Platte River Half + 4Miles {race recap}

Workout Wanda: A half marathon + 4 miles for 17.2 miles in 2:51:34, a pace of 9:59.

Today I ran 17.2 miles. Seventeen freaking miles. And more importantly I survived, barely. My goal was to make it to 18 or 19 miles but thanks to Fred’s disappearing act when I needed to leave the house I didn’t make it down to the race start in time to get a full 6 miles in. Instead I settled for only 4 miles. I figured I could add 2 or so more miles on after the race. Easy, cool down miles.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. This race was not easy. I know, I know. Races aren’t supposed to be easy but I’ve never really figured out how to really race a race. Heck, 75% of the time my goal is to have fun – not PR – so I don’t really know what racing is. In my book it just means I pay a bunch of money for a tshirt, medal and chance to run with other crazy people!


Anywho, about today’s race. I didn’t lay any gear out the night before. Partly because I was feeling lazy but mostly because I had no clue what the weather was going to be. Sure, the forecast could tell me a little something but I’ve learned that unless the forecast says “sunny” it probably isn’t right. Colorado is silly like that. I’d seen forecasts for snow, pouring rain, sleet, wind and below freezing temperatures for race day. None sounded appealing. The only thing I knew for sure was that I’d be packing quite a load of clothes to hand over at bag drop!

I woke up to a snow covered lawn but by the time I got to the race start at 7:30am I was perfectly comfortable in compression socks, a running skirt, a tank top and a long sleeve shirt. About 2 miles into my 4 mile “warm up” I stripped off the long sleeve shirt – this was going to be a good comfy race day. Or so I thought.

When standing around before the start I layered back – the sun had slipped behind the clouds. I had high hopes for it to return. My hopes were crushed. The sun basically spent the entire race hiding behind clouds. It’d peek out every once in a while to get our hopes up but it didn’t stay for long. As the race progressed my hope for sun was replaced with a grumbling dislike for the wind that had taken over. So much for my perfect race day.

During the first 4 miles of my day {the fake warm up} I was feeling pretty good. By the time I rolled around to the actual Mile 4 mark in the race – which was 8 miles in my little world – I had started counting down to the finish line. Not a great plan when you have 9 miles left in a race. Not a good plan at all.

Of course, I should have known it was going to be a long race…before the race course even made it to Mile 3 I had Pandora blaring in my ears. And I literally mean blaring. I couldn’t hear anything but the music. Not my breathing, not people talking, not the water station volunteers, nothing. It helped – even though it was country. Apparently country music helps you stick to a consist “easy” pace?

I distinctly recall cursing nearly everything imaginable, seriously hating on the guy I saw juggling as he ran {not kidding} and hating the existence of wind and sprinkling rain. By the time my Garmin hit Mile 11 and the race course came to Mile 7 I wanted to walk. I wanted to just give myself a breather to walk. I talked myself out of it. My lungs didn’t need a breather, it was my feet that hurt. The only way to make my feet stop hurting would be stopping all together – not exactly a great plan when you are running a Point A to Point B course…either way I’d have a long walk ahead of me!

Besides, I knew if I let myself walk once I’d keep letting myself walk. There would be no walking. I bargained with myself. I decided it was okay to slow down but no walking. Yeah, about that…with very few exceptions my pace stayed pretty consistent throughout the race. I guess that is a good thing – staying consistent even if I wanted to die!

…Garmin stats show a “moving time” of 2:51:34 and “moving pace” of 9:59…

…please ignore the 10:23 from Mile 6/2 – there was a major bottleneck in the course when everyone had to cross over a little 4 foot bridge surrounded by a rather steady stream of water. There was some standing still going on there. Other than that only Mile 5/1, Mile 12/8 and Mile 17/13 went outside of the 10-second window I managed to keep throughout the race.

Mile 5/1 can be expected as it was the first mile of the race. I have no idea what was going on with Mile 12/8 – I think that is the first time my Garmin showed an average pace of 10:00…I’d been staring at 9:59 for quite a while wanting to stick with it, I distinctly remember cursing the watch {because its obviously the watches fault I’m slowing down…} when it rolled over to 10:00! And I’m actually surprised Mile 17/13 isn’t slower – that’s the mile where we rounded a corner to be stared down by a viaduct that looked massive…with little runners on top. Awesome. Or not.

