Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone – it’s a day for cheer and a day for beer! I am a quarter Irish so I am absolutely allowed to say that with all the pomp and circumstance. And I am wearing green today, so no pinching! But don’t worry, I am not drinking beer at work. Although a snake bite black may be in order this evening (I am willing to break my New Year’s goal to appropriately celebrate a holiday in honor of my lineage).
This past weekend I participated in the Lucky Laces 10K in Denver’s City Park. The event was more about the 5K than the 10K, but I am holding true to that extra lap. It was an amazing event, particularly for a local race. My friends Samantha and Christine have determined that runners fall into two categories when it comes to preference of races: you either prefer the “Big Box” races with large registration numbers and premium sponsors, or you love local races that are more intimate and unique. I will freely admit, particularly after the BOLDERBoulder and the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I am a big box fan all the way. I don’t have to think about a thing for these races. Everything is planned out to a tee, and all elements are carefully executed. It’s an experience more than just a race.
Although Lucky Laces was a large local event, it had all the makings of a great big box race. The day started around 8:00am, but I arrived around 8:20am. To kick off the morning, there was a bagpiper playing, welcoming the runners and families. Once I arrived at the main venue, there was a Celtic group, Pandora Celtica, singing traditional songs, free coffee, hot cocoa or cider (it was around 35 degrees with an icy wind), massage chairs ready for post-race relaxation, and a fantastic stand with cup of noodles. I grabbed a free cup of joe and sipped it slowly as I waited for the start of the race. The Little Leprechaun fun run kicked off at 8:30am, which was so fun to watch. The kids and their parents all looked so happy! As I lined up for the start of the race, an instructor from Camp Gladiator led the crowd in fun warm-ups, much appreciated due to the cold. I was running on my own, but some of the exercises were to be with pairs, and the great folks around me joined in spiritedly. Finally it was time to go and we were on our way.
The race itself was great. It was a nice big loop around Denver’s City Park, with a maximum elevation change of 68 feet. Much better than my giant hills at home. Although a grey day, the runners were so jovial and friendly. I was listening to the “Book of Mormon” soundtrack during the run (how PC of me I know…), which made me spontaneously burst out laughing, so I am sure I looked like a lunatic at parts. As I reached the 5K mark, I had a moment of complete jealousy of those veering off for the 5K finish. At that point “Man Up” began playing, so I carried on with a renewed sense of vigor. My only complaint was that there were 2 water stations for the 10K and none for the 5K. Granted, I brought my own water bottle so as not to have to stop along the way, but for those without, and particularly at elevation, there should have been at least one more station. As I pulled up for the finish, “I Believe” began blaring through my headphones, so I unknowingly timed my music far too appropriately for my needs.
After the race, I happily trotted over to pick up my medal (medals make me so happy!) and realized I had PRed in the process! I was shooting for a 60 minute 10K (I am not that fast, but for me that’s great), but ended with 1:04. Not too far off, and potentially without such an icy wind, I may have gotten there. Regardless, I was quite excited. I knew that I needed something warm so I went over to the cup of noodles folks and happily accepted a steaming cup. From the main venue, we “followed the rainbow” signs to a mansion across from City Park. Inside, Delilah’s Revenge was performing, Odell’s Brewery was serving delicious beers, and Flippin’ Flapjacks offered steaming hot pancakes fresh off the griddle. I was one happy camper. I chatted with a girl who had also run the 10K and she ended up winning 3rd for her age group. She and I agreed that she needed to wear that medal to work today, and I hope she did!
I would love to do this race again. It was supremely well organized, easy to manage, and just a fun, exciting environment. Although I still love those big box races, there’s definitely something to be said about local runs with a lot of flair!
Do you prefer smaller, local races or the big box events? Did you do anything fun in honor of St. Patty’s? Do you listen to music when you run, or prefer the sound of your feet on the pavement?