It’s been so long since I’ve shared a race recap with you. It’s been an interesting past year for me. First making the big move from Arizona to Colorado and trying to get adjusted to the altitude and hills that Colorado is known for. Then about the time I was starting to get adjusted I ended up in the hospital with blood clots in my head. Dealing with the blood clots was a huge set back for my training and racing, but it was also a blessing in disguise. It forced me to slow down, take a break, get healthy again, and really appreciate running and realize what a gift it was to be able to run. So, finally late this spring after making it through my first real winter, my running started to come together again. My mileage increased and I got the itch to race again. There are so many races to choose from here in Colorado, so it was hard to pick one. However, I finally chose the Revel Rockies Half Marathon.
I thought this would be a great race for me for a couple of reasons. First off, it started up in Evergreen, which is a small little town just outside of the mountains. The course would take a road straight down through Evergreen and finish at Bandimere Speedway. When I say straight downhill, I mean STRAIGHT DOWNHILL. This was the second reason I chose this race. While I have accepted and improved on my hill running, it is by no means one of my strengths. Since this would be my first time racing in almost a year, I figured a downhill race would be a good confidence booster. You may be thinking a downhill race is a piece of cake, but in actuality it’s pretty rough on the body and takes longer to recover from afterwards. My sister came up with some great workouts for me to do that would help get my body used to the 13 miles of pounding downhill that my legs would endure. It was nice to have actual workouts again instead of just logging miles. My running was finally starting to feel like it had a purpose again.
The morning of the race I was up at 3:30 to get to the bus that left at 5:00 for the race that started at 6:30…No one should be waking up at 3:30! After the initial grogginess wore off I was full of nerves and adrenaline. When the bus finally got up to Evergreen I did my usual routine of standing in line for 15 minutes to use the port-a-potty, stretch, and do a quick warm up run. I was so glad that I had packed a long sleeve shirt to wear before the race because it was windy and cold! I was sad when it was time to ditch my long sleeves and drop bag. I was left standing there shivering in the cold in my shorts and tank top. Luckily I wasn’t the only one and stood there with several other women jumping up and down trying to stay warm and keep our muscles loose.
Finally, the gun went off and I bolted out as fast as I could. This is typical for me because I like to get out of the congested mess of runners so that I don’t get blocked behind slower people. Once I got in a position I was comfortable with I slowed my pace slightly until I was running comfortably. The course was truly a consistent winding downhill until the last 1/4 mile. The views along the way were beautiful and distracting which was just what I needed. I didn’t start to feel the effects of running downhill until around mile 8. At that point my lower calves started to ache from the strain and my quads were feeling all of the repeated force and pounding. I kept going, keeping a close eye on my pace and finding girls ahead of me to catch up to and pass. If there was one downside to this race it was that there were almost no spectators to cheer you on. Because the road we were running on was one way up and one way down, they had blocked almost all traffic. The only place to cheer on the runners was the finish. There were however signs of encouragement set up along the side of the road. One that stuck with me almost the whole race said, “99% of the people in the world can’t do what you are doing right now”. That saying struck a chord in me and made me truly appreciate what I was doing at that moment.
As I headed into the final mile of the race I continued picking up my pace, determined to catch one more girl that I had been trailing the whole way. When I finally passed her I ran full speed to the finish with no idea how far behind me she was. All I knew is that I wasn’t going to let her pass me at the finish. Crossing that finish line never felt so good! A year of working my way back to this point had finally paid off. I felt good and I was proud of myself. I was all smiles as I received my finishers medal and collected all the yummy food lined up just past the finish line. When I got the results from the race I was surprised and pleased with my time and place. My finishing time was 1:29:59, overall the 8th female out of 585, and 3rd out of 97 females in the 30-34 age group.
Now that I have a starting point back into racing after the chaotic year working back into it, I am excited to keep going! So excited that I am doing another half marathon Labor Day morning. Yep, like I said, I’m excited to keep going! This next race will be quite different from Revel Rockies (there is a 2 mile uphill to the finish) and I’m not expecting to have a time as fast, but I do know I’m going to go out there just like I did before and give it all I’ve got! Cheers to racing and to myself for working my way back to one of the things I love most!