Sunday, April 1, 2012

Running Scared

Recently, I went to a national conference of a professional organization to which I belong. I generally really look forward to this conference because I usually get to catch up with folks from the Master's cohort and former coworkers. There are generally lots of socials and fun parties too, which is a huge bonus. Over the years, I've also picked up a tip here or a new idea there to take back to my home institution.

This year, I expected to come to the conference, see some old friends, attend some educational sessions, eat too much free food, and return home, tired, but energized. While these things happened as I expected, something completely unexpected happened too.

I grew.

No- seriously- this isn't some After School Special, all wrapped up in a nice package blog post about stretching and growing. This is more like a brain dump because today is the day that I figured out that this growth has begun to take place. So, buckle up because this roller coaster ride may get a little wild.

Some back-story for you: I'm painfully shy and introverted. I like to chill out by myself, or with one or two other people. I've never had a huge number of friends. Frankly, looking back on my life, I've generally had one or two close friends at any given time and, that's it. But, that's how I operate best. I like to really get to know one person and form a connection.

The other side of that coin is that I am really, really, really terrified at the prospect of the conference atmosphere. I don't do well when I'm in a group of strangers and the expectation is that I mingle. I'm the world's worst mingler. I can approach someone easily enough, but after the requisite "what's your name" and "where do you work" get exchanged, I freeze. Now what?! What in the world do I have to say to this person?! Nine times out of ten, my typical mingling experience ends in a freakishly long awkward silence and then the other person "sees" their coworker/partner/friend/supervisor/dentist/dog walker/whatever across the room, and they just must go say hello. AH! And so I've done it again- I'VE FAILED AT MINGLING.

On the plane trip from Denver to Louisville (the conference location), I decided that this year, I would have the conference of "Yes!". I would stretch myself and introduce myself to more people. I would have a few topics of conversation on reserve in case I ran out of things to say to new acquaintances. I would accept any invites to socials or receptions so I would have to practice and refine my mingling skills.

So, guess what happened. I didn't even get ONE CHANCE to lean into the discomfort of having to make small talk. I'm not sure how this all unfolded but I spent most of my time conversing with my roommate, a friend and colleague from my graduate program. She shared some struggles that she was working through and, with me as a sounding board, she developed some action steps. She even took a few of those steps while we were in Louisville.

And while she was working on her "stuff" I started to become aware of some "stuff" that was coming up for me. I realized that I was in dire need of having a long overdue conversation with a former colleague. And, since it's a well known fact in my (small) circle that I really value my time and abhor "chatting," this person would know when I presented the invite for coffee that something was up. Instead of letting that deter me (because it once might have), I went ahead and made the call. We would meet for coffee on the last day of the conference.

If you've ever read my blog and also talked to me in person, you probably are aware that I'm better in writing than I am in person. As such, I decided to write down everything I needed to say to my friend and took my notes with me to the coffee shop. After exchanging a few pleasantries (AH! So scary!), I got down to business and began having what turned out to be an amazing and much needed conversation. My soul somehow felt lighter but more whole at the same time. My relationship with this person is on the mend and on its way to greatness. Also, I spoke from my heart with confidence, calmness, and care. In sum, I took a big step towards becoming a better person and a better professional.

While my initial goal of expanding my professional network didn't get met, I did, for lack of a better term, deepen my network. I saw some surface friendships get transformed into real relationships. Some of my fractured relationships are on their way to repair and some of my true friends are now more like family.

This amazing feeling and energy has followed me home too, where I've opened myself up to forming deeper bonds with some of the women in my community. While I know myself well enough to understand that these relationships might take a long time to develop, I'm excited about the prospect of making authentic connections with some these amazing women.

I'm also still running- never fear. And, I'm growing. And, it's awkward. And I'm ok with that. I think...

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Couldn't Put It Into Words! 1K In 2k11

I just don't have the words to describe the feeling I felt when I passed 1000 miles last night at the end of the Fort Collins Resolution Run 5K. Therefore, I made a movie! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Occupy Las Vegas- The Vegas Half-Marathon Recap

I realize it's been almost a month since I ran (sort of) the Las Vegas Half-Marathon and I haven't finished my recap. The thing is- I WANT to have liked that race- I really do. I want to have like it so much that I would go back and do it again next year. BUT...I just don't think I did- like it, that is. I have come away from that race with a feeling of "Well, that's done," instead of, "WOW! That was a blast!" or even, "Ok, that was a relatively good time," or "That was better than a kick in the ass."

