I decided this year to compete in the Denver 1/2 marathon a little differently. I wanted to add some Eco-Friendly flavor. Plus, Ironman training dictates lots of base mileage, so any extras are an added bonus. Yesterday, Troy walked Annie and I down to the lightrail station and then took off to study. From there, Annie and I hit up the lightrail to downtown (using free ride passes I got from answering some lightrail survey questions), and then hopped the 16th street mall shuttle to the convention center. It took about 1.5 hours, be we arrived safe, sound, and happy at packet pickup. I got the MOST RAD number ever: #6900. Can we say Ooh-La-La! At packet pickup I met fellow blogger and skinny mommy extroidinare Laurie (in the bathroom of all places). We realized we had met on a Mountain Mama hike, she was uber-supportive over the last week so it was the highlight of the day to meet her! Annie and I then grabbed some lunch and walked back to the light-rail station, this time skipping the mall shuttle and opting for a leisurely stroll. Troy met us at the station, having covered like 40 someodd flash-cards in our absence and walked us back home. I felt really good about using public transportation to attend packet pickup. We had the time, it was pretty convenient and fit better with our physically active lifestyle, and Troy got in some valuable study time! Win Win Win.
This morning I was up and out at door at 5am. I had lights affixed to my bike via duct tape (red blinky in back, white in front). I met Michelle (PIC) at a local parking lot and she was READY to go. We biked our way, in the total dark, all the way to downtown. It got a little colder towards downtown when we were by the Cherry Creek Stream but we reminded ourselves that we would soon be warm enough. I learned that riding in the dark is not scary, it's actually very peaceful. It's also extremely fun when done with friends. My pre-race nerves were ZERO, I was actually more concerned about biking in the dark. We rolled into the race site at about 6:20, called Troy and met up with him and Michelle (Pueblo sistah, not PIC). Troy had picked up Michelle from a friends house and this was to be her FIRST half marathon! Eek. PIC and I stashed our bikes in the car, changed out of biking clothes and threw on our running diggs, and tried hopelessly to warm up a little. The portapottie line was insanely long so we ended up "improvising". Court house tree.
We really had no time to diddle daddle. I hopped the fence and got in the back of the 7 min mile group. 2 minutes later the gun went off. My instructions were to take it out at 7:45 for a first mile, then start descending from there. It is soooo insanely hard to take it out that slow. For one thing you don't really know your pace, I don't run with a Garmin. And secondly you feel fantastic. Ooh, and it's a downhill mile. So, for me it was 7:14. Doh, so I thought "okay, maybe I can just run the next few mello". But the terrain changes quite a bit over the next four miles. I came in at 7:00, 7:06, 7:08 and 7:03.
Then something happened. I just felt really good, like suddenly. I was naturally picking it up and I figured since I had allready run 5 miles I wasn't going to kill myslelf by going with it. That yielded 6:46, 6:55, 6:51, and 7:06. One thing that always gets me about the Denver Marathon (or 1/2) is that my first race was in City Park. The marathon course runs down the same portion of pavement as my first 5K finish. I always get a little teary there. I think back to what it felt like to finish my first race, I was so proud. I think about the fact that the journey started right there. As I run that stretch of pavement I give a mental thanks to all of those who have been with me along the way.
Then, the uphill starts. Ooh, I distain this uphill mile. It's on the way to Cheesman park and it's just no fun. 7:25.
But then you run around the park, and it's pretty, and there are lots of people cheering, so my next two miles combined were 14:09. I guess I was having so much fun I forgot to look for the mile marker.
Ahh, the last mile. You know you can let it all out here. Troy was there, on a nice quiet corner, screaming "Go, Gorgous, Go". I love that man. On the final leg down broadway Anthony cam barreling by me. Anthony should be a good 10 minutes ahead of me, so I was really, really, really confused. He waved his hand for me to go with him, and I did, no really, I did, for about 12 seconds. He was running so fast, I wanted to hang, but I couldn't. Turns out he got stuck in the portapottie line and started 10 minutes after the gun went off. Ha!
Final stretch and I tried to pull the form together and give it all I had. I saw Chlesea and Michelle (Anthony's wife) cheering and then just like that, it was all done. Anthony was right there and we walked through the shoot and food goodies together. My last 1.1 was 7:29, so I was barreling pretty hard home. My watch had my overall time at 1:32:16, so a PR by about 38 seconds.
The post race festivities were great. We met up with lots of people we knew. I even ran into my old coworker Jon who I miss dearly (it was his first 1/2, way to go Jon!!). After things died down and I had said my goodbyes and good jobs to Michelle (Pueblo) the team headed out to breakfast and I had the best bleu cheese burger. Mmmm. Then I hopped on my bike and rode home. The ride home was fantastic. It's one of the more gorgous days Denver has ever had and I took my time and tried to keep my heart rate down. I had a couple people challenge me on the bike path and the last guy I just had to go with. I grabbed his wheel and stuck like glue. Then we hit the final stoplight before home and I yelled thanks and bye to my new "bike-path-racer-friend". I pulled into home happy and not too tired, nothing a good shower wouldn't fix. Troy only beat me home by 10 minutes.
Troy was such a rock star today. Even though he's all "jacked up on flashcards" he drove to the race, picking up Michelle along the way, cheered at 4 locations along the course, took care of Annie the whole time, helped load bikes and gear into the car like 3 times, drove PIC back to her car after breakfast, and put Annie down for a nap before I got home. I sure appreciate him, and if you get a change please drop him an email sometime before the 30th and wish him good luck on his exam.
So, walk, lightrail, tram, walk, lightrail, walk, bike, run 13.1 miles, bike makes for an Epic Eco-Friendly Adventure. Official" 1:32:14, 20th female overall, 9th in F25-29.