Disclaimer: I received a free entry to Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
My first Rock ‘n’ Roll experience was amazing and left me wanting more! It all started Friday, October 13th with a flight from Sacramento, California to Denver, Colorado.
Immediately following work on Friday (I’m a 5th grade teacher), I drove to the airport to catch my flight. It was an uneventful two hour flight. I passed time by watching the movie “Tallulah” on Netflix that I had downloaded the night before. When I arrived in to Denver, my aunt and her friend, Brenda, were waiting for me. We all headed to my aunt’s house, chatted about running for a bit, and then went to bed.
Before heading to bed, however, I laid out my clothes for the 5k the next morning and snapped my #flatrunner pic.
The next morning, I was so excited to participate in my first Rock ‘n’ Roll race! I was glad there was race morning bib pick up since I wasn’t able to attend the expo on Friday. I was also glad that the 5k started at 9am. It was chilly, but manageable since the sun was out.
The 5k on Saturday was relatively small. There were only 961 participants. I went into the race with no expectations. I wasn’t sure how my body would respond to running in the mile high city (5,280 ft. elevation). My hometown’s elevation is 59 feet.
I’m happy to report that I ran the entire time (besides the short walk during the water station at mile 2) and I finished in 30:16. A far cry from my 24:16 5k PR, but I already knew my 5k time wasn’t going to be fast. One of the pieces of motivation I had during the race was knowing my aunt was right beside me. I didn’t want her to see me walk nor give up. I wanted to prove I was strong. (Speaking of strong, can I take this moment to give a shout out to my aunt who finished 5th in her division! Way to go Margie!)
While Margie and I waited for Brenda to finish the 5k, I headed to the beer garden to enjoy my complimentary beer. (Brenda was recovering from an injured hamstring, so she had to walk the course. Normally, she’s a fast runner. A super fast, Boston Qualifying runner!)
After enjoying the 5k course and finisher zone, we drove to the expo to pick up our half marathon bib and packet.
The expo was held at the National Western Complex and was amazing! There were over 60 exhibitors represented at the expo! I could have spent hours upon hours at the expo! Even though the expo was HUGE, it remained well organized, runner-friendly, fun, and informative!
Some of my favorite parts of the expo included checking out the Rock ‘n’ Roll race area (still trying to convince the hubby to let me run RnR Las Vegas… every year it falls on his birthday weekend and he doesn’t want to go to Las Vegas for his birthday), getting a pic of me holding my half marathon bib, and finding the SPIbelt booth. (Use code STEPHANIE2017 for 15% off at SPIbelt.com.)
Finally it was time to head back to the house, shower, and enjoy the rest of our day by visiting the town of Boulder, Colorado. While in Boulder, we walked along Pearl Street, an outdoor shopping mall. We spent about an hour in the Boulder Book Store. It was wonderful to browse the books, relax, and get lost in a few good titles. One book that I picked up was “What Made Maddy Run” by Kate Fagan, the heartbreaking and vital story of college athlete Madison Holleran, whose death by suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus.
We browsed a few other stores and then made our way to Japango for some sushi and wine. This is what everyone eats the night before a half marathon, right?! 😉
It was a full day for us, so once we returned to my aunt’s house, we chatted for a bit and then headed to bed. Once again, I had to first lay out my #flatrunner pic.
The moment I had been waiting for finally had arrived! My first Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon! I was told that the half marathon would be bigger than the 5k and they weren’t joking. The 5k had a little under 1,000 participants and the half marathon & 10k combined had a little under 7,000 participants! The race started at 7am and we arrived to the starting line a little after 6am. I tried staying in the warm car for as long as possible before I had to meet up with my fellow BibRave Pros.
Andrey, Katherine, and I finally all got together at 6:50am, Katherine & I then ran over to the drop bag area to drop our bags off, and then we quickly ran to our corrals. It was 30 degrees at the start of the race and 39 degrees when I finished the race about 2.5 hours later! Needless to say, it was cold! I’m so glad that I decided to wear tights and put my long sleeve shirt on under my BibRave shirt! I couldn’t feel my hands the first 3 miles of the race! Even though it was cold, I still sweated throughout the run. I was glad to have my new Boco Gear visor! (As a local Colorado based company, Boco Gear knows how to make comfortable and versatile headwear. I wore my visor the entire 13.1 miles and was able to easy throw it in the washing machine when I got home.)
Overall, I was pleased with my half marathon performance. I had run a local half marathon two weeks prior with a time of 2:19:34. My Denver finishing time was 2:21:27. (Again, a far cry from my half PR of 1:52:32.) Considering I was running a mile higher than I normally do, I was pleased.
I felt the lack of oxygen in the air more during the 5k than during the half marathon. This was partly due to the fact that I was so cold during the half marathon, my whole body was numb! I couldn’t feel anything! I can’t remember the last time I ran 13.1 miles in a long sleeve shirt and tights! (Can you tell I’m a California girl or what?!)
I had about a hour to enjoy the finisher zone before Brenda and Margie would finish the half marathon. First, I picked up my Remix Challenge medal (a special medal you earn when you participate in both events on Saturday and Sunday), then I headed to pick up my grab bag, and finally, I made my way to the beer garden. I was especially looking forward to the beer garden because I had not one complimentary beer ticket, but three! (Brenda and Margie both gave me their beer tickets. :))
After warming up in the sunshine with three beers and a solar blanket, I walked towards our meetup spot and quickly found Brenda and Margie. We snapped a quick jumping pic, and then drove to the house for me to shower, eat lunch, pack my bags, and then go to the airport.
It was an amazing whirlwind weekend in Denver! I am so thankful for my aunt who opened up her home to me, ran with me, and was a generous hostess. She even made a special, super tasty veggie lasagna since she knew that I am a no meat athlete! Yes, I am blessed!
It was another uneventful flight back home. I was thankful for my Oofos because my feet were ready for some much needed rest and recovery! If given the opportunity to run another Rock ‘n’ Roll race, I would do it in a heartbeat! So, so, SOOO much fun!
Now it’s time to turn my attention to my next big race, the California International Marathon!
Have you ever run a Rock ‘n’ Roll race? If so, which one? What was your experience running the race? If not, is there a Rock ‘n’ Roll race that’s on your bucket list? Tell me about it. I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time,
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