2007 Denver MarathonOfficial Chip Time: 3:32:55

Conditions were wet, cold and rainy...which beats hot and miserable like the week before for the Chicago Marathon..

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I never get a good night of sleep before races, but Saturday night before the marathon, I slept like a log...dead to the world. The whole family woke up around 4am and it was raining, and cold outside. The previous night I had decided to run in my Practical Coaching uniform, but that morning I changed my mind. Actually, I wore the uniform, but I also wore a Patagonia base layer long sleeve top, arm warmers, gloves, warm hat and tights.

Chris arrived and we were off. The plan was for the boys to ride along the course, cheering for me at intervals of their choosing, and Troy was to pull Annie in the Chariot. Thank goodness the Chariot is water proof b/c it was really raining! We arrived too early as usual, got a great parking spot and waited. I did a light warm up and thought to myself how crazy it was that I was warming up for a 26.2 mile race. After a warm up and some stretching I lined up in the starting area next to the 8 min/mile pace guy. Steve found me and gave me some hot balm for my legs...sooo helpful!

Before I knew it the gun was off. The first 4 miles were through downtown Denver, and were very congested with people starting out too fast. There was a lot of elbowing and jostling around the pace guy so I sped up to about 2 minutes in front of him by mile 2 and then maintained 8 min pace. There were lots of puddles and my feet were already soaked. I saw Steve and Troy and Chris at mile 4.5 and threw my very wet gloves and sunglasses at them. We then headed out to City Park where I knew Michelle and Ron would be if they could brave the cold and rain. I saw them around mile 8 and had a nice little conversation with them as I ran past. I was then off to Clement park where I saw Troy again, and almost missed my friend Gaye who was there with a sign and everything! She thought I missed her, but ooh no, I saw her! After Clement park Steve and Andrea caught up to me on their bikes and Steve gave me some kind words. I was at mile 11 and he told me this was where the race started, and that I looked really strong. I felt strong, and I knew that I had run a patient race up to this point. I was still about 2 minutes in front of 8 min pace guy, and I was holding 8 minute pace really well.

We then went down a slight hill as we headed to Cherry Creek North and the 1/2 marathoners split off. Most all of the people around me were now gone! I didn’t really realize that there were that many 1/2 marathon finishers. We had this crazy out and back section in Cherry Creek North that was pretty boring. It was becoming tougher to keep on my 8 minute pace, but I was doing it. Things like elbows and knees were starting to feel creaky due to the cold and rain, and the liquid in the aid stations kept feeling colder. After the out and back section I saw Troy and Chris again, very good cheering on their part, and I was off to Washington Park. This is where things really started to hurt. At about mile 18 I just got sooooo cold. I started to slow after that, and at mile 20 the 8 min pace guy passed me. I was still so cold and the aid station water was so cold that every time I drank it I got the chills. At mile 20.5 I saw Troy and Chris again and I wanted to tell them I was cold, but there were cheering so loud I couldn’t get a word in edgewise...I did manage to give them the “Help me” look, but there was nothing they could do. They themselves were freezing at that point.

That’s when my thoughts turned to my coach. I kept hoping I would see Steve and Andrea, and at mile 22 my thoughts became reality. Andrea pulled up next to me running. I told her “Annie, I’m just so cold” and I started crying. Being the stellar coach that she is she immediately diagnosed my emotional state, gave me a great pep-talk, all the while handing me hand warmers...the type you use skiing. She did all this running next to me, and in the span of about 2 minutes. By the time she left I was a whole new woman, I was warm and back on pace.

At mile 24 I saw someone that looked familiar go by. I thought it was Amy (see my Rattlesnake Tri Post) and so I picked up the pace (b/c she literally FLEW by me...and nobody really flies at mile 24 of a marathon). I pulled up next to her and looked at her and she said “Oooh my god, your doing this too?” Catching up to her took all I had, so I dropped back from her, and she said “Let’s go”, and I said “No thanks”. I just needed to run my race, and she needed to run hers. But it was a great pick-me-up to see her out there. Before I knew it I was coming through the final stretch and my first Marathon was over.

The minute I stopped I was in pain, and the minute that the official put the medal around my neck I was in tears. Troy and Chris and Steve and Andrea were there and lots of hugs went around. I have never felt so proud of myself, it felt like an amazing accomplishment. I was instantly stiff and could barely walk. Troy and Chris got around the barricades to help me and within 10 minutes my tears of joy morphed into tears of pain. My legs and body just hurt so badly and I was really cold. The changing tent looked miles away but we eventually got there, although Troy and Chris basically carried me. It took me 25 minutes to change my clothes, I could barely move and everything hurt, and didn’t really work. I thought Troy was going to have to come in after me! They should totally make “family” changing tents.

After the changing tent I learned that our car battery had died so the boys wanted me to get to a Starbucks and warm up. I was shivering very badly, still very cold even though I was now in dry clothes, and I was getting pretty hypothermic. The Starbucks at 16th street felt a very long ways away but I made it there and they pumped me full of Hot Apple Cider. In the middle of our stay at Starbucks Annie pulled over...and broke...an entire shelf of porcelain Starbucks mugs. That was delightful...I just sat there, could even move to help clean up or anything.

Eventually I warmed up at bit, AAA came and jumped the car and we headed home. I wore my medal all day. I laid on the couch re-hashing the day with Troy and Chris. What a success, but boy was it cold!

My official Chip Time was: 3:32:55 (8:07 pace). This qualifies me for the Boston Marathon. I was the 31st overall woman out of 683 I was the 11th woman in the 25-29 age group, out of 155

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