Last Sunday my PRP (perfect running partner) and I ran the Colfax Urban 10 Miler. All my previous race experience has been either at huge races (i.e. the Bolder Boulder) or tiny ones, and I have to say that this race was just the right size for me. The race dropped us in at mile 16 of the marathon, so we had our own (very low-key) start but finished at the full finish line, which was a blast.
I was more nervous than I expected and was grateful for the notes I had made after my 9-mile training run. Notes like: “don’t wear the gray shirt!” and “body glide and sunblock”. The night before the race I laid everything out, pinned my bibs on, and drank a lot of water. We tried to see Pitch Perfect 2, but it was sold out at two theaters and we ended up at The Market. The guy in front of me bought the last piece of the Spring Fling cake, and I thought it was going to be strike three for me… but of course they had another cake in the cooler and all was well. Other than the cake, I didn’t eat any differently than I normally do. I parked our car by the finish line Saturday night and went to bed at the regular time.
Breakfast: a sausage and fried egg sandwich on a bagel. Lots of water. Tea. After I ate it I realized that my notes did not include the sausage. (Did this portend mid-race diarrhea?) From my porch, I watched the runners on the early part of the course, which calmed my nerves. My friend’s family picked me up and dropped us at the start, where I was frozen with more decision fatigue: what to do with my long-sleeved shirt? The sun had come out for the first time in days, and while I was still cold, I know I’d be too hot running.
The first part of the course wound through the Rocky Mountain School of Design. The sculptures by the road were a good distraction from my early race jitters. I find it so hard to hold down my pace when I’m nervous. Plus, we ended up starting earlier than they had told us, which was great weather-wise but put us with runners with a faster pace than ours. But the second to fourth miles of the course were downhill (240 ft over 3 miles) so the faster pace wasn’t the end of the world. At the end of the downhill, we came into Mile High Stadium and ran along the path next to the field. Super fun. At that point, I couldn’t see my PRP, but we had agreed just to go for it if we felt good, so I did. We ran past Elitches, where empty rides ran full-tilt beside us.
The aid stations were every two miles, which I practiced during training. At mile six, I consumed half a pack of Honey Stingers (the gel ones). During my first Bolder Boulder (10K), I made so many mistakes: too much water too early, a new skirt, early pit stop and then I couldn’t get my skirt on right again… But this time, all my practice paid off, and I was able just to run. No pit stops, no near-drowning myself with early water, no wardrobe malfunctions.
Miles 8-10 were hard. I followed a man wearing my old hat (he was my hat twin). One of the roads was bad, and I had to focus on where I put my feet to keep from twisting my ankle. The only part of my training that didn’t work was my mental prep for the last mile (plus) of the course. When I did my nine mile run, I knew exactly where I was in relation to home. To stopping. During the race, I wasn’t sure exactly where the finish was within the park, and my GPS hit ten more than half a mile before the finish line. Several runners around me asked the crowd, “Where the #$%^ is the finish?” The 26-mile marker seemed a long, long way from the line.
I finished in 1:56:55. (My goal was 2 hours.) I didn’t win any prizes or set any records except for mental ones. When I ran again Thursday, the legs felt good, but my feet were still unhappy.
We raised $400 of food aid for Project Worthmore. Thank you so much!
So now what? Thirteen miles is only 33 minutes more, so I’m planning to do a half marathon in July (but only if I can eat Spring Fling cake the night before).