A post-birthday party invite to Cuba Cuba in Denver was supremely tempting the night before Roger’s River Run in Longmont, which occurred on a hot Saturday morning this month. No, it wasn’t a half-marathon or 10K, merely a 5K and an average run on any given day, but prior late nights out before a race told my imbibing mind to go home and catch a few winks to prepare for all 3.1 miles of the run. I had good intentions of going to sleep at a decent hour, around 10 p.m. Hours beyond that time, I stagger to my bed, drunk with exhaustion — and not the renowned mojitos at Cuba Cuba. The source of delayed sleep was July’s issue of Cosmopolitan and determining the proper bus and footpath to take come morning.
As a biker without a car, such measures are necessary to reach any destination punctually.
What seemed like mere hours later, my alarm sounded bright and early at 5:30 a.m. The first order of business needed to be attended to: a fresh cup or two of Joe. Nothing gets you going in the morning like a steaming cup of coffee, especially before a race. Trial and error with various pre-race breakfasts resulted in the conclusion that no more than two cups of coffee and a banana should be consumed before running a race. Anything more is too heavy and time-consuming to digest, while anything less leaves you running on fumes.
As the coffee brews, I wash my face and pick out my running outfit. I know, I know, it shouldn’t matter what you look like or wear when you’re working out, but I couldn’t possibly run without coordinating colors. My shoes and iPod armband are pink, so I always try to match my shorts and top accordingly. Hot pink shorts and a white racer back with a built-in bra fit the qualifications. I recently started running with a visor, which helps keep the sun off my face and hair out of my eyes. A few short cups of coffee and banana later, I’m on my bike and out the door, racing for the bus stop on Canyon and 28th Street to catch the first BOLT to Longmont.
It’s always a good idea to register for a race online or in person if you’re 100 percent certain that you are going to participate because the registration fee is always more on race day. Roger’s River Run was a reasonable $20 for race-day registration, a price inclusive of a T-Shirt, timing and a post-race breakfast, particularly ideal for those eating only a banana before the run. Between the time I got on the bus and the time I arrived at the registration station at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont, I got asked out by a boy getting off a red-eye shift and got completely turned around to the point that I didn’t know if I would arrive in time to register for the race. Luckily, the registration process and the line for the portable toilets were quick.
Minutes later, 450 runners gathered at the start line and prepared themselves for the gunshot. At its sound, we took off, a large mass for only a moment before the swiftest runners took the lead. I quickly found my pace with runners of similar strides and picked a woman with radical polka dot shorts, who was no more than five seconds ahead of me, to shadow. The first mile is typically the fastest because you’re fresh and pumped with adrenaline from race excitement. An out-and-back run along the St. Vrain Greenway trail system, the race was scenic and relativelyshaded with the trees along the trail. Mile two left me slightly winded and in need of a song change.
“Morning After Dark” by Timbaland, my song of the month, couldn’t have arrived at a better moment, and I increased my pace as I started mile three. Passing Ms. Polka Dot, I scanned runners ahead to find another person to shadow. He emerged in a sunlit section of the trail, tall, dark and muscular. He was running slightly faster than I would have liked, but I was up for the challenge with less than a mile to go. We ran in time, Mr. TDM a mere stride ahead of me. As we approached the finish line, I saw a young runner vomiting along the trail. Clearly he consumed more than coffee and a banana that morning. My long observation of the sick runner cost me a sprint to the finish line to catch up with Mr. TDM, who had slyly pulled ahead as I pondered what the runner had for breakfast. At 24 minutes, I finished Roger’s River Run 2nd in my division and 59th overall. Breakfast never tasted better on a hot July morning.