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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Race 7: October 17 - Denver, CO

Saturday, October 16, Steven and I woke up before dawn to head to the airport for our flight. We parked, and took the shuttle to the terminal. Surprisingly, we made it to our gate with plenty of time since I refused the full body scan and received a very lengthy and intimate pat down. After sleeping on our flight, we landed in Denver feeling a bit discombobulated. We picked up our rental car, and drove to a small coffee shop downtown for, breakfast, tea (for me) and coffee (for Steven).

After refueling, we went to the race expo to check in and get our race packets and bibs. The expo was a nice size, and we ended up with a lot of freebies. I had fun sampling gels, drinks, and other snacks. (Luckily, I don’t have stomach problems in races!) Steven managed to score two free technical shirts. Gotta love the freebies!

I had to write on the inspiration board at the expo.

Outside the expo

At the expo -- Steven's super fast time!

At the expo -- sporting the Elvis mask

Since UT was playing, as soon as we left the expo went over to the bar at the Hard Rock Café to watch the game. While we were there, six very intoxicated, middle-aged UT fans came in to watch the game, too. And somehow they convinced Steven to do a few shots with him, despite the fact that he had to run 13.1 miles the following day. I wisely stuck with water.

Steven with his fellow UT fans

They kept buying Steven shots to celebrate the game

At the Hard Rock bar

When the game was over, we checked into our hotel and rested before going to dinner at the Cheeky Monk Belgium Beer Café. I had a salad and a three cheese mac ‘n cheese dish. The mac n’ cheese was a little heavy, but I don’t get sick to my stomach when I run. In fact, I feel nauseous if I don’t eat before I run.

At the Cheeky Monk

Unfortunately, the service was really slow, so our meal took over 1.5 hours. We got back to our hotel pretty late, which meant we didn’t sleep as long as I wanted. Morning came a bit too early. But we groggily got up, ate, and walked the mile from our hotel to the race start.

The busy start line

For an inaugural race, it was a lot more crowded with participants than I expected. Steven and I squeezed into our corral and waited to start. Even after the race started, it took over 20 minutes for our corral to reach the start line. With 16,000 runners, it takes a while to start!

Yay! Texans!

One of the bands on the course

We ran a nice pace—slower than I’m used to. Steven is in great shape, but he excels at shorter distances. He can kick my rear in a 5k race. But I have a faster half marathon time than he does. So it was a nice steady race for me—no pain, and plenty of opportunities to take photos.

Steven running

My soul-mate

There weren't many supporters on the course, but these women rocked! They were at every turn!

I have mixed feelings about the race. The course was well designed. Running through the park was lovely, and running downhill to the finish was really nice. But the crowd support was poor for such a large race. And being a Rock ‘N Roll marathon and half, I expected more bands. I was surprised by the long stretches of silence. I was even more surprised that there was no sunscreen at the medical aid tents. We were running at altitude—sunscreen is a must. Even though I liberally applied sunscreen before the race, there was a point where I wanted to reapply because it was sunnier than I expected. So many larger races have sunscreen available. It was a bit ridiculous that this race did not. I think that for the second year of the race, the race directors have a few things to improve. But overall it was a very pleasant race. And I having Steven run it with me made it even better!

Steven finishing the race

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fall health update

I haven’t been updating, but luckily it’s not because my lupus is getting the best of me. It’s because I’ve been busy writing, studying, and trying to stay on top of daily tasks. I still have to sleep more than the average person, and sometimes feel weak and tired. But with the Plaquenil and Imuran, I am so much better than I was. The joint pain is still there, but I’m now used to it and it doesn’t get in my way.