So, overall, the race that I was looking forward to THE MOST this year, was just...blah. Not that it wasn't eventful- it was definitely eventful. It just wasn't the thrill ride that I thought running on the strip at night would be.

When I left off, we were lined up in our corral, getting ready for the race to start. The corrals in front of us were released and we were finally OFF! Well, not really...there were SO MANY people walking in front of us, it was hard to even get started. This is kind of typical in every race so, I thought it would eventually subside. Umm..yeah, no.

Hubby and I couldn't get into a rhythm even after a mile or so- the strip was so packed with people. And while it was very cool to run down the strip at night and see all of the lights, it wasn't so cool when people abruptly stopped in front of us to take pictures of said lights. To make matters worse, they didn't pull over to the side to snap photos- they just stopped- in the middle of the street, creating a domino effect when unaware runners smashed into them.

Our Only Wedding Photo
Three miles into the race, hubby and I arrived at the Mirage Hotel and Casino where we were participating in the run through wedding ceremony. We entered a roped off area on the sidewalk and made our way near the front of the group. A few minutes later, a Nevada pastor officiated a three minute ceremony and just like that, our wedding vows were renewed! At the end of the ceremony, the volcano in front of the Mirage went off and we reentered the race as the crowd cheered.

Once we were back on the course, it was more of the same. There were lots of walkers and people stopping every few feet to take pictures. We had to do a lot of weaving in and out, slowing down, and speeding up. At one point, a woman completely cut off hubby and I, causing both of us to trip and almost hit the decks. Oh man.

We tried to make a pit stop at a port-a-potty at one point, only to find that there was ONE available at the designated area. You mean to tell me that you organize a race for over 40,000 people and you have ONE toilet available?? Yikes. We ended up going into a McDonald's with what seemed like half of the race participants. I had to laugh when I heard a man say to his running partner, "You talked me into running these 13 miles with you, the least you could do is let me get a cheeseburger quick!" His race partner just raised her eyebrows.

After the bathroom stop, hubby and I made it back out on the course. This is when I noticed the orange cones lined up. Apparently the race organizers cordoned off a section of the course for the full marathon participants. Not only did they use tiny orange cones to divide the course, race staff members on bicycles were riding that line, yelling, "Half marathoners to the right, full marathoners to the left." So, let me put this into perspective for you. If I wasn't slamming into walkers or photographers in front of me, I was tripping over tiny orange cones or trying to avoid getting hit by a staff member riding a bicycle. Oh, and forget going to the bathroom.

Also, forget drinking any water, unless you brought your own (which we did, thank God!). As we got further and further into the race, the water stations seemed to have fewer and fewer volunteers staffing them until, finally they were simply closed down. I remember running through what HAD BEEN a water stop around mile 9 and it was folding tables, collapsed down on the ground and hundreds of paper cups littering the street. No water, no Cytomax, no volunteers...nothing. Nice.

After getting past the bathroom debacle, hubby and I had a few Gu Chomps and walked a few steps, around mile 6. At this point, I was super annoyed at the race organization (or lack thereof) and, just to add insult to injury, my iPod died. UGH! Luckily, I had my trusty back-up iPod shuffle so it wasn't completely a lost cause.

Throughout the race, I tried to stay with hubby as I really wanted to finish with him. The trouble with that was, hubby's knee was really bothering him so he'd slow down to try and shake it out and I wouldn't know since I had on my headphones. At one point, I stopped on the side of the road to see if he was behind me. He wasn't. I waited for a bit and then ran on. I kept doing this- stopping, waiting, and then running, thinking that I would find him sooner or later, right?

Eventually, I sent him a text message and he replied. Turns out, he thought he saw me run into a Burger King (you know, because the port-a-potties were so abundant) so, he followed "me" in there. It wasn't me so, after going to the bathroom, hubby started sprinting up the strip and was at least a mile AHEAD of me. I texted him, asking him to wait for me and the I started sprinting.

I caught up with him, finally and we ran on together. I miscalculated where we were in the race and I told him we only had a mile left (my Garmin GPS was WAY off due to the weaving and trips to McDonald's). So, WE started sprinting...and sprinting....and sprinting. I kept yelling to hubby, "FIGHT! FIGHT FOR THIS!" and we just kept sprinting. We were at least two and a half miles from the end. Oops.

