Colfax Half Marathon.
The expo was located inside of Sports Authority Field at Mile High, and it was great to go there a day before the race so I could get mentally prepared. I debated switching to the 10 Miler, but after seeing the logistics that would be involved with that race, and having confidence in my knees, I decided to stick with the half. Since this race ran through my neighborhood and right where I live twice, I had backup plans just in case I started hurting.
I woke up this morning tired and with a scratch in my throat - I think I might be getting sick. But oh well. I loaded up all of my stuff and headed over to the starting area, which was City Park - the park that's 2 miles away. I made it to the starting area just after they started the first few waves, and I was getting excited about when it would get to my wave. The feeling on race day just before you get started is indescribable. Our wave was up! READY...SET...GO!
I started running slowly through the park, being cautious about my knees. Last week, I knew that within the first mile that it was going to be a rough run, and the pain started early and increased. Today, I passed mile one without pain - and was hopeful about the rest of the run.
Miles 2-4 were great! Not only were they pain-free, but they featured one of the biggest highlights of the race, and a new addition through the course this year: running through the Denver Zoo. We ran through the main path and got to see great views of bighorn sheep, flamingos, elephants, gibbons, but the absolute best part was when we ran by the rhino pen. We look over and the rhino is sprinting back and forth across his enclosure- so cool! I was simultaneously excited that the rhino was getting into the running spirit and also that fences were invented.
We left the zoo and headed down Montview Blvd, one of the roads that run right by our campus - a road that I've ran time after time. By the time I reached campus, I was feeling tired - from the couple miles of slight uphill, from not feeling 100%, and the sun decided to come out. Miles 4-7 were pretty smooth, and hitting the halfway point was exciting.
We did a couple zigzags around some streets in Aurora so we could take a quick run through Fire Station No. 1. Miles 7-9 were filled with the excitement of that, and looping over to Colfax Ave, one of the main streets that runs through Denver, and this race's namesake. We approached campus for the second time, and I was excited to get to the home stretch.
Miles 9-12 felt good! I was finally confident that I would make it to the finish line without too much pain, and excited for what that means for my marathon in two weeks. This section of the course ran down 17th Avenue, which is the other main road that runs by campus - and the road that I have done the majority of my running here in Colorado. My neighborhood. This was a much needed course because I knew exactly how long I had left - not necessarily in miles, but how they would feel. I know that road so well, so I kept thinking I had the "home-field advantage." I was excited to look over and see both of my TNT coaches at different points of this stretch, and they both had the same question: "how are your knees?" I gave them the OK, and they were thrilled! I saw a sign for a photo op with some of the firefighters from the Colorado firefighter calendar, and I decided not to take them up on the offer.
I hit mile 12 - home stretch! It ran alongside City Park and as I got closer and closer to the finish, I smiled more and more. Fun fact: I have discovered that my go-to song for when I need a burst is... albeit a little embarrassing to admit... Kelly Clarkson - Catch My Breath. So I blasted it on repeat for the last mile, and rounded the final corner. I picked up the speed a little bit at the end, but still couldn't go very fast because my knees had been tight all race. Then, the moment that I'm sure all runners love - I saw the finish line. I picked up the speed a little more, and inched my way closer... and closer...
|My 4th Half Marathon|
Official Time: 2:24:20
As I type this, my knees are starting to feel a little bit of the pain that I was worried about - but I am so glad that the entire race was relatively pain-free. It felt great - with the worst part being the heat that I felt at the end. I'll gladly take this race, and it gave me a lot of confidence about June 2nd. I still can't comprehend running double what I just did, but today was the run I needed. I know how to get myself ready and take care of my knees, so I should be good to go in two weeks.
I have finished the last hurdle of training - all that's left are a few 3-4 milers and a 6-8 miler next weekend. I have reached the home stretch. And even though I can't see it yet, I can't wait for that magical feeling in two weeks when I reach the finish line of this journey.