colorado marathon race recap.

I’ve been wondering how to write this recap. To approach it as “here’s my time, here’s a few splits, marathons are full of glitter, beef jerky && sunshine!!!” Then I realized how much of a lie that would actually be. So please, sit back while I share with you my miles, smiles, sweat && tears.

In this post I’m just covering race morning & the race itself. I’ll be sure to make another post about the rest of the weekend—it was a fun one for sure!

2:45 am: My alarm goes off. I wasn’t really sleeping. I believe I had woken up probably every 45 minutes. I lay there for a minute, not really sure what I was doing, or needed to do. I then told me self, “MOVE. DO SOMETHING” I fumbled around the hotel room, getting ready.. in no specific order… brushed my hair.. braided it. No. that looks like crap. Braided it again. Tried the other side. Finally about the 5th time I was pleased with my little bang side braid. You know, important 26.2 race prep. I head down stairs wearing my hot pink compression socks, moccasins, running shorts, && a blue brooks running shirt I had won the day before– to grab a cup of REAL coffee. The room only had decaf… <—one of the most useless things on earth, ever.

3:05 am: I come across the guy at the front desk and ask him if there is any coffee. He said, “Yup! Just for you! I was left a note that people would be wanting some at 3:30 and some at 4:00, so I just made it at 3:00!” I replied, “You’re a lifesaver, thankkkk you!!! Both of those times would have been a little too late for me.” He then proceeded to ask me which distance I would be running that day. I replied, “The marathon, 26.2 miles!” I think that’s when it first hit me that… OMG. it’s here. I didn’t back out && it’s too late now. He answered with, “That’s a really long ways! Would you like some carbs?! I can get you a bagel!” I told him no thank you. That I had been eating enough carbs to feed a small village all week long, and getting down 1/2 a cup of oatmeal was going to be enough of a chore. NO MORE FOOD, EVERRRR! Was what I really wanted to say.

I then returned to our room. Luke finally woke up. The next 45 minutes were a blur. It started with Ke$ha and ended with some Trivium. Somehow, I ended up dressed && ready to go with my oatmeal in hand as we were leaving. fun fact: I decided to purchase a new fuel belt the DAY BEFORE the race at the expo. I’d never run it, but it seemed pretty alright. So… why not give it a shot? My shorts only had one TINY key pocket, and I don’t have enough room in my sports bra to shove gels..comfortably.. not that I have huge boobs… but stuffing gels in my top just isn’t for me! I used a spi belt for PDX marathon… which was MEH. There had to be better. The weekend before I had seen this NEAT contraption made by level called a “flip belt” at the Cherry Creek Sneak. I thought about it all week, and was regretting not purchasing one then. So I was pretty excited to see them at the expo! (don’t worry! i’ll do a review!)

4:10 am: We headed out to the parking lot to meet up with Liz, her brother and friend so that we could all follow each other to where we would then be taken by bus to the start.

We park, and then head to stand in line for the bus. It was collllllld. How cold? I couldn’t tell you. Cold enough. 40.. maybe high 30’s. That’s my guess. We weren’t in line too long before we boarded the bus! I was so thankful it wasn’t a school bus. It was actually nice, with a restroom and everything! The bus took us through town and up Poudre Canyon. The only part that stinks about being shuttled for a point to point race, is that it gives you time to realize how far you are actually running.

We all get to the start. The sun is starting to rise, but we aren’t in the sunlight yet && it’s still SOOOO COOOOOLLLLD. We stand in line to wait for the porta potties. The lines looked long & moved like molasses, but we moved through && had about 12 minutes to spare. Just enough time for some nerves to start setting in. Luckily.. I have these guys!

The drop bag truck comes up, we take off our cover ups.. which I did NOT want to part with! We did the smallest warm up ever. Like… pretty sure It was less than .25 miles. I really was okay just standing there && shivering. We line up. I’m standing with Liz and her brother. Luke is up ahead. So we’re standing there, we all kind of get quiet. I’m freaking out  inside my head. It was the most collected freak out I’ve ever experienced. It went something like this, “You made it. You’re here. 26.2 miles is a really long ways to go. But you’ve done it before. It’s going to hurt, but you know you can do this. You don’t quit, you never backed out && you won’t now. No matter how bad it hurts. I believe, I believe, I believe. EVERYONE BELIEVES IN YOU. They are waiting for you!”

