You know, getting up at 4:00 AM is never fun, especially if you work the swing shift. That time came awfully early. I actually woke up before the alarm (a misnomer as I did not set the alarm).


The Expo –


But, I’m getting ahead of the game.  Like most larger venues, you have to pick up the race packet early. I’m not sure why that is, but I have my suspicions that it assists in raising anticipation and suspense in the runner. It may save the event’s coordinators by not having additional staff, it may assist by providing more focus toward the run, it may be for any reason. I have my suspicions, though.


So we (my good friend Tom and I) headed down to Denver’s City Park and the beautiful pavilion building that the Expo was being held at on Saturday morning. We were both going to run the half-marathon.  The sun was out, it was warm, but the sky was partly cloudy.

Expo View


The packet pickup booths were outside and clearly marked. You gave your name to a technician at the greeter’s booth, and received a small print out with your event and number. Using that, you went to the appropriate booth and got your packet. Inside the packet, was a Cardboard timing chip for the shoe, some coupons, and the bib number. My bib number was 5108.


The names on the half-marathon bib numbers all seemed to be incorrect. I had the name, “Roger,” on mine. No explanation was given except that a mistake had been made. 



Having completed the first part of the maze, we went to the BEER booth to show our ID and get a bracelet (to be worn on the right wrist for the next 24 hours – It saves you from having to carry your ID to the beer garden after the finish). We went from there to see what was offered in the Expo merchandise.


We weaved through all kinds of merchant’s booths. Great prices and discounts were offered.  There were all kinds of booths.  I got a pair of cheap running socks for the Boulder Running Company, and I stole a pair of Mizuno Nirvana 6 shoes from Runner’s Roost.  They offer a 60 day return policy on shoes they sell.  These were returned shoes.  I examined them closely after I tried them on.  At $50 for the pair, I gladly bought them.  I’ll add them to my runs after the first of June, and they will probably be the shoes that I’ll run the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon in on June 26th. Tom got a pair of Nike Lunar Elite+ for the same price.


We got our shirts at the shirt booth. Nice shirts this year. Performance shirt, white with a great design on them. As we left the Expo, the timing chip was tested. Both passed and we were on our way out. We  smoothed with some other runners and petted some dogs outside.  Then it was time to head out for the rest of our Saturday.


I performed the usual evening before ritual of preparation.  Shoes (with the chip on it), socks, shorts, shirt (with the bib number mounted), headband, sunglasses, phone charging, water belt (sans water), iPod, coin purse with Hammer Endurolytes, and charged the Garmin 205 Sports Watch. I felt to be prepared.  There is comfort in my pre-race ritual.


The Race –


4:00 AM did come early.  One cup of coffee. I immediately ate a bowl of oatmeal. Dressed, and double-checked that I was ready then out the door by 5:00 AM.  There was a race today!


The plan was to go to Colorado Boulevard then North to City Park. The streets weren’t supposed to be closed until 5:30 AM.  By the time we got to Colorado and Colfax, Colorado had been closed.  We had to do some uncertain turns and twists, but we did get there!


It was announced that there were 750 full marathon runners and 7,000 or more of us running the half. Quite the turnout this year.


There was parking available still, and we got as close as we could in the East side parking at the Denver Zoo. A short walk and we were at the start line in plenty of time.  The full marathon runners were in the chute and in their corrals.  We watched as the timer counted down and then the marathoners were off!


In another 45 minutes, we would be starting our 13.1 mile run.


It was a cool morning with a slight breeze.  I tend to take a cheap throw to keep warm with.  I wore it until the start of the race, then threw it over the fence as a throw-away.  I knew that it could be used by someone.  These throw away items are collected and given to charity.


The chute for the starting line was short. It just could not fit all of the runners.  When the starting countdown was done and we were off, there were runners everywhere.  Not only from the chute but from the waiting/spectator area to the South.


I had visited the porta-potty before the race but the moment we had the start, I had to visit one again. Why does that happen?  The first available were about 2 miles into the race. I joined a fair-sized line and it took about 12 minutes to get to one.  When you have no choice, though, what do you do?


The race started with a run through City Park (literally). We ran from the park and down City Park Esplanade to Colfax, then East on Colfax.  We ran into the rising sun as we progressed down East Colfax toward the Fitzsimmon’s Medical Center.  Water stations were every 2 miles or so.  Gatorade and water were offiered. Mile markers were marked by huge stickers on the street with sandwich boards on the sidewalks. At strategic points there was a “Gun Time” clock.


