Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Platte River Half Marathon - April 15th

Littleton, Colorado
State #7
Start Time: 9am
Temperature: 39 at the start, 45 and windy at the finish
Bib #2124
Overall:  1649/2409
Division Place: 134/216
Gender Place: 834/1421
Finish Time: 2:18:28

Kara, B, me and LJ and NO SNOW!
A better title for this post?  Giraffy Is Right - There Is No Air in Colorado.  Luckily, there was no snow and almost no rain either.  However, after mile 3, the wind started and got continually worse until the end of the race.  The forecast said 25 MPH gusts.  I felt bad for the water station volunteers, chasing unfilled cups across the path...just before the finish, my free lunch tag tore itself off the bottom of my bib.  But I digress.

I meant to toss my Santa Runs Tacoma gloves...isn't B cute?
There was plenty of free parking at Arapahoe Community College, near the start.  S and I arrived just after 8:30.  The other girls were already in line for the Port-a-lets (that's what the potties are called in Colorado).  After dropping a sweatshirt filled bag, I cut in line at the potties and we got some pictures.

"Hey ladies, I wonder who will finish last in our group?" (Answer: me, but my braid looks cute, right?)
The start was in three waves.  Sub 1:55.  1:55-2:10. 2:10 and above.  The gun went off on time, and there was hardly any break between wave one and two.  We were still taking pictures and jumped in right at the end of wave two.  I paused right after (doy!) the starting mat and made my Garmin start.  Turns out, this is one race I wish I didn't have it.

Miles 1-6.2
S ran with me.  Kara, L and LJ started in front of us and we never saw those speed demons again.  B and I leap frogged a bit, until she blew past us around mile 5.

Paused to look back near mile 2.  Congested trail.
We started out under a 9:30 pace (who knew that would be starting too fast?).  I didn't wear my iPod, since S didn't bring his.  Big mistake, I could have used some musical inspiration in the last half of the race.

Two miles in, we transitioned from road to trail/bike path.  The whole race came to a grinding walk.  Runners laughed about it.  Oh well.  I did think about speedy Lisa and how this would bother me if I had a faster time goal.  

At the first water stop, the volunteers were great.  Two of them yelled, "Yeah you're fast!"  "Great shirt, definitely fast!"  Note:  I didn't hear any more you're fast comments during the rest of the race.  

The course was gorgeous, following the Platte River.  It reminded me of running in Eugene, along the Willamette.  Ironically, I wore the same orange fast shirt for my PR in Eugene last year.

Still feeling arrogant enough to pause for a pic near mile 4.  Denver is beautiful.
Miles 6.2 - 13.1

I took a Chocolate #9 at the mile 6 aid station.  B had already passed us and my pace was slowing.  Even though I felt like I was breathing fine, I knew the altitude (and maybe Gravity class from Wednesday) were having a negative affect on my body.  My fingers were tingly/numb (I waited until Mile 10 to put my gloves back on, should have done it sooner, glad I didn't toss them).  My legs were getting heavier.  I have never felt like this in a race before.  

At mile 9.2 I walk for the first time (that is not a water stop).  S walks with me and isn't too irritated yet.  I start feeling nauseous (where did that come from?).  When I walk the nausea goes away.  

S coaxes me along, asking cute questions like, "I wonder what an oxygen tank would feel like right now?" and "Now you'll have a sea level personal worst AND an altitude PW."

At mile 10, our pace has dropped to over 10 minute miles.  I realize that this really is going to be my PW half marathon.   I embrace it.  I trudge along, only running when S talks me into it.  

Near mile 11, I get recognized for the first time ever from my blog.  Susan taps me on the shoulder and asks if I'm from Portland.  She tells me she read my blog post about my plan for this race and it made her laugh.  I can't believe I get my 15 seconds of bloggy fame during my worst half finish ever.  Susan, a Denver local, went on to finish strong.  I wish I could have done the same.  

At mile 12 we go up an overpass that is quite steep.  I really wanted to run the whole "hill".  Didn't happen.  The wind is so strong, my number almost rips itself off.  At the top, I feel like throwing up.  As we walk, S tells me to do it.  "It's better to actually do it, than say you wanted to."  Good point.  But I don't seal the deal.  

When I'm walking at mile 12.5, S is exasperated.  "Come on, don't you want to finish this thing?"  Why, yes, yes I do.  He points out the finish line, and we run together to the finish.  I think I'm running fast, but B got some pictures and my stride is short, my arms are floppy and I look like I feel.

S is so sweet, he wore orange to be matchy matchy with us girls.
Check out his stride compared to mine.  Yep, I'm dying.
The good thing about being last among your friends?  Last one in gets finish pictures!  Thanks, B.  

The volunteers laid out the drop bags by bib number.  S picked up ours.  We found L and B right away.  LJ and Kara had walked to the food and back by the time we found them.  There was a free lunch, but the line was way too long.  I got bottled water, Vitamin Water, a clif bar and fruit snacks.  They ran out of this yummy coffee/chocolate milk drink before I could get one.  LJ shared hers with me (being fast has its perks, I need to remember that).  

We returned to the start with free tickets on the light rail.  Luckily, S made sure we got on the right train.  It was a fun ride, hearing about everyone else's races. Back at Arapahoe CC, S took one last group picture.