6:15 am: The race starts.

If I told you that I didn’t have a plan going into this race, I’d be lying. Even before the initial training started I had decided this was a course to start strong && expect not as strong of a finish. The first 17 miles are known to be collectively downhill, then it “flattens out” from what I read/gathered/heard. I drew the conclusion that it wasn’t going to be easy to make the transition from running “downhill”, to running “flat”. Originally I had planned to do a few long runs practicing that technique.. Which never happened. A few days before the race a teammate, Milan, warned both Liz && myself that it was like running two completely different races. That it took him four attempts to figure it out. So the game plan = strong 15-17 miles && then ease off if I needed to for the rest. Given the course.. given that I hadn’t even run further than 15-17 miles in OVER THREE MONTHS… after training went the way it did.. I knew this was my best approach to at least run under my previous PR.

The first six miles fly by. I’m feeling great. I’m throwing myself my own little pep rally in my head. At mile six a Roost car drives by and I hear, “Lookin’ strong, Roost!” **SMILES BIG** Taking the downhills easy but maintaining it on the uphills. I knew better then to pound it downhill. Uphill? Oh yes, those. After every nice little downhill, there was a shape/form/ of uphill that never failed to greet you shortly after.

mile 1: 7:50

mile 2: 7:51

mile 3: 7:39

mile 4: 8:00

mile 5: 7:55

mile 6: 7:57

At this point I’m enjoying the beautiful scenery. It is seriously gorgeous! With a river running right alongside you, crashing over rocks…Running, weaving down the canyon.. in and out of the rising sun. Feeling great, thinking about how awesome running is. How much stronger it’s made me… Appreciating that I could still see Liz ahead of me… which meant I was still running strong & was right where I should be at that point.

mile 7: 7:58

mile 8: 8:03

mile 9: 7:56

mile 10: 7:57

mile 11: 8:01

mile 12: 7:59

mile 13: 8:04

mile 14: 7:57

mile 15: 8:10

It was pretty perfect/uneventful until around mile 15. Which is when things started happening that I was fully expecting. I was getting super TIRED. I felt this way at a certain point during Portland, but it definitely wasn’t with 11.2 miles left to go. I kept reassuring myself that I was doing great. That I met my goal of running a strong first 1/2. GREAT! That is was okay if my pace started slipping. It was NOT a big deal.

mile 16: 8:22

mile 17: 8:14

mile 18: 8:19

At mile 17 you are well out of the canyon && on your way into town. There was a big group of people cheering at this point.. which is probably what gave me a little extra pep in my step! Kids giving hi-fives, more “good job Roost!” I was no longer enjoying the course, but was def enjoying the crowds/people at the aide stations. Right after mile 17 I had a brief moment where I was starting to feel a bit better, but it quickly faded. I was THIRSTY, my legs felt heavy, like they were barely moving. I was talking OUTLOUD to myself.

Around mile 18, I saw Lara. I think it was mile 18? Maybe it was sooner… I reached out & touched her arm. She flashed a smile. By her face && tone I KNEW she knew I was having a hard time. She so kindly offered to run me in. I had no idea what she was trying to run, but I did know that I wouldn’t be speeding up && didn’t want to hold her back. So I politely declined. Which, sure enough, she & the group she was with pulled ahead– looking strong, great && amazing!

I needed something to look forward to.

I remembered that David with Runner’s Edge, and probably a few more people that I would know were going to be around mile 20. I could stick it out until then. Right before mile 19 was the “BIG HILL” of the course. It’s not HUGE, but…it was huge to me that day. I put my head down, just looked at the pavement in front of my feet… but with not much left of the hill I found myself “power hiking” the hill. I figured, UGH. I’m running slow enough, just hike it for craps sake. I start getting frustrated with myself, feel the tears coming. I  wanted it to be over. I was walking during my second marathon, which I hadn’t even done during my first.