There was a slight elevation on the run to the 7 mile.  Total ascent/descent was 150 feet.  Slight for the first couple of noticeable rises, but I really felt the rise from the 5 mile mark to the 7 mile mark. From there we turned the corner to run through the Fitzsimmon’s Medical Center to 17th Street and the return run to City Park.  As I turned onto 17th, I noticed a younger man running my pace. I stayed behind him, but used him as my pacer.


It was easier running 17th Street.  The sun was at my back and it was a run through a neighborhood.  Time seemed to fly as the run progressed.  The miles ticked on by. Around mile 8, I finally caught up to and ran beside my pacer.  I told him that I had been using him as my pacer, so we might as well run together.  He was surprised that he was someone’s pacer, but agreed to run in together.


It made for a nice run for the last few miles.  We talked, and introduced ourselves. Ron was running this race for the 3rd time. His wife was supposed to run it with him but did not feel she had trained enough. He had anticipated a 12 minute pace, but he was doing much better.  We got into a rhythm at a better pace than either of us anticipated.  So, it was a good match for a finish.


All too soon, we crossed Colorado Boulevard again and we entered the park. The end of the race was at hand now.  We maintained the pace until the finish line was in sight.  I kicked it up a touch to cross the line.  On the way, I was passed by two runners and I passed two.


I slowed down after crossing the timing mats, waited just a moment for Ron, then shook his hand and thanked him for the finish!


I moved on as Ron went for that finisher kiss and hug from his wife over the fence.


I grabbed a cold bottle of water.  I saw the medal handlers and headed for mine.  I asked the young lady that placed my medal over my head if I could have a hug. She said sure, and my tradition of a hug continued!



I walked the gauntlet from the finish line through the pavilion.  On the way and inside, it was the pickup of the Goody bag, energy drinks, sport beans, teas, and then your choice of a pulled pork BBQ sandwich or a chicken taco.   Tom finished long before me, so I met him outside. 


Before I got into the pavilion, I got a text message from Kristen.  I was hoping to meet her as we both run and tweet.  We’ve been exchanging tweets for 2 years or so.  After I had my sandwich, Tom and I headed over to the Beer Garden.  We met Kristen and drank some beer.  Fun times!


I love the half-marathon distance.  It is my favorite race to run.  If you get a chance, try it out.  It improves your health and opens doors to other people engaged in the same like of running that others have. Plus, the bib and the medal make for an additional pleasure that you can hold and appreciate.


It was a great race and a wonderful was to spend an athletic Sunday morning!


The Humor –


“Remember, the second most important thing to choosing the right shoe, is choosing the left one.”
— A high school coach to his runners



Last week, I ran 6 runs.  That was a distance of 28.11 miles at a pace of 9:08.


For the month of March, I ran 18 miles.  That was for a distance of 83.3 miles at a pace of 9:06.


For 2010, I’ve run 59 miles. That was for a distance of 295.2 miles and a pace of 10:18.


That brings me into my discussion this time around.



My Training –


I have been working on my pace time.  Lately, although I have been running, I have been running casually.  I ran the Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon on December 6th – I finished in 2:36:12 making my pace 11:39. I ran the PF Chang’s Phoenix Rock and Roll Half Marathon in 2:38:12 making my pace for that event 12:05. When I ran my Marathon in Las Vegas in 2008, I ran it in 6:04:22 making my pace for that race 13:54.


In past races, I have done better – My first 5K was run at 27:15 or an 8:46 pace.  My best half marathon time is 2:20:41 with a pace of 10:45.


I have gained weight back I am now at 230 or so.  Yes.  I am working at that actively. Two months ago, I weighed 241 at the Doctor’s office.


What does that mean? I know that I can run a half-marathon (or a Pikermi as it is becoming known – Google Pikermi) in under 11 minutes per mile.  That has been my project for a future marathon. 


I have been training on the treadmill.  I was not inspired to run outside, but I tend to train very well on the treadmill.  I have been pushing the pace and the elevation since I got the treadmill repaired.  This is a graph from Buckeye Outdoors –

Pace Graph 03222010

Can you tell when the treadmill was finally repaired?  Yes, I have been working on it.


The plan?  I am hoping to head outside soon as the weather is finally becoming spring-like. Last Saturday?  8 inches of new snow.  Nope!  Not yet!





I have a few scheduled for the rest of the year.  They are:


South Suburban Parks and Recreation Highline Canal Fun Run 5K on May 8th.


Kaiser-Permanente Colfax Marathon on May 16th.


Seattle Rock n Roll Full Marathon on June 26th.


Will I see you at any of them?

Last week, I ran 5 runs.  It was for a total of 28.30 miles.  Some fast (for me) and some slow. My average run was 5.9 miles, average pace was 11:21.  This was not as good as last week, but it was good!  I am running again!

