It’s all down hill, she said.
It’s just a half marathon, I said.
This is the problem with runners.
My Denver raised, but Miami living friend talked me in to signing David and I up for our first race at altitude this weekend…basically by saying “hey we’ll be in town and it’s all down hill.” Deanna is just coming back to racing from her first adorable baby and Brian was gung ho to aim for a PR…really it all sounded great, what could possibly go wrong?! (pictured here Brian and Deanna at the start)While Deanna was overall correct that this was probably the least hilly course in all of Denver…coming from Florida I don’t think Brian agreed. Which meant between the four of us we had:
- Me: Stomach bug for the last week
- David: Having run 1 time per week if that for months
- Brian: Fresh off the plane to altitude
- Deanna: Post baby return
If you’re guessing there were no PR’s today, you’d have hit the nail on the head! But don’t let all that fool you, we still had a pretty great day and here are a few photos to show why! Aptly named the Platte River Half Marathon spends about a mile in the cute downtown of Littleton and then moves on to the beautiful path that runs along the river for the majority of the 13.1. For a 2,000 person race, I also thought there were a surprising number of spectators, who were actually cheering and not just standing looking for their runner.At the start line we all went our separate ways, assuming everyone was on track for a different finish…but around mile 7 this weirdo passed me right as I was catching up to Brian. From there on David generally ran directly behind me (must be a good view) and eventually we hit a couple hills around 10 where Brian simply smiled and said “altitude” then waved us on.
People on the course were definitely wondering why I was attempting photos…but hey if it’s not a PR day, then it’s a have FUN day! I was taking in the beautiful river and when not wanting to hurl, enjoying trying to catch people. I take immense pleasure in reeling in people in the last 3 miles who blew by me early in the course.
My steady pacing has long served me well! In fact, looking at the splits I had 4 miles at the exact same pace and 9 more with 10 seconds of that pace.The half marathon was also offered as a relay, which was neat because I saw a lot of kids doing it…but also relays make me a little nutty because you’re cruising along trying to hold a pace and someone flies by making you wonder if you’ve slowed down dramatically. Which for the 4 of us today would have been entirely plausible at any moment.In a bit of evil humor, the only real hill comes at 12.3. Because I refused to walk at that point, I hustled on letting “Shut Up and Dance With Me” help me to jam my way up the hill and finally as we came down, convinced David to run along side me and attempt once again our hand holding finish. For some reason, these photos of us are often weird…so we shall see :). Post race they had a surprising spread, which David inhaled as though he hadn’t eaten for weeks and I watched with amusement. Sausages, hamburgers, chips, cookies, garlic knots, bananas, apples, and beer (I think this is a Colorado requirement). They had a great band playing, some Colorado brands, like my Love Grown Foods friends hanging out with samples and then eventually we all got a ticket for the Light Rail to ride back to the starting point and our cards.
As always with my race reports, I do a pro/con list for anyone who might be considering the race in the future.
- Pretty course along the river (a lot of soft surface to run on too)
- Fairly flat (total net loss of elevation is 223 ft start to finish, 738 ft gain throughout)
- Great long sleeve technical shirt
- Good medals
- Course support every couple of miles was very, very well done with water and Nuun
- Honey Stinger at mile 8
- Hearing your name as you cross the finish
- Fantastic post race spread
- Plenty of porta potties at the start line (honestly no idea on the course)
- Decent amount of spectators
- Parking super close to the start
- Super easy bag check
- The small path along the water means if you’re aiming for a PR, you need to be at the front
- Can feel crowded on the path
- Lots of turns in the first mile or so through town
- Website didn’t seem updated very often or with some specifics
- Recommended parking areas were closed when we got there (leading to confusion)
- Point to point course for those who don’t like that
- No real “pomp” at the start. No singing, no gun shot, just suddenly 3, 2, 1, go.
Final results: 1:58:21 / 129th age division
Yup, way, way off my PR and this course was so much easier than the 1:59 I got in Jerusalem a few weeks ago…being sick is apparently not great for your racing. Still, now I’ve gotten my first altitude race out of the way and I’m stoked to keep focused for a 1:40 this year.
Overall I still had a wonderful day! It was the first time I’ve really tried pushing the pace at all here in Denver and it was gorgeous with temps in the 50’s, great views and friends.
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