I can’t believe I’ve logged my 3rd marathon in the books. I PR’ed with a time of 3:40:22, ran smart, hydrated/ate well along the course, and had a blast doing it. It truly was a flawless marathon experience.
We got to Denver nice and early, and it was freeeeeezing cold. We stayed in our car until the latest possible moment, then made the 10 minute jog to the starting line where we found my (ex)roomie, LJ and her bf Dan. We exchanged good lucks and high fives, then made our way to our starting corral.
The crowd energy was pretty chill, we chitchatted with runners around us, and before we knew it, we were off!
The first mile was slow. We were making lots of turns and it was pretty congested, but by miles 2-5, we settled into a comfy 8:20ish pace. My breathing was under control, my legs felt fresh, and the scenery was pretty cool since we were running through parks. Dan cheered us along by cheering “Go Team Weez!” I loved that.
Miles 6-10, LJ caught up to us (she was only 1 corral behind us at the start), and we cruised right along at an 8:10ish pace. Everything felt great, smooth sailing. With 16 more miles to go, I hung back as LJ took off (she crushed the next miles, for the record) because I wasn’t sure if that pace was sustainable. I checked in with Weez to see how he was feeling (he was running a few strides behind me), then we decided to part ways and run our own paces.
Miles 11-15, I just ran how I felt. There were some rollers, so some miles were 7:50 pace, others were 8:20. I feel like I ran smart, I listened to my body really well. I knew when to push the pace, I knew when to settle down. The miles were flying by!
My stomach started to bother me (I suspect it was from the Cytomax they had at water stops; something I’ve never tried before) around mile 16, and like an amazing support crew, Dan came to my rescue. He was on his bike and asked if I needed anything, and I asked him if he had any solid food. He took off, fetched me a bagel, and he found me a mile or so later. The bagel really helped, because by mile 18 my stomach was feeling better. By this point, I was running 8:30-8:40s.
I remember seeing Dan again around mile 19 and making an “ooofff” face with my tongue sticking out. I didn’t feel like I was hitting a wall, but the wear-and-tear of 3 hours of running was catching up to me. The 3:40 pace group passed me.
I love the camaraderie that happens around mile 20 or so of a marathon. People start joking around, and checking in with one another. At least the folk around me did. Which was so cool. I honestly think those guys (their names were Max and Grant) helped keep my pace where it was (8:50’s), otherwise I may have slipped back.
Miles 22-24, my feet were aching pretty good (standard), so I decided to pull out my reserve: Music. I rocked out to my previously prepared Boston marathon mix, which helped pick my pace back up to 8:20-8:40’s.
I love mile 23 of a marathon. Reaching that mile is when I start to feel like “I’m gonna finish this thing! I’m almost done with a marathon!”. It’s a fun mental check point to reward myself.
Mile 25: a huge hill. When I saw it, I think I literally said “REALLY?” out loud. How cruel, I thought. But how perfect. Because hills at the end of a marathon are what separate the men from the boys, and I was ready to charge it. I maintained my 8:40 pace. I was so close!
Seeing the mile 26 marker was so refreshing, the crowds were out in full force, and the energy was high. I picked up my pace as fast as I could, and started the final push into the finish. I glanced at my overall time on my watch (for the first time in at least an hour or so), and to my surprise, I was almost spot on for my previous PR (3:40:29). My friend, Leslie, caught this picture of me coming in:
I wanted to beat my PR, so I started kicking it in, focused. I crossed the finish line with a huge smile on my face, looked down at my watch, and saw 3:40:27 (unofficial). Ha! PR by just a few seconds! I couldn’t believe I ran basically the exact same time as my Cleveland Marathon 1.5 years ago :)
3:40:22 (overall time)
67th (females), 22nd (25-30 age group), 356 (overall place)
This 3:40 was at 5200ft, whereas my previous 3:40 was at sea level. I felt really proud, because running at altitude is tougher than sea level, so it made the new PR (albeit, by only a few seconds), that much more sweet. I may have shed a few tears of happiness in those initial moments after the finish line :)
I didn’t wait 2 minutes at the finish line, before Weez came sprinting in! He busted out a HUGE PR by over 16 minutes (right??!!), with a sub 3:42. We did it! Check #26 off my list, we ran a marathon together!
Turns out LJ crushed her previous PR and BQ’d for 2013. She’s a speedster and I couldn’t be more proud!!! Our friends Will and Leslie also ran the half marathon that day, and they rocked their races. So proud of my runner buddies!
Thanks again to Dan for taking pictures all day, and supporting and cheering us on along the way. Thanks to all the aid station volunteers, the race director, and everyone who put together this rockin’ RnR marathon event. I had a blast and would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to run a mile-high marathon :)
It was fantastic! I love marathons!