Yes. I finally ran my first half-marathon of 2011.  I have also ran the Cherry Creek Sneak 5 mile race.

 

The Cherry Creek Sneak

I ran the Cherry Creek Sneak as Elvis this year.

I even PR’d (Personal Record), not so much because it was fast, but because it was my first 5 mile race.

Cherry Creek Sneak Elvis

Elvis is a popular figure at races like this one where costumes are encouraged (and even judged).  This picture shows me in the costume contest.

I ran it with a friend that was amazed when a young lady caught up to us just to say hi.  What he didn’t know is that she and I ran together for about a mile during the race.

It was a fun race. I really hammed it up for the spectators and for my fellow runners.  I got a kick at one point when a man said to me, “I never though that I would be passed by Elvis!” I commiserated by telling him, “and it is the fat, middle-aged Elvis at that!”

I like running new races.  You always get to see  a city, town, or environment in a new way!!

That left me 2 weeks to the KP Colfax Half-Marathon.

 

The Barking Dog Duathlon

Get it?  The Barking Dog Du is what it is referred by those who love it and run it.

Tom is a friend of mine that ran his first duathlon this year. He ran and biked the long course. It consisted of a 5K run, 30K bike ride, 5K run.

Tom BDD

3 of us went to experience this with Tom. Jeff, Tom and I arrived @ around 6:00 AM, as Tom had a beginner session he had to attend @ 6:20 AM. Cherry Creek Lake Park was supposed to have the entry station staffed by rangers, but they did not. It was pandemonium as competitors pushed to fill out hand-written entry permits. Cars were parking everywhere and people were pushing to get that entry stuff done.

We did get parked and Tom took his bike and transition stuff down to the registration table. Jeff and I casually strolled down to the lake and then met Tom near his place in the transition area. Tom headed for the start line in his wave. Soon after that, he was off on his new competition adventure.

While Tom was busy with that competition, I had my last long run for my half-marathon. He was busy, I might as well be busy, too. After Tom crossed the start line, Jeff and I headed up to the parking lot to get ready for a run.  We changed and I started a run.

I ran toward the road, but the competition was using the near trails and the road. So, I ran the parking lot. I ran 8 miles of figure 8’s. Jeff ran with me for 5 of those.  I started to feel a left upper leg quad muscle.  It got sore enough (and the figure 8’s were pretty boring) so that I stopped at 8 miles.

Tom did great! He finally crossed the finish line, and just before he collapsed (in a controlled manner), he stated that he had learned a lot, but also had a lot to learn for the next one.

Congratulations, Tom, on notching up the bar! 

 

The Kaiser Permanente Colfax Half-Marathon.

I must like running competitions.  

KP COLFAX MEDAL Mod

Tom and I ran the Kaiser Permanente Colfax Half-Marathon on Sunday, May 15th. Start time was 6:00 AM. Remember that I work the swing shift and didn’t really believe that a 4:00 AM was real or possible. Well, it is…

I was out the door at 4:30.  It was cold and, although not raining, there was a heavy mist in the air. Tom and I drove down to city park to find that the streets were already being closed. We found a way in and parked in the Denver Zoo parking lot.

We waited in the warm, comfortable car until 5:20.  We headed over to the start line. On the way over, we examined the weather and our dress. I knew that I’d be good with an under layer, a shirt and my running jacket (All made of wicking fabric – Get that water off and away). I wore my running shorts. Might end up somewhat cold, but I generally don’t get leg cold. Tom thought about it and changed into his tights.

I spent all day Saturday drinking water so I though I was good with most of a cup of coffee. Tom decided he would check our gear and get in line for a porta-potty. I went to my corral (starting area assigned by projected time completion).

I stood next to a young lady. She was nervous as it was her first Half.  We talked about it and many of the people around were running their first.  It was my tenth!  It didn’t take long for time to pass and the speakers started to announce preparations for the start.

I got a lot of questions that I was glad that I could answer. What is a start like? When will my time start? When do I start my watch? How do they let our corral start?

After the national anthem, the race slowly started, corral by corral, we were 4 or 5 back (With Tom being in a corral 2 ahead of us).  After the start, I pointed across the lake so that everyone could see the closely packed runners starting their event.  Then, it was our turn and we were off.

We ran through a lot of City Park, then out and onto East Colfax. On the way, we got wind, more mist and I even saw a few snow flakes.  At mile four, I had to stop at the porta-potties.  There was a line that cost me 8 minutes or so of my run. As soon as I could, I was off down the street again.

Two hills were on the way toward Havana Street, both gradual and the worst was at mile 4. At the same time it warmed us up internally, the wind cooled us back down. It was a relief to turn off Colfax and head north. The path took us into an impoverished neighborhood. It was sad to see. Then again, it climbed. Only for a block or two, but I could feel it, A couple of turns later and we were welcomed by the Aurora Fire House #1 as we ran through it; on our exit there was a huge USA flag draped from a ladder truck. Inspiring.

They took us back to City Park via 17th street.  This is a tree covered street all the way. The closer we got to City Park, the more opulent the houses became. About 3 miles out, I was running (about this time I was thinking, “One foot in front of the other..” when I came across one of the ladies that I started the race with. I found out that she was Susan and she learned my name. We ran all the way to the finish line together talking mostly about running and the consequences.

The last couple of years, the moment you enter the City Park again, you know that the finish line was only a figurative hop, skip and a jump! Not this year. We had about a mile and a half to go still.  That made it just a little bit tougher.  I was glad that Susan and I were running together.  We discussed pacing, watches and running in general. She mentioned that it is not a cheap sport.  I had to agree.

We could smell the Zoo again (don’t ask…). We knew that the finish line was not far now. Neither of us picked up speed until we saw it.  I told her that she is now, “Sue-soon!” I reminded Susan to show her biggest smile and to throw her hands in the air! I finished 1 second ahead of Susan.

I started down the goody line. I got water. I stepped up to a young lady and she placed my medal over my head. I asked if I could give her a hug and she let me. I have received a hug with every medal so far.  How cool is that?

I got another water, a sport bag, some bagel and a banana half.  About that time, Susan grabbed my arm and took me over to the side. “Is it normal to fell like you’re going to hurl?” she asked.  I assured her that was a pretty normal feeling after giving it your all and crossing that finish line.  I told her to hold it back and think of calming down.  We found her friend that she started with and I left her with. About that time Tom tapped my shoulder.  Tom finished in 2:09 or so. I finished 30 minutes after him. We didn’t spend much time there as Tom had a muscle pull and I developed a chafing sore.  It was also cold!  It never did get above 40 while we were running or there.  We decided to ditch the after-the-race BBQ and headed for home.  Another 13.1 mile race was in the bag.

That was my 3rd running of the Colfax half-marathon and my 10th half-marathon overall!


By the way, Tom is suggesting that one should not necessarily run a half-marathon the week after competing in a duathlon!