The energy that comes with such a huge race is phenomenal. There are so many different shapes, sizes, and abilities represented. Mentally, this race was fantastic. It was a really great way to see the city of Denver. Being able to trot around the big buildings and parks as one solid river of runners was something else. There were many wonderful spectators, and fluffy squirrels. I especially enjoyed the squirrels. The volunteers were all friendly, and the live bands along the course were fun (and some of those band dudes were quite attractive too. I may have walked extra slow past a couple of stages).
It's a good thing that this race had a perfect mental set up, because physically, it was a nightmare. The course was fine, not really difficult or anything. It was my body that was causing all the grief. I have learned that 8 hours of driving with minimal rest stops and stretching will cause your IT bands to tighten to a level you didn't know was possible. We all know how it feels when you take a long car trip, the stiffness, the aches. Well, I found out that trying to run a race after driving that far doesn't work out in such an awesome manner.
I was actually feeling pretty sassy before the race. I felt a tiny bit stiff, but nothing to be alarmed about. And then we started running. The first few miles of any race are always rough for me. I take a while to warm up. But this was different. The tightness in my hips and down my legs wasn't going away. And so I walked. And walked. And then I would shuffle along at a snail's pace, followed by more walking. And squirrel watching. I'll tell you what, a cute fluffy squirrel really takes my mind off of pain. Who knew? When I hit mile 12, I told myself that I had walked enough and I was going to run that last mile, even if it killed me. So I started into zombie mode, scuffling my way along. At least I was able to out-scuffle quite a few people in that last mile. I just kept it up until about mile 12.5, things finally loosened up, just enough to actually look like I was running. The last bit was a nice downhill slope and I was able to crank it up and cross the finish line looking like a running rock star. No one had to know that I was only able to rock that race for the last half mile.
All in all, despite the pain, I had a fantastic time in Denver. I definitely want to do this one again, and I'm really excited about the Rock n' Roll half in Las Vegas coming up in December.