Then I hear someone call out to me, “Alright ROOST, LET’S GO, let’s run up this!!” I hadn’t met him before, and I can’t remember exactly what he said to me, but it didn’t matter. I started running again and kept running after that. It ended up being Bill Rodgers. We get to the top && I jogged through the aide station, then continued on. We didn’t stay together too long. I don’t really remember what happened, but thank you Bill!

mile 19: 9:08

mile 20: 8:43

At mile 20 or something, I think I ran through another aide station. I hear “hey hey COURTNEY COURTNEY!” It was Byron, from Texas! I had met him earlier in the week when I met Drum! <–yah! that happened! He calls out, “how ya feelin?!” I answer with a huge smile on my face and a thumbs up, “I FEEL LIKE CRAPPP!” The entire aide station laughs, which made me laugh. He tells me to keep up the good work. It was so nice to hear something so unexpected! It’s amazing how AWESOME you can feel running through aide stations… && how quickly it can fade. These miles were feeling like an eternity.

mile 21: 9:06

Just after mile 21 I finally see David & Julie. I was so happy to see them! I flashed them a “fake it till you make it” smile!  It took everything I had not to start sobbing. More people that I know, cheering me on! Somehow, I pulled off smiling! For some reason if I’m struggling, I get really really emotional when people are cheering me on. Haha, what a freak.

After I saw them, I felt like I couldn’t move any faster. Basically my body quit, and my mind took over. Every step I was taking was thanks to my brain convincing me that I could.I was getting really hot, felt sick, incredibly thirsty. I didn’t even care about my splits anymore. I couldn’t make out the mile markers, started confusing the numbers. I thought mile 23 said mile 21…. All I cared about was that I kept moving. I knew as long as I was moving, I could run under 10 minute miles.

My hamstrings were screaming. I stopped to stretch. Then I realized my version of stretching at that moment was standing there with my knees bent and my hands on them with my head down. As soon as I realized I wasn’t being very productive, I told myself to keep moving….Aide stations came up, I stopped to drink two cups.. I stopped to take my last gel. I stopped to drink GU BREW… I DON’T EVEN LIKE GU BREW!!! But I didn’t care.

mile 22: 9:51

mile 23: 9:43

mile 24: 10:07

Don’t ask me what happened at which point. Because I honestly can’t tell you. I’m sure my splits say enough. After mile 24, I found myself around more people. It didn’t make me feel better, but I felt relief in that I WAS ALMOST DONE.  A gal all decked out in Lululemon was beside me. She had come up from behind. We stayed together for the last two miles.

mile 25: 9:50

mile 26: 9:35

Never saying anything. I could tell she was hurting as bad as I was. I mean… DUH, all of us were hurting. We round the corner and I can see the finish. She pulls slightly ahead of me. I think, “Whatever… you go glenn coco”.  As soon as I told myself, “Just let her have it.” I hear a voice to my left say, “Are you really going to let me beat you?” I look… && it’s a much older man. I reply, “OKAY FINE! WE’RE GOING!”

Where this burst of energy came from, I have no clue. I blow past Ms. Lulu, && a good chunk of other people. Feeling like I’m running faster than I ever have in my entire life. Sprinting, probably looking like a complete ass with such a short final speedy kick that came from who knows where.. like someone was trying to kill me or something. I hear my friends calling my name. I hear my name on the loud speaker. I see 3:43:xx. I’m crying before I even cross the finish line. So, those pictures should be pretty interesting. I cross the mat and really don’t remember much else.

mile .39: 3:35 (9:13 pace) (best pace 4:51… <–HA!)

I was so proud of myself for finishing. I was so proud of myself for even starting. I was proud of myself for not quitting. I was so glad it was OVER.

I was given my medal and turned around. Standing next to me was the guy that helped me find my final kick. I threw my arms around him, giving him a huge hug & thanking him. I finally find my way to the reunion area, which DEFINITELY wasn’t as long of a walk waddle as PDX was. I found Luke quickly, stood there && hugged him for a good 2 minutes. I was done. I wasn’t moving. I just wanted to stay right there.

