Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Denver Rock N' Roll Marathon Race Recap

SO here it is, finally getting to my marathon review. It has been a CRAZY and amazing weekend and I am sooo happy to report that on Sunday I successfully completed my very first marathon! And here is how it went:

The race was scheduled to begin at 6:55AM. The start line was only about 1.5 miles from my apartment and the boy had decided he would drop me off and then head for the first park that we were going to run through and wait there for me. This meant I didn't have to wake up TOO early, so that was great!

I woke up around 530 (except I think I was waking up every hour the night of, because I was afraid my alarm wouldn't work and I would miss the whole race.) I threw on the clothes I had strategically picked out the night before, loaded up my spi belt, and strapped on my garmin and my ipod..and I was ready to go!
What I wore: Mizuno Wave Elixir shoes, Mizuno compression capris, Nike DriFit Tank, and Nike Jacket.
I was so nervous that I didn't think I could eat a damn thing, but I knew that I was about to be running 26.2 miles, and I should probably eat something. So I brought a banana and a CLIF bar in the car with me. I ended up only choking down the CLIF bar.

The boy got me pretty close to the start line, so I jumped out of the car and walked a few blocks to my Corral, just as they were telling people to start lining up.

The sun had not come up yet, so it was still pretty cold. (about 35 degrees). But as we were standing there waiting for the start the sun started coming up and you could tell it was going to be a PERFECT day for a run!
They made a few announcements, sang the national anthem, and then we were off!
P, Start
My plan for the marathon was to run the first 10 miles at a conservative pace and then pick it up for the last 16. And it turned out to work pretty well that way.

I knew that the boy was going to be waiting in City Park, which was at about miles 6-9. So I kept counting down the miles until I got to see him.

First 6 mile splits were 9:26, 9:01, 9:02, 8:54, 9:08, and 8:41

We made our way into the park and I saw him! It was pretty quick though, because I just got a chance to chuck my gloves at him and keep going. But then a little ways into the park I see a boy racing through the field on a bike with a little dog trailing behind. It was the best/funniest site I have ever seen. He made it to the next turning point in the park before I ran by, so of course I had to run and jump into his arms and give him a big kiss.

We ran through the park until about mile 9. I knew that we were going to split with the half marathoners at about 11.5 miles, so I used that as my next thing to count down to.
6126 Full Marathon Finish
Mile 6-11 splits were 8:52. 8:49, 9:05, 8:50, 9:05, (took a GU at mile 10), 8:31. Notice mile 11...told you I was going to try and pick it up after mile 10 :)

We finally made it to the point where the half marathoners went one way and the full marathoners went to other way. I remember running by this when I did my first half, and being so glad I was almost done and not regretting just running the half AT ALL. But this time, I felt SO PROUD to be splitting with the full marathon runners, and everyone waved and cheered when we split and it was the best feeling in the world.

From here I decided that the next check point would be the half marathon mark. Up until this point the 4 hour marathon pacer had been slightly in front of me. I didn't want to push it to catch up with them, but I knew if I kept up my pace I would eventually catch up. And right before the half marathon mark I found myself right in the middle of the 4 hour pace group!

Miles 12 and 13 splits were 8:59 amd 8:35.

I realized that the average pace of the 4 hour pacers was about 8:30 and this pace felt pretty comfortable for me, so I decided to just stay with the pace group and not try to run ahead until the last 10K.
Well, I did that for about ohhh a mile, and then I thought, "what the hell, I'm feeling good, I'm going for it!!"

I knew that we were going to be running through another park at about mile 19 and I secretly hoped that the boy would have taken it upon himself to be there too. So I made this my next check point.
6126 Course
Miles 14-19 splits were 8:41, 8:35, 8:39, 8:47, 8:45, and 8:40. (took another GU at mile 19).

We made it to the park and there was the boy, the puppy, AND his sister and her whole family!! This really gave me that extra little boost that I needed at this point. I passed them and high fived them all as I ran by.
Then I see the same awesome sight that I saw in the park before. Except this time it was even more awesome. It was the boy, with his niece on his shoulders, his other niece running with the puppy, and his sister pulling the twins in a red wagon...all sprinting across the field so they could meet me again!

