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The Platte (Double) Half Marathon

It all started when Charley asked me if I would be up for running the Platte Half Marathon, then turning around and running back to the start line. HECK NO! I, mean, run away from food, friends and fun???  So I replied that if he thought I would benefit from running 26.2 that day, I would run from the finish to the start and then start with everyone to run back to the finish-- and the plan was on!

So yesterday morning it was up early (like almost always) and then down to the finish line. Thankfully, there are a number of factors that make the Platte pretty easy to run backwards:
  • It is a point-to-point
  • It is pretty much a straight shot along a river trail-- easy to navigate.
  • The course is open to the public-- many people hate this, but it worked for me yesterday.
  • The course goes "up" in elevation from the finish to the start, so the "harder" leg was first for me.
I started off running and around mile 3, Elizabeth met me. She had to get in a 20-miler, so she opted to run part of it with me. We continued on running, chatting, etc. E had warned me that she wasn't much of a talker, but that wasn't really the case. Chatted the whole way.

Before long, Charley was there, checking in on us. He did this twice just on the way up and three times on the way back-- thanks, Charley! We started passing aid stations that actually had volunteers setting up. We didn't see any other runners out on the course, so I am pretty sure we were the only ones doing the FULL marathon. ;) As we got to Littleton, Elizabeth navigated us through the town towards the start line. One volunteer shouted out that the race went the other way and she shouted back, "we're running it backwards!", like duh!

But we timed it perfectly. As we rolled into the start line the announcer announced that the race would start in 6 minutes. Elizabeth ran and filled our water bottles and I did a quick wardrobe change, dropped my drop bag (with everything I had been previously carrying) and then we were in the corral.
Not too bad for an relaxing 13.2 up to the start...
Ready to run the second half. Bye-bye camera!
So, the second half started and we were off. Getting running again, I felt like molasses. A lot of that is due in part that we had jumped in the corral ahead of our pace time, so everyone was flying out of there at 6 and 7-minute miles. The other part of that is probably due to the fact that my legs were tired.

On the way back, we (Elizabeth and I) didn't talk much. Early on, we set a pace of about 8:45/mile and I was much more concentrated on keeping that going. The aid stations were every two miles and all was well for awhile. Elizabeth had said she would keep with me for at least five miles, but she stuck with me till she got back to her car (10 miles). She told me to keep picking people off and I realized that, as slow as we had been going, I think that we were actually gaining some speed (not much), but some. The last three were on my own, and by that time, I just wanted to get through it. Around the last aid station, I saw both Charley and Sonja and it gave me a boost. Mile 12 is the only hill on the course and I was happy that I was gaining speed going up. At the top of the viaduct/hill you look to the left and there is a cool view of downtown Denver. I enjoyed it, then picked it up to get to the end.

Finished and happy, I ran into some friends from the RMTC and even more from the Roost. We all chatted about our race and I got to meet a Chris Sullivan, who had run Comrades last year. He had plenty of excellent info on the race and then I realized I had read an article by this guy! (Comrades article-- go to page 12-13)  I retrieved my drop bag and got my cell. Charley had texted "Protein. NOW!!! I looked back at the food line which, in the 1/2 hour I'd been chatting, had grown to be 3 blocks long. Serves me right for talking. I was STARVING, so I grabbed a beer, some MIX 1 (protein, right?) and headed home-- with a stop at Qdoba on the way! I figured I deserved it, right?