Last weekend I combined a visit to see my daughter with the Colfax Denver Urban 10 Miler. We arrived Friday and stopped by the expo before we went to my daughter’s place, spent Saturday hiking around Colorado Springs at Garden of the Gods and Seven Falls, and dedicated Sunday to racing, recovering, and heading home. What a weekend!
My Five Questions Answered
First, let me answer the five questions I had as I headed to Colorado last weekend.
- How did I get to the start? A very long Uber ride, necessitated by all the detours required to get around the road closures.
- What time did I start? Shortly after 8:00 am.
- How did the elevation impact my running? I let my breathing set my pace, which shows in my pacing. Afterwards, I definitely felt my exercise-induced asthma even though I used my inhaler before and after I ran.
- How did my husband find me? He had no problems finding the finish area, but I had to call him to tell him were I was. It was the biggest post-race party I’ve ever seen with the three races converging in City Park.
- How did I manage on the flight home? The flight home was no problem! I made sure to eat right after I finished the race, which for some reason seems to ward off post-race GI issues. I wore compression socks and did a few stretches while waiting at the gate, so maybe that helped too.
If anyone from @RunColfax is reading this, you should know that I learned about this race when you sponsored #Runchat. How cool is that?
Five Things About The Colfax Denver Urban 10 Miler
Since this was such an unusual race, I’m going to try an unusual race recap format, and focus on five things I learned at the Colfax Denver Urban 10 Miler.
1. Although parking for the Urban 10 Miler is in a shopping center parking lot, the race start is at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design behind the shopping center. It took me about 1/2 hour to figure that out–a 1/2 hour well spent cheering on marathoners and using the bathroom at the laundromat. Once I turned the corner I heard the music, saw a bank of port-a-pottys, and realized where all the other Urban 10 runners were warming up.
Posing by the big gold nugget at the starting area.
My weather app said it was chilly, but the sun said otherwise.
2. The rolling start was pretty neat. I was in Wave B, and Waves A-C were scheduled to start between 8:00 and 8:30. At 8:00, they invited elite men to start, then elite women, then Wave A, then Wave B, etc. For each wave, a few people lined up at the start, the race photographer took a picture, and then they took off with a “go” signal. Someone said it felt like waiting to go down a water slide.
3. The course was varied and interesting. One reason I chose this race was the promise of an interesting course, and it certainly was. Before the race I had mentally divided the course into four segments: (1) the first straightaway down Colfax; (2) the detour through Mile High Stadium; (3) the run through downtown Denver; and (4) the final push through City Park. Each segment looked and felt different and the variety helped keep me going.
Hiding from the sun on Colfax
Running through the stadium!
Now that I’ve run the course, I’d add a fifth segment–the section along South Platte River between the stadium and the city.
Running along South Platte River
4. The elevation profile is a net negative. Seeing the elevation profile gives me more insight into my pacing. My legs took advantage of the first downhill miles for sure! There really was only one legitimate hill, and it was a short one in downtown Denver.
5. I still suck at pacing–or maybe not. When my first four miles were pretty evenly paced, I thought I was in for a steady race, similar to the GW Parkway Classic. I lost hold of that pacing when I ran through the stadium–so many twists and turns–and struggled as we ran along the river. I had decided to let my breathing set my pace–since my exercise-induced asthma is usually pretty quiet I didn’t know how hard I could push myself without triggering a full-on asthma attack–and that really slowed me down in the middle miles. Instead of letting those upper 8s and 9s mess with my head, I decided to enjoy the day and reminded myself that I could ramp up from a slower pace when I was ready–something I’ve learned from those OTF treadmill intervals.
I was confused as we approached the finish area, and ended up starting my final push too soon. I saw runners heading in from the right, and thought we somehow had to do an out-and-back until I realized those were the half marathoners merging in. Then, I thought I saw the finish line over to the left, but it turns out that was the starting line from the marathon. I seriously thought I was going to run out of steam a hundred yards too soon, but somehow I made it across the finish line.
Are we there yet?
I was pleased with my Garmin time, but then bummed when I saw my official time was slower–1:26:13. (Who else but a runner gets bummed over 7 seconds?!)
But then I kept reading my “official results” email and saw that I placed 5th in my age group!
Not only that, but everyone else in the top 10 was from Colorado–and used to the elevation, right?
OK, maybe all the serious runners were doing the half or full, but I’m still going to be proud! 🙂
As I said, the post-race party was the biggest I’ve ever experienced. After we collected our medals, we were offered bagels, bananas, yogurt, Cliff bars, Muscle Milk, ice cream bars, and more. (Maybe that’s normal for a marathon?) I took a bagel, banana and ice cream bar, and made my way to bag check where I hoped to find my husband.
The view from the bag check hill –look at the snow on those mountains!
I wasn’t much in the mood for a post-race beer, so I gave my husband my beer ticket and my lunch ticket (!)–he opted for a BBQ sandwich (there was a vegetarian option) and it came with a bag of Pop Corner chips and an orange. He was enjoying the live band, but I really wanted to get back to the hotel for a shower, so I dragged us away.
After I showered and packed, I was ready to refuel, and the Mellow Mushroom pizza place near our hotel sounded just right!
The Urban 10 Miler might be a “one and done” race for me, but after seeing the pictures from the half marathon course–being cheered on by firefighters and running through the zoo!–I might be back for another Colfax Denver race next year–want to join me?