Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon Race Recap (Photo Overload!!)

I knew it was going to be an interesting race from the moment I woke up.

Early Saturday morning I peaked out my window and said a quick thank you to the weather gods--there was no snow.  Weather reports had said there was a risk of snow for the evening, but luckily (I thought) we had avoided the bad weather.  I quickly got ready and hopped in the car to go pickup my coworker and Running Roommate (RR).

I was about 3 miles away from my house when I realized that I had forgotten my purse and my sunglasses.  I had someone meeting me in SLC to pick up tickets from me that were in my purse so I HAD to turn around.  Crap.  This meant I was going to be a bit late--no biggie, right?  I could just make it up by driving a bit faster (hee).

So, I returned home quickly and then hopped back on the road to my destination.  Roads were clear with no snow.  That is until I hit the city.  All of a sudden, there was a crap load of snow on the road.  I'm talking 5 inches of fresh new snow on dangerously unplowed roads.  In fact, on the drive to pick up RR from the hotel she was staying at a car three lanes over hit some pretty gnarly snow/slush and started spinning 360s on the highway right in front of me.  I missed getting into a really really bad accident by less than 3 feet.  At 5 am I was not ready to be dealing with these types of situations!

However, the road soon cleared up and we were able to make it to Thanksgiving Point with 20 minutes to go before the race started.  It was FREEZING outside.  It was really hard to judge what to wear--the weather was being a bit unpredictable (hello---it should NOT be snowing this much when it is nearly May!).

We settled into the start line queue and snapped some quick pics:
We so sexy!

Gingers Unite!
After a few minutes delay, they finally started us off.  We settled in to the 12 minute mile pack as we wanted to take this run nice and easy (especially since I wasn't sure how my knee would feel).  We quickly fell into a comfortable rhythm.  I tried to snap a quick photo of us on the run, but my skills are apparently lacking...
Pay no attention to my photography skills...
The course was BEAUTIFUL.  Even with the tulip gardens covered in fresh snow, the scenery was breath taking.  Or the asthma was.  Either way...  But in all seriousness, I would run this course every day if I lived near Thanksgiving Point.  It had beautiful pathways, fun tunnels, gorgeous waterfalls, and beautiful mountain views.  I loved it!
You should come run here
I was feeling really good for the first 5 or 6 miles.  My knee was only slightly stiff, but nothing even remotely unmanageable.  The course had been mostly flat or uphill up until that point.  When we reached the golf course portion of the run, we started a brief downhill descent.  I had been looking forward to the downhills on the course because I knew it would even out my slowed pace from the uphills we had been running!  Except one problem--I took one step on that downhill portion and there was INSTANT FIRE in my knee.  It was a completely debilitating pain.  I had no choice but to walk down those sections, but even that hurt.

Suddenly, this went from being a nice easygoing run to a problematic course.  The golf course was filled with MANY up and down sections.  As you runners know--a continual uphill can be quite exhausting and the brief reprieve you get from the downhill section is much looked forward to.  Except we were dreading those sections.  Both RR and I had the exact same problem--big-time pain in our left knee.  We seriously were hobbling down all the steep sections.  We even had to result to this funky side step maneuver that looked more like a country line dance move than a viable way to get down a hill!

While I'm sure we looked rather funny to all the other runners, we were in this together and we continued to push through the pain to finish the race as strong as possible.  We hadn't set out to run the race with any particular time in mind.  We just wanted to finish it and have fun.  Admittedly, the pain got so bad for me around miles 10 and 11 that all I wanted to do was lay down and cry but I knew that I would regret not finishing and I really only had one way to get off the course and that was to keep going on the path set in front of me.  I wasn't about to swim across the freezing river to get to the finish line!

Because of the continual uphills (and the dreaded downhill walking sections) our pace took a hit.  We ended up finishing at 2:46, which I am very happy with considering what we went through to get there!  The last two miles were ran on pure willpower.  Both RR and I were exhausted past the point of fun--we had to dig deep and push through pain that I had never experienced while running to finish up those last miles.  However, we did it and I have never been more excited to see a finish line in my life!

About 100 yards before the finish line, I saw some people waiting on the corner cheering runners on.  As we got closer, I recognized my in-laws cheering loudly for us.  They were beaming from ear to ear.  At that point, it was taking everything I had in me not to walk (though walking hurt worse than running, so that really wasn't an option either).  However, once I saw them I was able to forget my pain and power through to the finish line where my husband was waiting for me.  It was so amazing to have their support and hear their cheers.  I may or may not have gotten choked up as me and RR crossed the finish line together after the most grueling thing I've ever done physically.  I was SO PROUD of us for powering through and finishing strong.

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Who says you can't smile when you are in pain?
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It might have helped that my super sexy husband was the one taking the photo!
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We can do it!!
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And we did!!  PROUD FINISHERS!!
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And chocolate milk for all!
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I wish I knew what I was saying in this photo...either way I think it is funny so I'm posting it!
I normally am not one to get all mushy on ya, but I have to take a moment and give a quick shout out to Running Roommate.  She is a freaking rock star.  I would never have ran a 10k (and DEFINITELY not a half marathon) without her encouragement and support, and she's been there for me 100% of the way.  She is continually sending me texts of support, and checking on me to make sure I'm taking care of my body and resting properly.  (It's not her fault I don't listen.)  She was in just as much pain as I was, but she never complained and she continued to push through to finish something that neither of us ever thought we would ever be doing.  Not only is she a fantastic running buddy, but she's also an amazingly selfless person.  She's the kind of friend that only comes around once in this life, and I am so lucky she's crazy enough to stick around and hang out with me!
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Love this girl...
Anyway...I better stop before she gets mad at me for being a softy.  :)  Moral of the story is that even though the knee pain sucked, the race was still awesome and I left it feeling like I had accomplished so much.  I can actually say that I've ran a half marathon!  WOW.  It hasn't sunk in yet, and I'm not sure it ever will but I am glad to have actually achieved this goal.  I can't wait to see what else I am capable of!

I actually ran a half marathon!  Proof!!
Oh...and for those of you that might be wondering about my knee:  Yep, I totally screwed it up and I am going to have to take an extended break from running.  My physical therapist suspects it is IT band pain from learning about my symptoms, but we won't know for sure until I see her tomorrow.  Either way, she says that I need to chill out and rest my poor knee for quite a while.  I'm not going to lie--Sunday morning I woke up in so much pain that when I needed to go use the restroom I had to army crawl the whopping 15 feet it is to the toilet.  In tears.  Ummm...yeah.  Let's not talk about that, shall we?

I'll update you tomorrow as I know more, but in the meantime I guess I will be spending a lot more time on my lovely bike!  Hopefully it treats me better than it did last time.  :)  Perhaps this is the event I need in order to actually start lifting weights.  We shall see!


  1. Good Job. Congrats! Love the pictures.

  2. nice pictures! knee pain is the worst and I wish you a speedy recovery. congrats on doing the half marathon! be proud :)

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  4. Great job Becky! I was really proud of you and RR.

  5. You are a rock star!! Way to go!