Saturday morning, we woke up to rain and cold. I normally would’ve been excited, since weather like that is not that common in Denver, but with the race on Sunday, I was a little nervous. Those would be miserable conditions for a race – 35 degrees and rainy. Yuck. We had also planned to drive up to the Winter Park / Fraser area to do some scouting for elk hunting next weekend. One of the main roads that they have used in years past was washed out by abnormally large runoff and hasn’t been rebuilt so Travis wanted to familiarize himself with some other roads.
But first things first – while Travis had the Forge at church Saturday morning, I had coffee with my friend, Cathy. Then Travis and I headed downtown for the race expo and packet pickup. Since this is by far the biggest race I’ve ever done, I really enjoyed the expo. Usually, the expos at the races I do consist of a handful of booths of stuff that I’m not really that interested in. But this expo was different. There had to have been 40-50 booths and almost everyone was giving away free stuff. (Score!) Travis looked at new running shoes and got a 15% coupon for Boulder Running Company – which I can use for buying new shoes too! I bought a new stick of BodyGlide (mine was almost gone). After an hour, we decided to head home.
We ate lunch and loaded up the pooches. As we were leaving Denver, we weren’t sure whether going up into the mountains was a good idea or a bad idea.
This was just the foothills. We decided to play it by ear. If we hit a bunch of traffic or the roads got really bad, we’d turn around and head home. Luckily, the roads were actually almost void of traffic (this is the lull time between tourist season and ski season) and the road conditions weren’t bad – I did tell Travis several times to slow down but that’s pretty much the norm when we’re driving in the mountains. We drove over Berthoud Pass into Winter Park, then turned off after Fraser onto the back country roads. There was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground so while everything was very pretty, the roads were very slick (mud + snow = slippery!).
The aspens stood out against the snow-covered evergreens – very pretty.
As we were driving along, Travis noticed tracks in the snow on the road. He thought they were elk tracks but then we saw this:
That was the first moose I’d ever seen so I was pretty pumped!
We drove a little while more until we found a potential camping spot for elk hunting and then we let the pooches out to run around. This was potentially Charlie’s first time ever seeing snow so we were curious to find out if she’d like it.
I didn’t get many pictures of the dogs – they run so fast that it’s near impossible to catch them in action. But this is a still from one of the videos. It looks like Charlie was whirling up a snowstorm but it was actually Travis kicking snow on her.
She did really like the snow, though. Here are a few more stills of her and Katy running around (they’re not the greatest quality but it gives you an idea).
Katy loves snow too – they’ll be great Minnesotan dogs one day.
Travis was craving a burger and fries so we stopped in Silverthorne to get Wendy’s. I tried their new Caramel Apple Parfait and while it was good (when is ice cream bad?), I think it would be better with yogurt.
We got home around 5:30 and I tried to be productive but I spent about 45 minutes looking for a specific devotional in My Utmost for His Highest until my brain hurt and all I wanted to do was lay down. I wanted to just go to bed but we had to figure out directions and logistics for the next morning, as well as get our race stuff together. Once that was done around 9:45, we went to bed.
My alarm went off at 5:00 am and I pushed my snooze button twice without realizing it. Good thing it’s only 3 minutes long! By the third time my alarm went off, I woke up enough to wonder what I was supposed to be getting up for. Work? Church? What? Oh, the race.
My hair was pretty greasy from not washing it for 3 days so I took a shower. Since it was so cold outside, I figured I’d probably not do my normal thing of putting my hair up half wet so I dried it completely. I wore my 2XU compression pants with shorts over them (just cuz), a long sleeve tech shirt, and a fleece vest. I also wore an ear warmer and stretchy gloves during the race, but ended up taking them off about 3/4 of the way through. After peanut-butter-ing mini bagels for us to eat in the car and doctoring my coffee, we grabbed our stuff and left right on time at 5:45.
It only took us 15 minutes to get downtown, but another 10 to figure out how to get into the darned parking lot the race organizers had told us to park in. That was the only part of the race that was frustrating – they had pretty much every street surrounding the parking lot closed off. Makes it a little hard to get in and out.
Finally, we parked and Travis left to find the shuttle to the start line. He later told me that he waited 20 minutes by himself in the dark for the shuttle and was about ready to run back to the car and have me drive him to the start when the shuttle finally showed up. He got down to the start line with the perfect amount of time to go to the bathroom, check his bag, warmup and jump over the barricade into his corral – he only waited 3 minutes before the race started!
Meanwhile, I was sitting in the warm car checking Facebook and reading my Google Reader feeds on my phone. I got done with that around 7:00, which was when the race started. I was pretty close to the relay transition point so I didn’t need to leave until 7:15 or so to give myself plenty of time before Travis would arrive around 8:04. So to pass the time, I pinned my number on my vest.
I watched a bunch of cars get towed around.
Which made me nervous about getting towed. So I made a sign to put on our windshield.
I took some random pictures of my chip timer…
…and my bored face.
