Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rock & Roll

A few months ago, I signed up for the Rock n' Roll half marathon here in Denver.  It was supposed to be half marathon #2, was supposed to have another great training round, and help get me back on track physically.

Emphasis on the words "supposed to."

This summer was a killer for the training schedule.  From the get go, I noticed my motivation was not at its peak.  Insert a busy summer of work.  Add on the free time that I did have was spent with friends, traveling and exploring Colorado, and not spent running.

Come September, I made myself a crash course training program - one that I stuck to for the most part, but wasn't enough to make me feel comfortable about the half marathon.

A week before the race, I had a first - the first time I bailed on a race I had signed up for.  I signed up to run Fans on the Field 10K again (as I did last year), but when I woke up on race day, I was not feeling it.

The last week of training was nonexistent.

My runner friend Kristi and I had been keeping tabs on each other's training, or lack thereof, throughout the past few months.  As we got closer, apprehension overcame both of us, so we were both not feeling confident heading into a half marathon.

We pulled a few strings and were able to switch to the half marathon relay.  We both jumped at the chance, feeling lucky not to have to trek the entire 13.1.

Kristi took the first leg, and I took the second.  As much as I hated admitting it, I was not sure I could even do my 5.3 mile leg (Kristi volunteered the 7.8 mile portion).

I met a few of my friends at the starting line, as well as Kristi, and wished them all good luck.  Lots of people in my life were trying to hit new PRs or attempting their first marathon, so they were filled with great energy.  The starting line was filled with the buzz of the ~15,000 participants.  The morning was glowing, and the countdown began.  The elites bolted into downtown, setting their sites on victory.

I hopped onto the shuttle bus, talking with a few of the people doing the second leg, and headed to the transition area at city park.  After watching those same friends run by me looking very strong, I heard the announcer say "Team Lazy" was approaching.  Kristi rocked the first leg, and it was my turn.

I grabbed the official drumstick baton and started running.  In the first half mile, I felt it was going to be a long 5 miles.  My legs started hurting and the breathing became heavy.  I hit mile 8 and mile 9 (my first couple of miles), and something clicked.  I felt strong.  The next couple miles felt easy and free, even though I know it was tough since I hadn't ran that far in a while.  Each band that was playing provided me with a great boost.  I crossed mile 12 and I lit up.  I'm almost home.  As I kept going, I kept speeding up.  More people started lining the streets.  I saw the final mile markers for the marathon and then the half.  I rounded the final corner and saw the finish line.  I took off, running by everyone in my path.

Nike+ Stats for my leg:  5.46 miles - 54:10 - 9:55 pace
Total relay times: 2:23:21 - 10:57 pace - 168/256 relay teams

And one heck of a day for a run!

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