SALT LAKE CITY — It’s kinda hard to put into words about my experience running the Deseret News Half this past Monday. It was tough. It was draining. It was exhausting. But, all be damned — I pushed through all of that. All that this just 48 hours after running the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon.
While I didn’t get my sub-2:30 time goal — I am proud of myself, my effort and resolve. I didn’t give up, even when I tried to give myself permission to do so. I had a couple of great pacers that kept me on track and going, especially when I thought I couldn’t give any more of myself.
I told myself going into the race that I would be disappointed if I didn’t get a sub-2:30 time (2:32:15). Am I still disappointed for not hitting the goal? Well, yes. I wanted to reach that goal. And, I didn’t get it. Of course I am going to be disappointed. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t learn from the experience. Because, I most definitely did.
Having not sub-2:30’d in nearly two years — it would probably be seen as kinda stupid to go into this race seeking such a goal. Especially after already racing 48 hours prior. And, that assessment may very well be right.
But, having lost nearly 30lbs. and gaining some of my speed back as of late — I knew I could push myself to that goal. Especially having ran the DesNews Half before and knowing where and when to push or hold back. It also helps having ran a sub-2:30 — or sub 2:10 for that matter (2:08:25 at Nebo in 2013) — so you know what it takes.
My game plan really wasn’t extraordinary. It was simply to stick with my friend Brook who was pacing the 2:30 group. I thought about running with my Garmin, but opted to bypass wearing it because there was no point if I was going to stick with Brook. PLUS — it’s kinda like running on the treadmill, you don’t want to constantly be looking at the time and distance. That’s torture.
After being bussed up Emigration Canyon the 2:40 pacer, Sheri, joined us. Somehow her pacing stick was forgotten so she joined our party. It was great having her run alongside Brook and I. I love having two pacers, because one can focus staying on pace while the other can focus on the runners around them. That’s very much what Brook and Sheri did. It really helped me a lot.
The run down Emigration Canyon was beautiful (it always is) — and fast! The first six miles were down the canyon and past the zoo. And, even when we got out of the canyon the route was still pretty much downhill until around mile 10-11.
The hardest of that stretch was when we turned onto Foothill Blvd. and for probably — a half mile? — the course was flat. Recalibrating my legs between downhill and flat terrain has always been difficult for me. But, I just decided to dig in and keep pressing forward.
When we turned onto 1300 E. towards 100 S. not only were my legs running out of juice, but I could feel the creation of a blister that I knew would be ugly once my shoes came off. It was painful. It was huge. And, it was very uncomfortable. But, I just kept trying to push through it.
I knew I was close I was close. I had about a 5K left. I was still with the pacers. So, I just tried to distract myself by anyways possible. Since I wasn’t running with music, I either sang whatever came to mind — or chanted mantras of “yes, I can” and “just keep running.”
It felt like the more tired and sore I got, the more determined I became to reach this goal. Especially when I was looking for excuses and reasons to slow down and let Brook and Sheri go ahead of me. I could have easily used Saturday’s race as an excuse, but I already told myself that wasn’t going to be an excuse.
I also could have used my blister as an excuse. And, that one I fought through a lot — pretty much every half mile after mile 10. But, I just made up my mind that it was an all or nothing. If I didn’t give my ALL — I was sacrificing the gift (geez, where have I heard something like that before?).
Anyways — needless to say — I wasn’t going to quit. I was going to give it my everything. I was so appreciative of both Brook and Sheri for keeping me going. They both helped motivate me, kept me going and wouldn’t let me stop.
I got new life when we turned onto 200 E. and the parade route. Part of it was because of the energy of the crowd, but mostly because we got some downhill that made my legs happy. I wish I had brought candy to throw out to the crowd (maybe next year) because while some of them were cheering us runners on, most were bored out of their minds.
