3:10:50…

That sounds like rock and/or roll. ~ Reverend Lovejoy

The Rock -n- Roll Denver marathon was a blast. Going in, I knew I hadn’t fully prepared for a fast marathon so was a bit unsure about how I would perform. Bounced back and forth about what time to target and, in the end, settled on running with the 3:15 group and then playing the finish by ear. Turns out, that was a decent, albeit conservative, plan.

Jammed down to Denver early on Sunday to swing by Caleb and Sierra’s place. Sierra had graciously offered to take Caleb and me to the start so we wouldn’t have to deal with the parking mess which is Downtown Denver. Caleb was teed up for a fast 1/2 marathon and yoinked a 1:32 or so. It was chilly at the start but not too terrible and I warmed up a bit on the grass in front of the capitol building before finally settling into corral #1 minutes before the start. After a poorly rendered version of the National Anthem (seriously, learn the words if you are going to get up in front of thousands of people and sing), we were escorted to the start line and were off.

The 3:15 group was paced by Mike, a 2:20 marathoner from Ohio so cruising us around at a 3:15 pace was not going to cause him any troubles. We started out slowly… just letting the group warm up during the first mile then slowly picked up the pace. By about mile 4, I needed to pee really badly and rolled off the front of the group to give myself enough padding to catch back up once done with my pit stop. I timed it perfectly and was able to rejoin the group around mile 5 as we entered City Park.

At this point, we were back on the 3:15 target pace and I was feeling fine. Pretty much zero effort to this point as we did a couple laps in the park through mile 8 or so. We exited the park, did a convoluted out/back on 17th then headed over to Cheesman for a quick lap around this iconic Denver park.

Upon exiting Cheesman, I was still feeling solid and decided to pick up the pace a bit and see what I could do. I rolled off the front of the 3:15 group around mile 12 and picked up the pace a bit as I crossed the half-way mark in 1:36:20 (or so). I pushed the pace through mile 15 where I started catching runners targeting 3:10. By the time we entered Washington Park and mile 17, I’d caught and settled in with a small group of people running at about a 3:09 finish pace.

This group thinned out considerably to two of us as we exited Wash Park (mile 20). At this point, I was still feeling like I could hold our 7:00 pace and we were staying right on target for a sub 3:10 finish. We headed north up Logan then turned onto 1st at which point I started to struggle to keep the pace. Based on our numbers, we should have had a decent buffer at this point and I lost contact with my fellow runner as we turned onto 5th and my leg speed began to fall off considerably. Miles 23 to the finish were less than awesome as I tried to hold on for a 3:10 finish. By mile 24, I knew that wasn’t going to be an option any longer so I just cruised in. Rach ran along with me for about the last mile, which was thoroughly kickass and I crossed the finish line with a new PR of 3:11:50.

Though I would have loved to uncork a sub 3:10, I was extremely excited about this finish time. It qualified me for Boston (which, unfortunately filled up in 8 hours), beat my previous PR by 12+ minutes, and put me in sniffing distance of running a sub 3-hour race in the future. Given that I didn’t really even train much for this event and quickly made the transition from dirt to road, I am very pleased with my performance and what this bodes for future races. I finished 89th overall (out of 2894 participants) and 8th in my age group. Not. Too. Shabby.

~stubert.

Rollin’…

Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself. ~ William Faulkner

The nice thing about being confined to short runs is that they are much easier to squeeze into a hectic schedule. Friends and family in the area make for good times and being able to keep my training schedule is a bonus, for sure.

Friday, I spun a quick 4.5 miles or so on trails and dirt roads near my house. Still feeling no pain but I am having a bit of a plateau where I am unable to get my heartrate down or run as fast as I’d like for the amount of effort required. These things happen and usually one can just roll through them after a few small changes. Overall, I felt great and it wasn’t like my average pace was super slow… just took some more effort than I would prefer to keep up the flow.

Friday night I headed to Denver to meet up with the Roach clan. They are in town for the Harley-Davidson Dealer Meeting (they own Palm Springs Harley-Davidson) and after watching soccer at the Hyatt, headed over to Root Down for a very tasty meal. Pretty cool restaurant, Root Down. They converted an old service station into a hip joint and used sustainable building and recycled materials throughout. The floor was salvaged from an old high-school gym and many of the service station features remain intact. They were even playing awesome 70s-era kung-fu movies in the bar. Good stuff. Tough to get a reservation but the food was awesome and well worth the wait.

Didn’t get home until super late so slept in a little on Saturday then watched the final “real” stage of the Tour. I must say that Contador rode really well and seeing Lance step back into the fray for a podium finish at age 37 after 4 years away from competitive cycling was quite impressive. I was hoping for an Astana sweep but it was great to see some fresh faces out there giving their all to the sport. All in all an exciting Tour. Once the race was over, I hit the trails again for my longest run in what seems like forever. Wait for it…. 5.25 miles! Look out Tony Krupicka, I’m on your heels. (Congrats to Tony, by the way, for crushing in the White River 50 USATF race with a course record 6:32:09… that’s 50 MILES in six and a half hours, people. Awesome.)

Again, felt a little off regarding fitness or whatever is going on but no discomfort in my abdominals so I’ll consider it a win. It was fun to be out in the woods for a run so you won’t catch me complaining.

Post-run, Rach and I headed down to Boulder to meet up with my pops and his special lady, Donna, at the Sunflower Café for lunch. Good eats and great company. They were in town to visit her son who lives with his family in Broomfield and to go to the Rockies game. Hopefully they had better weather than the last time they hit the ballpark. They were on-hand the day the stadium had to be evacuated due to a tornado warning back in June. Excitement abounds.

Rach and I then headed to Broomfield to help out some bunnies and spent the rest of the afternoon at the shelter. There are some awesome little guys there right now (well, there always are) and I spent the afternoon dolling out pets, watching Rach groom and care for a couple special needs bunnies and cleaning up. I even helped one volunteer break into her car so it was a day where I could flex all my special-talent muscles – the petters, sweepers and grand-theft-auto groups got a good work-out.

All in all, a great start to a summer weekend. Hoping to work on the shed foundation today then get to run again tomorrow.

~stubert.