Post-News Colfax 1/2 Merrython – 2:45:25.2 PFEW!!!

18 05 2008

Oh my … oh my … oh my … says the sun-burnt me! Ok- Let’s see if I can get a cogent race report out of me since my brain won’t let me go to sleep!

Today was the 3rd annual Post-News Colfax 1/2 or Full Merrython. Many know of this race as the one which ‘added’ about 1/2 a mile last year. As one who has added a full mile completely inadvertently … 1/2 a mile for a mostly up-hill course really bites. It’s also got one of the worst reputations for just about everything. I was a relay member last year … and I do have to say that it was pretty sucky. I used to carry a $10 in my hat at all times – which was a good thing because I had to buy my own water from the quickie mart at the gas station when I finished my leg.

I signed up this year because … ok- I was bored and a friend is linked to a charity which takes older dogs out of shelters and has them trained as service dogs. Yeah – everything for my Bailey Pup! What I didn’t properly realize is that this is a week before Dave’s clinic here and the Bolder Boulder 10K … I got this in my head coming out of the expo! I should have looked harder at my training schedule but with that paper on headphones (final title: Running Deaf: Returning responsibility for hearing loss and interacting in races to the user after three decades of the personal stereo … includes the still unsolved Dyer case in SF and a bit on the USATF/RRCA rulings … if you want a copy … let me know!) … and life …

Quit complaining. The harder thing is that my left knee has been a bit wonky for the last couple of weeks. It’s gotten to the point where my ‘training’ (if you can call it that) has been essentially taking Bailey for walks and tourist walking … and using what I can of my technique to get around the Auraria Campus for work. In other words — I’ve been off for the last couple of weeks.  I tried to do some track stuff, etc, but it was a no go. The real fear set in on Monday when it was crunching during Pilates. It’s not crunched in a long time!I was able to get in to my chiropractor for several visits … I’ve not been able to get in since just after Surf City in February … $$ … got a ‘stern talking to’ and ‘you come in you love your walking’ … and the diagnosis was nothing really terrible – no cracks or anything … but a deep sprain. The thing about the left knee is that it was the one that was orthoscopically operated on when I was 24 due to the car accident and took most of the hit from the door and roll-down window handle when I was t-boned.

I’ve been collecting runners as Team Shep Blog Readers, and like running Racewalkingrequires your joints to be functioning. I just don’t wear braces well. I swell up, have a problem with neoprene … and have fairly thick thighs … and limited patience wherein said knee brace would probably go flying around mile 1 or 2 latest! At Disney 2007, I became a Bio-Freeze devotee … so there you have it.

I got to the Denver Zoo at … 3:15 a.m.  I’m serious. 3:15. Start was at 6 and the website said be parked by 5. Because my knee was floating in level 6-7 pain (0-10 scale) for so long I wanted to have some grass, cool car, and suss out the start/finish line. I was really glad I did because I immediately noticed how narrow the start chute was (but this race has a terrible reputation and I think they were still registering people this morning!) and just where the finish was. I drove as much of the last 5k as I could because I had a feeling if my leg was going to go south it would happen then. The big thing I noticed was that the Mile 13 marker was right in front of a HUGE dumpster and the Mile 26 marker was obscured by a big tree branch. Another potential problem was that the FINISH sign was not only slung low, but around a corner so I wasn’t sure just when I’d really *see* it. Ok – got my finishing strategy in place.  Time to have them open the potties! All this by 3:50 a.m.

I watched the full moon hover over Denver on this very clear morning and started to get my head into where it needed to be. A body check in found my left knee hovering at it’s level 6 pain when I tried to roll my foot … um … kinda sucky for racewalking! My lower back straight across was protesting also. The beauty of what was unfolding in front of me as the moon started to slip behind the snow covered mountains really put me at peace … that and the knowledge that I really *do* love 1/2 merrythons … and I’d like to transfer that peace and love to all distances. 

My calm was broken by Alicia calling. She was saying roads were closing … ah … time to get to the parking lot. It turned out Doc Christine (friend, racewalkerand member of “Why Don’t They Just Run” Marathon Relay Team parked right next to me. Slather the Bio-Freeze … lose the sweats and long sleeved shirt … apply more sunscreen (like it mattered!) … and we’re off to the races!  I split off and got to a place where I could warm up the body while staring at the lake. Peace … I knew that if I *had* to bail because of my leg, I was fine with that … or so I thought.

