Monday, July 15, 2013

Sand Creek Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Denver, CO
Saturday, July 13
Half Marathon #89
Colorado Half #29
Weather - Warm, Overcast

If you read my recap of the Sand Creek half marathon from last year, you are probably wondering why on earth I signed up for it again. Well, they ran a lot of specials for this race, and L talked me into registering when it was about $35.

I was DREADING this race. If you've been following my races, I have not been enjoying myself, and the only thing that makes running even LESS fun is running alone on a terrible course in the blazing hot. We had been checking the forecast, hoping for a miracle that it would NOT be sunny and in the 90's. All week long, temperatures were already in the 70's by 7:00 am, so we weren't too optimistic.

L had to head to the race straight from work, so I was on my own to get to the start. Reading my recap from last year, I remembered that there wasn't a ton of parking, so even though I wasn't expecting a super crowded event, I didn't want to have to park too far away. I left the house at 5:40, getting there just after 6 to find the lot was already full, however, there was some street parking really close.

Pickup was a breeze, all I had to do was grab the shirt, timing chip and bib. Well I was getting everything ready at the car, L texted to let me know that she was there. The first time we went through the bathroom lines we used the port-o-potties in the parking lot. There were only 3 of them and the line was not moving very fast. After we dropped off L's stuff in my car, we still had almost 20 minutes so we waited in the line for the "real" bathroom. We finished just as the gun was going off, so I started in the very back.

I remember the beginning of the course being a slight uphill and very crowded. I usually need a reminder to start out super slow so that my legs don't cramp up, so that was fine with me. I could only remember where the first few aid stations were, and my goal (as usual) was to try to not walk anything but the aid stations.

I felt pretty decent, and got to the first aid station just before mile 2 without walking. I had taped my IT band, but the tape was already sweating off, so I ripped it off there so it wouldn't annoy me for the rest of the race. It was getting pretty warm already and I kept looking at the sky, hoping the cloud cover would stay.

Between miles 2-3
Made it to the second aid station at mile 3.25 without walking. HURRAY!! I saw L just after the turnaround, which meant she was already pretty far ahead of me. The course was already marked WAY better than last year, so I was happy to see that they had listened and put out really good markers. Thanks!

Around mile 5
Made it through the next couple aid stations without walking, I was feeling decent and it still wasn't super hot. When we headed out around the halfway point, it seemed like the course was different, like we were going backwards from the year before. I had been expecting to head into the shaded area, where the aid station was last year, yet we went to the left instead. Had I looked at the course information, I would have known that we would only be doing one loop around the lake this year and that it would be the opposite direction. I was getting tired and hot and my legs felt heavy. I took my first unplanned walk break of the day, but was pleased I had made it to about mile 7.5 before doing so. Then of course, I saw that the aid station was right at the other side of the lake. Womp. I walked a bit through the aid station, then we ran up on the plateau.

Between miles 7-8
We headed into what was my favorite section of the course last year, the only shaded section of the course!

The only shaded section of the course - around mile 8.5
Photo courtesy of Jason K. Powers Photography
 We left the "lake/tree" area and then headed back out along the street, where I assumed we would be doing another loop. The course changed to have an aid station just past mile 9 (?) and then an out and back section on the sidewalk instead of going back in the reserve. I got to the turnaround point and had been chasing this group of women for miles... someone they had been running with earlier was coming up the hill right as we were coming up on the aid station again. Instead of continuing on, she turned around and ran with them.


I caught up to her and said "You know the turnaround is about a half mile the other way." She smirked and said "oh, really" and just kept running with her friends. Now I know it doesn't "really matter" but I got to the aid station and mentioned to the volunteer that she had cut the course and his comment was "she is only hurting herself." Nice. I made sure to note her bib number.

The rest of the course was heading back through the area we had already run. It was starting to heat up a bit, but it was still gloriously overcast. I made it to just past mile 11 before I took another walk break. My legs were definitely getting tired and I was ready to be done. I took another (lame) walk break less than a half mile before the finish... I did pass a few people in the chute and I was really happy to be done.