Finally, it was time! I got out of the car and it was COLD! My phone said 35 degrees. Brrrr!! I walked the 5 minutes to the relay transition area and stood around for about 15 minutes before doing a short warmup. Then I stretched, the race organizers explained what would happen, and we stood around some more. Finally, the wheelchair athletes started coming. Then the elite, crazy fast runners. Then the really fast runners. And then the fast runners, which was where Travis came. He was the 15th or so relay person to come in.
I saw him coming around the traffic circle and moved to the front of the crowd, to take some pictures of him coming in. I reached for the car key that I was supposed to hand him too but it wasn’t in my pocket! Oh no! As I heard my bib number called, I had to run back into the crowd to find the key. Luckily, I found it pretty easily and still had time to take a few pics of Travis coming in for the hand off.
He finished his leg in 1:04:36, at a pace of 8:16/mile. He said that the first mile was really crowded and they almost stopped completely after the first 500 yards or so, so we think that he was right on pace for the majority of his run, but that the first mile threw it off.
I handed him the camera and car key, grabbed the drumstick (our relay baton), and off I went. Since I was going to be entering the massive pack of runners way faster than me, I tried to be mindful and run on the very outside of the road, so that people didn’t have to swerve around me. Some still did but oh well. I was glad to be carrying something that showed I was a relay runner. Sorry to be so slow and running with the fast people!
But it was a LOT of fun to run with the fast people. I was in the thick of it – there were tons of runners around. Which probably was mostly to do with the 17,000 runners doing the race. If I had been back with the 11:30 minute/mile people, there probably would’ve been plenty there too. But running with the fast people also inspired me to run fast. My legs felt fantastic. The minute I started running, I felt great.
I pushed it. For the entire race, I toed the line between running my fastest and overdoing it. I started running at mile 7.8 and tried to calculate my pace at mile 9 but came up with an 11:30/mile. Crap! If I was having such a hard time maintaining that slow of a pace, this race was going to suck. I saw mile marker 10. I decided that if my pace really was 11:30, then there was no reason to really push myself like I was. But to my joy, I discovered that I had just done a 10:00 mile. Woohoo!
That gave me the motivation I needed to keep pushing.
Mile 11 – 9:45. Holy crap, I can’t believe it!
Mile 12 – 9:55. I’m actually running sub-10 minute miles!! But holy crap, this is hard. It’s so tempting to slow down.
Mile 13 – 10:00. Only a mile left – don’t throw away this pace now! Think of how proud you’ll be. Think of how proud Travis will be. Keep pushing!
I picked up the pace for the last .1 when I heard Travis yell “Go Kath!” from the sidelines. I can honestly say that I ran my heart out in this race – so much so, that I almost felt like puking when I was done. That’s when you know you pushed it.
I finished 5.3 miles in 52:57. That is a 9:59 pace.
I am still on a high from that race! What an amazing feeling to dig down deep and perform in a way that I didn’t expect. I was aiming for at least an 11:00 pace, wondering if that was even a stretch. And I blew that away!
Final time: 1:58:58
Average pace: 9:05
25/86 co-ed relay teams
I’d like to think that if this had actually been a 10K, I’d have a new PR (the only 10K I’ve run, I did in 62:36). And perhaps, I would. But I’m not sure I could have maintained that pace for even another 9/10 of a mile. I was completely beat. Regardless, this proves to me that I still have some speed in me.
After the race, I found Travis and while he went to get some food (they didn’t have any in the relay transition area), I stretched. We walked around the expo a little, rode the shuttle back to our car and headed home.
About the race itself, I was thoroughly impressed. The Rock ‘n’ Roll peeps have their crap together. I give this event an A++. The registration was easy, the pre-race information was thorough (they thought of everything!), there were tons of volunteers and portapoos (and spectators!) everywhere, the race t-shirt and medal are awesome, and the post-race food was plentiful. They had anything and everything you could want to eat after a race. They also had a family meetup area, a stretching tent and space blankets. I would definitely recommend this race. It is worth every penny.
Anyway, when we got home, we showered, ate a snack, and got back in the car to head to a friend’s birthday party, where Travis played flag football. Football isn’t my thing so I just hung out with pooches and talked to the other people who weren’t playing.
Then we went to their house, where we ate a ton of food, drank margaritas and beer, and watched football. I talked to a lady who had ran the full marathon that morning – it was her 13th full marathon and she had done two half Ironmans this summer. Impressive.
We left the party around 3 and like usual, even though my plan was to plop on the couch the minute I walked in the door, I couldn’t resist being productive. So I did the dishes, did laundry, went to Target and the post office, got gas, and then rested. We watched the movie Bridesmaids, which we had heard was hilarious. Um… no? We actually thought it was depressing and pretty much sucked. I mean, there were a few funny parts. But overall, meh.
Today is a rest day but tomorrow, I start my base building training schedule. I will be taking several rest days during elk hunting – my MIL, Beth, and I will probably hike some but no running (because there will be no showers!). But then, it’s back to it!