We finally saw the finish line and we crossed it without much fanfare. Our time was terrible, but we'd finished. We got our medals and then walked through the finishers area. Oh man, this is where all hell broke loose.

Generally, races feed you a few types of snacks at the end of a race. This race provided Go-Gurt and granola, bananas. BRIGHT GREEN. Yuck. Then, we walked towards the area to get our foil blankets (oh yeah, at this point, it started to RAIN!) and the volunteers were so overwhelmed. They were tearing the blankets off the rolls so fast, they were ripping them in half. Hubby was giving a tiny sheet of blanket that barely covered his shoulders. We couldn't protest though, because we were being shoved forward by the hoards of people trying to just get out of the finish area.

We made it to the inside of the Mandalay Bay hotel and, I'm not kidding, it looked like a Red Cross disaster area might look. Runners were laying on the floor of the casino, people were moaning and clutching their stomachs and some people were even throwing up. I have no idea what folks caught but according to some reports, thousands of racers were violently sick during and after the race. We tip toed around the mess and made it to the hotel shuttle. This area was even worse! Apparently, the runners were packed into the waiting area so tightly, that people were passing out and, due to the crowds, medics couldn't get to them.

Hubby and I decided to walk- painfully- back to our hotel. As we walked, we heard snip-its of stories about others' race experiences. People talked about runners being so violently ill that they had to be hospitalized. Some folks tripped over those cones and got hurt. Others finished the race and didn't even get a medal since they ran out! Oh boy.

Hubby and I finally got back to the MGM and we just wanted to eat. We got cleaned up and went to the Rainforest Cafe. Hubby got a burger and I got a huge Cobb Salad. Afterwards, we went to bed. As much as we wanted to celebrate our race and party all night, it just wasn't going to happen.

The next morning, we had breakfast with my parents and recapped the race for them. As we spoke, I began to realize what a calamity that race had been. Furthermore, we'd heard that they wanted to increase the race participation to 60,000 in 2012. Yikes- I hope they get everything straightened out before that happens!

So- that was that. I really, really, really wanted to love the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half-Marathon. Truly, I wanted this race to become my favorite. But, alas it was not to be. Oh well, #10 is in the books.
Our one and only post-race picture

On to the next one!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Happened in Vegas...

Anyone that knows me, knows that I absolutely ADORE visiting Las Vegas. I'm not even a huge gambler- I just really enjoy the food, the party atmosphere, and the "anything goes" vibe of the strip.  So, this summer when I saw that the Competitor Group was going to hold the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon at night on the strip, I jumped at the chance to register hubby and I. I figured this race would be a great final race of 2011 and would take a big chunk out of my remaining miles on my quest to 1000.

The race was scheduled for Sunday night so my parents and hubby flew to Vegas on Saturday morning. Hubby and I had also signed up to participate in the race's "Run Through Wedding Ceremony" and we had a mandatory meeting for that on Saturday afternoon. After landing and getting the the MGM Grand, our hotel, we booked it to the expo to pick up our packets so we could make our meeting on time.

Hubby with his race number
The expo should have tipped me off to how the rest of this race was going to go. With 44,000 runner's participating in the race and countless family members and friends in attendance, I figured the expo would be enormous. Nope- not so. The rows were quite narrow and people were should to should trying to get through. I generally try to stay calm in situations like this but I was getting so frustrated that after we grabbed our packets and shirts, we only stopped at 3 booths and then we left. What a headache.

After the expo, hubby and I attended our informational meeting about the Run Through Wedding Ceremony. There were 106 couples who were either getting married for the first time, or renewing their vows. We got all of our info for the ceremony and then made our way back up the strip. We grabbed a cupcake at the Cupcakery in the Monte Carlo- Hubby had strawberry shortcake and I had lemon. Hubby definitely made the better choice.

Watching the Broncos and Vikings
After an amazing dinner with my parents at Diego in the MGM Grand, Hubby and I gambled a bit and then went to bed. We had a big day ahead of us!

