Check it out, two posts in a week!
This last weekend was the 2nd time I’ve run the Runnin’ of the Green 7k in downtown Denver. We had just gotten our new team race kits the day before and were excited to run in them. We actually had fun the day before packing up people’s bags and hanging out with some of our teammates in the process.
Race morning was nice, no rush to get to the start since the race went off at 10:15 but the time change did have a little play on the day. We got downtown around 9:15 and made our way to the Roost tents in the expo area and hung out with some of our team. Courtney had decided not to race since she’s been battling an upper respiratory issue. I headed out to do a quick warm up and ran into Simon so we did a quick half mile before heading towards the start line. This race is PACKED. Over 7,000 runners this year and always some good competition as well. It’s basically a mini Bolder Boulder.
I jumped the barriers and found myself a spot towards the front of the 1st wave and talked with some of the people around me. This is always the fun part for me. I don’t get nervous for races so I usually try to talk to everyone and
get in their heads chit chat. The gun goes off and I get my very short moment towards the front of the pack before I see Clint Wells, my teammate Keith Solverson and Charles Hillig start to make a push right off the line. I know I won’t win this race, it’s way too stacked so I try to settle into a pace I think I can hold.
Within the first 1/2 mile my legs feel like junk and I’m already starting to lose the pack I’m with. Not fun. I see Courtney at this point and stick my tongue out at her as I pass. Apparently she had some good pics but they got erased before we could see them! By mile one I’m hurting decently bad which isn’t a good sign. The first mile has a few small hills and I figure I’ll just try to hang on. Not working. As we hit the flat section before the hill in mile 2 I get passed by Constantina Dita, the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist in the marathon.
She pulled away with the rest of the group and by the time we hit the hill, I was a good 20 seconds back of this group. When we hit the top of the long climb though, my legs finally felt alive. Guess I should have had a longer warm up! I started pushing the rolling hills for the next mile and realized I forgot about the out and back section by REI. Fun to see the people in front and behind during this section. Those top 3 guys I mentioned earlier were rolling. Clint had a small gap on Keith but by the end I guess Keith won with a 21:30ish time. I made my way to the turn around and saw I had closed the gap to about 15 seconds to Dita and two of the road guys on my team. I now had a goal. It also didn’t hurt to see how close some of the people were behind me; I definitely needed that push!
As we made our way to the flat section again, I really started pushing. I caught my two teammates, gave them a “Let’s go” and kept rolling. I caught Dita on the small hills with about 3/4 of a mile to go and pushed as hard as I could. I passed another guy and was determined to not let them get me again. I ran the downhills hard and the uphills harder. Coming up on the turn to the finish there was a HUGE Roost group yelling and taking pics. Super fun to hear them but I was too focused to even glance that way. Oops. Ended up finishing in 32ng place with a 24:39, 5:40 pace. Took 21 seconds off of last year’s time when I thought I was in better shape than I am now. I was happy to be able to kick it in with a mile and half to go. Nice little surprise! I did beat Dita but got Scholled by Tyler, the 11 year old phenom who ran a 24:12. Impressive.
The thing I really love about this race is that the loops and out and backs allow you to see everyone a few times. I heard my name a ton but couldn’t always pick out who was saying it. So many people! Great showing by our team though, great work everyone! Definitely do this race if you’re around next year, sounds like it’s actually on March 17th even!
Next we head to Moab on Friday morning for the Canyonlands 1/2. Can’t wait to see what happens there!