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where my ladies at?

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Having survived the Bolder Boulder (in hindsight, not the easiest 10k for a new runner to attempt), I looked around for another 10k to participate in. I’m at a point now where I run at least a 5k two or three times a week as part of my training, so I needed a longer race distance to keep me challenged. And when I stumbled across the Esprit de She series, it seemed like a good fit. Female-focused, inaugural season (so probably a smaller field), and a different course than they typical City Park one lots of races around here use as the default.

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I had planned to run the race alone, but I convinced Beth to join me (we’re practically training together at this point, since we’ll both be doing the Tinker Bell half as well). And so, with my all-male cheering section in tow, I headed to Cherry Creek bright and early on Sunday to explore the little trade show set up for the race and get warmed up and ready to go.

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The trade show was actually pretty cool – lots of woman-focused business, lots of big brands, and lots of snacks. There was even a booth where you could get a pre-race manicure or hairdo (mostly braids). I didn’t partake of the beauty treatment, but I did snag some samples of kid’s food pouches for Evan from Happy Family. Beth arrived, we warmed up and had our picture taken, and then we were ready to go!

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There were two races going on that morning – the 10k and the 5k. The 10k started first, so we lined up and because everyone else seemed to be shy we ended up at the front of the pack. We got a front-row seat to the National Anthem, and also had a TON of pictures of us taken because we weren’t stuck in the middle of the group. At just after 8 am, we were off! Most of Esprit de She’s running events take place in the evening, to make it more of a “happy hour” environment. But because of scheduling issues the Cherry Creek race was changed to a morning start. I could have used a morning start that was an hour earlier; 8 am wasn’t so bad, but the course wasn’t terribly shady for long stretches, and it got pretty hot pretty fast. Beth and I attempted to run most of the way, but we ended up stopping for brief walking breaks. Our first and longest was just before the two-mile mark, and we stopped at the same spot again on our second loop. We also stopped at the water station around mile 2.5/5, although Beth wore her Camelbak so the stops were mostly for me. The second time around, I took two cups – one to drink, and one to dump down my back. I really missed all the on-course sprinklers from the Bolder Boulder!

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While making two loops through a not-very-interesting area wasn’t the most fun course ever, it did mean our cheering squad could catch us at multiple spots on the course. Andrew and Jason (and Evan) were able to cut through the mall parking lots and meet us at four or five different spots over the course of the race. They even got to the end of the race just ahead of us, and I took a hand-off of Evan to carry him to the finish line. I underestimated how heavy 25 pounds of kid would feel after running six miles. And while Evan was excited to see me, after a few yards he realized we were running away from Daddy and got very upset. But it was still a nice, funny moment to end the race.

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They liberally distributed water at the finish line, and I took the opportunity to hydrate by stuffing a half-dozen bottles of AQUAhydrate in Evan’s stroller. Best bottled water EVER – tastes like water and not a bottle. We also hit all the snack booths in the trade show for hummus, bananas, donut holes, cream puffs… the snacks were pretty awesome. And I picked up a regular t-shirt to go with my free training tank since I liked the design so much. They were giving out free chair massages in the “spa” area and I’d hoped to grab one, but the line was pretty long by that point and we didn’t want to wait.

Since the race was taking place during the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, we got to wander through the booths and get into a special “member’s lounge” with a BOGO bar offer and two free mimosas each for Beth and I. I can’t really have alcohol in general, let alone two mimosas on a very empty stomach, so we shared our “extra” drinks with the boys.

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All in all, a good day. And we bested our Bolder Boulder time by 18 minutes! Some of that is probably the temperature and being on a flatter course, but we’ve absolutely gotten better at the whole running thing too. Now to find another race!

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