On Sunday, we decided to watch the NFL games in the Sports Book at the MGM. We grabbed some food at the buffet (OMG- bread pudding- so amazing!) and then tried to find a seat in the sports book. It was SO CROWDED that we ended up sitting on the floor after a security guard told us we could. About an hour later, a different security guard made us move so we went back out to the casino to finish watching the game. Luckily the Bronco game was on every tv in the casino and I went crazy when they pulled out another win! I even "Tebowed" in the casino.

So many people!
After the game, we headed back to our room to get ready. We got dressed in our gear and said goodbye to my parents. We had to head to the Mandalay Bay to meet up with the rest of the Run Through Wedding couples. We tried to ride the monorail from the Excalibur to the Mandalay Bay but the lines were terribly long. In the end, we decided just to walk.

Hubby's ready!
We finally found our group at the Mandalay Bay and took a couple group pictures (I didn't get one though :( ). A lot of the couples were dressed in wedding-esque running gear. There was lots and lots of tuile skirts and veils. I thought it was so adorable that some of these couples were getting legally married while running a race!

Our group got to start in one of the earliest corrals- Corral 14 and we were escorted there by one of the race officials. We had to stand in the corral for over an hour and while we were there, the sun went down and it got really, really cold. Luckily, we met some amazing people (two CSU grads and one woman who also works in Student Affairs!) that we chatted with to pass the time. We also got to watch some performances by the Jabawokeez and an 80's cover band on a big stage that was set up next to the starting line.

Finally, it was time to start the sure to come back to see how it all turned out in the end!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thousand Thanks

I haven't blogged since my last race because, frankly, there hasn't been much to talk about. I've been extremely busy at work- October and November are two of our craziest months. I have been trudging along, trying to finish my 1000 miles for the year, and I have been studying as I am taking a Chemistry course at the University where I work. So, nothing completely "blog worthy."

Today, however, is Thanksgiving. In the past (and still today!), I have looked forward to this day for the 1)food, 2)opportunity to see my family as we all live in various states, and 3) the Macy's parade. Typical, I guess.

This year, though, my attitude has shifted to one of pure thankfulness and gratitude. I am so humbled by the gifts I have been given and by the amazing people that have surrounded me, that I need to give thanks. And since this blog is my platform, I will do it here.

1) I am thankful for God and His son, Jesus Christ. I often don't publicly spout out about my faith (which, trust me, disappoints me) but I can feel a change occurring. I asked Jesus to come into my life on Easter Sunday, 2000. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Since then, there have been some pretty amazing times and some pretty dark times. It was easy to praise God on the good days and it was easy to turn my back on Him when things got rough. The great thing is that He can take it- He still loves me even if I haven't been very nice to Him. Jesus died on the cross for my sins (and for yours) and I can't think of a better reason to tell him, "thank you"- today and every day.

2) I am thankful for my husband. Jason is a gift from God (see point number 1). He, too, loves me even if I am not being very nice to him. His heart has so much love in it that I'm surprised it can hold it all. He's a miracle husband and I still can't believe he's mine!

3) I am thankful for my family. The Haptonstall clan is a tough, funny, loving, and loyal group. I have heard it said that you don't want to mess with one of us because if you do, you're going to face the wrath of all of us.

I am thankful for my dad who doesn't say much (yeah, I didn't inherit THAT), but when he does, you either marvel at his wisdom or are rolling in the floor, clutching your sides because you can't stop laughing. He missed his calling and either should have been a professor or a stand up comedian.

I am thankful for my mom, who is gorgeous inside and out. She's the hardest working person I have ever known. She also always challenges me to be better, even though she loves me exactly how I am. I know everyone says this, but my mom really is the best one out there.

I am thankful for my sisters and brother. While there is an age gap between the three of them and me, I have appreciated that. I have experienced being a kid while they were adults and have had three more protective grown-ups to guide me. Now, though, I appreciate being an adult WITH them. I love laughing with them and reflecting on stories from our past. It's funny to talk about something that I experienced as a kid and hear their perspective on it as adults. I appreciate having been able to watch them grow in their marriages- I have had the best teachers for how to have a successful, loving marriage. I also appreciate that they've given me space to grow into who I am. We live far apart and I am not the best at picking up the phone (I am SO awkward! Trust me, I am much cooler in writing). Honestly, I have needed my space to find out who I am. And guess what- I have found out that while I am uniquely me, I sure do have a lot of the three of them in me!

