It’s Monday morning and I’m slowly regaining the feeling in my legs, so what more of an appropriate time to discuss yesterday’s events at Rock & Roll Denver than now?!! :)
I woke up at the 5:15am, made coffee and slowly put on all of the running gear I had set out the night before. My one mistake was laying out several small piles of things to take with me — all over the house. Once on the road, I was able to drive down to Denver and secure parking 2 blocks from the start line (Score!).
The participant village (as I like to call it) was a bit unorganized. I had difficulty locating bag check as the signs were completely unhelpful and finding a staff or volunteer member proved to be equally unsuccessful. I think this would be an appropriate time to make note of the fact that it was pretty darn chilly (and dark still!).
Once I located Gear Drop (which was across this huge park from the start line and corrals) I made my way to where I would start the race. An odd thing I noticed was that they had Full and Half marathoners start at the same time. I can see how this would be super confusing and difficult, especially for runners looking to keep a certain pace. There were a lot of first time runners at this race, as I learned from talking with many of them. I am always happy to hear this (we were ALL first timers at one point) but having so many first timers can pose problems for seasoned participants. Some problems include large clusters of runners during the first 3-4 miles. After this distance, most new runners start to taper off and slow in pace, allowing faster runners to ‘make up’ time. Another problem that I surely encountered was sharing the course with new runners who may not be privy to race etiquette. Proper etiquette such as alerting a runner when you are approaching them from behind (you can say ‘on your left’ or ‘on your right’), running across the road to grab water or greet someone they know, or (most important) moving to the side of the road before you come to a complete stop. Other than proper running etiquette, I really liked running among so many first time racers – I feed off of their excitement and adrenaline.
The course itself was lovely. I spend so little time in Denver that when I have a chance to tour downtown, I realize how beautiful a city it is. We had the opportunity to run through Civic Center, through the streets of downtown, over to Pepsi Center and into the heart of the city to City Park. I slowed many times to admire the old architecture of the homes in the areas we ran through and even bookmarked businesses I came across that I’d like to check out. There were a few hills to run over but nothing compared to the SF Marathon. The cold, however, was hard to shake off. Earlier in the race, the sun was out and quickly warmed the road – however, as I approached mile 4 a cold front quickly swept in and stayed until I crossed the finish line. Brrrr!
I enjoyed the music at each mile. I had earbuds in with my own music, but having the bands there was a nice distraction. After crossing the finish line I grabbed my medal, had my picture taken and quickly started making my way back to Gear Check to grab my things. It was even harder to access Gear Check at the end of the race than it was before I started! There were so many spectators (which was awesome) but made it difficult to navigate through once we finished running.
All in all, I really enjoyed the energy of this race and the volunteers were all so friendly. I will definitely run this race again next year!