The more and more I run this race, the more I like it. When I first ran this in 2011 I ran it alone. I didn’t know anyone. I just went, ran my laps and then drove home. Last year I knew Susette and a few other people here and there from other races. Then this year I ran into quite a bit of people from Runners Anonymous, other races, etc. So much so, I probably couldn’t name them all. Which is a good thing, right?
This run is usually ran on New Years Eve or Day (well, at least they were the last two years), but had to be moved to the second weekend in January because the US Speed Skating Trials were there over New Years. Regardless of the situation I was excited to run this again, because I had so many friends running it. Having friends with you while making laps around a track is so much more fun than going it alone. I never want to repeat 2011 again.
The plan going into this run was more of a training run mentality than an actual race. I knew from past experience that it was going to be a slow run not just from the flat track course, but more so because of diversions, the aid stations and the occasional bathroom breaks (as much as I love Honey Buckets, I am more happy with the use of flushable toilets). And, diversions there are. Plenty. But, I’ll get to those later.
Becca and I carpooled again to the race. Luckily, the weather wasn’t that bad unlike last week. In fact the high in Salt Lake was a nice 48 degrees which was unfair compared to last week’s 26 degrees, especially since we’d actually be running inside. But, the carpool ride seemed destined because RIGHT and I mean RIGHT when Becca hopped in my car U2 came on the radio. You’re probably thinking, “so?” But, we both have an obsession with U2 that no man can comprehend. I’ll just leave it at that.
Once we got to the Olympic Oval we were running behind a bit. We had to rush and put our stuff down and get ready. I hadn’t put my bib on yet and felt a bit frazzled. Mostof the runners had gotten in a good lap or two before Becca and I started our run. Knowing that we had at least 48 laps to run both Becca and I eased into our run. We tried to keep track of our laps but it was much harder than we expected. I seemed to always be a lap or two behind and Becca a lap or two ahead. So we relied on the race volunteers quite a bit. Next year we decided we’d bring a Sharpie and just mark our arm everytime we passed the check point.
I can’t begin to tell you how grateful and excited I was to not just run with Becca, but with so many of my RA running family and other friends. It seemed like every trip around the track resulted in a hello, high five or a couple second conversation. This is the part of running that I love. Really, running without the people would be no fun. Period.
Just some highlights of some of my friends …
- Monte and London Riding held a friendly couple wager. Whoever ran the most laps got a new pair of shoes. London won while running enough laps for a marathon! Amazing! Monte ran just short of that, but managed to run most of his laps backwards trying to ease some IT band issues.
- Tim Gill and his wife both qualified for Half Fanatic ranking. Tim also ran a couple of laps with me and I got to tap into the mind of a true Marathon Maniac (I am one, but haven’t ran a marathon since qualifying).
- I finally got a picture with my friend Monnica.
- Susette started running on the track at 6:45am so she could get in the needed 30 miles for her 100 mile ultra marathon she is running next month. She is nuts. But, I am excited for her. If there is anyone I know that doesn’t let age define her, it’s Susette. She’s a boundless source of energy and enthusiasm.
- Q and Elvia Atwood ran 19.1 and 19.65 respectively. They are awesome! I also got a cherish picture with them that made me look like a GIANT!
- My friends Christy and Camille were also battling some nagging injuries, but both pounded out a half marathon. I’m jealous of Camille because she is running the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland next week.
- Robert Merriman was there with his beard and Skittles. That was enough for me.
One of the BIG diversions of the run was a good 15-20 break Becca and I took so I could refuel with some of my food, meds, etc. and to change my shirt (which was grosslydrenched). The pit stop went somewhat smoothly until I started changing my shirt. As soon as I slipped on the shirt I noticed something was wrong. It was a WOMAN’S XL shirt. Needless to say, it accentuated the wrong kind of curves. Luckily I was able to exchange it for the right size and I had another spare shirt in my bag, but it sure gave us a laugh worth remembering.
The run really was pretty relaxed. I thought about continuing on after I ran my 48 laps, but my body was sufficiently spent and just wanted to sit, drink and refuel over Fat Boys, protein bars and some Rice Krispy Treats I brought to share with everyone. And, I was fine with that. I’ve put in 43 miles so far this year and I am continuing to build my legs up to where I want them in a few months. I feel myself getting stronger it’s just a matter of staying the course and running somewhat smart.
I don’t have another official half marathon probably until March 22nd at the Riverton Half Marathon, so I am really going to be focusing on balance between running and strength training. I also have a few 5Ks and a relay (that I will share about later once it’s officially organized), so at least I won’t be runless until then. But, I do want to focus on the core and just becoming stronger. I feel that I need to do that if I expect myself to run a sub-two.
Anyways, I had a blast with all of my friends and I can’t wait to run this once again next year. It’s one worth doing, especially with all of your friends.Race #56 of 180 goal Half Marathon #51 overall Half Marathon #2 of 2014 RACE TIME: 3:26:05 2013 TIME: 3:29:05
NEXT RACE: No Snow 5K; Saturday, January 25, 2014