…total elevation gain of 248, loss of 347 – really not much by CO standards…

Also, I honestly have no recollection of the hill showing up around Mile 15/11. It looks like I should have felt it but I don’t remember it at all. I do remember passing a lot of people on the uphills – not would I would expect after the fun I had at Red Rocks – but I don’t remember hating life or hills around Mile 15/11. Hm? Not that I’m complaining…

Once we drug our exhausted bodies up the that evil hill in the last mile we were faced with a 0.2ish mile run down an open road…directly into the wind. Honestly hated the wind at this point. Hated it. It was steadily blowing directly into our faces and it sucked. By this time I didn’t really have much of a push to throw down – I just wanted to get across that stupid finish line so I could stop moving!

Initially I’d planned on running back to the Mile 12 sign and looping back to the finish to make it up to 19 miles. Up until I had to haul my tush up that stupid hill I was still planning on doing this. The hill talked me out of it. I mean, I didn’t really need a lot of persuasion but I’m blaming the hill.

When I was clawing my way to the finish line I’d heard a few people yelling my name. I figured it was just because it was typed on my bib – Chris was at work and I don’t exactly know a ton of Coloradans. Or so I thought. Turns out I knew about 6 people at the race – that’s more than I usually know at races in MN/WI!

As soon as I found my way to water I heard Courtney behind me! Yay for Twitter! I even recognized her fiancé Luke from Twitter. Weird and stalker-ish but true! Then I ran into one of the guys in the Wednesday night running group I occasionally show up to – also came upon a few other BRC people later on. I knew Kathy was also running the race so I hung out near the finish until I found her and her husband – by the way, even with the wind and all the other things I complained about Kathy PR’ed…by like 6 minutes!Crazy – and I’m new here, wonder how many people I’ll manage to recognize once I’ve been around for a while!

…and there you have it. A very wordy recap of the longest run I’ve had since October 2009. Yup – longest run since my first marathon. Crazy talk. And there are no photos because quite frankly the course wasn’t all that scenic and photo worthy. We did run along the river for all but about 3 miles but it wasn’t “ooh, must photograph” and I was too busy tricking myself into running to the finish!

{If any part of this post makes me sound a little more batty than usually I blame the delusion that comes with long distance running. I may have quit running hours ago but 17 miles + a full 8 hour shift on my feet prolonged the delusions…}


Platte River Half + 4Miles {race recap} — 12 Comments

    • I should probably look at routes a little more closely so I’m not so shocked. I was not even a little bit prepared for that, which is probably a good thing! I was tempted to just leap off the stupid thing…may have hurt less!

  1. Sounds like the weather was all over the place, but you made it through! Congrats on the 17 miles. For some reason I always felt like anything over 15 in particular was definitely a “big deal.” And I still think it’s a big deal. :-)
    Lisa recently posted..1 Week and Spot of the WeekMy Profile

    • Colorado weather is just crazy. But its really quite cool because you can see a storm system miles away and watch it make its way toward you. Much cooler if you aren’t stuck outside in said weather, but cool none the less.

      And 15 really was a milestone {ha.} for me – I had two 15 and one 16 for long runs so far, long but do-able without dying, so far!

    • Thanks! It really was a good race, it just wasn’t my day.
      I have plans to be at the Sneak but I haven’t paid yet…if all goes well {aka, I don’t accidently lose the cat outside} it should be part of a 20-22 mile run for me. Will you be there?

  2. I know what you mean by those little hills at the end. I’ve run the same half marathon the past three years and there’s this blip of a hill at the end. If that thing was anywhere else on the course I wouldn’t even remember it, but right at the end is just mean!
    Heidi recently posted..Photo of the week: March 27, 2012My Profile

    • After a few half marathons with miles before I’ve found that running a mile or few beforehand and a few times its actually made my half better -especially on colder days when I literally get to warm up and don’t have to ditch layers during the race! Thanks though, its getting harder and harder to get the miles in!

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