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!
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!
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!”:
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?
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.
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!
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!
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 🙂
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!