Saturday, August 10, 2013

Race day recap

Race time - 1 hour 48 minutes 13 seconds (or something like that) - Pace 8:17 per mile

I finished . . . I survived . . . I crossed the finish line . . . barely.   I'll give you the recap below.

Race prep - 

As you all know, I promised that I would run the race in a mustache, so last night I did the deed.

Race day:
It was a beautiful morning for racing.   The sky was blue and there was not a cloud in the sky.   As we gathered around Georgetown lake an hour before the race, the sun had not yet peeked over the mountains.  It was definitely brisk at about 48 degrees.  It was the 35th anniversary of the race and there were between 4 and 5 thousand people running.  We all crowded onto the two lane road by the lake and waited for the gun.

pre race smile

First Half:
When the gun went off, it was definitely slow moving to begin with.   Unlike the bigger city runs that span large streets, we were all funneled into the two lane country road.  This ensured me not going out too fast and I felt really good.  At mile 1, I was greeted by my cheering section and I stopped to give my two kiddos a kiss on their head.

look at how chipper I look early in the race

a stop for a kiss

Right after these pictures, we turned a corner and the sun came out.   We spent the rest of the race running into the sun.  It felt a lot warmer than the 50 degrees that the thermometers read.  Despite that I was feeling good.  I was averaging close to 7:30 pace for most miles and despite feeling super gassed on the uphills, I felt really good and was becoming optimistic that I'd make my time.  I even took some time to look at the beautiful scenery that was all around me.

Second Half:

Then came mile 8.  I've had this problem before when I try to run fast and far.   I begin developing some cramping in my anterior shin.  It's hard to describe but I have difficulty raising the front of my foot off the ground.  Usually it gets better after about half a mile.   The problem this time is that it moved down to my feet as the race wore on.   At about mile 9 my toes begin cramping and getting stuck in a curled position.   Let's just say it's pretty hard to run fast (or at all) when you're landing on curled toes.   I also quickly began developing blisters on my toes as they rubbed together in ways they hadn't before.

It got so bad that I had to walk for a bit.  When I tried running again it seemed to be better.  I still felt physically able to run fast so I started up again.  About a quarter of a mile later the cramps came back!  I began muttering fun phrases under my breath and started walking again.

Look at my cheering section - they were probably wondering why I was walking instead of running when I passed them.

Brooks had a great time!
So for the rest of the race, I alternated between walking 0.1 miles and running 0.3 miles.  Each time I would slow down to walk, I was passed by many folks who offered encouraging words.  They said, "we're almost there, don't stop now."   I wanted to scream out, "my toes are cramping, I would be running if I could!!"  But I just kept moving.   I had to at least make my goal of finishing, and I didn't want to let all of my blog readers down!


The last 0.5miles went through Idaho Springs.   By this point, I couldn't run at all without cramping.  So I walked the final 0.5miles.   At the final turn, Karyn and my Mom were cheering me on.  I think they were surprised to see me walking.  Karyn yelled out, "Run! So I can take a picture."   I yelled back, "I can't!" Here's the resulting picture.

                                          Me as I hobble down the last 0.3 miles
I lunged across the finish line, about 8 minutes slower than I wanted to.   But I did it!   I finished . . . despite my toes betraying me.  It was a little frustrating, given how good I felt during the race . . . but I finished.   

After the race, there were activities set up for the kids.   Grayson and Brooks had a blast.  

Can I do it again dad?

Checking it out

As I reflect back on the race I will say it was a tremendous success!   I raised over $4500 for an organization that I care passionately about; one that is doing good work in this world.    It's still not too late to donate if you want.

It also got me back into running.  I definitely feel so much better when I'm running.  I have more energy and feel less stressed with what life sends my way.   And the funny thing about racing is that even though this was a super hard race . . . I want to do it again.  I know I can run faster than 1:40 for a half marathon. I just might choose an easier course (at sea level) next time.   

Thanks to everyone's well wishes, your support helped through the last, tough miles.


  1. Still not sure why I cramped so badly. May have been to the minimalist shoes and running downhill for a decent amount of the race. I will definitely practice hills more before tackling this race again.

  2. Jeff, you are AWESOME!! Everyone at HealthEd Connect is so proud of you! If only you could have had a couple of hundred little African kids running beside, behind, and in front of you. Wouldn't that have been a sight? I'm sure you'll never forget this marathon. Now a little advice from a nurse to a doctor: next time take magnesium supplements before you run. They are amazing in warding off cramps!

  3. Great job Jeff. I've been there. How about Hospital Hill next year?

  4. Way to go, Jeff! You are an inspiration. :)

  5. Congratulations!! It sounds like you did great under the circumstances. EIght minutes isn't really much time to lose. I am impressed! And what a great job with the fundraising!

  6. Jeff,
    Thanks for sharing your journey, finishing the race and raising funds for a great cause. our words "I definitely feel so much better when I'm running. I have more energy and feel less stressed with what life sends my way," truly reflect part of why I so much want and keep attempting to get myself to get back into running with some regularity... I struggle to get myself back into a routine, partly due to health issues, and partially trying overcome a slight (probably irrational) fear that I have had with running as a result o something that happened to me in Aug '05... but your words, stories, adventure inspire a bit of me, and bring back both the struggles and joys of running and how it makes me feel... So thanks again for sharing your journey, and supporting a great cause.