Wow what a race, I ran a PR and met an elite runner, it can’t get any better than that. I want to say that the two races that I have run in Denver have been very well put together, and the courses have been absolutely awesome.
The Denver Police do an outstanding job keeping traffic flowing and runners flowing without mishaps!
The course was well laid out and staffed and the aide stations were well organized.
Official Time: 1:35:24 (7:17 pace)
Race Number: 989
Ranking: Overall – 57/977, Age group (M3034) – 7/70, Male – 45/431
Distance: 13.1 (13.41 garmin) Nike+ – 13.22
Temperature: 50’s Start to 7.5 light rain, 7.5 to 10.5 – overcast, 10.5 to Finish – sunshine.
Starting: Riverfront Park in downtown Denver
Ending: Riverfront Park in downtown Denver
Start Time: 7:31 AM
Ending Time: 9:06 AM
Gear: Shorts, short sleeve tech shirt, injinji socks, Nike Elite 4, Forerunner 305.
Nutrition: Breakfast = Oatmeal, golden Raisins, honey
Nutrition: Pre-Race = 1 GU, 32 OZ Gatorade, supplements (endurolytes, anti-fatigue, sportslegs, race caps).
Nutrition: During Race = 1 GU, 8 oz GU2O, supplements (2 endurolytes, 1 anti-fatigue)
Splits: (Based on Garmin Forerunner)
Mile 1 – 6:46
Mile 2 – 7:01
Mile 3 – 6:02
5K – 20:35
Mile 4 – 6:53
Mile 5 – 6:55
Mile 6 – 7:11
10K – 42:21
Mile 7 – 7:29
Mile 8 – 7:26
Mile 9 – 7:18
Mile 10 – 7:25
Mile 11 – 7:17
Mile 12 – 6:57
Mile 13 – 7:25
Last .1 – 0:43
13.1 – 1:32:50
Saturday: I picked up my packet on Saturday at Riverfront Park. The packet was mainly race brochures and a T-shirt. There was also a Joint Juice and a bag of brown rice. This race went to the IPICO timing chips this year. The race start and finish are near the REI Denver Flagship location. You need to visit this REI if you ever have a chance, it is amazing! It has multiple levels, with climbing walls, children play areas, many walkways to explore, and tons of gear to look at. Outside the location, there are some rapids that you can navigate, places to swim, bike and running trails, A starbucks, and a tram for the kids to name a few things.
4:30 A.M. – Got up and prepped.
5:30 A.M. – Left the house to drive to Denver. It rained all the way to Denver.
6:45 A.M. – Arrived at the Start line after parking in Downtown Denver and walking about 1/2 mile to start. Free parking on Sundays at the meters in Downtown Denver.
7:00 A.M. – Sudden downpour with hail. It was similar to the conditions at the Denver Marathon, except the temps were 20 degrees warmer.
7:15 A.M. – We lined up in the start corral. The race had pace signs and the start was well laid out. I lined up in the 7 minute pace area. A few others lined up in the 6 minute pace area. Then Alan Culpepper came out. The groups moved forward a little as the time approached 7:30, I’ve never started a larger race so near the front and the elites. It was a very pumping moment. Just before 7:30, the national anthem was played, and we knew it was a matter of minutes until game time.
7:31 A.M. – We are off.
A continual light rain fell as we started the run. We weren’t very crowded and the pace felt good. I looked at my pace at the first mile and felt that I had started a little too fast. The force of being at the front of a race was great.
I fell into pace with a few other runners, namely a lady wearing a white and green Nike hat. I kept pace with her for about 3 miles, and then I backed off a bit when my 3rd mile was almost under a 6 minute pace.
The first 5 miles felt very similar to the Denver Marathon. There was a light rain, and we were running through the heart of Downtown Denver. The pace was quick, there were a few hills, but that early in the race, they tend to not zap you much. The course did weave a little bit, but everything was well marked and the volunteers and Denver Police were outstanding with their traffic direction, words of encouragement, & keeping runners moving in the right direction.
At 3.5 we came flying down a hill that we had just climbed, didn’t seem as steep when I came up. Even though the lady with the green and white hat was no longer a few feet from me, I kept her in site the whole race. This was the first time that we saw the other side of the runners that were behind us. I love courses that wind back on themselves, it really motivates you when you see the front runners.
Right before Mile 5, the course entered a bike path and we continued on. We passed over the river and over the rapids near REI and then turned and followed the river. The bike paths in Denver are great and this area around REI has so many things going on. As we continued down the path you can see Elitch Gardens Theme Park on the left. The rain let up as I exited the bike path.
Just before 6.5 we left the bike path and entered onto the road running alongside Invesco Field. At 7 there is a large inflatable Marine and a bunch of cheering Marines. You have reached Marines Hill. Wow, it seemed steep, it ended up being a 5% grade over .25 miles. (Mt Evans will be that the whole way).
After Marines Hill there were some slight hills, but most of the climbing was over. At 7.5, I saw Alan Culpepper heading down the opposite side of the course. He was at 10.5 and had just exited the lake area that I was getting ready to enter.
The next 2.5 miles circled a lake and then exited. Around 8 I took my GU and continued on. Exiting the Lake area, the sky was now blue and the sun was out. It was time to dry off.
Coming up on mile 11, there was a steady stream of people entering the lake loop. It was the home stretch now. We now ran down Marines Hill, I didn’t want to get going too fast coming down, so I took it at an easy pace. Then there was a short turn about and we were back on the bike trail. I notice that there wasn’t a 12 Mile sign and didn’t think anything of it. The course then ran very close to Elitch Gardens, it was too early for any park goers, but I had a nice view of some of the rides.
At 12.75 the mysterious missing 12 Mile sign showed up, and I had a moment of oh no, did I make a wrong turn, or was the course longer than it should be (I ran a 13.4 once). Then Nike+ said 400 Meters to go, and low and behold people were saying, right around the corner. After turning the corner, I saw the finish and speed up the pace. There was also a women’s 8K running the course and as we came onto the straight away, the 8K runners were entering the road, but they had the left side the Half Marathoner’s had the right, so no collisions. I ran across the timing mats and hit my goal of 1:35.
After getting a water and my medal and an empty bag to fill, I grabbed a few apple slices and continued onto the expo. The expo had about 30 vendors, alot were giving away free food samples, the Boulder Running Company had a booth set up and was selling running gear. Some of the free foods included, roasted chicken, peanut butter & banana wraps, & chocolate fondu. There were a variety of drinks like Joint Juice, Powerade, some kind of energy tea caled Pixie, and water. I was very overloaded with food & drink.
Alan Culpepper was giving a broadcast to a news reporter. I decided to go back to the car drop off the stuff and grab my camera. When I came back I got a picture with Alan and his autograph. He is a very nice guy and he was getting pictures taken with a bunch of different people. I stayed for the awards ceromony and then left the expo.
All in all, a great race that was very well put together and supported. A well stocked Post Race Expo with a lot of things to see and sample. I would definitely run this race again!
Millenium Bridge – 6:45 A.M. (the bridge between Riverfront Park and Lower Downtown Denver) – Before the rain started.