Cold, wet, rainy, long… awesome.
This was the day of the Colfax Marathon, May 15, 2011.
Cliff Notes Version:
- It was cold and wet.
- Ben ran 9.5 to starting line.
- Ben did full marathon, Anne and I did half, besting her PR.
- Ben and I ran 9.5 back to his place.
- We were really tired.
I wasn’t even sure I was going to run this race, as a couple of weeks before I’d had some funky leg/ knee issues at a softball game (one of the strangest physical issues I’ve ever had… I think I temporarily dislocated my right knee, or something…) but, a bit of rest, followed by a good, strong 9 mile run convinced me I could do it. So, at the last minute, I bought a registration (legally) off craigslist.org and joined Anne for her second (or was it her third?) half-marathon.
As Ben was ramping up mileage in training for his first 100, he was planning something insane: running 9.5 miles to the starting line, running the full marathon, and then running 9.5 miles back home for a total of 45 for the day. I decided to join him in at least part of his madness, figuring that after 35 miles, I might be able to keep up with him…so, I planned on running the 9.5 miles home with him after the race, which would put me at 22+ for the day.
(Side Note: I did something all the experts tell you NOT to do. I wore a BRAND NEW pair of shoes for this madness, a pair of replacement Saucony Kinvaras, as the pair I’d been training in had a manufacturers defect. It worked out fine, likely because I’d been running in the exact same shoe up to that point…)
The day started early. And dark. And cold. And just a wee bit rainy. Anne picked me up before dawn, as Melanie, sanely, was going to meet us all at the finish line much later.
Many racers will buy super-cheap thrift store clothing to wear at the starting line before a race, so they can discard it at the start line without wasting good clothing. I had found a good quality fleece vest for $2 for this purpose. But, it was so cold, I never discarded it.
Hilarity ensued at the starting line as Ben ran up and down yelling at the top of his lungs, looking for Marshall Ulrich (Ben’s hero). People just don’t know what to do with him… and it’s funny to watch.
Unfortunately, the half-marathon course and the full-marathon course head different directions, so Ben was left to run West alone, as Anne and I made our way East. Anne promised me she was fine with my “run-walk” regimen, but for the first couple of miles we ran way more than we walked, which was good. What was funny was that when we ran together, neither pulled ahead, but when we walked, it was super-hard for me to not pull away from her… I guess I am about a foot taller than her…
It’s hard to communicate what happens in a race, unless you’ve done it… you settle into a groove, things feel good, then it hurts and you feel bad, then you find the groove again. We kept a good pace and kept working. Running a race with an old friend is a GREAT way to catch up, and we conversed the entire way.
About the half-way point, the course runs through a Fire Station and that was pretty great. Anne made the pictures on the Denver Post web site at this point, and I was “conveniently” cut out. I didn’t think I looked THAT bad…
The back half of the course comes down 17th avenue and it’s just a gorgeous, gorgeous neighborhood. Really nice part of the course.
As we made our way back into City Park, we began to push pretty hard, realizing we could beat Anne’s PR. Then, we were handed a dose of “reality” as a guy on a bike came whizzing past shouting, “Make way for marathon winners! Make way for marathon winners!”
It was true. The guy was clearing a path amongst the half-marathon back of the packers so the marathon winner could finish… ahead of us.
The marathon race winner beat Anne and I and we were only doing the half. So, that’s kind of cool and a bit humiliating. But pretty cool.
So, we finished up, began re-fueling and started watching the finish line, waiting for Ben. He finished very strong and had a great race. We all did. It was a great race for everyone.
We took advantage of the post-race food and drink, but soon Ben and I had to face the facts that we had 9.5 to go. Ugh.
We loaded up on food and drink and bid farewell to Anne and Melanie, and we started making our way back to his place.
Those miles are kind of a blur. They were hard, hard miles Our stomachs turned and we had a hard time getting enough fuel down. It was long, long, long.
And then, as I thought we were getting ready to make the turn onto Ben’s street, he told me we had to go a bit further, to round out the mileage. It was one of his mind-tricks he was employing to train himself for the difficulty of running100 miles.
Finally, though, we rounded a corner or two and we were done. Exhausted. As we were doubled over, tugging our shorts, gasping for breath because we’d finished with a flourish, I looked at Ben and said…
“Does this count as our exercise for the day?”
And we laughed and laughed and laughed the way only oxygen depleted, totally exhausted people can…