Race Report: Denver Race for the Cure 5k
Today was the polar opposite of yesterday, excepting the pre-dawn wakeup. I finally made it to the race that inspired me to start running 2 years ago. What a morning. Race for the Cure is a BIG deal in Denver, frequently registering the highest number of participants in the whole country. Today they were estimating 65,000 people took part. Wow!
I knew I was in for an event like no other when I pulled into the light rail station to find the main lot filled up at 06:00. I had to detour into the overflow dirt lot.
I was one of about 3 guys total on the packed, standing room only train. Wearing my dark ski cap, dark long-sleeve shirt, and black warmup pants I felt like a thug in a sea of pink and white ladies. A fly in a bowl of creamy pink soup. Man, did I ever stick out.
I spent some time walking around the start area, and got my shirt ready. Whew, I finally had some pink on!
Being one of the .0000000001% of the 65,000 people that wanted to ‘race’, I made my way to the starting line about 30 minutes early.
It was about a 1/2 mile from the finish area, so I used it as a chance to jog and warm up a little. I was pretty happy to see that my legs felt relatively decent after the 24 mile day yesterday.
I didn’t know how much I had left in me, but I wanted to run hard and see what I could do. The minutes leading up to the start were touching with the singing of the national anthem and talk about the disease we were all there to help fight. I’ll admit I got a little choked up and my eyes were blurry by the time the 10 second countdown began.
I took off running hard with a lump in my throat and damp eyes. Time to focus as I weaved through the people ahead of me to get a clear line. My body wasn’t thrilled with the speed, but it didn’t shut me down, either. More of a shoulder shrug – and here we go again…
My plan was to run until it hurt pretty bad, then hold that pace. I was really wanting to slow down at the halfway point, but I kept thinking of the names on my back and on the backs of everyone around me and felt myself being pushed forward. It was incredibly inspiring.
Soon the finish was in sight and I gave it everything I had to cross the line running strong. I finished in 21:06 (6:47 pace). Not the 6:30s I was hoping to run, but not bad with all the miles in my legs.
After the race I spent some time walking around the vendor expo area and getting lots of goodies for my girls. Jessica was particularly excited about her bunny ears and wore them all day.
The Survivor’s Ceremony wrapped up the day, with a concert and balloons. It was a special day and I’m glad I was able to take part in it.