October 19, 2010
Denver Rock-n-Roll Marathon Race Report
* Warning: This post is pretty long! :)
We woke up, had a pre-race breakfast of a bagel with almond butter, got dressed, and headed to the race. My husband was nice enough to wake up early and drive us so we didn't have to deal with trying to park with thousands of other racers. As we got closer to the freeway exit, the traffic was basically at a stand still. Luckily, my sister had her phone with her that has GPS, so we were able to figure out some side streets to go down to get close to the site. We were so glad that we didn't have to deal with parking because there were literally hundreds and hundreds of cars coming from different directions trying to find parking downtown. We finally just decided to hop out of the car and walk to the start.
We ended up having to walk about 1-2 miles, which was kind of good because it was cold out and that brisk walk warmed up our legs. Once we reached the start area, we basically had 15 minutes to gear check our bag and visit the port-a-potty. Gear check was CRAZY! Again, there were hundreds of racers trying to check their bags all at the same time. Once that was done, we got in line to use the bathroom and the first coral of racers started. We knew we wouldn't make the official start, and would probably miss our coral, but we weren't going to stress about it because there was nothing we could do about it. Finally, we got done, ran towards the start, and joined in the masses of people. We crossed the start with coral #7, said our good lucks to each other and took off!
The Good: Miles 1-19
The start of the race was amazing! There were so many people cheering and yelling, and the energy was pretty intense! It was so loud that I don't think I actually heard the music on my Shuffle until several miles into the race. I had so much adrenaline running through my body, that I had to work really hard not to run too fast.
The course wound through downtown for about 5 miles before heading to City Park. I was surprised by how fast the miles were clicking by. One thing that was kind of frustrating though was that my Garmin was ahead on mileage by about .4 of a mile. So, when my Garmin said I reached the 5M mark, it was actually .4M ahead of me on the course. This doesn't sound like a huge deal, but it would come into play later in the race.
The course continued for about another 5 miles around City Park. I love that park, so it was nice being able to run through it. I was holding my pace and I felt really good, and was just excited about being there doing my first marathon! I kept reminding myself that my goal was to finish happy, so I embraced the Rock-n-Roll aspect of the course. I high-fived all of the cheerleaders throughout the course, and said, "Woohoo" to all the bands! I was just having a good time.
After leaving City Park, we got a taste of a pretty good sized hill. I swear it was a mile long! My legs were definitely feeling it, but I just kept going. We ran towards another park, Cheeseman Park, before the course split into the 1/2 marathoners and full marathoners. I saw a row of about 5 port-a-potties with hardly anyone waiting and decided to take advantage of it. I did my business and started off again. It was a little hard to get going again, but it was worth the stop.
From mile 12-15 we were graced with some other hills. They weren't exactly steep, but long. My husband and boys were planning on meeting me around the 15M mark so I could exchange my Nathan bottles and ditch my long sleeve shirt. The thought of seeing them really helped me mentally keep going. I was still feeling good at this point, but my legs were definitely feeling the effects of the hills.
This is a picture my husband got of me running towards them. I look like a complete dork, but I was SOOO excited to see them!
I pulled off to the side, kissed my husband, took off my long sleeved shirt, exchanged my bottles, gave my boys hugs and kisses, and headed off again. I know I wasted several minutes doing all of this, but it was completely worth it to me.
And, I'm off to do the remaining 11.2 miles!
The next 5 miles were all ran around and within Wash Park. I was actually looking forward to this part of the race because it is one of my favorite places to run. However, around the 18 mile mark, I started burping A LOT! I wasn't really worried about it, but after awhile, it started getting annoying. I came around a bend and saw my husband and boys again! This was such a great surprise because I didn't think I would see them until the finish!
Between the 19 and 20M mark I started feeling a little nauseous. I knew that I needed to eat a gel because I hadn't had one since a little before mile 15, but it just did not sound appealing to me in the least bit. However, I knew that if I didn't get it down I could potentially pay an even bigger price later in the run. I tried to eat the gel while running, but it just wasn't happening. I slowed to a walk in order to get it down, but it was not easy. Once it was down, I started running again.
