A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Running Through Enemy Territory

I love living in Colorado. But as a native Kansan -- and Kansas City Chiefs fan -- football season is an interesting time to live in Denver. This was especially true today as I ran the Fans on the Field 10K in downtown Denver with fellow Chicago Half Marathon trainees Deann, Shenoa and Michaele (pictured with me at left).

Fans on the Field is a fundraising run for the National Sports Center for the Disabled that takes runners through Coors Field (home of the Colorado Rockies), the Pepsi Center (home of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalance) and finally Invesco Field at Mile High (home of the Denver Donkeys).

[At left: runners loop through Coors Field around mile 3 of Fans on the Field 2007]

Those of you who follow pro football will remember that the Donkey's self-destructed in the final game of last season to allow the Chiefs to go on to the playoffs. So, of course, I just had to take the opportunity to rub it in the face of all the Denver fans in the run. The only problem is that I didn't have any KC Chiefs logo running apparel, so I printed Arrowheads on Avery Ink Jet labels and stuck them on my hat, shorts and shirt! Unfortunately, following last night's pitiful performance in a preseason game against Dallas, the Donkey fans didn't take the bait. I didn't hear a single negative comment. In fact, the only comments I heard were from fellow Chiefs fans cheering me on!

Fans on the Field began at Mile High and headed along the Platte River to Coors Field, where we ran into the stadium, across the warning track and back out the way we came. From there we headed towards the Pepsi Center where we ran in one side and out the other, heading back towards Mile High. When we got back to Mile High the course took us in the north end of the stadium, along the sideline and back out the south end to the finish line.

[At left and below: Deann crosses the finish line followed by Shenoa and Michaele]

As we entered the stadium we were greeted by "Miles" the Denver Donkey mascot. As I passed him I yelled "Go Chiefs" and he bagan to chase me. But much like a Donkey defenseman trying to run down Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, the gap widened as I sprinted into the stadium and towards the opposite end zone.

The extra motivation was just enough to send me across the finish line just under my goal of 55:48 (9:00 min/mile). According to the official race results I finished in 55:29 for an average of 8:56/mile.
Thanks, "Miles," for giving me the push I needed to meet my goal!

Overall I finished 91st out of 192 men and 22nd out of 48 men in my division. I'm always happy to finish in the top half. So, feeling good about the effort, I kicked back on the grass in front of Invesco Field for a couple of refreshing malt beverages. It was a beautiful day. I could have taken a nap right there but the "honey do" list back at home included installing a ceiling fan in our kitchen, so I headed south to Castle Rock.

Coming up this week, my running tour of the country includes stops in Great Bend, Kansas and Dublin, Ohio. Woo hoo!


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