The Rock 'n' Roll Denver Half Marathon was on Sunday, October 17th at 6:55am. After sharing a protein and salt filled breakfast with my cousin Brianne (made by my lovely mom) we headed over to meet Megan for the big race. I was a little excited and pretty nervous so I don't think I gave myself enough time to digest breakfast; luckily that didn't come back to haunt me as badly as it could have. Let me back up a little and talk about training...
I knew training for a Half Marathon (which is 13.1 miles) would be daunting. I had read a few websites, blogs and magazine articles about training for the race but decided to take a pretty relaxed approach. You all know I have a Nike+ sensor (click here to see my runs) and love it; so I just clicked on the "NWM Half Marathon" training coach through the Nike+ website and it gave me a schedule to follow. I didn't follow it. No lie.
I did start training in July. I actually started training while I was in Iowa > Worst. Idea. Ever. It was so humid that I felt like I was swimming in a bathtub filled of muck. I'll run in high-altitude over humidity any day. So, I continued training for 12 weeks. Some weeks I ran 7 miles and other weeks I ran 17 miles. My furthest run before race-day was 10 miles. Quite an accomplishment if you ask me, but I didn't know if I was ready or not. I took the optimistic approach and talked myself into being ready.
|Vinny loves running|
- Yes, my appetite increased. I was hungry most of the time and craved salt like no one's business (pickles in particular) - I could have done better with nutrition during training and am actually in the middle of setting a plan for myself for the rest of the year to avoid post-training weight gain.
- I did experience a little pain - my collar bones felt like they were pulling my shoulders forward, mostly after long runs but also while going about my day - I think this is from having really tight shoulders. Massage is really important if you're feeling tight, ignoring aches and pains will lead to injury. I wish I could afford to get massage more often (and I even work for a massage company!).
- After about mile 4 or 5 Vincent gets tired and thirsty, so I had to start leaving him at home and that made me sad so, of course, I had to make up for it by taking him on more walks.
- I love having a running buddy. The important thing about running buddies though, is they have to run around the same pace as you - lucky for me, I have one of those - Megan. I did find that if she couldn't make a running date, I'd skip it too.
- After about mile 7 my right knee and IT band show some pain - love the foam roller for this (check out this video to see how).
- I must have water if I'm running 5+ miles. I bought the Spring Palm Holder at Dick's. I had to get it online because they only had the larger versions in the store. Like carrying anything while running, it's annoying and I only take it on longer runs.
- I only got around to trying one sports snack - I used Clif's Shot Bloks and I think Cran Razz is the best flavor. In my opinion these really helped. I had 3 Bloks every 5 miles (long runs only) while training and only ate 3 during the race - at mile 9.
- Talking about the training is as important to me as training itself. It's good to talk to seasoned runners as well as non-runners because it keeps the idea of running (and the guilt of not running or maintaining your training schedule) top-of-mind.
- Running has become an addiction. If I feel anxious or fatigued I immediately say "I need to go for a run!"
- I set pretty realistic goals for myself for this race. First, I just wanted to be able to finish. Then, after my 10 mile run I set a new goal - to finish in 2 hours and 40 minutes (12 min. 21 second miles).
|View of the Colorado State Capital Building from the finish line (I think)|
Training under way, goals set -- now off to the race!
Rock 'n' Roll does a great job. This was the first year for Rock 'n' Roll in Denver, so I expect next year will be a little different and even better (you will see my note about the music below). The Expo on Friday night was really cool - lots of freebees and neat stuff to learn about.
Megan and I got into the same corral (pen for livestock, or... ummm, start area) and stuck together through mile 9. Brianne was quite a ways behind us because her corral crossed the start-line several minutes later. At mile 9 I absolutely had to hit the porta-potty and ended up waiting in line for 4.5 minutes! That was a little discouraging because I lost Megan. I knew that I'd see my boss, coworker Todd and Katy at about mile 10.5 and they were there, sign and all (how sweet, thanks guys!) - I will tell you, seeing people you know (or anyone) cheering for you is the ultimate motivator! I wasn't expecting the excitement it gave me and I am so grateful everyone was there.
I walked a little between mile 10.75 and 11.5 (at Cheeseman Park) but don't feel bad about it at all. Walking helped me be able to have a strong finish.
FINISH TIME: 02:37:34 or
02:33:24 if you exclude the wait at the potty
I waited in the "family wait area" for my mom, Lee, Mike, Aunt Debbi and Brianne for a good 40 minutes and that is when I felt the worst. I thought I was going to die. All I wanted to do was get to the couch ASAP but I knew that walking around was the best thing for me at the time anyway. I was sore for a good day - my right knee and IT band were aching and I was very tired. I felt pretty good Monday (I was very happy I ended up taking Monday off work) and by Tuesday I was back to normal.
|This is me after the race, when I thought I was going to die!|
|Brianne (when she thought she was going to die) and me again.|
|A better shot of Brianne and me.|
|My bestest fans - Mike, my mom and Lee (mom's fiance)|
For those of you who are interested in training for a Half, here is another training tool a few people had recommended to me: Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training for Intermediate Runners. I think I will follow this 'to the T' next time, to help increase my pace and so I feel a little more "normal" after the race.
"Dear Lord, I pray that there is someone behind me to read this" was definitely the best t-shirt and "F X X K CANCER" was the best marker-tattoo I saw at the race!
Happy Running Everyone - Remember, personal fitness and nutrition are two of the very few things controllable in your life.