That Dam Run–Half Marathon {recap}

Workout Wanda: A 2 mile warm up in 19:52 + That Dam Run half marathon in 2:10:06!

I got to sleep in this morning. It was awesome. I’m not saying the alarm didn’t get snoozed for 20 minutes but 6:21am is far better than 4:21am! I am seriously loving these 10am race starts. Not sure what I’m going to do for the Get Lucky 21K when I have to be up, at ‘em and driving at 3am – it might kill me.


I got up, got myself put together, ate breakfast and headed out the door. The race was only 15 miles away but I wanted to get there early enough to throw down a solid warm up before it started. I wasn’t planning on actually racing the race…instead it was going to be part of a 15 mile long run.

Unfortunately for my bank account I’m making a habit out of using races as part of training runs. So far I’ve only run a few long runs on my own – all the others have involved writing checks, getting “free” tshirts, pinning on bibs and running with a whole passel of fellow runner crazies. I like it. My wallet hates it!

the morning looked to be completely gorgeous. It was about 35* when I left the house, sunny and just plain awesome. I planned on running in a skirt, tank top, long sleeve top, compression socks and gloves. That plan changed as soon as I stepped out of my car into 45*!

Prior to today I’d never run around the Cherry Creek area so I spent my 2 mile warm up exploring a tiny bit of the area. I think it is safe to say that I will be back…and parking outside of the park to avoid paying the fees!


Even the geese were crazy happy! I was running along the lake/reservoir but not really paying much attention when I kept hearing these splashing noises. When I rounded the bend I saw all these geese frolicking in the water.

After my 2 mile warm up run I had just enough time to scamper back to my car, grab my bib and get my butt over to the start line. There were 300ish half marathoners and almost 500 5K’ers with races that started just 5 minutes apart. I’m really impressed with how well the start went. They had volunteers holding a big fence/flag up to divide the half’ers and 5K’ers which worked great.


The first three miles went down on a two lane paved road – the Dam Road – so there was plenty of room and it took all of 500 feet for everyone to spread out and get into their groove. A great start to a training run, eh?

My legs were tired. Not broken, but tired. I guess you’ll have that after 5 miles with stair climbing will do that! But aside from tired legs I was doing good. The sun was hot which made the wind feel delicious. Sure, I had to fight the wind but when it died down or I ran by a sheltered area the sun was hot…made me a little thankful for the wind!

There was a course map posted online but it wasn’t that informative and there was no elevation information. I figured running up and over a dam would involve a bit of an incline but I wasn’t prepared for the hills that came after the dam!


This was a perfect out and back course. I don’t hate out and backs…but on my way out I knew the run back as not going to be any fun! There were only two big drops that I noticed on the way out but apparently as soon as we got off the dam we started down hill and kept on going until the turn around. Then we started back up…


At least the elevation chart made me feel a little bit better about my pace continually rising on the way back! At the turn around I had a pretty little average pace of 9:44. It didn’t take long for that to change!

The hills – er, hill? – were killing me. But the good news is they were killing everyone else too. Starting at about mile 5 I began picking people off and kept on going, all the way to the finish! I wasn’t running this as a race – my focus was on keeping my effort relatively steady throughout the run. If I had an HRM on I think my effort would have been pretty consistent, which I’m happy with!

If the hills of 8.5-10.5 weren’t enough to kill me the last three miles were a complete mental battle.  The first and last three miles were along the Dam Road. At Mile 10 I could see the finish line…and just wanted to be done. Done! Now!


In this last stretch my primary focus was not dying. And even though I definitely was not racing I had to do something race-like to beat the mental humdrum. As I trucked along I picked out anyone ahead of me that even looked like they were going to take a walk break and forced myself to stick with the consistent effort that would get me past them. It worked – I passed about 15 people in that last 3 miles!

I didn’t force the pace as I neared the finish but I did have to put a little kick into it. There was this girl just a few feet ahead of me…and I was going to beat her. Okay, so yeah, I may have raced just a teeny tiny bit at the end. Oops.

{ps – we crossed the line at basically the same time, good enough for non-racing me!}

As soon as I crossed the finish line a volunteer handed me a medal. Sweet! My first Colorado medal! I’ve run plenty of Colorado races but they’ve all been smaller so no medals. Today I got to hang one more medal on the wall!

…trying to look normal while photographing myself as random strangers walked by…

After grabbing all the treats I could discreetly manage to stash I headed for the car where I stretched it out good. I don’t always spend quality time stretching after a race but my legs needed it. To pass the time contorting behind my car I decided to attempt a few self portraits…yeah, we are going to go ahead and write that all off as dehydration/exhaustion delusion!

Over all this was a great race. It wasn’t easy but it didn’t kill me. I wasn’t madly in love with running the entire race but I never really hated it either. And the 13.1 miles of racing was the longest distance I’ve run in this training cycle without any breaks – my last 15 miler went down as a 5 miler then 10 milers with a 20 minute break. I’m happy.


And today I got more than just a good race/long run…I got a pretty new shirt, my first Colorado medal and a bit of sunburn, in March. Yeah – that’s what I get for bragging to Jena about the beautiful 30-something weather I got to run in yesterday after she recapped her 15K in crazy heat/humidity.

I seriously love Colorado. Sorry Wisconsin, you’ve been replaced!


That Dam Run–Half Marathon {recap} — 12 Comments

  1. Great race! I always think that elevation charts make hills look so much wimpier than they really are. Glad you enjoyed running in the Cherry Creek area. We still should get out there together.
    Kathy recently posted..A hilly long run.My Profile

  2. Great race! I am an elevation wimp. I am spoiled with flat trails to run on around my house :) I would have died for sure. Is it wrong I am jealous of your sunburn?
    Bree recently posted..27 weeksMy Profile

    • Somehow I usually find flatter runs around home…then run races like this. Yeah, that makes sense. As long as you are cool with wearing the same style sports bra over and over then a sunburn in March is totally worth it!!

  3. Sweet sunburn (ha ha ha!) Seeing the finish line miles away is BRUTAL! That’s how it is during the 15k. As soon as we exited the neighborhood around mile 5ish we can see the horizon, which is where the finish line is.. It’s horrible. You have to really focus on not watching the buildings. ugh.

    Congrats on a great race, and on your first Colorado medal! Woot!!
    Jena recently posted..Race Recap: Gasparilla 15k 2012My Profile

    • This afternoon I noticed some new tan lines…just below my knees! I wore my compression socks which means they were knee high, so I have a cut little ring around the top of my shin/calf. So sexy!!

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