He told me to turn around, that I had people waiting for me! I did, and in no particular order I saw Heather who just ran her half marathon and did great!! Lauren and Phil came up! Lauren looking SUPER STINKIN’ cute in her Tri-Bella race gear! I finally met Emily, who came in like SECONDS behind me. Lara did fantastic too!

I saw Liz a few minutes later. Who knocked out an AWESOME time. It was a PR’S FOR EVERYBODY moment at the finish line. It was pretty neat. I wanted to stick around longer to chat… but at the same time I wanted to lie down. to sleep.. I felt like I was going to throw up or pass out.

We made our way to the car. Well, actually, I sat down on the sidewalk, Luke brought the car to me.

So. There’s the race.

I am VERY proud of my 10+ minute PR. I fought HARD for it. However convincing myself that I FOUGHT for it, is hard.. when I had to stop or walk at one point.

Do I feel like I thrived? Not at all. I feel like I SURVIVED that one. I definitely made some nutrition mistakes, however I don’t feel like I could have run that race any differently than I did. Considering what happened with my training… I’d say what I DID pull off.. WAS PRETTY DARN INCREDIBLE.

Here is the course elevation map. 

Doesn’t it look great? Well… don’t be fooled. There is still a nice amount of uphill…

Elevation Gain: 1,230 ft
Elevation Loss: 2,375 ft
MinElevation: 4,952 ft
MaxElevation: 6,166 ft

It was a really tough but an amazing day all at the same time. However you better believe… CIM…training.. coming at you with a vengeance!!! Until then, bring on the trails!!!

27 thoughts on “colorado marathon race recap.

  1. Sooo proud of you! You really had to fight for this one. I think that’s one of the first times you really needed to and you know what, you finished AND PR’d still! So much stronger than you were a year ago even. Keep it up! Love you!

  2. Its a little freaky how much our running is alike! It sounds like we almost had the exact same race! Miles 21-24 where most definitely the hardest for me too! And every time I saw my boyfriend at the aid stations I was almost in tears I was hurting so bad! Then when I saw mile 24 I knew I was almost there, so I picked it up. Right at the finish a girl that I had passed before the 1/2 mark passed me, so I sprinted as fast as I could and beat her to the finish! The BF got a video of the finish and in my mind I felt like I was running SO fast, but it looks like a light jog mixed with a nice limp! hahaha. But pretty crazy how we almost had the SAME race huh?! We need to train together so we can both nail Boston next time :)

  3. Damn, damn, damn!!! This is so awesome!! First so glad we got to meet and so glad Byron saw you on the course! He is the best cheerleader!! I’m so impressed with how you handled this race, that downhill was a lot harder than it seems and you were super consistent with your splits. You’re gonna kill CIM, can’t wait to follow your training!!

  4. Nice report and run, hon.

    Every course and conditions varies. This course looks much more technical than portland. It’s not a failure to walk! I walked in my first big pr race too! (I actually walked EVERY waterstop!)

    The fact is, even with walk breaks you KILLED your previous race! That in itself is a huge accomplishment.

    I know you’ve been frustrated with training, but look how it all turned out! You faded in the second half (which was expected given the course) but you were so freaking strong the first half that it still ended in a great strong race. At altitude!!

    You’ll learn something new with every race. But ya know what, they don’t get easier. You just get awesomer and set the bar higher :-)

  5. GREAT recap!! I was so bummed that I spaced the race (and that is started so freaking early) because I was in FoCo that weekend with Nick! I would have LOVED to come out and meet you and see this amazing race of yours! Congrats!!

  6. You did awesome! A 10 min PR is so huge and even with walking you still averaged at 8:32 pace so thats pretty bad ass. Cannot wait to see what you do in the next marathon!

  7. Woop woop woop woop! Congrats girl! You’ve got sub 3:35 in the BAG for CIM. No joke. If you can run 15 miles at 8 min/mile pace, and with all these months of time and training you have until CIM, you’ll be golden. I’m so excited for and proud of you! :)

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