A beautiful Day for a Race!

15 10 2007

Written by FastForward Coach Adam St. Pierre following the 2007 Denver Marathon.

I woke up Friday morning feeling awesome! I went for a tune-up with Tyler at Mountain Acupuncture and she made me feel even better. I knew Sunday’s race would be something special… then I checked the weather report. Sunday’s forecast looked like a runner’s worst fear, cold and rainy. Cold and dry I can deal with, warm and rainy is OK, but cold and rainy is not fun. When you can’t stay dry you can’t stay warm. The weather forecast made me rethink my apparel choices. I was going to wear a singlet, shorts, gloves, and hat but with the addition of rain to the cold I decided to switch it up.


Saturday I woke up feeling great, rode my bike with the F4 runners doing Moab or MCM out by the Rez, home for a nap, and then to Denver to pick up my bib, chip, and registration package. At the expo I decided I needed to wear tights to keep my legs warm during the race. Unfortunately Pearl Izumi was out of tights in my size. I decided to wear a pair that I’ve run in quite a bit but don’t really like because they are too big. With bib and chip in hand I went home and put my bib on my race number belt and my chip on my racing shoes. I like the race number belt because it gives you flexibility to change clothing without having to worry about moving your bib from article to article. Ate a great dinner of roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach. Yummy, I was sure to eat as much as possible.


I woke up at 4:45 Sunday morning to conditions as described 40 degrees and rain. (Oh ya, I stayed up way too late Saturday night watching the Red Sox) I ate some oatmeal and a glass of OJ. I took a hot shower to wake up/warm up (today is the first day all year we’ve turned on the heat in the house), then got dressed, tights, long sleeve polypro shirt with singlet over top. I checked yet again. That my race day essentials were in one bag, a dry change of clothes was in another. At 6:10am Alison (my wife, super fan, and one woman support crew) and I left Boulder to go down. We found parking 2 blocks from the Adams Mark Hotel, which was 2 blocks from the start/finish area. A bathroom stop at the hotel lobby (a very gracious host to thousands of cold wet runners), and on to find F4 for group warm-ups. I found the tent, but no familiar faces. Eventually I met up with Scott who informed me they moved shop to a bigger, warmer tent and had already left for warm-ups. I jogged for 5 minutes on my own, did my dynamics, 5 more minutes of jogging then to the Adams Mark to get off warm-ups and go to the bathroom once more. I got to the start line at 7:45 am and hopped in by the 7 minute mile pace sign. The celebrity charity runners left on their 2-mile run at 7:53, then the wheelchair racers at 7:57. At 7:59 I bumped into Brian Klink of F4 Denver and a few other F4 runners, Kevin is the only name I remember. Brian was going to pace Kevin to 3:10 so I decided to run with them, as did a friendly guy named Jake who was standing nearby. At 8:00am the gun went off and it was off to the races.


It was great running with Brian and the group in the early miles; Brian kept us running at about a 7:10 pace, with some variation on ups and downs. We measured our pace with good old mathematics and a footpod as Brian’s GPS wouldn’t work due to the heavy cloud cover (don’t be too reliant on these finicky machines on race day, if you can’t feel your pace at all you are in trouble when your battery dies or the clouds/tall buildings/trees roll in). We stuck together, and picked up some new runners including Laura who was running for TNT, for about 6 miles averaging around a 7:12 pace. I felt awesome!!! I was happy with my apparel options, had gotten Gatorade at each aid station, and was chomping at the bit. I decided to pick it up a little bit. I had a Hammer Gel, drank some water, and picked it up a hair. I quickly caught and passed many folks and got a boost from the F4 Funkstation (thank you so much to you hardy volunteers braving the cold and rain to support your fellow runners (does volunteering for races in awful weather fill up your race-karma bank double, I think so!!!))

I caught up with Jake and ran with him for a while, but I think we were all going a little too fast. Jake dropped away and I went on alone. I crossed the halfway point in 1:33. Around Mile 16 I realized I too had been going too fast. I slowed down a little bit on a long gradual uphill to try to recover some so I could still make my goal time of 3:10. Eventually Coach Sunni caught me and dropped me. A few minutes later Coach Brian caught me, but Kevin had dropped off the pace. Jake caught back up too at this point. We ran together around and through Wash Park until mile 19 or 20 when Laura and Jake picked it up a little leaving just Brian and I to finish the race. I must say the miles of running with wet numb feet and hands took its toll. Around mile 20-21 I really wanted to stop, walk, borrow a bike, hitch a ride, anything but keep running. With 5k to go I checked and saw that I had 20 minutes to finish to make my goal of 3:10, I picked it up, leaving Brian behind. I caught back up with Jake and left him behind at around mile 24. I picked off a few more runners in the next few miles. At the 25 mile mark I checked my watch and saw that I had 1.2 miles to go and 7 and a half minutes to do it in, difficult but not impossible. I gave it a shot and sprinted to the finish despite seeing the finish clock reading 3:11 already. I crossed the line in 3:11:55 or so, 3:12 a 5-minute marathon PR.


Now the real fun began, I kept walking through the shoot, got my finisher’s medal, let the volunteers take the chip off my shoe, got a bagel and a bag of food and met up with Alison. Based on the amount of shivering I was doing we decided to neglect the post race festivities, including my free hot dog and Coors Light, and go to the Adams Mark to put on dry clothes. With dry clothes on we went to the car and headed home, eating and drinking the whole way. I was a little disappointed that I missed qualifying for Boston by 2 minutes, just 5 seconds per mile faster. But I know that I did almost everything right. I don’t think my mistakes cost me any time in the end. I’ll just have to keep on running and get faster for the next marathon I do, although at this point half marathons sound a lot more enjoyable! Given the conditions I feel very happy with my effort today. When we got home I curled up in my sleeping bag in my favorite reclining chair with my feet up. I catnapped, and ate soup, and drank tea, and shivered until I was warm and toasty.


That’s my race recap, I hope you can learn from my mistakes and the things I did right.

Things I did right:

  • Good clothing choices
  • Comfortable pace for miles 1-6
  • Picked it up for last 5k
  • Hydrated/ate early, backed off when I started to stomach cramp, good energy throughout
  • Mistakes
  • Too fast miles 7-16
  • Up late night before (damn baseball game)



2 responses

15 10 2007

Great race! Great report!!

Just getting yourself to the starting line with that kind of weather is a huge achievement. And, you totally rocked it!!!

19 10 2007

You looked great at Mile 7!

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