The long run was a little discouraging.  It has served its function and I know that I will finish my Half!  It was 8 miles on streets and 4 miles on a trail.  Unfortunately, the trail had several areas that were covered with ice, snow and mud.  I walked (inched along on some) the icy patches and tried to avoid the mud.  Pace for the long run? 13:01.  Slow!

November overall?  So far, 16 runs.  Average distance 5.6 miles.  Average pace 10:59.  Total distance? 89.3 miles.  Yep! I’m getting ready for a Something-or-other! 

I finally got my Running Elvis email!  I am a member of the Running Elvi!  The schedule is to meet Saturday @ 2:00 PM in costume for photos at the finish line.

On Saturday, December 5 at 2pm, I’ll go dressed in my Elvi best and bring the camera for a group photo at the Finish Line, which is located in the parking lot adjacent to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. 

We’ll go into the Expo then for an Expo Pep Rally and a run through the Expo and beyond as the Running Elvi!

At 5pm, doors will open for the Official Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Pasta Party, which will take place in Mandalay Bay’s South Pacific Ballroom and be highlighted by the Elvis karaoke and costume contests for great prizes.   Tickets are selling fast.  Reserve now before they’re all gone.

I’m not sure I’ll attend the Pasta Party though.  Kind of expensive for Vegas!  I’m thinking on it, though.  I may need your opinion before I decide!

Then, we meet as the Runnin’ Elvi again at 5:00 AM on race morning. We’ll gather in the Shark Reef food court located just inside the entrance to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.  We will be joined by all of the couples who will tie the knot or renew their vows at the Run-Thru Wedding Ceremony and the Running Reverend, along with tons of media.

At 5:15am, we’ll be escorted to the front of the start line and introduced to a field of more than 25,000 runners and walkers as we pose for a start line photo for the worldwide media covering the race. Once the media gets their shots, we’ll be escorted to a special mid-pack corral (14) which will be comprised of Running Elvi, the Run-Thru Wedding Ceremony couples, their Running Wedding Parties and the Running Reverend for the start of the race.

After we cross the start line as a group, I may join everyone at the mile 3.5 Run-Thru Wedding Ceremony location (Paris Las Vegas) and then I can run at my own pace.

It should be an interesting, fun time!


Picture credit to Left Coast Cowboys located @ http://leftcoastcowboys.com/

What?  I knew it!  You want pictures from me?  I’ll se what I can do!

The day started early. Really early. I set my alarm for 4:30 AM. I woke at 4:20 and shut it off. I got ready for the day. Tom was ready to go about the same time. Jeff came by at 5:30 and we headed for the mountains. Georgetown is on I-70 West of Denver (about an hour away). We arrived at 6:30 and parked. I checked in and got my bib number 221. We got back into the car and headed further West to this great nation’s continental divide.

On the way, both Tom & Jeff were commenting on how far it was from Georgetown and how far I would have to run to get back. It did seem like quite a way to go!

We got to the start line and I discovered that I was suppose to pick up my race chip at registration. I don’t know these things. I’m a newbie. The lady I checked in with didn’t mention anything about it. I guess that I assumed that they would be given out at the starting line. Race officials arranged to get the chip sent up through a family member.

I wasn’t the only one that did not pick up their chip. Later on, an official brought two trays of chips up. It was funny.

This was the start line with 30 seconds to go. What a lot of people! Notice the snow on the continental divide.

When the race start count down started, I was at the back of the pack. Not knowing how this crowd would work out the order, I decided to stay back and see what happened. It was not long before I was able to start running at a pace that I could accept. The first 5 miles was a trail run. It was a doubletrack that was jam filled with people. I was able to keep my starting pace by keeping to the outside.
I am headed to the trail head after the start of the race.

I would see Tom & Jeff at different points during the race. It made it very interesting for me as I’d watch for them and enjoy their friendly chides. One lady running near me, asked if I knew “those two.” I told her that they were my friends! She said, “Then the old adage is true! Kep your friends close and your enemies closer.” I don’t know how true that is, but it made for a fun moment or two! Especially when I told “those two” later on!

I have to admit that I was not prepared for the drop in elevation during the race. By the end of the trail portion, my legs were buring with the downhill running. I slowed my pace to compensate a little. As if the race knew, the first climb happened here. It seemed to go on forever. Everyone around me was slowing down or starting to walk. I tried to keep up the pace by shortening my stride, but it was tough!

The graph (from Sport Tracks software) showing the drop according to my Garnmin Forerunner 205.

Soon enough, I came to the halfway point of the race. I felt renewed vigor and looked forward to the finish line. There were quite a few views of the Colorado countryside. It was a great place to run.