The Bad: Miles 20-26.2
I have read numerous times that the race in a marathon really starts at mile 20. I guess I didn't really understand this, but I have to say that I completely agree with that statement. After the 20M mark, I was entering the unknown. Every step past that mile was further than I had ever run before, and it was hard! As I mentioned earlier, my Garmin reached the mile markers before I did in the race and it was just mentally hard to see that. I stopped looking at my Garmin from mile 21 to the finish. It just wasn't worth it any more. My stomach starting revolting and I got really nauseous. * Warning: gross parts coming up. When it got to the point that I thought I was going to throw-up, I would pull over to the side and proceed to dry heave over and over again. I HATE dry heaving. Every time it happened, my back and abs would just tighten up and hurt like crazy. I really wish I could have just thrown up, but it didn't happen. I would start walking, start feeling a little better, start running again, then the nausea would take over again and I would repeat the same process. I did that 3 TIMES in 3 miles! It was horrible and disgusting and I didn't know how to stop it.
I felt like crap and I just wanted to be done. The miles felt like they took forever! The worst part was that between miles 23 and 24, we had to go up a hill, down the backside, turn around, then go up and down it again. This was torture!! I couldn't believe that they would put that hill in the last few miles of a marathon!!! It took every thing that I had to keep going and just put one foot in front of the other.
Around mile 25, I saw my sister! She had run the 1/2 marathon, and had come out on the course to help me finish the last mile. It was soooo awesome to see her and she gave me the motivation to keep going! She told me that my husband and boys were by the finish shoot waiting for me. She kept telling me that all I needed to do was run to Bannock street, then turn left into the finishing shoot. I could see the runners ahead of me turning left towards the shoot, but they looked so far away. She ran with me all the way to Bannock street into the shoot, then stopped and told me to, "Run to the balloons!" The finish was lined with balloons and her saying that made me laugh enough to push through the nausea.
I saw my husband and heard my boys cheering for me and it was awesome! I didn't feel any more nausea and was just overcome with joy at what I was about to accomplish. I was finishing my first marathon!!! :)
Here is a picture my husband took of my coming into the finish.
I crossed the finish line and was so happy to be done! There were two women with signs that read, "Free hugs" and I went up to them and got a hug! It was great!
I got my medal, then proceeded to be handed water, apple slices, and fruit snacks. I just grabbed the stuff for my boys and kept walking. It was at this point that my stomach started revolting again. My sister called my name and I saw her on the other side of the shoot. I told her I was going to throw-up and she just kept saying, "Keep going and we'll take care of you." I was so nauseous, but I didn't want to throw-up in the shoot where all the volunteers were handing out food and drinks. That would have been horrible!
I finally made it out to the grass, found some trash cans, and proceeded to throw-up over and over again. It was horrible! There were runners and their families all around me and I was so embarrassed. I finally stopped and actually felt a little better! My sister and I walked to an open grassy area, sat down, and waited for my husband and boys to join us.
This is a picture of me and my sister after the race. She rocked the 1/2 mary with a time of 2:08!
Can you see how white I am? My lips have no color in them!
My biggest supporters...my husband and boys!
26.2 Miles !! (My Garmin read 26.6 miles...ugh)
Overall Time: 4:01:43 (9:14pace/M)
Division Place: 55/270
Sex Place: 252/1357
Before I share my thoughts, I just want to take a moment to thank all of you. I carried all of your good luck wishes and encouragement with me throughout the entire race! :)
I don't really know how to feel about this race. Because this was my first marathon, my main goal was just to finish. I had a time goal in mind, but honestly, I didn't put much emphasis on it because I just didn't know how my body would perform. I have no idea why my stomach revolted the way it did. I have never experienced that in a race before. I used gels, water, and NUUN like I did in all of my training runs, so I didn't do anything differently. Any ideas???
I am so happy that I finished, but I wish it would have been under less pukey circumstances! :) One thing is for sure though, I now have something to work towards for the Arizona Rock-n-Roll Marathon in January!
As far as whether or not I think a marathon is harder than a Half Ironman, I have to say that I don't think it is. How I felt at the end (besides being pukey) was really similar to how I felt after my last 70.3. I think mentally it's harder because you're doing the same thing over and over again, whereas with the HIM, you mix it up with swimming, biking, and running. I don't know, it's interesting to think about. What do all of you think?
Congrats of all of you that raced this past weekend too! I'm a little behind on blogs because my family was in town, but I can't wait to read about all of your racing experiences too! :)