First things first--this race was awesome and I had been looking forward to it for WEEKS. Seriously. I just knew it was going to be a good race for me. Perhaps it was a good race for me because I had known it was going to be? Who knows, but positive thinking does go quite a long way. I was hoping to beat my previous half marathon time of 2:46 by about 20 minutes. I knew I would be really happy with a 2:20 time. A coworker of mine ran the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon with me and got a personal best of just under 2:15. He said that if I beat his time he would buy me a slurpee. Not only did I want to beat that time, I also wanted that slurpee!! And bragging rights!
The day started out quite early on Saturday morning when my alarm clock got me out of bed at 2:45 am in time for me to get dressed, eat some food, and be on the road by 3:30. Never did I think I would live in a world where I would willingly pay $75 to wake up at that hour and run for 2+ hours and actually WANT to do it and even ENJOY it. Times have certainly changed over the last year! Anyway, I made it to the half marathon finish line at 4 am in time to meet up with some fellow Utah bloggers. If you are ever in Utah and get a chance to meet these girls, do NOT hesitate! They are so nice and genuine and wonderful. It was definitely a highlight for me to get the chance to meet them!
The race was scheduled to start at 5:40 am, so we all headed to the bag drop around 5:35 to shed our extra layers. It was a bit chilly outside, but nothing too uncomfortable. We lined up according to our pace groups, and prepared for the run to begin.
|Ready to run!|
And then 5:45...5:50...5:55...
What the heck?
Finally, at 6:00 am they counted us down and we were off! The sun was fully up by this point and the beautiful canyon was completely visible. The scenery was gorgeous! I've driven this canyon during the fall when the colors are in peak and it cannot be beat! It's phenomenal! Because of all the extra rain and snow we've received this year, the trees were super green and the river was flowing strong. I can't think of a better place to have a run!
The course has a very nice downhill pretty much the entire way. Because of this, I was running faster than ever. It felt amazing--my legs were strong, my lungs felt great, and I was so distracted by the scenery that I wasn't even noticing how quickly the miles were passing by. Before I knew it, I was 4 miles in and it was time to have some GU. I had some minor pain showing up in my achilles tendon on my right leg, but other than that I had no pain. Even better, my knee pain was non-existent! Goodbye, IT band problems! You will not be missed!
Miles 4-6 blazed by. I finally had gotten past the majority of runners that were going at a different pace from me and was now settled into a group of runners that were running at close the same speed. At this point, the road gets even steeper and enters a series of corners. The road is banked quite sharply so it was a bit uneven to run on. I was running on the middle lines to try to keep my footing even, but apparently I'm not as graceful as I had hoped.
Okay, let's be honest. I've NEVER been graceful.
What happened next will be a moment that I will remember for a long time. And strangely enough, I'll remember it rather fondly. You see, right around mile 6 I decided to become one with the pavement. Not in a runner's high type of way, but rather a "oh-crap-the-ground-is-coming-towards-me-so-fast-this-is-gonna-hurt-bad" kind of way. Yep. I ate shiz. I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I do remember looking around at the mountains and trying to find Mount Timpanogos to see what she looked like in the morning sun. The next thing I knew, I was flying through the air headed toward the pavement at what felt like 50 mph. When I hit the ground, I managed to hit my left hand, my left shoulder, my jaw and cheek, and my right knee.
Instantly, I was surrounded by concerned runners. Several of them picked me up off the ground and were asking if I was okay. I was touched by their concern! I'm sure they lost some time checking to see if I needed helped, and I really appreciated their help. I'm sure I looked a mess, but I had enough adrenaline in me to keep me running so I told them I was fine and started running again.
My hand hurt the worst. I had hit on the palm of my hand and had lost a few layers of skin. I had some gravel bits in the hand and it was stinging like crazy! My knee also hurt pretty bad, but I was afraid to look at it because I knew that once I saw the damage it would hurt even worse. The mind can play some pretty mean tricks! I figured I had enough adrenaline in me to keep me out of pain until just before the finish line. So, I just kept running.
