Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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

Sunday, October 16
Denver, CO
Half marathon #156
Weather - Sunny and warm
Every year I say I'm not going to run the Rock 'n' Roll Denver again, and then they do a super cheap registration. For the 2016 race, I registered on October 20, 2015 (two days after the race) for $50 plus a $7.99 processing fee. Have I mentioned how much I hate processing fees?

Expo

The expo was held again at the National Western Complex. Parking is $5, which is super annoying. The venue is not the best for an expo. A and I went to the expo on Friday afternoon, however, and it wasn't too busy. And it was WAY better than last year. We spent over an hour walking around and talking to people. We both got fun Halloween Injinji socks, and NOTHING else.

Race Day

In 2015 I had parked at the garage I use for work because it's freeeee. However, I remember having issues getting in and out with road closures. A few days before I looked at the road closure map and decided I didn't want to screw around with it. Instead, I planned on meeting up with Heather at her dad's office and walking over. We made plans to meet at 6:00, and I left the house a few minutes late at 5:37 (yes, I looked), and still go there a few minutes before 6. Waaaay easier than anything I've done in years past.

It took us just a few minutes to walk over to the start area, and since Heather planned on checking a bag, I kept my hoodie on. We ran into tons of friends and teammates before the start. Took lots of pictures and used the bathrooms a few times.
No filter. This was the coolest sunrise ever.
Heather was supposed to be in corral 2, and I was in 7. By the time we tried to feed in I think we ended up in corral 8, which was fine by me. I love how every year I estimate a stupid fast time that places me in a corral I have no right to be in.
Trying to get a picture of the giant full moon
At the start line
I warned Heather that I was going to go out slow and try to not burn out like I did the year before. The tall buildings were messing with my GPS a bit, it was hard to tell what pace we were running. My legs felt very fatigued from all the barre classes I have been taking (6 days in a row before the race), but thankfully, no tight calves.

The course was completely different (yet again). We ran up 14th to start, and then we weaved through random roads downtown. Did not love this section. We looped over by the Pepsi Center around mile 2 (which in the past was about a mile in) and hit the first aid station about mile 2.5. We ran by Coors Field and up the big overpass early (I swear that in the past this has been much later in the race). The Runners Roost aid station was at mile 4, and as always, was a great boost to see so many familiar faces helping out.

I was feeling ok until we headed down Lincoln. That's when the leg fatigue really set in and I started taking walk breaks. The 10k headed towards the finish while we turned up 17th, and I walked up the entire hill, much to Heather's dismay. This section of the course is one of my favorites because as we head out to City Park all the fast runners are coming towards us. We managed to see quite a few Roosters, including Eric, on our way to the park. Runners Edge had the aid station within the park, and again, it was awesome seeing friends helping out. Pete gave me a high five and then we headed out for the rest of the loop in the park.
Still fall colors in City Park!  By far the prettiest section of the course.
David was sitting on top of his van using his bullhorn to cheer people on, which was fun. The out and back on 17th was a little brutal, although I managed to make it until the loop by East High School before I pretty much fell apart. I had to take way more walk breaks than I would have liked. Heather is a trooper and still stuck with me. (It will be interesting to see how I can run on rested legs after my barre challenge is done).

We turned south on Sherman and ran by the Capitol, where a man was yelling "look at the twins! the twins!" Except for Heather being about 6 inches taller than me, I suppose so. I had NO kick left, but managed to run through the chute without walking. The course measured incredibly long (much like last year).

There was NOTHING in the finish area except for water, chocolate milk, cups of fruit and Cheez-Its. Womp.

We met Eric just outside the finish area, and I checked my phone to see that I needed to start heading towards Thornton to pick A up from her slumber party. We wandered around the finish area before getting a small team picture, and then we walked back to the car.
Tony, me, Heather, Eric, Andy
All things considered, especially since I spent most of the summer injured, the race turned out OK. I did, however, barely beat last year's time.

Official Time - 2:23:11
Official Pace - 10:56
Official 5K - 33:066
Official 10K - 1:07:06
Official 10M - 1:48:52
Overall Place - 3868/6661
Gender Place - 1991/4113
Division Place - 355/705
Garmin Time - 2:23:33
Garmin Distance - 13.70 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:28
Mile 1 - 9:53
Mile 2 - 9:28
Mile 3 - 10:03
Mile 4 - 10:10
Mile 5 - 10:27
Mile 6 - 10:42
Mile 7 - 9:59
Mile 8 - 10:41
Mile 9 - 10:43
Mile 10 - 11:21
Mile 11 - 10:33
Mile 12 - 11:44
Mile 13 - 10:32
Mile 13.7 - 10:18

Thoughts
  • The race is fine. The course is pretty good, although I think this was my least favorite of all the years I have run. The early miles had us running on roads that had sections barricaded off from construction and running over light rail and train tracks. Not to mention all the potholes. I guess that is just road running though.
  • There were plenty of aid stations and they were spaced pretty well. It was really warm, but I did not need to carry my own hydration and I was fine with that. In the past, there has ALWAYS been GU on course at RnR races. I did NOT see any this year. Somewhere around mile 7 they were handing out SOMETHING, but I did not recognize whatever it was. Two aid stations did not have Gatorade, but again, for me, that was fine.
  • Last year I remember the course being a bit crowded in the beginning, I didn't find it that bad this year. I did, however, hear that registration numbers were really low this year (like 4,000 less than the year before).
  • The shirt is red this year, which is nice. I assume it is Brooks since that has always been the partner vendor/brand, but honestly, it is still in my expo bag.
  • The medal is probably my least favorite out of all of the years I have run. At the very least, the neck of the guitar should be longer.
  • Getting in/out of the race (parking wise), was easier this year than any year I have run. I assume it is still a nightmare if you don't have an "in" somewhere.
  • Will I run again? I'm saying NO right now, but you know me... I'm fond of changing my mind.

3 comments:

  1. I was there too! It was a gorgeous day. I missed going around Sloan's Lake like we did in 2014 (and maybe 2015? I didn't race that year) but I liked the City Park section and I liked running around the state capitol at the very end. Yes, the shirt is Brooks, and yes, I was also somewhat underwhelmed by the medal.

    ReplyDelete
  2. RnR switched to Glukos, which is terrible. It has way less sodium and fewer calories than a Gu and I totally hit the wall when I used it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice pictures. Looks like they discontinued the marathon, which I suspect would hurt the numbers. They have gotten a lot of complaints in years past about the Denver course, so my guess is that word has gotten around.

    Glad you got a discount price. Despite the processing fee, you got in cheap. I think the RnR people are feeling a little bit of backlash from runners who are upset with the high price tags and runners not getting a spectacular race in return.

    ReplyDelete

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