Weekly Workouts and the Denver Urban (Unofficial) Half Marathon

Raise your hand if you’re a little sad that the weekend is over already. Yes, me too. At least it was a fun one, as you’ll read later. But before I get to the fun stuff, let’s quickly chat about my training the rest of the week — which was, sadly, on the treadmill because I refuse to run in the dark. I don’t have any fun pictures until Saturday’s workout, because pictures of my sweaty face and my treadmill console just aren’t that interesting, so I’ll spare you.

Monday: 

6 x 3 minutes at 5k pace with equal recoveries. With warm-up and cool down, 6 miles. Followed by the Runner 360 workout that I talked about here.

Here, have a sweaty selfie after all. I wore this shirt because I was grumpy about the time change.
Here, have a sweaty selfie after all. I wore this shirt because I was grumpy about the time change.

Tuesday: 

5 miles easy and a strength workout in the gym.

Wednesday: 

6 miles easy and some core work

Thursday: 

12 x 45-second “hill” repeats (in quotes because they were treadmill hills) with 1.5-minute recoveries, 5 miles total with warm-up and cool down, followed by 40ish minutes of weights. My legs were toast by the end of this.

Friday: 

5 easy miles and a fast core workout. This was an early morning workout, because I was heading to Denver that night. Jordan had a meeting, which meant a free-to-us hotel room, so hey… mini-vacation for Cassie!

Saturday: 

Amy of Run Write Hike and her husband, who live in Denver, organized an unofficial half-marathon for Saturday. When I got Amy’s email a few weeks ago and realized it was the same date as Jordan’s meeting, I got really excited. I was right to be excited; I had a blast. You can read all about the course in Amy’s post (and you probably should because I have no sense of direction and am probably about to get  things out of order).

We met at Amy’s house at 1:00, on a day that was unbelievably warm for early November. See? We’re all wearing shorts and T-shirts/tank tops, and we all got pretty hot by the end of it!

I'm not putting names in this picture, because Amy's the only one I knew before this, so I'm pretty sure I'd name someone wrong.
I’m not putting names in this picture, because Amy’s the only one I knew before this, so I’m pretty sure I’d name someone wrong. Photo cred goes to Amy’s husband, David. 

Once we were all sunscreened and mapped up (Amy and David made a MapMyRun course AND printed directions. They’re pretty legit race organizers), we headed down to the start at Sloans Lake, which is right by Amy’s house. David and his friend Mark played bike crew, with David chalking arrows where we needed to turn and Mark riding along with us or going ahead to wait at crucial turns so we wouldn’t get lost. The two fast dudes (the bright blue shirts) took off, and I buddied up with Elizabeth (in the orange tank), with whom I hit it off right away. We ran the first couple of miles too fast (we both wanted to treat this as a long run, not a race) because we were jabbering too much and not paying attention. Since I’m kind of socially awkward, it’s nice to meet someone and click instead of being a weirdo. Running helps — clearly you’ve got something in common if you’re running together!

Anyway, back to the course. We left Sloans and headed up a long hill and into the Highlands, which is a trendy Denver neighborhood with lots of cute shops and restaurants. Elizabeth pointed out lots of places that I need to eat when I’m in Denver. Sometime in the Highlands, Josh and Kelsey caught up with us, and the four of us stuck together for a while. We made our way on to the Cherry Creek Trail, where we saw a man taking off his pants. Never a dull moment.

We stayed on the bike path for a while, then popped out and ran by the Art Museum (I took some pictures of that, but since I was running while photographing, they’re blurry. Always winning at the blog thing), then up the stairs at the Capitol building.

photo 1 (8)

We found out that David had a flat bike tire, so he wasn’t able to continue chalking, so we stopped at the top of the stairs to consult the map. Just kidding; Elizabeth consulted the map and I took pictures.

You're supposed to be able to see a bunch of the city. But you can't really, because I suck at iPhone photos.
You’re supposed to be able to see all of Civic Center Park and the surrounding area. But you can’t really, because I suck at iPhone photos. But you can see Kelsey’s shoulder, so that’s cool. 

Once Elizabeth had our course straightened out, we continued on our way. We ran past the Convention Center and through the legs of Denver’s famous Big Blue Bear statue:
photo 3 (6)

Here’s the zoomed-out version (that I stole from here because mine was super blurry. Again, don’t photo and run).

Then, we passed by Coors Field, back to the bike path (where we lost Kelsey and Josh again), and then up by Sports Authority at Mile High (where I was dismayed to learn that the porta-johns are locked when there is no football game). Then, we dropped back onto the Platte River Trail, then cruised back up to Sloans and the finish!

This run was a blast. Amy and David did an awesome job organizing this; since they had the maps done, no one got lost even when David’s tire went flat and he couldn’t finish chalking. I loved this whole run. And I really liked running with Elizabeth. I almost always run alone, so I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily 13 miles went by with a buddy!

If you’re ever visiting Denver and want to see the highlights of the city on a run, this route is a great way to do it! The parts in the Highlands and downtown were a little slow because of stoplights and lots of pedestrians, so if you’re wanting a fast and hard workout, this is not the place to do it. But if you want things to see and fun to have, do this route!

Awkward transition into finishing my workout recaps…

Sunday:

I did a 30-minute strength circuit in the hotel gym to keep the streak alive. Because it’d be pretty sad to kill the streak a week into it.

And while we’re on the topic of streaking/staying fit over the holidays: I joined the Holiday Sweat Challenge that SweatGuru and Run to the Finish are hosting (read about it here). It’s only $10, and there are lots of prizes and workouts and fun. Go check it out!

Totals: 40.1 miles, 2ish hours strength training

If you organized a run in your city, what must-sees would we run by? 

If you’re streaking with me… what did you do this week?

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6 thoughts on “Weekly Workouts and the Denver Urban (Unofficial) Half Marathon”

  1. I am so, so glad you were able to make it and meet Elizabeth! Awesome recap! I LOVE the pictures you guys took on the steps (as Elizabeth was navigating).

  2. The race Amy and David put together sounds like it was a blast! And you guys had the absolute perfect weather. I don’t know how some runner bloggers do it: take perfectly clear photos while running. I keep trying and failing. Maybe one day…

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