Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RNR Denver Marathon (Recap)

Yes...Rock 'n Roll Denver was forever ago.

I've had a difficult time figuring out what exactly to say about Denver. My friends Michele, Eric #2 and I left late Friday night and drove overnight to get to Denver. Eric #2 needed to puke in Denver. Not cool.

We finally made it out of Denver once Eric #2 was feeling better. Our hotel was generously given to us, compliments of my awesome friends Desi and Ross - on account of Ross being a frequent gambler. The drive was an hour out of Denver, in Blackhawk, and it was absolutely gorgeous. Once we made it there, Michele and I showered (we arrived around 6am) and got ready for the day (note: no sleep whatsoever). Eric #2 opted to stay and sleep at the hotel, while Michele and I were determined to make the most of our time in Denver.

Nothing says "road trip" like a side of the road self-portrait!
We met up with a college buddy of mine for breakfast at a really awesome breakfast place. I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name...but I highly recommend whatever it was.

Double latte to make up for no sleep? Yes, please!
We made our way to the expo and fell in love with the area. We picked up our packets, checked out the gear, and walked around like zombies. The lack of sleep was starting to set in. However, we had a famous blogger sighting that perked us up for a bit! I believe her husband was tipsy while taking our photo...

Me,  Mrs. Shut Up and Run, and Michele

I don't really remember the rest of the afternoon. Eventually, we made our way back to Blackhawk, where we met up with Ross, Desi, Nickki, and Eric #2. Thankfully, Ross was afraid of me driving anymore (yay!) so we were able to ride back into Denver for dinner with everyone else. Of course finding a restaurant was chaos, but we eventually enjoyed our pre-marathon dinner. 

Eric #2, Me, Michele, Nickki, Desi

Race morning was so fun and exciting. Denver was marathon #5 for me, #2 for Michele, and Nickki, Desi, and Eric #2 were all first-timers. I had butterflies for them! That first one is just...so special.

Nickki's sister lived 3 blocks from the start (score!) so we had awesome parking, and a nice warm place to hang out before making our way to the start. And a clean bathroom! 

We had a billion "Go Green Team" and heard "Go Kansas!" over and over. The spectators in Denver were incredible. The course was very beautiful. I loved it. 

Here's where things get difficult to recap. Michele went from ok, to not ok at all. It ended with her in an ambulance around mile 15. We were all so worried, and it absolutely broke my heart to see my best running buddy not ok. Just awful. Still tough to think about. 

We were stopped around 20 minutes, and once we knew she was in good hands, we continued on our journey. The rest of the race was bittersweet, truly. There were good and wonderful moments. Absolutely. The first timers held it together so well. Desi and Nickki were both in pain, but carrying on. Eric #2 was doing great until about mile 21, where he started to get dehydrated, and to not look good. At once point we all agreed he would finish the marathon, but would go to the medic tent immediately afterward. 

Running, Running, Running
Sometimes, when you're running...you have to jump.

Happy to be near the end!
Group hug. 
Of course we held hands. Why wouldn't we? 

We wondered what happened with mile 23...it took forever. Turns out it was actually long, and everyone had their times adjusted a few days later. Official finishing time: 5:15:54

Such a bittersweet day. Still tough to think about. Awesome and awful, is all I can come up with. 

As an update, Michele met us at the end - and it was a huge relief to see her. Eric #2 wasn't ok at all, but  he has since recovered. Nickki and Desi are both doing well, and while they have some lingering pain, they're happy to be in the "marathon" club. 

Marathon #6 for me is in Las Vegas on Sunday. I'm very excited, and admittedly nervous, as well. I plan to get a big PR, and to enjoy the final race in my big goal of doing my first six marathons within six months. There's a blogger meet-up in the works, and I guarantee there will be pictures. Coach Scott will hopefully be up for pacing me, but something about running 100 miles in 15:46 a few weeks prior might cause an issue. My awesome friend Jennifer will be along as well, and she's aiming for a PR as well. My husband is running his first half-marathon, just a few months after his back surgery. Should be a fun weekend!

Have a great week!