2011 Colfax Half Marathon: The Amazing Race

15 May

Today was the Colfax Half Marathon, my first official half marathon (13.1 miles) in Denver. I was awake most of the night, a bundle of nerves anticipating the long road ahead. I woke up to 37 degree weather and misting rain and dreaded what lay ahead. I was ready to conquer the race, but scared at the same time.

I was standing in my anticipated finishing time slot talking to my gal pal who came out to support me today when I met someone who I swear was an angel. She was a mom with 6 kids and on her 6th half marathon. When she found out it was my first, and I was nervous, she offered to run it with me. A complete stranger offered to run an entire race with me just to help me out and make sure I finished. I was so touched by her unbelievably kind spirit and generosity. I told her how I was very slow, and do the Galloway Method (4min run, 1 min walk), and that I was going to slow her down. She didn’t care about her time and just wanted to experience the journey together since her fiancee, who was supposed to run it with her, was injured and couldn’t.

I made a wonderful friend running that race today. She encouraged me every step of the way and kept pace. I had a glorious time on the race overall. The volunteers, police and event staff were fabulous. They were all so kind and encouraging, especially in the final, brutal miles. People who lived along the race route came out with tissues, water and posters to cheer us on in such hideous weather. It really brought this little section of Denver and the runners together. There was so much positive energy and encouragement out there today, I felt so honored to be a part of this group.

I had a tee shirt made to document this day and milestone in my life. On the back it said “11.16.07 Reconstructive foot surgery following a car accident. Doctor says I will never run again, 08.02.10 Took painful first steps as a runner. Distance complete: 0.8 miles / 10 minutes, 05.15.11 Proving my doctor wrong for 13.1 miles.” I had so many people come up to me today to say how my shirt made them cry or encouraged them. They congratulated me and shared their own stories and struggles with me. There are some fantastic, brave people out there who were all on a mission today to conquer this race for their own personal reasons. One girl I met was told she’d never WALK again in 2006 and she passed me by as she ran. There is such an amazing camaraderie in running that I think is unlike many sports. No one was cruel or so competitive that they didn’t wish you well or help out someone in need.

I crossed the finish line in 2:57:03, an amazing personal best for me. As I was crossing, I was listening to the peak of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and tears were streaming down my face. It was, by far, one of the most joyous moments in my life. I finished my first half marathon with the help of my dear friend Lara who came down to take pictures and the many, many kind strangers I met today. What an absolute high. I have never experienced such an incredible rush and feeling of accomplishment.

So, if you are contemplating getting off the couch to try a race or lose weight or accomplish a new goal, know you can do it. If you set your mind to anything, it can be done with determination and dedication.

13.1 miles of proving my doctor wrong

Posing with my finisher's medal

2011 Colfax Half Marathon Photo Album

2 Responses to “2011 Colfax Half Marathon: The Amazing Race”

  1. Laura May 15, 2011 at 6:37 PM #

    So proud of you — fantastic!

    • Noel D. May 16, 2011 at 6:35 AM #

      THANK YOU!!!! I feel really awesome. 🙂 🙂 🙂 I’m so excited! Going to take a few days off and then it’s back to training for the full marathon in October.

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