Monday, October 21, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Denver (Race Recap)

Denver, CO
Sunday, October 20
Half Marathon #95
Colorado Half #34
Weather - Chilly

I am not the biggest fan of the Rock 'n' Roll series, but I really enjoy Rock 'n' Roll Denver. I had already signed up for the Boulder 100K (even though I ended up running the 100M) but I REALLY wanted to run the event again, mainly because this year's medal was AWESOME.


L met me downtown again - mainly because the day of the expo was also HER BIRTHDAY, so I took her to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (best dairy trifecta EVER) and then we walked over to the expo. The expo wasn't busy and I was surprised that no one gave me a hard time for picking up A's packet for her. I walked out spending $22 on a clearance running skirt, a 100 sticker for my car and a tube of grape nuun. Hardest part was getting OUT of the expo and onto the correct street to get to my parking garage.

Race Day

Thanks to running this in previous years, I knew we wanted to be out the door by 5:30. My dad was planning on speed walking the mini marathon, and Hope was running the full. We all met up at my house and left just a few minutes late. I rode with my dad and A downtown. We took the Speer Blvd. exit (as we have done in previous years), only to discover that it was closed south bound, and was feeding us BACK onto the highway. Luckily, knew that we could take the Colfax exit and still get to the lot we park in on Auraria Campus.

It was about 5:55 by the time we parked. Annoyingly, the garage seemed inaccessible, so we had to park on a surface lot. Everyone had to pay for parking, but it was all done through one of those machines - time consuming. Not sure when we actually left to walk over, but it was probably after 6:10. I was glad to have worn pants and a throwaway. Chilly!!

The bike tour started at 6:45, but like last year, had zero effect on the running race, and I never saw a single bike. We got in the bathroom line at 6:45, managing to run into Jody and her husband. It took 15-20 minutes to cycle through the bathroom line and then we headed over to the start area. Hope left us to join her friends with the 5:00 pacer, and my dad was insistent on getting in his proper corral, 14. L took this picture of me and A before jumping in around corral 4 or 5.

The counting down for each corral had A very nervous. She kept asking why I was making her "miss her race." We finally jumped in around corral 9.

Like every other race we have done, she took off. I don't know how many races she will run before she figures out that starting a little slower might not make her so tired so early. I'm much more familiar with downtown now that I work down there, so I was pointing out all the landmarks to her on our run. We passed the Convention Center and the big blue bear, and then headed across Speer to run along the Pepsi Center, where she says - MOM, NO BATHROOM, KEEP GOING. Settle down, I did NOT need to go anyway. She took a few walk breaks here and there and seemed revived when we got to the first aid station at mile 1.8.

Coors Field
I had NOT paid much attention to the course. For some reason, I thought the mini marathon was either 3.3 or 3.4 miles (I would later discover it was actually 3.7 miles). A was a little whiny, "when am I going to be done?" 

She was really pumped when we saw the mile 3 marker and she thought she was almost done. When we turned the corner and saw the chute for the mini marathon, she TOOK OFF. I yelled - "GO!!!!!!!!!!!!" after her and she bolted for the finish, passing a few. (She would then wait at the finish for about 10 minutes for my dad).

And then... I was alone. I had brought my iPod, remembering how much I had enjoyed listening to it during the day miles of my 100. I turned up the volume and ran...

The only major hill of the course was right after I had left A, and I passed dozens of people as I had a decent amount of energy after all my walk breaks with A.

For the most part, this felt GREAT. I was stunned at how great I felt. I had assumed it was going to be the second longest walk of my life and I was going to be miserable. I wasn't.

The miles ticked by and I was pleased to see my splits hovering around 10:00. I haven't run that fast in ages. The thought entered my mind that MAYBE I could run a sub 2:30, which I haven't done since April. I cautioned myself to slow down a bit and I just took everything in. I was enjoying the race, the course, everything. I took my gel around mile 7 (had brought 2, but the one I grabbed was NOT my salted caramel, wah) and kept pushing. Miles 5-10 were pretty great. I had pulled out my phone and was trying to get some pictures of the changing leaves, but I couldn't get the screen to work. I would eventually have to do a hard shut down for it to work - I took a few walk breaks around mile 11 to get this taken care of. Cheeseman Park was extra pretty:

Running through the park got chilly. The wind had picked up and I put my arm sleeves back on. Then, I glanced at my watch, and when I hit the mile 12 marker, I was around 2:10. What.