Go on Lizzy … do what you tell others to do … “Relax and do your own race.”

As I say, the race was slated to start at 6 a.m. with a mass start of Wheelchairs, 1/2 Marathon and Full Marathon and Full Marathon Relay. Ok … um .. this is an accident waiting to happen. There were no corrals what-so-ever. There was a mention of them, but I couldn’t figure it out. My new friend (and speedy sneaker) Jay said that when he left the front rows to go warm up (what a novel concept) he had to shimmy through the crowd to get back where he belonged. David did the same, however I think he said he shimmied through the zip tied metal railings. When the starting gate is so narrow and there are nearly 2,000 people … they were asking for problems. It took me about 4.5 minutes to *get* to the start, but there was enough room where I could work out the kinks before hitting the timing mats.

Since there were no real corrals, I probably started with a group faster than myself. About 1/4 mile in, I felt a scratch on my shoulder … Jan Hill was blowing past … she ended up averaging 11 minute miles. Dang she’s fast … I’ll get there!!! It was great to see her and then I settled in.

About 3/4 of a mile down there was the split – Left for the 1/2 and Right for the full … HOWEVER a lot of relay people didn’t quite get the turn and had to turn around. David said there were a couple of other course related messes … but I went to the Left.

Zip around City Park … hum … this was the Road Runner race for last month! I passed a friend (whom I got the good fortune to cheer on at the end!) and kept on going. Everything felt pretty in line.  Out of Mile One and in the middle of Two, I believe, I passed this guy and said “Hey Walker – you’re doing great.” His reply “Thanks — Hey – No Fair, You’re passing me using good technique.” Forever trying to promote my friends “Dude – you know Dave McGovern is teaching a clinic this coming weekend. … check it out for this or next year!” *pouf* up the street I trundled.

Between Mile 2 and 3 I spent a lot of time just checking in with myself. There were tons of cops along the way and a few folks cheering – so it was mostly time with my thoughts, people around me and … 13 year old Orion Stanley standing on a corner playing the most amazing trumpet solos! Seriously! I could hear Orion playing and although Sheila had told me he would be out there … you never know until you hear him play … heck of a treat! Orion is also a runner and a budding speedy sneaker! 

Just before the 5k water stop, there were a couple of sleepy and familiar folks to me – my sleepy friend/boss Margaret was siting holding the green PJ clad Nicholas on her lap! That was amazing — at like 6:45 in the morning … that really meant a lot to me … trundle back off to bed or home for a *big* pot of tea! I was feeling good – about 2 Clif Shock Blocks in.

The water stops were at least there … but they must have had a lot of trouble finding people to man them. Maybe two people with Gatoradeand two with water. Runners/Walkers were stopping *dead* in the stops. The volunteers, bless their hearts really, were trying to keep up with demand, but they were filling the cups so full that I felt fairly guilty about pitching so much fluid on a day that was bound to be very hot. I shared where I could. Also – the water stops were every *2* miles … which made them a little more important. I was carrying my 2 bottle pack and was down about 1/2 a bottle on either side by the end.

The big thing I noticed that was missing were medical personnel. I didn’t see them on bikes nor with stations at the water stops. So much for my bailing into a med tent.  Keep walking.

Colfax is a nightmare of a street. It’s constantly being worked on. With the snows of this year, it was pretty torn up. I couldn’t get a straight bead off the road. What I mean is that the crown isn’t directly down the center like many one way streets … it’s kind of off to the side … to allow run-off. The thing I remembered from doing the relay last year was there was this strange depression going down one lane off to the side that seemed fairly flat … and it was better than walking on a perpetual slope messing with my knee.

Coming in to mile 4, I realized I was feeling pretty good. Walking into the sun was a bummer, but I ran into some race friends. One I know from the Belleview. Race friends are really amazing actually.  Q said when I was getting nervous about this race that I was doing it on home turf – so it should be easier. Um … I find it kind of harder. This race it was fun to meet up with folks, walk for a while and one or the other passed. Phil’s beloved dog is dying of cancer and she just found out … she laughed when she said “You can racewalk and hug at the same time!” Yeah – these hidden talents. I lost track of her as I was concentrating around mile 10.

I’ve become a bit of a target for some folks who are runners “THERE’S MY INSPIRATION” … aeiii!!! watch the 5’10” me run and hide! Ok … I just keep going! My inspirations were all over the course – a group of them over doing the relay, Jan ahead of me, others I know from all over, people trying really hard, speedy sneakers making it look entirely too easy then coming back to cheer on as they do a cool down … 🙂 One of my good friends I didn’t get to hookup with is Mike McBride who was dragging his jalopy for the whole thing. From his end results … he sliced an average of 3 minutes per mile off his best! I’m SOOO danged proud.

