Monday, June 6, 2011

So Much To Say! Three May Race Reports!

Today is June 6- FAR later than I had intended to write this post (or, what really should be three separate posts). Nonetheless, I'm here, I'm posting. All is well!

Back in this post, I mentioned that my friend J and I were training for the Colorado Half Marathon that took place on May 1st. We completed a training program that I derived from a few plans I'd completed before, maxing out with a long run of 12 miles. More important than our race preparation, however, was our race OUTFIT preparation! We decided early on that we wanted unique outfits for the race and, in the end, we probably had the most unique outfits out there!

We made these race shirts with our names on the front and "We Run This Town" on the back. I got really scared leading up to race day that it would be too cold to wear our short sleeve shirts but, in the end, we just layered a few long sleeve shirts under them. We got tons of compliments on our outfits before, and during the race!

The race started at 7:00 AM but we had to board a bus at 5:45 AM to get to the starting line. This race starts up in a canyon and heads down into our town and cars aren't allowed up the canyon on race day. Hence, the buses. However, our bus driver didn't seem to know where she was going so she drove us half way up the canyon, and then turned around and brought us back to town. As if we weren't all nervous enough!! We finally found the race director who gave her directions and we made it to the start.

It was so cold that morning, both J and I had our teeth chattering. I wasn't sure how I was going to hold up in the cold since I'd had some lingering issues with my legs. To make matters worse, my iPod that I'd charged all night, decided to the starting line. Luckily, I'd planned for this and brought my AWESOME first generation iPod shuffle with me. It's not trendy but it worked!

Finally, the race started. The course went gradually downhill for the first several miles. We did hit a significant uphill around mile 6 that was pretty rough. We'd trained on some hills but, clearly, not enough. Who knew? Around mile 8, my back and legs started to cramp up on me and we stopped and did some stretching. J got a bad cramp in her side, as well, so we took a few walking breaks between miles 10 and 13.

We rounded the last corner of the course and saw the finish line- thank God! We sprinted to the finish to find a big group of our friends waiting for us. My parents were also there with my hubby- it was the first time they'd seen me finish a half-marathon! After all was said and done, I did take over 4 minutes off of my previous PR! I was also so proud of J for training for, and finishing, her first half-marathon, ever!

Fast forward two weeks to May 15. I registered for the Kaiser Permanente Colfax Half-Marathon on a whim, even though it was only two weeks after the Colorado Half Marathon. Since this race was in Denver, I went down there on Friday and stayed with my friend, K for the weekend. She was such a great host, taking me to Target to get a long sleeve top (since, again, it was forecasted to be freezing cold!), and to Q'doba to get my requisite pre-race burrito.

On race morning, I woke up and K was already up. She said "I have good news! There's virtually no wind!" and I said, "What's the bad news?" and she said "It's 40 degrees!" K drove me to the starting line and it was a little rainy but the rain let up before the race started. I jumped in line for the port-a-potties and then it was time to line up in my starting area.

This course is an out and back course up Colfax Blvd. and back. It's a steady, gradual uphill climb for the first 6 miles, and then a steady, gradual downhill to the finish. I was very exciting as I was on pace to DESTROY my last PR by over 5 minutes hip flexors got in the way. I've never had this problem before but on both legs, my hip flexors tightened up and I had to keep pulling over to stretch them. Luckily this was around the 11 mile marker when this started so I only had to deal with it for a few miles.

I did manage to finish with another PR, taking 2 minutes off of my Colorado 1/2 Marathon time. I really enjoyed this course and would absolutely run this race again- even if it's only 40 degrees!

Finally, Hubby and I decided to run the Bolder Boulder 10K. It's the second largest 10K in the country and it is supposed to have tons of community support. The race takes place every year on Memorial Day, so we booked a hotel in Boulder for the night before. In the morning, we got up early and walked to the starting area.

This had to be one of the most well-organized races that I have ever participated in. I guess you have to be organized when 50,000 people participate in your event. We stood in line for five minutes to check a bag and then made our way to our starting area. In this race, there were waves that started from 6:00 AM until 9:30 AM- each about ten minutes apart. There were staff members throughout the starting areas, checking bibs to make sure people were in the right areas. I was amazed at the how well coordinated everything was!

At last, our wave was schedule to start and off we went. Hubby hadn't run as much as I have lately, so I decided to stick with his pace and just do this race for the mileage. Along the course, we encountered people throwing marshmallows to the runners, a trampoline acrobatic team, bands, people passing out popsicles, and more! Hubby decided to try out the slip and slide that someone set up in their front yard. All was well until he got the wind knocked out of him. He encouraged me to run ahead while he took a minute to catch his breath. When he caught up to me, he had a donut in one hand, and a beer in the other. I think he was feeling better!

We finished the race in Folsom Field at the University of Colorado. It was an amazing feeling running into a stadium full of cheering people. Once we got off of the course and made our way into the stands, a group of Marines ran in, in formation- the crowd went crazy and I almost started crying.

Overall, May was a fantastic month for racing but I'm hoping to take a breath in June. I'm still working on logging miles to reach my 1000 mile goal, but I'm running for fun- for me- not because a race is coming up. It's been nice just running with no goal in mind. I did sign up for the Rock 'n Roll Denver 1/2 Marathon in October and I signed hubby and I up for the Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon in December. I figure by October, I'll be ready to set a new PR- I have a very specific time in mind- if I make it, I'll tell you what it is! Until the next!

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