Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recap - Salt Lake Half Marathon 2012

This recap is so much later than it should have been.  Never the less .. I'm finally writing it!  Settle in .. this could be a long post.

There was so much debate over whether or not this race was even going to happen.  Even with the debate I still went ahead and registered Jeramie and I to run.   This would be his first half marathon.  I was really excited for him too.  Not to mention I had some big goals for this race, which I talked about here.  I ran my first ever half marathon back in December with a finishing time of 2:45.  It was my first race and I went into it fully trained, but definitely with the goal of "I just want to finish and not have to walk."  I was also really leery of going out too fast and ending up having to walk towards the end.  It was a really good race experience and it taught me that I still had plenty of strength at the end and I had trained well.  All of that to basically say that even though my goal was to shave 25 minutes off of my last race time, while this sounds like a lot I thought it was very reasonable since I knew I could have given more at that race.  My secret goal was 2:15.  I knew that would be hard, but I also knew that I had trained well and if I really worked for it I thought it might be possible.

On Friday night we had a plan to ship our four kids off to my parents house for the night and stay home and kick our feet up with a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese.  This seems to have turned into my night before the race meal.  I ate it once before a long training run and had felt really strong that next morning.  This is somewhat monumental because we don't get to go out much without our kids together, so to pass up a meal out is a big deal for us.  I think it turned out to be a good decision though in the end.  We headed to bed pretty early and next thing I knew the alarm was going off at 5:45am.  As I rolled out of the bed there was Jeramie with his classic, "just five more minutes ..."  I quickly got dressed and headed downstairs to make my staple pre-run meal of Peanut Butter on toast, just once slice please.  Before we knew it we were driving up town.  The plan had been to meet my friend Rebecca at the church her husband goes to which was right next to a trax station and then we would ride the trax train to the starting line.  We arrived right on time and walked over to the station where we found a few other runners waiting as well.   The nice thing about being able to ride the light rail system is that runners could pick it up from basically wherever and so there weren't massive amounts of people all trying to do the same thing at the same time.  I liked this about the race.  My brother Evan and his wife Rachel were just going to meet up with us around the start line since her parents were going to drop them off right there. 

When we climbed off the train with all the other masses it was still dark.   However, as we were standing in line for the honey buckets it quickly lightened up.  The start line was fun.  LOT'S of people milling about.  It was still chilly and so I had opted to keep my long sleeve on at this point knowing that not soon after we actually started running I would be pulling it off and tying it around my waist. I had done that a lot during my training runs so I knew this wouldn't bother me.

We took a couple obligatory pre-race pictures.  I love that my husband isn't afraid to rock the headband!

Once we finished up at the potties we headed up to the actual start line.  Evan and Rachel had arrived and so we were hoping to catch up with them up there.  I ran into one of my Daily Mile friends, Stephanie.  It was SO nice to put a face to the name and meet her actually in person.  She was just as nice in person as she has been on Daily Mile and I'm hoping to actually hook up with her for some training in the near future.  After talking with her for a few minutes and wishing each other luck I tried to track down my family again.  Turned out as we headed up to the start line, they had headed down to the honey buckets.  Oh well, wasn't meant to be.  So we headed to find our pace groups instead.  Our goal had been for Rebecca to start out with the 2:30 pace group and Jeramie and I were going to start with the 2:20 pace group.  Well once we got up there there was only a 2:30 pace group sign. I saw at one point someone walking around with a 2:20 sign but it's almost like they were looking for someone to run with it.   Oh well, I had my Garmin .. we would be fine I told myself.  About 10 minutes before the start I sucked down a Gu and felt good to go.  Before we knew it the gun went off and we slowly started moving forward.

Mile 1:  Felt FUN!  It was a bit downhill.  Jeramie and I were running together and really I was just trying to find a groove amongst all the other runners running at such radically different paces.  Before I knew it I noticed up ahead that someone was wearing the same tank top as I was .. duh it was Evan and Rachel. I bought her the top for her birthday so we could match on race day.  I wasn't expecting to see them in front of us and I guess that's why it took a minute to register in my head that it was them.  We kicked it up a small notch just to catch up to them to say hello and wish them luck.  They had lofty goals too of a 2:10.  One thing I noticed was that there were people lined up for the porta potty in this first mile.  Seriously?!  You've got many more to go.

Mile 2:  Headed out along a road I drove daily while I was getting my undergraduate degree from the University of Utah.  It felt like a slight uphill but was probably only flat, feeling uphill because of the downhill we started with.  Jeramie was holding up strong at this point and I felt like we'd found out groove.

Miles 3 - 4:  I was still feeling really good and Jeramie appeared to as well.  We headed down into a park for a little out and back. Considering I had heard this was a relatively downhill course it kind of sucked to literally run down into the park only to have to run back out uphill.  That hill was a bummer.  The whole time though I was looking for Evan and Rachel when I went down the hill.  I never saw them but apparently they saw us right as we turned into the park and they turned out.  Then I watched the whole time going up that hill for Rebecca behind us.  Never saw her either.  Once we turned the corner of the hill we took our first shot bloks.  We were both carrying our own water and fuel so that we never needed to stop at any aid stations.