Mile 5 was still going up hill. I had looked at the race elevation and I knew that it was going to get icky up through Mile 6 then I had a feeling over on the other side. Jay said the roughly Mile 9 or 10 … fuzzy brain … hill caught him a bit unaware … and that’s hard to do! I was a smidgen over my last two 5 mile races, but I had a lot longer to go but with a few aches and pains that I could deal with – all was rolling just fine. I decided to pop 1/2 a Clif Shot and Phil gave me a lifesaver. Gotta love the mid-back camaraderie!

I looked up into Mile 6. Crossing a major intersection, I think I finally saw my first med person – but I was simply going to keep on trucking. I was hovering at average pain level 7.5 across everything and knew stretching would be in order. I wanted to wait until I circled into the Mile 7 turn around. I came in to 8 and it was my RIGHT leg that decided to cramp up slightly. “Hey – what do you think you’re doing? We’re in the middle of a race!” I asked my body and pulled over to stretch. It was going to be a repeat performance for the rest of the race.

(on soapbox)

There were no dogs on the course nor strollers — but my thoughts on headphone use are now well-documented. There are those whom I *know* keep them down and use them as a tool … they get in to their music but are extremely cognizant of the people around them. There was enough room after the first couple of miles that I didn’t run in to too much trouble until I was in the last 5k with having to pass through people. Damn headphones so loud I could sing to the tune NEXT to the person I was passing! Come ON people! It was a beautiful morning! Even worse than this were the folks who actually stepped closer to the center of the one way street to try to stretch or manipulate their personal stereo. EXCUSE ME?! I stay off the edges for slope and just this reason. Got to the edge to stretch or play with your water bottles or personal stereo.

(off soapbox)

Even with the pain encroaching on my good mood, I was really relaxed. I was getting frustratedwith hearing my own feet scuff the pavement and was concerned I might go tush-over-teakettle. Miles 10 and 11were the hardest and my slowest according to my Garmin. I had to spend a lot of time against a tree trying to get my legs to stretch out. It was the time that I was questioning my ability to finish. A cop was standing in the middle of the street actually having fun and interacting with all of us. High 5’s and all that. I was coming up and said “Hey – Want a hug?!” He laughed and gave me a great hug – big guy made bigger with his bullet proof vest on a very warm May morning! I had to finish now!  Some guy at the next waterstop said “Great form Racewalker.” Ok – I wasn’t falling flat on my face … so I guess it was great form. I think I wasn’t using my feet properly … but that was the least of my concerns!

I knew precisely were miles 11, 12 and 13 were marked from my morning Recon … I also knew that there was NO hill or any surprises really except a question as to where the finish line was. It’s just a 5k … well I’d somehow added .06 to the race … but NO MORE THAN THAT! I had all my markers in place and although I was starting to tighten up uncomfortably, I knew that I needed to average 12:48 minute miles (thanks Q … I love your site, but also love just being let know … do this!) to make the 2:48:00 1/2 suggested by Coach Dave McG.  I like having things to shoot for.

As I came back in to City Park, I knew I was slowing down. To make the time Dave had … suggested … I had to hit the finish line in less than 7 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but I’d done the whole event with injuries and 4 hours sleep … there was no taking that medal away from me.  “HEY GO LIS! You’re doing great!!!” Over on the Marathon side were Stephanie and Brian from the running club! Yippee!!! Next I saw The Tree … “Hi Tree!!! I’m back …” Let’s close the deal! I kept to the direct center of the path because the dumpster is in the middle of the left hand turn. I suck at tangents anyway, but I knew that it was another right directly after.

Ok- last .10 … check it out — there were all these people. A group all dressed in black were cheering with pom-poms and all that! It was the jolt I needed to get around that last corner … FINISH SIGN!  The thing that blew my mind was how quiet the packs of people lining the barriers were! “HEY COME ON FOLKS!!! I’M FINISHING A RACE!! LET’S HEAR SOME NOISE!!! …. COME ON!!! YOU CAN DO BETTER!!! I’VE WALKED THIS WHOLE BLOODY THING!!!” Ok – finally they got in to the act … sometimes you’ve got to take a cattle-prod to people!

