, ,

burning tree I wake up at 4:30 this morning for the Denver Marathon.  First, I shower and shave.  Not something I would generally do before a run, but I didn’t do either of these things Saturday and I’m a bit ripe.  I never made a decision on what socks to wear the night before.  I go for the knee-high compression socks.  I don’t wear them much because I don’t like dressing like a girl.  I’ve had issues lately with my calves cramping though and they are supposed to help mitigate that risk.  Plus, I suspect I might appreciate the warmth today.  Pulling on compression socks is a chore.  I check my toes first because they can be a bit sensitive.  One of my toe nails falls off after touching it.  Think of leprosy, I did.  There’s a new toe nail growing about half way to where it needs to be.  I wonder how long it will take to become a real toe nail.  Good thing we’re headed into winter.

I have a doughnut on the drive to Denver, along with my coffee.  Not sure why I bought those last night.  Probably because they are decorated for Halloween.  The road closures are already in place but it’s straightforward for me to park at the Denver Art Museum garage at 12th and Broadway.  This close-up parking is included with my Platinum Lounge – where I head next.  They have gas heaters setup.  Nice.  I hang here and put together my gear – pin my race bib on, load my fuel and I decide to wear my iPod.

match strideI don’t catch her name but chat with the lady standing next to me in the corral.  She’s from Indianapolis so we mostly discuss the Broncos game tonight which is fairly hyped up over Peyton’s return to play the Colts.  This race will publish my splits to facebook, as well as text some friends who provided their mobile numbers.  I start my Garmin as I cross the starting line but for some reason don’t look at it much.  I read the race clocks and am a bit concerned I might be running too fast.  I feel fine though.  In terms of breathing.  I’m a bit nauseous from the doughnut during the first 10K.  Not the smartest food choice, but what better time to eat a doughnut than before a 3000 calorie marathon?

I know a 7:30 pace is too fast for the first 5k.  I try to slow down a bit but otherwise feel comfortable with this speed.  I’m not breathing hard.  The 10K comes in at a 7:40 pace.  A slight moderation.  I begin to feel fatigue in the second half but don’t slow down much.  I eat my first fuel – other than sipping Gatorade at the aid stations.  I eat a chia seed bar.  This takes me a full mile.  I see Chris with his daughter and mine while eating my chia bar.  Chris takes photos of me throughout the second half of the marathon.  These pics of me in this blog are what he captured.  Thanks buddy.  Afterward he took the kids to Elitch Gardens.

red tree After 16 miles my pace begins to slow down.  I turn off my iPod at 18 miles.  The 3:30 pace sign passes me at 19 miles.  I try to hang with it but can’t.  I’m still averaging 8:05 per mile at 20 miles but am now running closer to 9 minute miles.  Then my right hamstring cramps at 20.4 miles.  A couple of sweethearts come to my aid with a banana and water.  I lose some time here but recover.  Unfortunately I am forced to purposely run slower than I’m capable of from here on out to keep my hamstring from cramping again.  I suspect I lose a minute per mile on my pace, so this likely added 5 to 6 minutes to my overall time.  I’m OK with this actually.  I had a good run.  I cross the finish line in 3:47:16.

I don’t think the starting temperature ever warmed up.  They hand out foil wraps at the finish and I take one.  The wind was not an issue during this run but it did pick up a bit in the final miles and added a chill to my sweat-soaked shirt.  It doesn’t take long before I begin to shiver.  I head for the Platinum Lounge for a post-race recovery.  I meet some guys near a gas heater – Jake and Charlie.  They ran the half marathon so have been here awhile.  Jake has already had 3 massages.  The lounge is nearly empty and there’s little competition for resources.  I wonder how many Michelob Ultras they drank.

finishI change into dry gear but it’s still cold and I continue to shiver.  I know this is because my body is too depleted to defend itself against the cold.  I’m also on the verge of cramping.  Not just my legs but my stomach, torso sides and hips.  I keep things in check but vomit all the food and drinks I ate since finishing.  Sucks because I need those electrolytes.  I feel better afterward though and it’s my turn for a massage.  The massage lady freaks out a bit because of my shivering.  Or maybe because I’m overly vocal about my pain.  That’s my style.  Some of us are screamers.  She cuts the massage short because she thinks she might hurt me.  Wimp.  Then she calls over the medical staff because I refuse to go to their tent.  This is silly.  I’m delicate but am drinking my electrolytes and avoiding cramps.  Did I mention the masseuse spilled my beer?

I commend the race on this level of care but I’m experienced and know I don’t need any help.  I was in their medical tent last year and forced to drink a bottle of Gatorade spiked with salt.  It was like drinking from the Gulf of Mexico.  The doctor asks me some questions to ensure I am fine.  She wants me to go to the tent but I provide the right answers to remain in the lounge.  “Have this ever happened to you before?”  “Yes, this is nothing really.”  “Have you vomited?”   “No.”  Not only am I fine and just need a little time to refuel, but I can guarantee you the med tent doesn’t have gas heaters or beer.  The doctor lets me stay.

I drive home when I can’t stand the cold anymore.  The temperature continues to drop and the wind is picking up.  I pick up my first ever Five Guys Burger.  They are awesome.  Karen has a roast slow cooking and serves it later with twice-baked potatoes.  Watching Denver in a close game now with the Colts.  Another epic run and a great day.