We approached the town of Georgetown. Thinking it was close to done, we had some hairpin curves and steep inclines down into the town. Thinking of 1 1/2 miles to go, I looked forward to it. Unfortunately, the final mile to the finish line was seemingly all uphill. I was surprised when a friend from work, Carlos, showed up a few blocks short of the finish line to run with me to it. He had participated in the 4 mile mile run from earlier in the day. It was a lot of fun to run with someone for the last little bit!
Carlos and I just short of the finish line!

Crossing the Finish Line!

Carlos let me finish the finish line by myself. Then he showed me where to get my goodie bag! Georgetown had booths set up in the town center for additional runner goodies. There were hot dogs, sodas, beer (yep! I had one. Need to replace those carbs, you know!) and other booths!

We stayed for the awards and the drawings. We took off for town soon after. I slept on the way back. When we got to the house I fell asleep soon after.

Today, I am sore.

I had a great time and look forward to doing it again.
– – – – – – – – – –
PS – I love Body Glide now. No chafes anywhere. I did get a blister on my left foot but it is small and not painful. I was surprised when I saw it.
Tom did find a tick on his neck, but it did not get a chance to bite him.

A Quick Review…

This was the course as seen on Google Earth. East is to the left, so that the orientation is correct.

The finish line.

My run according to the iPod Nike+ chip (somehow I turned it off early).

More later on!

Wow. 3 days to go.

A half-marathon. I can and will do this thing!

I ran 3.26 miles today. Tomorrow and Friday are rest days and Saturday is the big event!

I have (so far) completed 988 miles run in 2007. That pretty much guarantees that when I finish the HALF, I will also have acheived a goal of running 1,000 miles in 2007. The question then might become – How far can I run in 2007?

More to ponder as I rest, nourish and hydrate…

There are 4 days to go to my first half-marathon!

I ran 5 miles today. Tomorrow I will run 3 miles.

Thursday and Friday will be rest days. I will prepare a bag to take with me on those days.

I’ve tried to form a habit of getting ready for the half-marathon. I always seem to forget something.

Hmmm… I am preparing mentally.

I am going to go drink some refreshing water now and TIVO last night’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” (while resting).

5 days to go. I am breathless in anticipation. I ran about a 10 K today in distance. I’ll run 5 tomorrow and 3 on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are rest days. Saturday morning is the race!

Yesterday was an interesting day. Trail repair is a necessary part of my other sport. Our group worked with the National Forest Service, through a local branch. Instead of the Jeep, I took my 4X4 Ford Ranger. It is a full 4-wheel drive vehicle and suited to the task. We took rocks from one area of the forest and removed them to fill in low areas on other parts of the trail.
The foreground of the picture are the rocks placed into a low area that was eating up vehicles on this trail system. The guys are moving a deadfall log to block a go-around that was made to avoid the hole we filled. We filled two holes like this one on Sunday. We also picked up a lot of trash as we went about the forest.

I felt a twinge in my back as I lifted one rock yesterday. I also dropped one fairly heavy rock on my hand. I cut the tip on one finger doing that, but overall it was a good day and we got a lot done.

Jeeping (or off-roading) can cause a lot of political discussion. There are 10% of the people that engage in our sport that cause problems (just like any other activity). We need to “Stay The Trail” and “Only leave tire tracks and only take photographs”. Unfortunately, some people don’t have any sense of value or heritage. They will ride anywhere, often tearing up wetlands and cutting unauthorized trails purely for their own enjoyment. Trail repair is important to counteract some of these “Bad Apples” and to influence those who are not aware to be aware.

The clock is ticking down.

Although it is a day of rest from training, I will assist a local Jeep club by using my non-jeep Ranger pickup to help fill some trail hazards. Remember that if you want to play, you have to pay.

After my 10.31 mile run yesterday, I have to make up 1.5 miles to cross the 1,000 mile mark during the half. I was going to run 6 tomorrow (instead of 5), 5 on Tuesday (instead of 4), and the scheduled 3 on Wednesday, & rest on Thursday and Friday. That way I will cross the 2007 1,000 mile mark at or near the end of the half.

10.31 on Saturday? Why the odd number? I am still trying to calibrate the Nike+ iPod sport chip…

I think that would be exciting!

Maddy? Thanks for the most excellent assessment of the time that was left yesterday! I laughed and enjoyed that a lot!

And still counting down. One week until the big event!

I run ten miles today. I start “The Grand Taper” tomorrow with a rest day.

It won’t be long now!

Side note – When I calculated my 2007 hours I included 12/31/2006 – As the BuckeyeOutdoors.com training site has shown me. I am a better Excel programmer than that (I thought). So, I am 8 miles behind that which I previously claimed. I have run 961 miles in 2007. Bummer…

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