First off, I didn’t know this was my 50th half marathon. In fact, I somehow counted it wrong? I’m not sure how I did that? I blame my eight years in special ed. I never really got past fractions. But, the Thankful 13 that I ran in November was really just my 49th half marathon. But, I had celebrated like it was my 50th. Alas, it was not. So I got to celebrate my 50th to start off 2014. I love parties so it didn’t bug me much.
I ran this race last year with Susette and other running friends of mine. To say it was cold is an understatement. We started the race at -2 degrees. Yep. You read that right. It was cold. I wore layers of clothing (running stretchy pants, sports shorts and long Levi denim pants) and still managed to nearly freeze to death. In fact, my iPhone froze mid-run and needed to warm up before I could use it. That was fun.
Knowing what I experienced in 2013, I kind of waited to get at least the ten day forecast before committing to the race. I didn’t really feel it would be fun to run in horrid conditions again. After seeing a forecast of a 36 degree high and JUST 21 degree low for Saturday morning I took the leap of faith. As soon as I jumped onboard so did Becca and a number of other runners from my running group, Runners Anonymous. But, let’s be honest it wasn’t because of me, it was totally because we all followed Susette aka “Mama Duck” who registered earlier in the week.
Since I was commuting from Bountiful to Pleasant Grove I picked Becca up on the way. It had snowed the night before in Salt Lake and the commute ended up being pretty bad. One of the exits was more of a ice rink than offramp. And, 400 South hadn’t been plowed. It wasn’t a fun drive. But, luckily as soon as we hit the point of the mountain entering Utah county it wasn’t bad at all. I love Utah weather sometimes.
We had planned for a 7:15am start time, but due to our prolonged commute and of others in our group we didn’t end up starting until nearly a quarter to 8am. But, for the most part we stuck together as a group. London Riding had promised to run with me if I signed up. She kept her word. We yo-yo’d a little bit, but we stayed together for most of the race.
Starting off … it was cold. But, remembering last year I was able to deal with that MUCH better. I was happy that there wasn’t much ice or snow on the ground either. I don’t deal well running in the cold, but it’s much more manageable when there isn’t snow or ice covering the sidewalk/road. I’ve beautifully biffed it too much on ice to not be overly cautious.
The first part of the course is fairly hilly leading up to the mouth of American Fork Canyon and for me I just had to mentally get through it and shut up my legs. But, around mile three or so I kind of wished I hadn’t ran five miles on Thursday after running five on Wednesday and three on Tuesday. I just ran a bit too many miles leading up to the race after not running a half in over a month-plus. But, I wasn’t running this race for a PR. It was a training run and I had to remind myself of that.
But, London really helped keep me going and we played games and talked throughout the run. I was so grateful to have her running with me. Having her stay with me throughout the race and making sure that I didn’t finish it alone meant the world to me. It really says a lot to the type of character of London, but also this group. I have some of the best running friends. We all look out for each other, we build each other up and motivation everyone. We’re all runners, we’re all friends and we all really want each other to succeed. I feel extremely blessed to be apart of the Runners Anonymous group.
Back to the race though … around mile 10, London and I were met up by Monte, her husband. It kind of shocked to see him run up to us, because he’s usually one of the faster ones. But, apparently, he and a group of eight of the leading runners made a wrong turn and got lost for over three miles. The course was marked, but it was easy to miss the signs if you weren’t closely looking. I could have made a similar wrong turn if I hadn’t ran the race last year. But, Monte joined us for the remaining three miles and ended up running 16 miles for the day. Effectively making him the first person I know to run an “ultra” half marathon.
But, I love the Ridings. And, I kept telling them that need to blog, because a lot of people can relate to their stories. London has lost nearly 90lbs. and Monte has stopped smoking and lost nearly 60lbs. himself. Now they’re marathoners. I know I am leaving out a number of awesome achievements they’ve done, but they really are the greatest and true inspirations.
After the race we all gathered together for chili, rice, chocolate milk and even birthday cake (Happy Birthday Monte!) took pictures and celebrated. As soon as I stopped my quads starting cursing at me. I was slightly worried about my drive home because the last time my legs felt like that they cramped while driving on the freeway (talk about a come of Jesus moment). But, luckily, it wasn’t that bad. I gave a ride home to a new friend, Terri and Becca and I were able to hear about her running and weight-loss journey. She’s another person I feel like needs to blog. Heck, everyone that runs needs to blog! I love blog stalking!
Overall, the race was a challenge. My quads still hurt. I’ve been popping Aleve like it’s going out of style. But, I knew that it was going to be a buttkicker going into the race. The race director, Jonathan, does a good job putting it together. He’s a runner himself and understands what a runner wants/needs during a race. If he didn’t have chocolate milk after the race I would have given him overall negative grades. But, I guess the only downside to the whole race was that they were out of vegetarian chili once I finally got there. But, really, that’s probably my own fault for not running faster. Hmm, life as a runner, eh?
Will I do this again in 2015? Good question. I am not against running it again, but I am also trying to plan a trip to Disney World to run the Dopey Challenge. So we’ll see? It’s weird to think I might delay it until 2016. 2016?! Oy. We can’t be thinking about 2016 yet can we? Anyways, if you are looking for a race to keep you in shape during the winter months this is a good race to do. It’s a challenge, but worth it, hills and all.Race #55 of 180 goal Half Marathon #50 overall Half Marathon #1 of 2014 RACE TIME: 2:47:34 2013 TIME: 3:11:00
NEXT RACE: New Years Run Resolution, Saturday, January 11th