I was PSYCHED! I saw that clock … knew I had held on to my 4 minutes from start … and KNEW I’d not only slid under the predict from Dave (which was my best from San Jose – Sea Level of 2:48:04 + 2% for altitude) but I’d also beaten that … on a course with long hills … at altitude … on a sunny day … YIPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Of course, me being me – I knew there were friends still out on the course. Friends are family to me and I knew that Alicia was already in, but Q was pacing David over on the Marathon side of things. It’s a little disturbing that my 1/2 time and my friends’ full times are fairly close, but I thought David would have been done by this time. After a little milling, I was on the finish route with Stephanie and Brian … I heard this huge yell, but couldn’t place it … coming around that dumpster was a WALKING David. Um … no … that does *not* happen. He’s a speedy sneaker! Since his nose looked intact, I figured he’d not gone face first into the dumpster … what happened was he got down there and both his legs seized up. I literally could feel his pain. We cheered him as he told us what happened and he tossed over his shoulder “Hey – I’m racewalking!!!” well … he was kind of waddling! He’s one of the guys who has a lot of respect for racewalking, knowing full well that he can’t do it. He did run across the pads and I looked at Q saying I was going to get him in the finishing area as I could get back in there.

I might have driven him nuts, but David looked really off. He has this thing about using cake frosting (yes – that stuff in a tub) for his gu’s … to each his own, but he had green smeared on him! It was David who explained to me the importance of keeping moving after a race – and especially after Disney, I really appreciate the advice. He was picking up food and I was also – adding more for later … until it was time to get his chip off. David laces them in. Ok- so last Trophy Series race, I cut him off inadvertently … something he will tease me about for forever. My hands were *not* back to normal, but there was *no* way he was going to get anywhere near his shoes, so I got the thing off. In the expo tent, he was talking with a friend and I got the print out from his chip. Yeah – that’s the kind of friend I am.Icing the sunburned Gams!

David, Q and I hung out for quite some time. Jay expressed a real frustration with the fact that on this expensive and fairly large field race, the age groups were in decades not in five year chunks. I laughed and said something about him finally not placing first. I let him know how it is for a racewalker who gets stuck in with running totals … or when jog/walkers sign up as walkers and spike out our standings. He got it … but I agree the 10 year thing is kind of silly. BUT JAY you still came in 3rd … I know first just feels better 🙂

Overall – it was a good race. David really had to be good about trying to ice down his legs. Me being slightly obnoxious was able to get my sore back of knee onto the ice bag on the barrel. I did this on both sides. Wow – I’m pretty sun-burnt. I’m also surprised I got the shot as it’s with my cellphone! Q reminded me of that sunburned left arm and I covered it with the bandanna I carry when I walk. He also helped to stretch out the back of my legs. Not an easy thing to do. David also got us to go get these vacuum seal bag things … uh … ok. David is the man who can find all the deals. He also got a couple of those megaphone cone things and said “This is so we can tell you to HURRY UP!” Gotta love your faster friends, hu?!

So it was 6 shock blocks, one Cliff Shot, one lime lifesaver, about a bottle total “on-board” Gatorade Cocktails. Knee will recover … I will recover. I’m feeling tight right now — but I’m cool with that. My left knee has dropped all the way down to level 3 pain and I’m psyched about that. I probably started out too fast and have a lot of things to work on … but with a little sustained pain at the end, it felt pretty good. I averaged 12:38 minute miles … 10 seconds faster than what Q said I needed … 🙂 Made some new friends.

Big points go out to Q. He helped David out through his race and put up with the giddy me on mine. He’s a great guy and I’m insanely happy he’s one of my dear friends.

The racewalking team: Why Don’t They Just Walk came in 8thfor Master’s Women’s Teams at 5:18:50 with an average time of 12:08! Mike McBride SLICED some serious time off his previous and is on a ROLL!!

Here’s to a great summer … let’s just hope I can keep the body and gut together!

Next race: Bolder Boulder 10K after Dave McGovern’s i …




One response

19 05 2008

Hey Dizzy Lizzy…
You did great and through the pain, amazing!
I put the article about Mike on my blog with an older photo,
he did great. Proud of all of you doing so many events.
my next one is the 5K stadium Stampede on Fathers day, then the SLACKER half marathon…saving my energy for that one…hoping as the new baby in my age group (70) I might place? also the Georgetown to Idaho Springs and the Denver Half…hope to see you at one of those…make that knee get better? how?
Roxlyn G Cole,

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