Around this time I really felt like I had a chance to get this goal. We had less than a mile and a half left until the finish line and I knew I could just gut it out — especially once the course flattened out again. And, then we got stopped near the library because of a TRAX train. It killed a little bit of my mojo, but more than anything, just made me laugh. Plus, it only killed about 12 seconds.
The last half mile was a beast though. I kept pushing and my legs just weren’t giving me ANYTHING. Sheri kept running with me while Brook ran ahead to keep on pace. I desperately wanted to keep up with Brook, but I had no spring left in my legs — at this point it was all guts. All guts.
As I got closer to the finish line Brook came back to run me in. There was some confusion on time, because the course was a bit too long and there was a different time on the clocks, timer and Brook’s Garmin. The timer said I was still under 2:30 — I think like 2:28ish? But, Brook’s said I was 2:31 at like 13.4 miles (or so).
So I didn’t know which one to believe? Could I have come in under 2:30? Possibly.
But, when I went to check my time at the time kiosk it came in as 2:32:15. And, despite probably making a case that time was off, I just went with that time, because — well — it’s the official time. And, I’m not going to critique that despite the length of course.
I got what I got and while I am disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal, I know I did my best. I beasted out some difficult miles. I created a monstrous blister. And, I gave everything I had to the end. If you can’t be satisfied with that, then you’re never going to truly appreciate anything in life. Destinations and goals are great, but the journey and pursuit is just as valuable. If not more.
So will I do something like this again? Meaning — a two race weekend? Of course. I think what made this different was going into my second race with an ambitious time goal. But, doing Whole30, losing weight and subsequently having more energy I felt like I could this.
Which I almost did.
And, as I have said here and on social media — yes, I am disappointed that I didn’t reach my goal. But, all be damned, I almost did it — and — I am coming away from this race with more lessons learned than if I easily reached the goal. I will definitely remember this race highly amongst my 180 other races.
Besides my 50K — and a handful of other races — this was one of the toughest.
Yet, one of the most rewarding.
Now to just keep pressing forward. I’ve got a lot more to achieve and accomplish.
MY NEXT RACE
After Monday’s race — I won’t lie — I kinda want to test myself again. I want that sub-2:30. Especially since I’ll have basically have a whole month until my next half (Run Elevated, Aug. 27).
Is it doable? Yes. Is it crazy? Possibly. But, I figure if I could do 2:32 at the DesNews Half just 48 hours after the Handcart Days Half — I can do a 2:30 at Timp with some rested legs on Saturday. Am I right on this assessment (just nod your heads in agreement)?
So the goal is once again to stick with the 2:30 pacers. Luckily for me I’ve got a couple of awesome friends pacing the group — Angie Pace and Karrie Middaugh! It’ll be a party. But, I know once again it won’t be easy. The first 7-8 miles (or so) are in AF Canyon — that leaves about 5-6 miles of rolling hills in the hot sun.
Again — it won’t be easy. But, I am going to do it. And, I am going to give it my all.
I’m going to do a shakeout run either tonight or Thursday morning. Nothing extreme, just to loosen up the legs. But, my focus this week has been weights and core anyways (I’ve got some Relief Society arms that need a little work). Plus, that core work is just as important as miles on my feet. I also have to remember I’ve done a lot of running, especially considering I will be doing three half marathons within a week.
So, I am not worried.
I just want to be ready for Saturday. Ready to stick with Karrie and Angie and give it everything. I want to build upon my time at Timp going into Run Elevated next month so I can push for 2:25 or faster. Especially considering that I had to drop Nebo in September. I want to fly at Run Elevated like I’ve never flown before.
Well, okay, not maybe fly faster than I have in a while. Though a PR would sure be nice. But, if that was the goal and case you might as well have an ambulance shadow me down Little Cottonwood Canyon.
Who else is running Timp this weekend? Anyone else want to join the 2:30 party? If you want to help motivate and keep me going I’ll get you some cattle prods! Ooooo … tempting I know!
MY NEXT THREE RACES
TOTAL MILES TO DATE
MILES TO GOAL