Oh wow, it has been a while. I have been rather lazy with writing in this blog, haven’t I? Well, I know it’s a bit late for a marathon report, but I’ll do one anyway. So, here it is:
Let’s get it out of the way up front, I did complete the challenge and I successfully ran the Colfax marathon on May 21st. During the months beforehand, I tried to read up on the dos and don’ts of what to do the week leading up to race day. I hydrated plenty and carb-loaded 4 days before. And Mel came up with some delicious and lean rice, pasta, and potato dishes.
My pre race meal plan looked roughly like this:
Started to eat more carbs 4 days before race day
Ate cereal and oats for breakfast
Planned for three carb-heavy dinners before race day
1st night: pasta carbonara, vegetarian
2nd night: Mel’s cabbage fried rice with halibut
3rd night: baked potatoes with chicken
The day before laid out all my gear and went through my pre-race checklist.
The morning of the marathon started just before 3am. I had a Lyft ride scheduled for 4:15. I wanted to have roughly 3 hours between breakfast and race start to have some time for a good old bowel movement. That is usually not an issue, but I guess my body was confused about the 3am wake up call that it refused to push out some dookie that morning. Murphy’s Law, when you want to go #2 but you can’t. Great start! Anywho, for breakfast I had cereal with oats, almonds, and banana. Then I just relaxed and waited for my friend Kat to come over, and the two of us shared a ride down to Denver’s City Park, the start of the Colfax marathon. I never really considered driving myself because I didn’t want to deal with the stress of finding a parking spot and the potentially long walk to the start. Remember, this is a pretty large race. Not Boston large but still over a 20,000 runners. A Lyft was definitely the way to go. The girl dropped us off right at City Park and we slowly strolled down to the start area, where we hung out, stretched, chatted, had last minute bathroom breaks, and got our gear ready (of course the zipper of my running belt broke, but I somehow made it work) until it was time to head to our different starting corrals. Since it was very early and pretty chilly I brought an old hoodie to leave at the start. All clothes items left behind were collected and donated, which is cool. On my way to the starting corral I took the first SIS gel with caffeine. I had 3 more non-caffeinated gel packs for the race (note to self: next time take 4). In the corral I started to stretch and loosen up a bit. The excitement began.
The first runners left promptly at 6:00am, with each subsequent corral leaving every 90 seconds after. Mine got the start signal at 6:09. Boom, and we were off! I had the plan to start the race off with around 9min/mile as I knew I would be at a slower pace at the end of the race. I didn’t turn on my headphones until mile 3 when all the runners spread out a bit. Then it was time for Harry Potter And the Half-Blood Prince to keep me occupied.
The whole race went pretty well. It’s a pretty flat course and I kept a steady pace. The route takes you on and around Colfax Avenue, along the South Platte River, which was a bit tight at times. After 5 miles I had to stop for a pee break. Luckily the lines were not too long and it only added 3 minutes to mile 5. One of the highlights of the route is the run through the Denver Broncos Stadium, twice. I obviously had to take a few selfies in there. Then around Sloan Lake and by Casa Bonita which provided a mariachi band. A shoutout to my friend Kelsey, who came down to cheer me on at the half way point of the race!
There is a stretch from mile 16 to 20 where you just run straight down Colfax toward downtown Denver. For me this was the more boring part of the marathon. Your mind just wanders, and around mile 17 I remembered what Mel had told me in the ER back in 2018 while I was high on Ketamine: “you just keep breathing”. That’s when I decided to get a tattoo on my forearm to commemorate that near-fatal day, as a reminder.
Anywho, my legs felt pretty great right until mile 23 when my calf muscles started twitching, the unmistakable sign of a cramp about to happen. Yeah, my calfs were hurting. I had to walk for a bit and stretch to make the last 3 miles work. Nice and easy stroll through downtown Denver with a lot of cheering from spectators. “Fine, I will start running again”. At this point Harry had to go and I turned on some Above & Beyond – Group Therapy; this definitely gave me some boost. You can see it in my mile 24 split. But the last 3 miles were a struggle. Also my Garmin decided to mind fuck with me as the watch struggled to get a solid GPS signal through downtown, therefore added some zig zag nonsense to my route. And about half a mile before the end, my watch was already saying 26.2miles with no finish line in sight. Not funny, Garmin, not funny at all! I really had to power through the last half mile. The bystanders cheering everyone on really helped and after 4h 20min and 20seconds (in honor of my son Leo, who as born on 4/20). I crossed the finish line, and I could hear Mel and Leo on the side cheering. That was awesome! I was a marathoner!!! And damn, my legs were done! Luckily Mel had my Adidas slides and an ice cold Beck’s NA Beer ready for me. Just what the doctor ordered. Considering I had a conservative goal of a sub 5 hour race, I was pretty happy with this result.
The next 30 minutes or so we just hung out at the finish area, took some pictures, hydrated, and kept the legs from cramping. Kat’s husband Jake and their twins boys were there as well. Kat killed it with a 3h 39min race time! And having them there together with Mel and Leo made it pretty special. Jake and Kat were pretty crucial after my mountain bike crash, especially Jake, who was riding with me that day. I should probably write about the entire accident experience and recovery in another post.
Anyway, the marathon was a blast, and I have really caught the running bug. Writing this nine months after the race, I can report that I ran a total of 1740 miles in 2023 and have already signed up for Marathon #2. I will be running the Mount Desert Island Marathon this October in Maine. And I am super excited. Being a bit more aggressive this time around, I will try to go for a sub 4hour race. Wish me luck. Note to self: bring toilet paper for the end of the race!
Shoes used on race day: Saucony Endorphin Pro