I am thankful for my in-laws who allowed me to take their son to the other side of the country. I am thankful that they let us grow into the couple that we are, all on our own. I am thankful that they embraced me as their daughter and pour out an endless supply of love to me- even though we are still far away from them.

I am thankful for my nieces and nephew. I have FIVE nieces and one nephew. I haven't seen the littlest girls, my gorgeous Nuss twins, since they turned one. I will see them this Christmas and can hardly wait to see the amazing people I am sure they are becoming.

I am thankful for my two younger nieces on the Haptonstall side. Although one of them isn't with us anymore, I am thankful that she reignited my love affair with God and reminded me to love those around me with everything I've got. I am thankful for my other youngest niece because she is fighting battles everyday, just because of who she is. She reminds me to stand up for the right thing and to always be 100% authentic.

I am thankful for my nephew because FINALLY, my dad will get the engineer that I wasn't cut out to be (just kidding- kind of). In all seriousness, I am thankful that he's embraced his intelligence and reminds me that being smart is cool.

I am thankful for my oldest niece- my first friend and sister. As kids, she taught me to be a little more patient. As adults she's teaching me to be refined by the fires in our lives. She has been to hell and back and has emerged as a woman who has grace, beauty, poise, strength, and a relentless will to survive. She's amazing- point blank.

4)I am thankful for my friends, both old and new. I am thankful for Facebook (yeah, I know- sorry) for allowing me to stay in contact with folks (remember my phone phobia??). I am thankful for the women of Delta Phi Delta, for Kelly and Mary, for 2nd floor Olin, for the cheerleaders, for Wes and my admissions folks, for my SDP family, for my USF peeps (VW, DG, DLM, Midhun, Liam, David, Shelby, Gus, Joel, Grace, Steph, BP, et al), for Brianne and Ben, for Jen, for Shalini, for Justin and Julie,Matt and Beth, Jackie and Ryan, and Jenny and Mike. I am thankful for the new crew of Denver friends that Kelly has introduced me to. As someone who struggled to make friends as a kid, I am blessed to have a long list of people that I have the honor of calling my friends.

5) Finally, I am thankful for my body. I haven't treated it very well in my 33 years and, yet, it's still going strong. I have been 12-120 pounds overweight on any given day. I've abused it with food and alcohol. I have had excruciating injuries to my feet. I have been beaten in the street by a robber and I have been hit by a vehicle. After all of that abuse, my body is strong, powerful, and essentially says to me, "what next? Let's do this." I thank God for my temporary abilities and this body because it is the only one I get and it's a pretty darn tough one.

Honestly, this is just a small dose of all of the things I am thankful for (because to be complete, the list would have to include the Denver Broncos, Sour Patch Kids, Diet Coke, and anything sparkly) but, to me, these are my most important blessings.

I wish all of you a day full of love, laughter, family, friends, and food. God Bless.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Battle Royale

After work today, I wanted nothing more than to sit on the couch and watch my DVRed episodes of Private Practice. I got home, took off my shoes, and the battle began. I tried to figure out how to spread the miles I had planned to run today (4-4.5) over the next three days. I got our my calculator and my training plan. Seriously, running was sounding about as appealing as getting a root canal without Novacaine. I was tired. I was really, really tired.

Then, I thought about how angry and disappointed with myself that I would be if I didn't run tonight. I thought about how irritated I would be tomorrow when I had to add 2 miles to my run and run 6 miles instead of 4. So, with that, I took a step and put on my running clothes. Then, I thought about how heartbroken I would be if I fell short of my 1,000 mile goal by 4 miles. And then, I put on my running shoes.

So, there I was, in running clothes and running shoes, still tired, still not loving the idea of going out in the wind to run. But, I made a deal with myself- I would run one mile and if I wasn't feeling it, I'd turn around and come home.

And you know what happened? I ran 4.3 miles. It wasn't pretty, it was difficult, and I couldn't wait for it to be over. But, I did it. So, the winner of this battle was me- I won.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Denver Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon Race Report

If you read my previous post, you know that I was in bad shape going into the Denver Rock 'n Roll 1/2 Marathon last Sunday. I was nervous, banged up, and unsure that I would even be able to race. Never a quitter, I sucked it up, took some Advil, and got ready to run.