When I ran past the boy the second time, I took off my headphone and yelled "I passed the 4 hour pacers!!!" He gave me the thumbs up, said I was doing great, and I kept on running.
From here I didn't have much of a checkpoint, except for the end! I knew I just had a 10K left to go, so I settled in and kept running.

Everything was going great...until it hit at about mile 22....I HAD to use the bathroom!! There was no more water going into my body until I could let some out, and I knew trying to run 4 more miles without drinking anymore water would have been stupid.

I kept looking for the next port-a-potty. I wanted to keep going SO BAD and I even considered just letting it go while I was running. But it was so damn cold, I knew that probably wouldn't be a good idea ;) Finally I see one up ahead, so i book it for the closest one and speed-pee as fast as I possibly can.
I was so disappointed that I was doing so well and had to stop, I just knew that the 4 hour pace group had passed me, but as I kept running I never saw them, and I was starting to see some of the same people that I was running with before I stopped.

Miles 20-24 splits were 8:46, 8:43, 8:41, 9:19, 8:49.

And then it happened. The wall. A big, huge, ugly wall. Right at mile 24. I decided I might need to take in more calories, so I got out my last GU. I squeezed a plop into my mouth....
and almost barfed. Then the guy in front of me stopped and barfed, and I REALLY thought it was going to happen then. Then I started thinking about the huge spaghetti dinner I had the night before....

I knew it was all mental from here. Yeah, my body wanted to stop. I had been running for over 3 hours!! I pushed bad thoughts from my head and told myself "just 2 more miles and you will be a marathoner". So I put my head up and kept running for the finish.

Miles 24-26 splits were 9:19, 8:45 and 8:17. Yeah I think I picked it up the last mile because I was so ready to be done.

We turned a corner and there was the finish line. I started tearing up because I couldn't believe I had accomplished something this big. I knew I was going to beat my goal and I was going to be a SUB4 marathoner! Then I saw the boy and his family all cheering me on at the end and I REALLY lost it!
I crossed the finish line at 3:55:28. (The clock time shows the time from the very start and my coral started about 5 minutes later)
6126 Full Marathon Finish
Official Stats:
  • Finish Time: 3:55:28
  • Average Pace: 8:59
  • Overall: 618 out of 2381
  • Division: 39 out of 210
  • Female: 136 out of 1020
Im so proud that I can now say "I am a SUB4 marathoner"



  1. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! I think I got teary reading your recap! SO SO awesome girl, congrats. You should be REALLY proud!!!

  2. Congrats!! You are freaking fast!! I need to run with you to haul my butt a little faster!! Finishing a marathon is always an awesome accomplishment no matter if it's your 1st or 10th. Yay for you!!

  3. Wow you are awesome!!! I loved the recap, now I'm even more exctied for to run my first marathon. Congrats!!

  4. Wow!! A sub-4 for a first marathon!! That's amazing ;) I am running my first one in 12 days!!!

  5. You are AWESOME! That time is amazing! Congratulations again!

  6. Congrats!! I am so proud of you, you did a great job!!

  7. Ahh thats amazing!!! You did great! Congrats and can't wait to hear about future races!


  8. Congrats on your first marathon, sounds like you did great! Way to kill it!

  9. Woohoo congrats girl, you kicked that marathon's butt!
    And it seems like you totally had negative splits?! That's wonderful that you started conservatively and were able to push it more later on. So proud of you!

  10. congrats on your first marathon and on doing so amazingly well! :)

  11. Great, GREAT recap! I smiled and almost teared up for you :)

  12. congrats on the awesome first marathon time!!!!! i hope to break 4 hours in the next year. i'd love to run the RnR Denver one day! i

  13. Congrats! That's so great to be able to say you are a Marathoner & a Sub4-er all in your first shot!!

  14. Hey! Just found your blog via Neon Blonde Runner--I love checking on new blogs by Colorado peeps!