My bad. I can’t imagine cruising that fast in wind. It’s like running uphill….forever…because you don’t really get a reprieve from it when it’s that strong. Blech. GREAT RACE!

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