|On the plane, ready to go!
We got into Denver just before lunch time and headed over to our hotel. We got checked in and relaxed for a bit. My brother booked a really nice room for only $60 per night. It had like a living area with a sectional couch, a huge TV, nice comfy beds.
Next, we ventured into Denver to get registered for the marathon. We mapped out parking the day before, and figured we were going to have to walk about a mile to the starting line. Once at the Expo center, we got all checked in. Here I am with my bib!
We wandered the expo hall for quite a while, and bought matching running belts to carry Gu, Clif shot blocks and Jelly Belly sport beans. The first marathon I ever ran, I made the mistake of relying on the aid station Gu. When I got to the aid stations, they were all out. It was really hard to run a marathon when I didn't have pick me ups. I made sure that wouldn't happen that time.
Realizing we were pretty hungry, we stopped at a posh little wine and food place and had some appetizers. This salad was delicious!
Then we walked around downtown Denver for a while. We did a little bit of shopping and got Gelato.
We set everything out the night before the marathon so we wouldn't be in a hurry the next morning. There's nothing worse than forgetting something or running late and feeling the pressure right before the race.
On race day, we were so ready and excited! We drove into Denver and walked the mile to the starting line. We checked our bags and headed for the starting line. It was at that point that I realized that I had left my ipod in my jacket. Jason left to head for the starting line and I ran back to the bag check. Luckily I got my ipod in time and headed to my corral. It was such a big race, and they started the half marathon and full marathon together. We were in corrals of a thousand depending on approximate finish. Jason was in corral 3 and I was in 12. They started each corral a minute apart so there wouldn't be so much chaos. I *think* there were around 16,000 runners. I don't think my corral started until 15 minutes after the race started. Jason and I had signed up that it would send text messages to our family when we started, and crossed certain miles. I knew my biggest challenge would be not to gas myself out. In other words, if I started feeling out of breath, I needed to slow down. I got into a comfortable pace of about a 10:20 mile and stayed there a lot of the time. I spent a lot of time passing people, which made me realize I should have been in a faster corral. I made sure to walk through every aid station to drink, and would eat a Gu or Shot block when I started to feel fatigued. My muscles started to ache at about mile 18, but I could breathe well and I couldn't believe how good I felt overall. The first marathon I ran took me 5 hours and 12 minutes. I had a goal to finish in 4:45 this time. At the very end, I saw Jason. He was yelling at me to "Empty the tank!"
I sprinted the last minute and finished with a time of 4:35. I still can't believe I ran it that fast. Jason ran it in 3:43 which is pretty darn amazing! It was exciting and a much better experience than the first time. Looking back on it, it's crazy that I voluntarily ran 26.2 miles.
|Jason & I after 26.2 miles
After the race, Jason and I had to walk another mile back to the car. My legs were aching so bad, and I kept having to squat down to stretch when we would come to intersections. We hung out at the hotel for 3-4 hours and took showers and rested. Since we were in Denver, we decided to go explore a bit and went to Cherry Creek in Denver. It was a really nice shopping area with restaurants and was just really pretty.
We ate dinner at a delicious Mexican place, walked around more and then got hot cocoa from Starbucks. We figured that we traveled over 30 miles on foot that day.
Sunday we got up and got breakfast and then headed for the airport. It was a lot of fun to be able to experience it with my brother and go on our own little mini vacation. I'm done with marathons for the season, due to an awful ankle sprain 2 weeks ago, but that will definitely not be my last marathon. I'm hooked!