It has been a whirlwind week or so! I’ll break up my adventures into a few different posts. I wanted to start off with what turned out to be one of the most fun races I have ever participated in while the memory is still somewhat fresh!
It ended up being one of those trips that just came together. Jessica was talking about going to Denver for a tango festival so I invited myself along. Teresa (my running co-worker) mentioned there was a 10K that same weekend and she was thinking of doing it as well. I looked into it and thought, why not?
After looking at the course map and taking into account the elevation (the tag line for this race is “sea level is for sissies”) I had no expectations for time. Of course, as it got closer I realized I really wanted to get under 1:20.
I woke up early Monday morning and drove out to Boulder (Boulder is about 30 miles outside of Denver). I parked near the finish and walked over towards the start area, stopping at the real bathroom! The line for gear check blossomed out of nowhere and even though I had gotten there fairly early, I hadn’t gotten in line right away and was starting to worry I might miss my wave (although there were a ton of waves behind me). Finally I got to the front of the line, dropped off my bag, and jumped into my wave and we were off!! (As a side note, there were close to 90 waves and 50,000 people!)
So I don’t remember much about what happened at what point during the race. I do remember the first mile it was hard to breathe. And between mile 1 and mile 2 was close to a disaster (well, I exaggerate slightly – but only slightly! 🙂 ). First my shoelace come untied so I stopped to tie my shoe. Next I had to stop for the port-o-potty. “Really, for a 10K?” I thought to myself. But I was planning on stopping at every water stop, both for the altitude and for the heat. So I stopped. Which was followed by an iPod malfunction so I slowed down to sort that out. The pinnacle of this mile was choking my way through the water stop. Breathe! Finally the sign for mile 2 came into view and I was back on track.
What made this race so great was the crowd support! You couldn’t go more than maybe a block without either on-course entertainment or people out in their yards with signs or something else. Some of the highlights were the people throwing marshmallows, Candy Cotton Corner (where they were handing out cotton candy to the runners), the girls hula-hooping, the Zumba dancers, the belly dancers, several different bands, the slip-n-slide set up (which I saw several runners use), the guys handing out bacon, and people with either sprinklers going or hoses or water guns cooling us down. Because it was getting hot towards the end! I know there were others that I am forgetting – but they were all fantastic!
The course was somewhat rolling, but nothing like Portland. And when you reached the highest point on the course, there was a banner telling you that you had reached the summit!
The last hill wasn’t my favorite but as soon as you crested it, you entered into the University of Colorado’s football stadium which was filled with people cheering you on!! The energy was incredible! Such an amazing experience!! I crossed the finish line and amazingly ran into Teresa! With all those people I’m still not sure how we crossed paths! She had just about given up on me when I spotted her.
Oh, my time! Well, I finished in 1:20:28, not quite under 1:20, but not quite over 1:20 either! Considering the altitude and all I’m proud of my time.
I would highly, highly, highly recommend this race. I’m seriously contemplating doing it again next year. The course was fun and the crowd support was phenomenal! It was such a fun experience. It might seem a lot to travel for a 10K, but I do not think you will regret it.