Tall girls in pink, short girls in orange. 
I am thrilled to have state #7, Rocky Mountain High Colorado, completed.  Sorry, B, I won't be running another half in your state.  B and L have warned me that halfs in New Mexico and Wyoming will be at altitude too.  Super.  

Next race?  Lake Lowell Half, in Idaho, in three weeks.  Time for a little redemption?

You can check out Becka's race report HERE.  And Kara's HERE.


  1. I say you did great in toughing it out, and S is an awesome support person. There's a reason why elites train at altitude. I lived in Denver once, and it took about 3 months to acclimate. Plus, wind sucks. That part about your lunch ticket tearing itself off made me laugh.

  2. Uhhh....I really need you to go back and re-write this with postive happy thoughts about how you kicked the altitiude in the teeth and stomped on its face. I signed up for RnR Denver in September and have NO IDEA how Im going totrain for 6000+ feet when I live in 3000+. Hmmmm...oh well....
    Anyway,to push through when you wanted to die...Im jealous your checking states off your list :) Its an awesome goal and way to get at it! I wonder if the wind was less if it would have helped you more....not really altitide but wind jacks up everything.
    Great job pushing through...I know it suckd for you but Im honestly glad to read a less then stellar race report blog. Sometime I feel like the bloggy moms I follow always have perfect races and I dont have perfect races :) Cant wait to hear about redemption in Idaho!!

  3. Check it off the list! It sounds painful, it sounds tough, but you did it!

  4. HAAAHAHAHAHAAA. I'm dying. You're pretty badass for even completing this race - I intended to run 8 miles, and ran/walked 3.4 And it sucked. I thought for some reason there would be magic oxygen inside the gym?? (spoiler, there's not).

    Yeah. CO is pretty. But breathing is fundamental.

  5. Way to tough it out. I've never done a race at a crazy altitude. Way to check state 7 off the list though!!

  6. The wind is not fun. For the High Speed Pursuit half I was walking as I could see the finish line. That really doesn't feel good on the ego at all. I'm seeking redemption at Lake Lowell too.

    Can't wait to meet you!

  7. You are one TOUGH lady, running a half in a state where the altitude is so different from what you're used to. I admire your grit for gutting through it, especially when you felt so sick. Congratulations on #7!!!

  8. That race sounds exhausting! I am little tired just reading about it. Think I'll go lay down now.

    Ok, way to tough it out and, sort of, enjoy the journey!

    P.S. Congrats on being famous!

  9. You did it and completed it.....and had fun also right? That is what matters. Awesome job.

  10. Congrats on completing state #7- you are on a roll! Will ID make state #8?

    You did a great job of embracing the experience even in less than ideal race conditions. I had to laugh at the "altitude PW"- very funny. :-)

  11. despite the race itself, fun weekend. glad to have finally met S as well. redemption will totally be yours in Idaho (and portland)

  12. ugh, totally understand on the whole altitude thing-happened to me in utah. no fun. love that S stayed with you the entire time! and that you got to see the girls :)

  13. Ah gorgeous!! Some day WE WILL race together!

  14. Man, you are ticking off those states!! Tough one, but it's done! Dreading those Western states. Altitude gets you that bad, huh?! Reconsidering the October Double... maybe I can talk my parents into watching kids? Send me the links to the races...

  15. Blogger fame! Woot!

    Good job on this one - sounds TOUGH!

  16. Oh wow, sounds like a challenge! I love that you got to run with S the whole time, and at least you got CO done and got to see the girls again!

  17. How coll that you were recognized from your blog clear in Colorado!

    "I wonder what an oxygen tank would feel like right now?" and "Now you'll have a sea level personal worst AND an altitude PW." This would earn a night on the sofa :) ha!

  18. Great memory! I'm always impressed when I read such detailed reports! It is another off your list. Sometimes the speed we want can't be there when the weather isn't what we need. But, that's one thing I love about running- running through all sorts of garbage!

  19. Wind and altitude sound like a tough combination. Great job sticking with it and finishing.

  20. It's soooo darn hard to run at higher altitudes. I did it over the holidays last year and thought something was seriously wrong with me. Like I wanted to schedule an appointment to see if I had asthma. Then I realized, oh yeah, I'm in the mountains.

  21. You did great! Wondered how you were going to handle that over pass. I'm signed up for Horsetooth this Sunday. Makes yours look like a walk in the park. Catch you next time!

  22. As always, it was great to see you. Sorry you had such a tough race. Next one will be better!

  23. We once played a bball tourney in Colorado...it is no joke!!

    I love that hubby matched you and that you got Bloggy recognized!! You are legit sister..


  24. I do NOT do well with altitude. Nice job getting 'er done, Kim! Very tough. Aren't there low places in WY & NM to run in? Yipes.

  25. Be proud, you did it! Who cares that it wasn't a PR...you accomplished something that many never will sweetie...by the way I hate running in the wind too! Great job pushing through the nausea and pain, wind etc...blessings!

  26. Good work out there battling the lack of air. (And battling too much air, too, I suppose. Holy 25mph gusts, Batman!)

    Did you lose your lunch tag completely? I hope you still got to eat!

  27. Congrats! This sounds like it was a really tough one. I'm not sure that's a state I plan to race in anytime soon.