My legs were definitely getting tired, but I pushed that last mile, especially when I thought that I might have a sub 2:20 in me.

I turned the corner, saw the chutes and raaaaaaaaaaaan (seriously, my arms always look so stiff and weird):

Crossed the line, and NOT QUITE a sub 2:20:


But you know what? I don't care!! My fastest race in well over a year, and ONLY A WEEK after running 100 miles. I'm still smiling about it! I had a great time running with A (who I think ran a very respectable 41:30ish - the mini marathon was not chip timed). I had some really decent splits, and you know what? I really enjoyed this entire race. It's about time.

Bib #12348
Official Time - 2:20:08
Official Pace - 10:42 :) :) :)
Overall Place - 4722/8244
Gender Place - 2703/5455
Division Place - 499/969
Garmin Time - 2:20:08
Garmin Distance - 13.23 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:36
Mile 1 - 10:39
Mile 2 - 11:30
Mile 3 - 12:16
Mile 4 - 10:34
Mile 5 - 11:08
Mile 6 - 9:43
Mile 7 - 10:01
Mile 8 - 10:20
Mile 9 - 9:53
Mile 10 - 11:01
Mile 11 - 10:49
Mile 12 - 10:27
Mile 13 - 9:47
Mile 13.23 - 8:38
(THREE mile splits UNDER 10. Yay!!)

Me and L
AWESOME medal this year! (But el cheapo ribbon)
A with her awesome bling!
  • I will run this race again, and I sure hope that A decides to run the mini marathon again. So proud of her!
  • I really really like this course. I like that it does NOT end with an uphill finish. 
  • The shirt is nice this year, gender specific Brooks tee, dark blue (I'm lame, I should have a picture) - I will likely wear it again, although I have a TON of race shirts.
  • It was a lot colder than in previous years. I was comfortable while I was running, but the second I stopped it got REALLY cold. I was glad I was a bit "over prepared."
  • I haven't worn capris under a skirt in a while. I had my phone in the skirt pocket for easier access and by mile 10 or 11, it was really pulling my skirt down. A little annoying.
  • The later aid stations were a bit short on water and Gatorade, but there were zillions of volunteers and I didn't really have to wait for anything, I just sometimes had to run by empty tables. No biggie.
  • Bands were meh - of course I had headphones in for most of it, but the bands I heard when running with A weren't all that great.
  • Post race food was disappointing. Tiny bagels and Powerbars. Womp. Although, they did have Jamba Juice, which was great, except that it was too cold :(


  1. The skirt is adorable. Congrats on the race!

  2. Congrats on the time, especially after running 100 MILES!!

    I kept hearing about this race all over facebook and instagram and was wishing I had signed up! I think I'll plan to do it next year!

  3. Sounds like you had fun. That is amazing that you did it so soon after that 100 miler. I enjoy reading your race recaps so keep them coming. :)

  4. I haven't even finished reading, and I have to start typing this comment because I'll forget all I have to say!

    That skirt is super cute, I'm envious of your deal hunting skills!

    Also, HOW do you teach a kid to run? My son is the same way, though a bit younger, he wants to run SO FAST and then he falls apart and is SO TIRED. Halp! Congrats to A on a great race, she is absolutely the cutest!

    Denver is SO pretty in the fall! I want to come run this with you, look at all those pretty trees! I appreciate the effort you had to go through to take those pictures.

    And hooray for having such a great race experience!!!!!

  5. previous post: you deserved to eat everything! I would've been ravenous.
    this post: i was so jealous when I saw that medal! Looks like you are back!! so glad A had a good time too, I love her race pics. At some point you need to tell me which CO race to do (since you've done them all). this one?? congrats again!


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