This race had a really reasonable start time of 6:55 AM! I was so happy to not have to get up at 4:00 AM, which is what generally has to happen on race days <<sigh>>. My alarm went off at 5:00 AM and I got dressed.
I ate a quick breakfast of toast and Diet Coke (DON'T JUDGE- I always drink it before I race- some people do coffee, I do DC). I grabbed my gear bag and my sweet hubby drove me to the drop off area down in Denver.

This race started at Civic Center Park in downtown. It was so dark, and so cold, but the buildings were all lit up and there were tons of people milling around. I found the gear check area and, as usual, got in line for the port-a-potties.

Before I knew it, it was time to line up in my corral. I had to run to get there before the race started. Luckily, I was in group eleven, so I had to wait about fifteen minutes after the gun went off to even get up to the starting line. I stood in my corral, listening to my iPod, and prayed for the best. I figured I would either completely blow this race and finish with my worst time ever, or I would meet my goal. I was just going to go with it and see what happened.

So, off I went. I started the race and, as usual, the first mile or so was a mess. People were weaving in and out, trying to get past walkers and people running four or five across. I didn't feel the best as I completed the first two miles and even came to terms with possibly getting a DNF (Did Not Finish).

As I finished mile four, both of my lower legs cramped up very severely. Every step felt like a stabbing pain in my calves, Achilles, ankles and shins. I was in really bad shape.  I kept trudging along and then, in front of me, I saw a woman with "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" on the back of her t-shirt. I decided to say a little prayer and, no kidding, I started to feel better. My cramps started to go away and I felt like my old self again! Through the rest of the race, I repeated this in my head when things got tough and, as you'll see, I not only survived, but I thrived!

I continued running along and realized that, although I hadn't had the best start, I was on pace to meet my goal. Then, out of no where, I saw a pace group (an organized group with a pacer) who were trying to meet the same time goal that I had. Interestingly enough, they had started the race before I had SO, if I stuck with them, I'd be sure to meet, and maybe even break, my goal time.

I ran along with this group for a bit and, wouldn't you know it, my foot hit a hole, or a crack, or something in the pavement and I was launched forward. I was sure I was going to wipe out. Out of nowhere, another runner crossed in front of me at the perfect moment and, instead of falling on the ground, I bumped into him. He didn't fall, and neither did I! Honestly, the angels were looking out for me during this race.

After a few more miles, I got ahead of the pace group. I was feeling so strong and really fast. I followed my fuel and hydration plan to the "T". While this was quite a hilly course, I only walked through the water stops. As I approached mile 11, I decided to pull over and have a few Gu Chomps and stretch my legs. While I was stretching, I hit yet another roadblock. My iPod battery died! Thank God I'd planned ahead and I had my 1,000 year old iPod shuffle in my waist pack. I traded out my iPods and off I went.

During my last 1/2 marathon, I'd missed the sign for the 13 mile marker and was disappointed because I didn't get my usual kick at the end of the race. I just turned a corner and, bam!, there was the finish. For this race, hubby promised me that he'd be at the 13 mile marker so I was sure to see it. I turned a corner and sure enough, there he was. He yelled "you have a quarter of a mile left, you can do it!"I looked down at my watch and noticed that I was 7 minutes ahead of my goal time. I yelled back 'I'm killing it!".

I turned one more corner and there was the finish! Not only was it close, but the last stretch of the race was downhill. I kicked it into high gear and crossed the finish line six minutes ahead of my goal. Instantly, I started to cry, thanking God and my lucky stars for not only getting me through, but letting me triumph. I saw my parents standing on the sidelines and I ran over to them, crying. They thought I was hurt, until I was able to sputter that I'd finished six minutes ahead.

I made it through the chute, getting my medal, some water, some popcorn, and my foil blanket. I stumbled off of the course into a stretching area and couldn't stop talking. I babbled on to my family about getting hit by a car three days ago and smashing my goal. I was so excited and proud of myself.

After collecting my bag from the gear check, hubby helped me back to the car and we headed back to my parents' house. Once there, I celebrated with champagne and a delicious breakfast casserole that my mom made. For the rest of the day, we watched NFL (poor Broncos!) and relaxed on the couch.

Beyond the fact that I got a PR and smashed my goal time, this race may be my favorite race that I've run yet. The course takes you trough downtown Denver, past the Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Pepsi Center, and Coors Field. You also get to run through City Park and Civic Center Park. I absolutely plan to run this race again next year and I absolutely DO NOT plan to get hit by a car beforehand.