Half Marathon Race Day Report
The Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half-Marathon celebrated its 34th year yesterday. It was a perfect day; with temperatures in the low 50s at the start of the race, slightly warming in to the 60s at the finish. The breeze from Georgetown Lake at the start of the race made the air temperature feel like it was in the 40s. I was eager to get started so I could warm up.
This course was 13.1 miles of the most beautiful mountain scenery imaginable. The course was slightly rolling, with a drop in elevation from 8500 ft to 7500 ft. (thank goodness we were losing elevation instead of gaining it). The race began with a 2 mile loop through the lower section of Georgetown and back around the lake. The next 11 miles was one beautiful scene after another. Running along Clear Creek past rafting companies, zip lines, and a historic gold mine, this was easily one of the most beautiful courses I have ever run.
I signed up for this race about three months ago when I needed to find some motivation to deal with a diagnosis of pernicious anemia instead of giving in to thinking that I couldn’t do long distance running anymore. I had a goal to smash my old PR and I am pleased to say that I did that by 6 whole minutes. Because I am crazy hard on myself I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to do it by more. My secret goal was to do the race in 2:10. I ended up with a time of 2:18.
At the halfway split my time was 1:00:54. Which meant that I was on track to do this race in 2 hours! My legs felt strong, my breath was good, and I was tuning in to the energy of the crowd around me. I distracted myself by picking out a person slightly in front of me, catching up to him/her, and then repeating this process over and over. I started to feel a bit tired around mile 8. I did a mental body scan to determine if this was just a voice in my head telling me I was tired, or if I really was beginning to tire. By mile 9 I had to admit to myself that my energy was flagging. I used the aid station at mile ten to suck down another GU and try to recharge with some Gatorade, but I really think that this was when the ‘wheels came off”. I had been texting my support team at every mile marker since mile 6. At mile 10, I texted my daughter Kimberly that my hip was “on fire” and she texted me back, “It’s not broken. Keep running.” This was in reference to Manteo Mitchell who helped his Olympic team qualify for the 400 meter relay by running 200 meters on a broken leg. (http://espn.go.com/olympics/summer/2012/trackandfield/story/_/id/8251820/2012-london-olympics-us-runner-manteo-mitchell-finishes-4x400-meter-relay-broken-leg) She knows that this was what I needed to hear to fire me up mentally. That might sound a little harsh to someone who doesn’t know me as well, but anything sugar coated would have sent me to the place of “Oh well…my hip hurts so I guess I’m just not going to get my PR today”.
At mile 11, I texted Kimberly “I am fading”. To which she replied, “You have 2 miles left. You can run 2 miles for breakfast. Keep going. Haul yourself across the finish line, and I will see you in a few minutes”.
She was right of course, but when both of my calves started cramping right after, I literally lost 8 minutes off of my pace time in the last 2 miles. At mile 12, I looked at my watch and realized that I could walk the last mile if had to and still beat my previous PR, but I really wanted to smash that thing. So I jogged, walked, and stretched repeatedly the whole last mile. The finish line was such a welcome sight and the first time I’ve ever run a race where I was literally in pain and grumpy at the end.
However, the memory of the pain was shortlived when I was surrounded by my family and realized that my other daughter, Cassie, had flown in from Albuquerque just to see me cross the finish line. The whole family had kept this a secret from me so that I would be surprised. My son, Ben had picked her up from the airport and secreted her up to Idaho Springs so that they all were there to support me. I thought I would collapse and cry, but instead I just got a great big smile on my face and gushed about how I love my family and what a great support system they are.
This was a great race with lots of really great memories. Not the least of which was my friend and co-worker who ran her very first half-marathon after training for only a few weeks and had a “helluva” great time at 2:32. She is a total rock star! I expect we will be crossing the finish line together at our next half marathon!
If you're gonna get in the saddle, you'd better be ready for the ride.