Crossed the line and the first thing I did was tell the woman doing the timing about the girl (bib #9515) that cut the course. She said she would let the RD know. If nothing else, she should be disqualified. Apparently, they do not care about cheating as she is still listed in the official results.

I didn't see the medals and had to ask at the finish line where they were. Smallest medal I have ever gotten EVER.

About the size of a quarter! lol
Official Time - 2:35:38
Overall Place - 381/453
Gender Place - 218/276
Division Place - 80/102
MMR Time - 2:35:38
MMR Distance - 13.35 miles
MMR Pace - 11:39
Mile 1 - 11:05
Mile 2 - 11:09
Mile 3 - 11:07
Mile 4 - 11:30
Mile 5 - 10:57
Mile 6 - 11:23
Mile 7 - 11:25
Mile 8 - 12:51
Mile 9 - 11:09
Mile 10 - 12:34
Mile 11 - 11:42
Mile 12 - 12:26
Mile 13 - 11:27
Mile 13.35  - 11:47

There was nothing of interest at the finish area, so we found someone to get our picture (sorry, L, I didn't realize your eyes were closed until after I already cropped/posted).

  • So happy I went into this race with ZERO expectations. The second half didn't go as well as I hoped, but overall it was a fairly solid race for me. 
  • The signage was INFINITELY better than last year. Every turn was well-marked and in many cases, there were even signs letting us know which way we would be going ahead. Thumbs up on the change!
  • The course change was pretty good too. It was WAY less confusing.
  • The shirt is still a cheap unisex shirt. I will not wear it again. 57% of the half marathon finishers were female, which I think justifies gender specific shirts.
  • Teeny tiny medal...
  • TOO LATE OF A START. 7:00 is way too late. This race should start no later than 6:00. Also, the 10k should not start at the same time, it was way too crowded in the beginning miles. They should start 15-30 minutes later to ease congestion on the course.
  • Not enough bathrooms at the start - should have had at least another 2-3 port-o-potties. There were almost 500 half marathoners, plus there were a ton of 10k and 5k participants as well.
  • It really is a shame that this event is in the sweltering month of July... if they were able to run it in the fall I think it would be a much better event.


  1. I do not understand races that are held in the summer and avoid all the shade. I hate being in the sun and you're right that 7:00 is much to late to start a race in July.

    I also absolutely do not understand why someone would cut the course short! I can't even begin to wrap my brain around that. I did a race last Dec that was really painful, and there was a section that zig-zagged through a park, where it would have been easy to cut out a half mile or so. Even though I felt like my legs were going to break in half, no way would I cut through! It's just not done!

  2. LOL. I love that you included her bib number. Cheaters are dumb. Why would you even do that?

  3. Holy cow - blatantly cheating?!?! Sure I've joked about it if I'm sucking - but would I ever really do it or consider it? No way! That's just so annoying! I'm glad you got her number and told someone. Go you!!

  4. They need a mat at the turn around.

    I hate people who cheat. Even worse, bloggers who cheat. But, I've already told you that story.

  5. karma is a *itch. it will come back and bite the cheater in the butt. glad you called her out :)

  6. I love reading your race reports. Do you and L ever run an entire race together?

    If I sign up for a half marathon then by golly I want to run the entire 13.1 miles. I want to get my money's worth!! Cheating just doesn't make sense at all to me.

  7. I don't understand why people would cheat.

    That being said, I did a half marathon earlier this year and I was so sick that I decided to cut the race short and do the 10k instead. I crossed the 10k finish line, not the half marathon line, but ended up getting a 1:45 half marathon finish time.

    :: shrugs :: I couldn't run a 1:45 in my dreams.

  8. I should probably keep my thoughts to myself about how I feel about people who cheat in a race. There's a special place for them...

    Sounds like a tough race and that sucks that the medal was so tiny.


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