Miles 5 - 8:  Pretty uneventful.  We were running strong and at a very consistent pace.  I felt good.  The time was going by and I couldn't believe when we passed the mid-point.  I remember thinking, wow this thing is almost over already.  There were occasionally people on corners cheering but for the most part it was pretty dense.  Jeramie continued to seem like he was doing pretty well.  Although he wasn't occasionally pulling ahead like he had been doing early on.  I was pacing for a 2:10 finish which was pretty remarkable.  But I also knew of the dreaded hill right before the end.

Mile 9:  At this point I started to get a bit of a belly ache.  Nothing too drastic.  Just uncomfortable.  All I kept thinking was that I should have done all Camelback Elixer in my water bottles instead of the Nuun.  I don't know what it is about Nuun but it seems to mess with my tummy sometimes.  At this point we were running through neighborhoods and the weather was definitely warming up some.  I welcomed each spot of shade I passed through.  It was also at this point that Jeramie dropped to run right behind me.  He was on my tail for maybe a quarter mile before he started fading farther back.  We had talked about this before the race and I knew he wanted me to push on and do my best.  I was disappointed not to be running with him anymore.

Mile 10:  I think it was about here that we lapped around another park.  There were quite a few people there.  I was definitely having to dig a little deeper.  I was getting tired and I knew I still had that hill to deal with.  I was trying hard to keep my pace up so that I didn't lose time here.  I wasn't passing many people anymore.  Most people were getting tired too.

Mile 11:  This is about where we turned onto State Street.  And the beginning of a flat turning into moderately slow incline.  I knew I was still pacing for a good time but man .. I was just tired at this point.  I focused on watching to see if I could find Evan and Rachel up ahead.  I was really grateful that although I was tired my knee's were holding up great. I had no dreaded knee pain like I had had on my last training run.

Mile 12:  Here we go I thought.  This is it.  This is the mile that I have to deal with the hill.  I was trying to muster the energy for an extra kick.  But it was quickly becoming apparent that the incline was growing steeper with each step.  It was a nice wide road at this point with lots of room and that was nice.  As I headed into the steepest part of the hill I saw a guy running towards us with his finishers medal and he looked familiar.  Sure enough it was this guy I work with that runs lots of marathons and he's FAST!  I was happy to see a familiar face and put my best smile on as he saw me and stopped to take a picture.  It actually turned out to be a great picture.  I was so grateful for the encouraging words as he called out to me that I was almost to the top.

Mile 13.1:  As I turned the corner at the hill I was looking forward to picking it up on the downhill into the finishers chute at the bottom.  Oh boy did my legs have a different opinion. I was amazed at how fried they were after that hill!  They literally felt jello-like and as if I couldn't control them. I was afraid to go too fast for fear of actually face planting because I didn't have the necessary muscle control in my legs.  So I actually finished that last little down hill at a much slower pace than I expected.  As I got close to the finishers chute and began to watch for my family there they were all of a sudden!!  I very well may have teared up at this point.  I was SO happy to see them.  AND my daughter was holding a sign for me!  Best surprise EVER!  I didn't expect a sign.  I waved and put on my best smiley face.

As I approached the chute I could see the time on the clock and I knew I had run a GOOD race.  I knew I had killed my time goal and I was overwhelmingly proud of myself.  I had worked so hard.  And I was still smiling!
 Official Chip Time:

Overall Place:  1973 / 3496
Gender Place:  1027 / 2132
Division Place:  187 / 380
Pace:  10:06

I did it!  I beat my notsosecret goal!!

As I finished and grabbed my medal I ran into another one of my Daily Mile friends, Alison.  So excited to see her and she was REALLY nice too.  As it turned out she literally finished as the runner right in front of me.  We definitely should do some training runs together since our paces match so nicely!

After talking to Alison for a minute I excused myself so I could hurry up the road to try and catch Jeramie coming in.  As I walked I tried to watch over peoples heads to see him.  When I got to where my family was they said he had already passed by. I was disappointed to have missed him.  Apparently he didn't even see them, nor did he see the sign they'd made for him either.  So proud of him for finishing his first half marathon.

Official Time:  2:23:47
Better than my first.

Evan and Rachel snuck in their goal with a 2:10:02 and 2:10:03!

Here is our whole group.

Rebecca missed her goal but already has plans for redemption at Timpanogos in July.

Overall, I thought the race went off well.  Especially given the fast that the new race company didn't take over until this year.  I'm glad that they came in and saved the race and the medals were AWESOME and the t-shirts were good too.  All of the aid stations were stocked well as well as the finishing area.  I would recommend this race.  I think it will only get better next year as they now have an entire year to plan it.

I hope so because I registered us for next year at the discounted price this morning!  So we WILL be back.  And I WILL make that hill sorry it ever messed with me.

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