Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, September 22
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #69
Colorado Half #14
Weather - Perfect

I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Denver full marathon in 2011. I fully intended to run it again this year, and that is what I was registered for. Thanks to the stupid knee injury, I simply was not trained to run a full marathon, nor was I sure that even if I *thought* I could run a full, that I could actually complete it. So, a few days prior to the race, my coach (and L) and I decided that I would just try to run a "strong" half.


Thankfully, I now work downtown, less than a half a mile from where packet pick up was. That meant that I did NOT have to battle the traffic or obscene parking fees to get my stuff. L came to visit me for lunch and we walked over. We say a quick hello to Lesley at the Sport Hooks booth and Cheryl at Razzy Roo. Without even realizing it, my whole hour lunch break was gone. I tell you, it is quite a different beast going to an expo in the middle of the day vs. last minute at night. It was not crowded at all.

Drama ensued later, when L forgot where she parked downtown and it took her over 4 hours to find her car. No kidding.

Race Day

We had the plan to be out the door by 5:30 in order to get parked and walk the one mile to the start line. We parked and got to the start with no problems. We had time to cycle through the bathroom lines twice. We had worn throwaway pants and tops, and we kept them until the last minute. The bike tour (yes, Denver had a bike tour that started 30 minutes prior to the running races) had started at 6:45, and it did not affect the run at all. The start was in Civic Center park:

We started in L's corral, which was 11. The goal was to just take it easy and see how things were going to go. I hadn't run further than 7 miles pain free in almost 2 months.

Mile one cruised by, and according to my mapmyrun app (I am so enraged with my Garmin that I haven't used it in ages), we were running about a 10:30 pace. Perfect. It was slightly chilly, but ideal running conditions. We saw Lesley in line at the bathrooms by the Pepsi Center, around mile 1.

Honestly, I was feeling really good for the first few miles, and I'll admit that I was still wondering... what if... what if I just ran the marathon anyway. The first 5 miles are running up and down the streets of downtown Denver. Then, around mile 5 we turn and enter City Center Park. I think I started to get tired and wasn't feeling that great by probably mile 7. My knee was starting to twinge a bit. Not HURTING, just a tad uncomfortable. We still took it easy, and as best I could tell, we were running a pretty consistent pace of 10:20-10:50 miles.

By mile 8 I knew that there was no way on earth I was going to be running the full marathon. I had still walked only the aid stations, and if I remained pain free, my main goal was to complete the half without walking anything but the aid stations. It was HARD, but I managed to do it.

Around mile 11, I heard my name, and turned just in time to see my friend Jennifer on the course:

The course split in Cheeseman Park just after mile 11. By then I felt perfectly ok with my decision to not run the full.

Around mile 13 just before the chute
Based on the splits I was hearing through my app, we had run all our splits under 11 minutes. Somewhere along the line though, our GPS must have gone all crazy because our official time was quite a bit slower than we expected. A teeny tiny bit disappointed, but I have to say, I am SO HAPPY I was able to run (very very slowly) without any pain.

Also, even though I absolutely loathe the Rock 'n' Roll series, I have done this event twice, and I will definitely be back next year. Both the full marathon and half marathon courses are fantastic. My only regret on not doing the full? No beer on the course :(

The splits did not register, and the course measured VERY long for me. For L, it measured a quarter of a mile longer than mine. Over 14 miles!

L and Me in front of the Civic Center

Post race, we got our free food and beverages. We were a few blocks away from the finish when I remembered that they were handing out the heavy metals AT the race. We had to wait a few minutes for them to be delivered, but it sure beats having to wait a few months for one to come in the mail. FYI, for 2012, I did 5 Rock 'n' Roll events (Arizona, New Orleans, Nashville, Seattle and Denver).

In other news:

  • Today would have been my friend Bob's 38th birthday. If you didn't already know, I am raising money for the AFSP to run the Tinker Bell half marathon. I am raising $500 and could use your help. You can donate here.
  • Razzy Roo (link at the top of my blog) - is having a sale. 20% off... EVERYTHING. Including clearance items! Use the code FALLSALE at checkout. Discount good through September 30.
  • Check back in the next day or so... big announcement coming! (Sorry, no spoilers).


  1. FOUR HOURS? I may have considered ditching the car for good. Holy jesus.

    I'm so happy you ran with only a twingy knee, not a painful knee!!!!!!

    Curse RnR, and their stupid cheap ribbon. And hose water. Also, curse CO and the lack of oxygen, I've heard good things about this course, and I'd totally do it if not for RnR and oxygen.

  2. Heather cracks me up. You are awesome!

  3. Fabulous! Pain and injury free runs are my wishes now too and let's keep our fingers crossed for both of us.

    BTW, how did L eventually find her car?

  4. I loved Providence R&R, it's the only one I've done. I'd do it again.

  5. i’m so glad you were able to the race without a ton of pain. poor L-i would’ve freaked the F out if i lost my car FOR 4 HOURS!! and the teaser about big news…hmmm...

  6. Congrats on a great half. I love that medal! I love that RnR is handing out heavy medals at the race - I am still waiting on my Grand Slam to arrive, and I have 2 more RnRs left for 2012.


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