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2011 Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

October 31st, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I love the days when running feels effortless. If you run consistently for any length of time you will experience this at some point. The point at which you forget you are running, and working hard, and you lose yourself in the moment. Those days are my favorite days! I never thought in a million years that I would experience one of those days during a race, so my experience with the 2011 Denver Rock ‘n’ Roll half-marathon was completely unexpected!

I am still experiencing trouble with my plantar fascia. While I have been able to continue running and riding my bike, I have not been able to train with any direction for a year and a half now. My last race this year was the Bolder Boulder, and I struggled to meet the goal that I had set for myself. Since then I have not run more than 7-8 miles at a time, and never at any great pace. I had no plans whatsoever to run a half-marathon in October.

I was fortunate enough to win an entry to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver race through Brooks¬†which made my entry a sure thing. I was not so sure of how I would be able to run. I had run a few training runs in September where I struggled to run even 6 miles, 13.1 suddenly seemed like a significant challenge! When the day before the race arrived, the weather turned for the worse and the warm temperatures we had been used to disappeared, replaced by a cool 30 degree forecast for race day. I seriously considered not running for a moment, but then I committed myself. The expression: a “did not start” is always worse than a “did not finish,” kept me focused on getting to the starting line.

The morning start arrived, and despite cold temperatures, the crowd of people at the start kept things warm. I started in a pretty big group, and the pace was kept comfortable. I latched onto a pace group that was running around the time that I hoped to finish in. At that point I had no idea of whether I would be able to or not. But as the miles ticked off, I realized that I was not feeling tired, and that I had plenty of gas in the tank. As the sun rose and warmed the road, my running kept feeling better and better, and by 10 miles I knew I had to dial it up. I ramped up, well into 10k pace as I finished out the final miles, and still I felt as if I could keep going. I crossed the finish line with a strong sprint (helped by the beautiful downhill finish of the course) elated by the feeling of racing again!

It ended up being my slowest half-marathon, but with the lack of training and the uncertainty going in, it was just the boost I needed to start getting my running back on track! I was lucky enough to experience one of those days where it all comes together, and even better it happened on a race day! I don’t mind anymore that my foot still hurts, and that I can’t train to get faster. I’m happy enough to keep running and stay healthy, because the end goal is to still be running races like this one, no matter how fast, long into old age!

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