Who is Ted?

I'm the father of two beautiful daughters and an amazing wife. For fun, I enjoy the long hours of seemingly endless suffering that endurance sports (mostly running, cycling and triathlon)provide. During my "down time" I'm an avid beer snob and self-described gourmet chef (in other words I like to burn things on a stove or grill).

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Colfax Marathon RR

The View from Colfax on the way to the finish
This morning I ran my third Marathon, and my second in the last 9 months.  I'd written previously about the purpose for running this marathon, and as I'm writing this afternoon, I do feel like I now have a solid aerobic base for triathlon training this summer (even if I didn't meet both of my goals for the race).  This was my slowest marathon (by about a minute), but it is also the one that I felt the best running.  Although I was tired at times, I finished strong, and didn't feel completely wasted when it was over.
The Colfax Marathon is a set of races that include a Marathon, Half-Marathon, Marathon Relay, and a 10 mile race.  In total, they estimated about 11,000 participants (the Marathon had about 1100 finishes or 10% of the total participants).  My marathon experience started on Saturday afternoon.  I left for Denver about 1:15 or so, and drove through rainy conditions up to Sports Authority Field where the Marathon Expo and Packet pick-up was located.  I didn't spend too much time at the expo, and I was actually a little surprised that there were so many people still picking up their materials that late in the afternoon (the packet pick up closed at 5:00 on Saturday, with no race day pickup). 
Another Tech Shirt
After getting my commemorative shirt, a wristband for a post race beer, and my bib, I headed back down to Parker in order to stay with my older brother, who was gracious enough to host me after competing in the Summer Open Triathlon (see his post here).  His house is often serves as a hotel/ staging area for our various races throughout the year.  After a pasta dinner and some good conversation (much of which was about triathlon and probably bored my sister-in-law to death),  I turned in about 9:00 so as to get a good nights sleep prior to the race.
3:45 a.m.- The alarm goes off and I'm confronted with the fact that there will be no rolling over and going back to sleep.  After a half-bagel covered with peanut butter and honey, and a quick shower, I was in the car, and on my way north towards City Park in Denver.  I arrived a little before 5:00 a.m. and spent the next hour alternating between trips to the Port-o-potty, and people watching.  At about a quarter to six, I made my way to the "D" corral, only to find it completely full.  About a dozen of us who had been assigned to this wave, waited just outside the gates for the race to start.  Once it got going, we were able to squeeze inside, and about 2-3 minutes after six a.m., we were on our way. 
Inside Sports Authority Field
The Colfax Marathon is by far the most entertaining of the three races I have done at that distance.  The course really is a great tour of Denver, and you can tell that the race organizers have placed a premium on designing a course that is runner friendly, and very unique.  A few of the highlights of this race included:
- A section along the Cherry Creak Path.
- A run through a downtown Denver Fire Station
- Two trips through Sports Authority Field (Home of the Broncos)
- A very Picturesque Loop around Sloan's Lake
Sloan's Lake
In addition there were probably a dozen bands/ entertainers along the route, playing everything from folk, to punk, to Jazz Piano.  The race was supported by aid stations at nearly every mile between 10-20 miles.  At each of these, there was Gatorade and water, and each was manned by plenty of people (This was a very well-supported and organized race throughout).
In a previous post, I had mentioned that I had two goals for this race.  The first was to use the training and the race as a means to build my aerobic base in preparation for Marathon season.  This goal was certainly accomplished, as I ran a slow, easy race, and never really felt tired, or as if my heart rate was spiking.  The second goal was to finish the marathon in over five hours,  and this is where I fell short.  When I reached mile 21, I noted that my time was just barely over 3.5 hours.  I figured at this rate, even if I dropped to 12 minute miles, I was on pace for a time of just over 4.5 hours.  The problem was that I still felt pretty good, and I was having a difficult time slowing down to a lower pace.  This continued to be a problem, and I even forced myself to stop and walk for a minute at each of the remaining mile markers (I didn't bother to stop at mile 25 since I was nowhere near my predicted finish time). 
The Course Map

As I neared the end of the race, I realized that I would probably finish in under 4.5 hours, even with 3 bathroom stops, walking several of the aid stations, and some forced walks at the last few mile markers.  I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to experience what it would have been like to still be running at 5+ hours, however I don't think it ultimately matters too much since I still felt pretty good at the end of the race, which leads me to believe that a little longer time, racing won't be anything I can't overcome.   Throughout most of the race today, I felt pretty good, and found myself enjoying the opportunity to slow down, look around, and take in the experience.  I felt strong at 5 miles, and even at 20 miles (I actually did a negative split for the race, running a 2:19 for the first half, and a 2:09 for the second).   If anything, my performance today would seem to indicate that I'm in better condition than I thought I was, and I should be ready to move into the next phase of my triathlon training. 

This shirt Signed by 300 students
So will I do another marathon?  This is never a good question to ask right after completing one.  Last September after the ADT Marathon, I didn't want to have anything to do with them.  And yet, I've done another already less than a year later.  I think it's likely that I will do one again.  I certainly feel like I could do one anyway.  Chances are that it won't be something I do for anytime soon, considering that my 2012 schedule is basically set.  That said, if I have a successful summer of triathlon, it may wind up being the annual springboard that I need.  We shall see.  We shall see.

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