Rock n' Roll Denver Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, October 19
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #118
Colorado Half #54
Weather - PERFECT


Expo

I happily work downtown very close to the expo. The Rock n' Roll Denver race has fallen on L's birthday weekend the last few years, so I took an extremely extended lunch so I could take L to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (for the dairy trifecta) and then get to the expo when it opened at 1:00.

I think this was one of the smallest RnR expos I have attended. There were not that many vendors there, and it was really disappointing how bad the Brooks/RnR section was. I had been hoping to get L a new hoodie and the selection was crap. No bueno (although it did save me some money).

L was trying to figure out where to get her special "5 year runner" stuff (I missed the first year because the half sold out by the time I decided to run, so this was only my 4th year. Sad I'm not a legacy runner), so I headed to the INKnBURN booth, where I still managed to find two shirts I didn't already own, and picked up my custom, limited edition Denver drop bag. Really no other vendors of interest, but we did stop by and visit Cheryl from Razzy Roo. After buying from her since 2010, she finally told me that I was her VERY FIRST online customer :) We picked up a lot of cute hair ties and I got a new Denver Bronco colored Chevron print band.

In and out in less than 40 minutes. The race shirt this year is pretty adorable, although white tech shirts are no good because they are SO SHEER.


Race Day

Thanks to my blog, I knew we needed to leave the house by 5:30 to get parked and walk the 1.5 or so miles to the start. My dad was doing the 10K and the kids had spent the night at their house, so we picked up my dad and drove down to the lot on Auraria campus, where we have parked in previous years. The start for the 10K was in the opposite direction of our start, so we parted ways with my dad so he could walk up to his starting area.

I was hoping to have a nice, fast race. The course was different this year, and MUCH hillier. In lieu of breakfast, I drank a beer on the walk over to Civic Center park. Don't judge. We cycled through the bathroom lines a few times and headed over to the corrals at 7:18 (the race was supposed to have started at 7:15, but it started late).


L was technically in corral 7, I was in 8. Not sure where we fed in, but I lost her immediately. Only the first mile or so was the same as previous years. We ran towards the Pepsi Center, then up Speer, which I (stupidly) thought was really the only hill:


I was feeling pretty good, but wondering where the aid stations were as I really wanted a water/walk break. We ran over by Sports Authority Field (another hill), and I managed to catch my favorite Team Beef guys:


We then headed down 17th around Sloan Lake. The road was TORN up from construction. Thanks Rock n' Roll for routing us down there. Awesome. The Roost aid station was around mile 4.5 on the south side of the lake, and I saw Carol, Dan, and some other friends from run club. The walk break there helped, and I felt REALLY good running around the lake.

View of downtown from the west side of Sloan Lake
I managed to finally pass Ruth (she had been in my line of sight for about 2 miles) when we got to the aid station at the 10K marker. MORE HILLS.

I think mile 7 was pretty good, and sort of downhill. Still feeling pretty good. Somewhere around mile 8 is when we finally crossed back over into the Denver downtown area. Mile 9 I was cruising, and then hit the (horrible and understaffed) aid station at mile 10, just before a big overpass. I had not taken any unplanned walk breaks and managed to run up the hill, but my legs went numb, and around mile 10.5 I had to walk for about a tenth of a mile to loosen everything up. I felt much better after that and was pretty psyched we had less than 3 miles to go.


Ran through the same ugly warehouse area that we had run during Hot Chocolate, and then we turned down Lincoln (instead of Broadway) for essentially the same chute finish. The split for the marathon was literally at the intersection where my building for work stands, and I was HAPPY to be finishing.


Official Time - 2:12:54 (fastest half in 11 months!)
Official Pace - 10:08
Official 5K - 31:31
Official 10K - 1:03:54
Official 10M - 1:41:17
Overall Place - 3879/8113
Gender Place - 2018/5260
Division Place - 395/950
Garmin Time - 2:12:56
Garmin Distance - 13.19 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:05
Mile 1 - 9:55
Mile 2 - 9:59
Mile 3 - 10:27
Mile 4 - 10:33
Mile 5 - 10:48
Mile 6 - 9:51
Mile 7 - 10:17
Mile 8 - 9:29
Mile 9 - 9:16
Mile 10 - 10:10
Mile 11 - 10:50
Mile 12 - 10:12
Mile 13 - 9:24
Mile 13.1ish - 9:00

Thanks to runner tracking, L knew when I finished and I met her and my dad without any trouble. We got our finisher pictures in front of the Civic Center building. COOL clouds in the picture with the three of us - this is NOT photo shopped!



Thoughts:
  • This was probably the best weather we have ever had for this race. I think it was the only time I wasn't concerned about getting hypothermia walking to the car afterwards.
  • L is a legacy runner, so I of course will run this race again. Not super crazy about the course change, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined it would be. I think I could run it a bit smarter next year.
  • There was NO GU on the course. I made sure to check every aid station because they were supposed to have Salted Watermelon. NONE. Glad I brought my own.
  • The one aid station around mile 10 was horrible. There were only 3 or 4 volunteers, they didn't have most of the cups filled. L said she was handed an empty cup. Wheee!!
  • There were MAYBE 5 bands on the course. Maybe. And at least 2 of them were actually just speakers playing music, not anything original. Maybe RnR needs to consider changing its name...
  • Really like the shirt, really REALLY like the medal (which doubles as a bottle opener).
  • Other than that, unless you register early, this race probably isn't worth the hassle. There are a TON of people, you have to pay to park on race day, most of the parking is well over a mile away.

Comments

  1. Glad you had a good race. I like the shirt too, but my biggest gripe about white shirts is they eventually show stains and never look "new" or "fresh" Nice medal.

    I am not sure what to make of RnR Events. They should have this stuff down to a science. I am doing Vegas this year and I still haven't forgotten the problems from 2011.

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  2. I ran this race last year, and I really liked it. I'm sorry that it was hillier, that's no good!

    I agree with you about white shirts - yes, they usually have a cute design, but I sweat so much that the thing will be trashed the first time I wear it to run. I usually add the white shirts to the pajama/expo walk around pile.

    Cute medal too!

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  3. The RNR St. Louis expo was a bit disappointing too. I figured all the "fun stuff" was with you guys in Denver. Womp.
    And, that cloud pic with the 3 of you looks like those fake clouds at the shopping center in Vegas.

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  4. Nice job and great finish time, especially on a hilly course! You give me hope that I'll get back in that range someday. Great photos too.

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  5. Your splits were so fast! You were cruising! Funny how as a runner your perspective on potholes changes from "they're such a nuisance" to "holy crap, I almost died back there!" Lol, i've never looked at potholes the same after my first road race in san francisco. The road reflectors on the Golden Gate bridge almost took out my ankle!

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  6. interesting...wondering if RNR is losing their hype and interest? And wonder why they changed the course? Congrats to you and L on another one and happy belated to her, too! LOVE the shirt and medal.

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