And ya know what? It still felt awesome to be running. I don't think I lost any time at all due to my clumsiness. I was so embarrassed by the fall that I think the entire encounter with the ground and runners probably took 5 seconds or less. I move quick when I want to!
Miles 6-8 moved by and before I knew it I was out of the canyon. I had been dreading leaving the canyon because I knew the course flattened out and the scenery would be not as stellar. I also knew my paces wouldn't be as awesome because I was no longer running downhill! It was, however, quite awesome to make it out of the canyon and see all the spectators cheering us on! They were all very supportive and it was fun to hear their cheers.
Miles 8-10 I started to slow. I'm not sure if it was because I was fueling differently that I normally do because I was running faster than I normally do, or if my fall was starting to get to me. Either way, I suffered on the hills. There was some walking, but I don't feel bad about it. I was wise with my walking and made sure that I didn't sacrifice too much time. We ran through a beautiful golf course and on a great trail that was shaded. Luckily, the weather was PERFECT for the entire run so the shade was unnecessary. It was overcast and not hot! I couldn't have asked for better weather! A highlight during this portion was passing a little girls dance team and seeing how excited they were to give all the runners high-fives. It made me feel like a rock star!
Miles 10-12 were HARD. I was tired. I was sore. I didn't have scenery to distract me, and I was starting to feel the pain in my body a bit more. There was a minor hill at the top of mile 12 that I thought might kill me. I remember being SO MAD because there was a photographer right at the top of the hill and I knew I couldn't walk and that I had smile for him. And I didn't want to. But I did.
And look how convincing my smile was! I actually look like I'm having a good time! Perhaps it was because I knew the hill was over and that I had nothing but downhill and flats left for me. I was only 1.1 miles away from a great half marathon finish!
Miles 12-13 went by fast. Knowing that I only had a few minutes left to run, I dug deep and picked up my pace. I kept thinking of the slurpee that my coworker had bet me and knew that I could beat his time. I don't even like slurpees all that much (don't get me wrong--they are super tasty, but I don't go out of my way to get them), but it was the idea that I could run well enough to be worthy of the slurpee. A 2:15 half marathon time had seemed like a pipe dream at the beginning of the day, but now it was well within my grasp.
As I rounded the last corner and saw the finish line, I knew that I had run this race to the best of my abilities and could be proud of my performance. I felt SO much better than I had at my last half, and knew that my training had paid off. I crossed the finish line as the time clock said 2:07:45. I knew I had earned my slurpee! My official chip time? 2:05:57. I did WAY better than I thought I was going to! Never in my life did I think I would be only 6 minutes away from a sub 2 hour half marathon. WOW! I beat my previous half marathon time by 40 minutes!!
My mother-in-law met me at the end (she just missed me crossing the finish line!) and she helped me get some ice for my battle wounds. I also met up with Candice, Julia, and Rachelle at the end. We all had managed to achieve PRs on this race! It was a good day to be running. You can check out their race recaps here, here, and here. They all run sub-2 hour half marathons, and looked great doing it!
|Love this girl!|
|All my race crap + ice in the photo = no good|
|Try again without the extra crap!|
|LOVE this medal!|
|Even my in-law's cat liked the medal!|
|Gotta love the battle wounds|
|My chin was nice and scuffed up. It now looks like big zits. So awesome.|
As for the wounds themselves...the hand is nearly healed up (and super itchy!), the shoulder and elbow are both fine, and the chin is healing great. The knee is the only thing that still has issues. It doesn't hurt when I run, but I think I damaged a nerve in there somewhere. There is a spot on my knee that if you touch the right spot it sends a shot of pain so strong that I will be in tears within .2 seconds. And that's with a touch as light as a feather. It's kind of weird. But, like I said, it doesn't hurt when I run so I'm not too worried about it. I'm sure it will get better with time.
For those of you that are interested, here's a snapshot of my splits: