On Oct. 19, I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll Denver Half Marathon – it was my first ever!! And wow, what an experience.
I didn’t realize how much fun running a half marathon would be….yes, I did just put ‘fun’ and ‘half marathon’ in the same sentence. But for real, you guys, it was FUN!
I’ll be honest, I didn’t get much sleep the night before because of nerves. I didn’t want to oversleep, I was worried about finding a parking spot, I was worried about actually finding the dang race (I’m directionally challenged), and I was worried about what to wear, what to bring, and if I was even going to survive. 5:45 am came early.
The morning of, I wasn’t sure what to eat. I ate a banana and some chia seeds and called it good. Next time, I will definitely plan on eating more beforehand. And drinking more water. Arriving at the event with a good amount of time before the start was my first accomplishment of the day (actually my first accomplishment was not forgetting my bib – that would’ve been embarrassing). All I could think was: there are so many people here! I believe over 15,000 turned out for the race. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect – crisp and cool with a slight breeze. You never know in Colorado, it could have been a blizzard that day.
I found the starting line and my corral, which seemed sooooo far away from the actual starting line. As the crowd slowly crept up as more waves began, my nerves went away and I just got excited! A little after 7:30 am, I was off!
There was so much energy along the course, from other runners and from those cheering us on. Because it was a Rock ‘N’ Roll there was live music throughout the course, in addition to many fun, encouraging, and hilarious signs from spectators. (Mile 7 sign: ‘You got STAMINA……call me’ ….*giggle*). I was hesitant about running with other people – I normally run by myself (with my dog) and have only done virtual 5ks and 10ks in the past. I also never run with music. So this was a big deal.
The course was absolutely beautiful: It took us through downtown Denver and up into a suburb called the Highlands, around a beautiful lake (my favorite part of the entire run), and then back down through downtown.
I felt good going through the course, especially with the minimal training I was able to do due to a hip injury that I sustained back in June. Previous to the race, the farthest I had run was 7 miles. I had every intention of listening to my body if I started to really hurt anywhere – I accepted that I would walk at some point. During the race I told myself I could walk at the halfway point, but, when I reached it, I didn’t feel the need to. So, then I told myself I could walk at mile 8. Mile 8 went by, then 9, then 10, and then WHAM! Mile 11. It hit me like a wall…or maybe I hit a wall. Either way, my body was ready to be done – my already slow pace slowed even more. At that point, though, I figured if I could go without walking to mile 11, then I could sure as hell go to mile 13.1. Miles 11 and 12 never seemed to end.
I can’t begin to express how happy I was when the course split off between the full marathoners and the half marathoners, and that I definitely wasn’t doing the full. (Maybe one day, but not anytime soon) The energy exploded from the crowd on the sidelines about a half mile from the finish – it was the boost I needed. I quickened my pace and pushed myself to finish strong. It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish. Crossing that finish line was one of the biggest accomplishments I have ever had.
I had a goal in mind that I wanted to finish under 2:30………I finished in 2:24:51.
It was such an amazing experience! Whether you walk, or run, or do a combination of the two, I would strongly recommend to anyone that you at least try one out. If I can do it with a fused left foot after 3 surgeries, overcoming compartment syndrome with another surgery, and coming off of a hip flexor tear, YOU can definitely do it! Plus, chocolate milk will never taste so good in your life.
I’ve created a monster.