Here is the motion based info from this run: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/episode/view.do?episodePk.pkValue=4228845

Saturday: T-minus 1 day.

Well, the rain started early on Saturday morning.  We went down to Denver and checked into our room and went to the expo.  We were lucky enough to get a room at the Adam’s Mark hotel.  This hotel was the site of the expo and was only 1 block from the start line.  The hotel offered a room special of $109 for marathon runners and had a late checkout of 2pm (by request).  The only bad point about the room was the low water pressure in the shower.  Everything else was great.  The hotel was also right across the street from the 16th street mall.  There were a number of stores, movie theatre and restaurants here and a free bus that will take you along the whole 16th street mall area.  There is also a two story Niketown at this location.

The expo had about 25 vendors, the usual race booths, apparel, Cliff bars, and assorted running equipment.  Saturn did have a drawing for a car and they gave away cow bells, which were noticeable along the course.  I picked up a running belt called a Spibelt (http://www.overtonfitness.com/spibelt.php).  This belt had a little pouch that would stretch, the proprietor showed how you could fit 6 GU’s comfortably into the pouch.

After the expo, I met up with my Coworker that was also running the race.  When we signed up for the marathon, we utilized a buy on entry get a 2nd entry for free for first time Denver Marathon runners.  So we ended up paying $45 each to run the race.  We tried to get into Maggiano’s, but our 30 minute wait kept getting longer, until the two hour wait was too much.  We went next door to the Hard Rock Café, where I enjoyed a nice spicy Mac & Cheese with Chicken.

After Dinner we made our way a few blocks to the Temple Buell theatre where we had tickets to see Brad Sherwood and Colin Mochrie from Who’s Line is It.  The show was very funny and was well worth the money.  It was a nice way to help get rid of pre-race jitters.  It was nice timing that the show was in town at the same time as the marathon.

Sunday: Race Day

The Denver Marathon had a promotion that any Chicago marathon runner that didn’t finish the Chicago marathon could run the Denver Marathon for free.  I thought this was a great thing for the Denver Marathon to do.  After the conditions of the run though, I was wondering how any Chicago Marathon runners felt.  High 80’s in Chicago one week, mid 30’s and raining the next week.

Pre-Race

I got up at 5:30 and prepared for the race, the usual shower, stretching, etc.  I had my usual race breakfast of oatmeal with honey and raisins.  Then I went downstairs to meet up with my 2 friends who were also running the race.  Everyone was crowded into the downstairs wearing trash bags and anything else to stay dry.  Outside the rain had continued through the night and a steady drizzle was falling.  We stood by all of the cliff pace group and moved toward the start line at about 7:30 am. 

The start line had a variety of vendors and some pre-race food and drink, people were huddled together wherever to stay warm and dry.  We made our way to a nearby building and hung out until 7:50 am.  We then went to the start line.  There were signs posting where to go in the start shoot depending on race pace.  We found the 3:50 pacer and waited for the start.  It was announced that the Denver Marathon had a 100% increase in race participants in its second year, which was a U.S. record for marathon growth.  They stated that there were over 7500 marathon runners.

The Course:

The course was a pretty good lay out; there were a few hills at mile 4, 10, 15, and 25 coming up to the finish.  The aid stations were great; they had Gatorade well labeled with green Gatorade cups and water in plastic cups.  The Denver Police did an outstanding job with keeping traffic under control.  Thanks to them for keeping the runners safe from the traffic.  One side note about the course was the lack of timing mats for splits.  There were not any split times for the marathon.  I had my Forerunner to record my splits, but I found it interesting that such a large marathon wouldn’t at least have a mat at the midpoint.

The spectator support was never lacking, every mile of the course had cheering fans with cowbells.  There were so many cowbells that the race could have been renamed to the Denver cowbell marathon.  The race bibs had first names on them, and it took me by surprise the first time someone said my name and that I was doing great.  All throughout the course, spectators were congratulating runners, pushing them on, and doing a great job of cheering.  The fan support was so awesome.

The course wound its way through downtown Denver, through 3 different parks and residential areas.  Then it finished back downtown at the start line.  My Garmin registered 26.56 miles with a -10 ft total elevation change.  I ran with my fuel belt, but only ended up using 2 of the flasks and I used about half of the aid stations for water.  I wrapped my nano in a baggie and stored it in a pouch, it worked fine and registered 27.1 miles.  When I tried to upload though, the file wasn’t on the nano, it recorded my marathon time under records, but didn’t have the run info.

Race:

We started a few minutes after 8 A.M. to allow some of the wheelchair racers to get farther along the course.  We were then off, it was the usual slow go for the first half mile or so and the steady fall of rain kept everyone moving.  At mile 3, I ripped out of the trash bag I was running in and continued on.  I felt great even with the continual rain fall.  I saw a billboard that said the temp was 34F, it didn’t feel that cold.

At mile 5 we were heading into the first park, and this was where we glimpsed the race leaders, we were heading into the park and they were heading out.  They speed past us and we all cheered, it was really great to be able to see the race leaders, and it was a boost of energy.  There were a few times in the course where you could see the other side of the course.  Seeing runners both ahead of you and behind you is pretty cool.

I continued on feeling great and running my best tempo for a long run, I hit 5K in 25 minutes, 10K in 50 minutes, and my half at 1:47:38.  I was maintaining a great 8:13 pace and feeling great.  I was taking in GU and electrolytes every 6.5 miles and I was on track for a sub 4 hour marathon.

Then at Mile 17 my legs started going numb, and for the first time my split was over 10 minutes.  I had dropped from an 8:43 at 16 to a 10:07 at 17.  That was the start of my leg problems.  One of my friends passed me and encouraged me to keep going.   I hit the 20 mile mark at 2:55, which was 20 minutes faster than I had ever reached mile 20.  My legs were so numb that I couldn’t even feel them; it kept feeling like something was hitting the back of my legs, like something fell out of my fuel belt or something.  Mile 21 I felt some calf pain, and by 23 my quads were shot.  My legs were just so numb that it was painful to run or walk.

Well, I pushed on and saw the 3:40 pace group pass me at 17, then the 3:50 group passed me at 20. Somewhere around 23 the 4:00 pace group passed me and I knew that I wouldn’t be going under 4 hours today.  I kept pace with the 4:15 group and lost them on the final hill.

At 25.7 miles there was a band playing and there was an aid station, which I thought was interesting so close to the finish.  We could see the finish line on the other side of the block, but we had to run around the corner to get to it.  I ran through the finish and got a Mylar blanket which helped keep me warm.  I then couldn’t stop shivering.  I saw Theresa, she had braved the elements to see me finish and was a great sight.  My other friend crossed the finish line 4 minutes later.

I started to get really cold then, and we headed back to the hotel, which luckily was only 1 block away.  I soon was in a nice warm shower, but still couldn’t get warm.  About 10 minutes later under blankets, I was finally warm and got rid of the chills.

Later we went over to get some carry out from Maggiano’s and a large hot chocolate from Barnes & Noble.  I then went over to NikeTown and tried on some Equalon 2s.  They felt really good, I still have a few pairs of Equalon 1’s to burn, but definitely will be giving the Equalon 2s a look.

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