RACE #60: Provo City Half Marathon

60-Provo-City-HalfWhat a difference a week makes. Like, I really, really, really, REALLY needed this race. After miserably drudging through my 30K last week in the cold and rain, I need both a physical and mental victory. Well, really, I needed a “HECK YES I LOVE RUNNING AND I AM STILL ON TRACK WITH MY MARATHON TRAINING” race. And, I got that.

My goal going into the race was to hang with Susette who was pacing the 2:20 group. I did this last year and PR’d so I knew I could do it. Well, at least that it was possible. But, considering that I average 10-10:30 min/miles on my training runs I felt encouraged I could maintain a 10:41 min/mile to get that goal. So the goal going into the Provo City Half was easy … HANG WITH SUSETTE!

The much maligned (yet delicious) Sears Burrito.

It’s been well documented that I make bad decisions. A few months ago I was grossly unprepared for a run down Big Cottonwood in snow and freezing temperatures and then of course there was last week’s wet and cold 30K where I didn’t wear gloves. Then of course the night before the race I made another bad decision. Let me explain …

Since I was staying at Susette’s house (because of the lovely 4am wake up call) I had to pretty much go straight from work. So, I decided to get something quick on why down to Orem. My plan was to grab a egg white veggie sub from Subway, but then something happened … I drove past the Sears Taco Stand. Immediately my desire for Subway waned in favor of a burrito. So I diverted my route for Sears.

If you haven’t noticed I have a weakness for burritos, especially from the Sears Taco Stand (800 South and State Street). I just think burritos are the perfect food, especially for Vegetarians. You’ve got the rice, beans, cheese and then I load it with cabbage, onions, cilantro and radishes … with of course tomatillo sauce and sour cream. Simply put, it’s perfection in a perfectly wrapped package. And of course that package would be a tortilla.

Because who doesn't drop bag Rice Krispy Treats?
Because who doesn’t drop bag Rice Krispy Treats?

So I really didn’t think much of my choice as I was chomping down on it during my drive down to Utah County. I just enjoyed it and sang praises to it’s awesomeness. And, it really was a great burrito. But, what I failed to grasp was I was eating a burrito BEFORE my race … as my carb-load. How could I be that stupid? (I kind contribute it to the unfounded fact that they secretly put crack in their burritos). Just the fact that there were beans in it should have be reason enough to continue on my way to Subway … but … I didn’t (more on this later).

I crashed at Susette’s house so I didn’t have to make the commute to Provo at 3am. As payment for letting me crash there I made some Rice Krispy Treats to share with her and the rest of our running group. I made a Lemon Sugar Cookie Rice Krispy Treat. I’ll post the recipe later this week. But, it’s a simple RK recipe that I really like.

Mama Duck and I!
Mama Duck and I!

After picking up Mark Gabica from his hotel on our way to the bus pick up we met up with the rest of our group. Those that ran the race before weren’t really looking forward to loading the bus because we knew what kind of coldness was waiting at the top of the canyon. The last two years I nearly froze to death on both occasions. No joke.

But, luckily once we got up there it wasn’t THAT cold. It was cold, but nothing like previous years. I was grateful for that. It made the Honey Bucket and packet drop lines a bit more bearable. Well, chatting with friends probably helped more than anything.

Lucky for me my goal for the race was to run a 2:20 half and Susette was pacing the 2:20 group, so my plan was to just run with her the whole race. Easy enough. I did it last year and got a PR so why not again?

The first part of the run felt fairly easy. The 10:41 pace going downhill felt fairly easy and I know I could have probably gone faster, but I knew I shouldn’t go out fast because I would regret that in the end.

Around mile two Susette gave me her pace flag because she had “bowel movement” issues (I know she is probably loving me talking about this here, but we’ll get to my story later). Cathy, from our running group, was hanging with us as well … so … we run together while Susette was gone.

Running down the canyon! My favorite part of any race.
Running down the canyon! My favorite part of any race.

Then Susette once again had some more issues with bowels around mile five and caught up a couple miles later. I love pacing because you are running beyond yourself. You’re more focused on pace, on time and making sure you hit your mileage times. Plus, it’s fun talking with people keeping up with you. I can’t wait to do some more pacing this year.

But, the run went as expected. The downhill was gradual, but doable. Then around mile eight I started having bowel movement issues of my own. At first I thought it was just flatulence so I just tried to work through that, but then I kind of realized around mile nine I shouldn’t force anything. It was just too risky.

I knew I was going to need a pit stop soon. I was so conflicted though because I just wanted to hang with Susette. I was feeling great and my legs were fresh. I really was enjoying the run … except … of course the bowels.

The poorly timed Honey Bucket trip.
The poorly timed Honey Bucket trip.

Finally at the mile 10 aid station I knew I had to part with Susette and Cathy. So I apologized to Susette for abandoning her and then I made Cathy promise that she would get her PR. Once I got into the Honey Bucket line I stopped my Garmin because I knew my pit stop could take a while, especially since there was a line.

And, I still wanted to get that 2:20 goal. I knew if I didn’t stop my watch I’d keep wondering what my “real” time was with that pit stop. But, the pit stop cost me about six minutes in the end, which wasn’t bad.

And, if you are wondering, yes, I blame the burrito.

But, once I got out of the Honey Bucket I didn’t linger I just jet out and kept up my pace. I didn’t want the pit stop to set me back. So I just kept at it. I stopped to stretch at mile 12, but otherwise felt great.

During the last mile I also got to run with Shaylee from our running group. This was her second half marathon and shaved off nearly 20 minutes on her previous time. It was fun to run across the finish line with her and it’s always fun to run across with anyone who set a new PR. It’s one of those joys of running that I love.

Breakfast Burrito from Guru’s!

And, my watch read 02:19:59:57 … I hit my goal! I was extremely happy about getting that goal, despite the pit stop and all.

After the race our group hung out together and I passed out my bag checked Rice Krispy Treats as well. I might not RUN with a number of my running friends (mainly because they are too fast), but it’s always fun hanging out with them after a run. They are all awesome people that make my running experience much more rewarding.

Some of us then went for breakfast at Guru’s (another burrito … no beans in it though) I went back to Susette’s to shower and get ready for a Zeal Party I had up in Salt Lake in the Grand America. I will blog about that experience later in the week. Nonetheless, it was a great and inspiring experience.

But, looking back at this run, I really needed it. I needed this victory. I needed it mentally. I needed it physically. I just needed it. And, I got it.

Enjoying some Zeal at the Launch Party at the Grand America!

I really gave me the confidence that I am going in the right direction with my running. It is preparing me even more for my marathon. And, I feel better about reaching my sub-two half marathon goal. After last week’s botched 30K I doubted all of that, but this helped me regain that confidence.

Now looking forward to next week I am really excited to run the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon. It’s a fast course … and … I love running Big Cottonwood Canyon. Plus, it should be another confidence builder for me. I don’t have a set goal time yet, but I think a 10-10:20 minute mile pace is doable. That could put me anywhere from 2:11-2:15. Sooo … we’ll see.

Anyways … here’s to Big Cottonwood!


Total Mileage Breakdown for 2014

2014 Training Miles – 381.45 miles
2014 Walking Miles – 18.15 miles
2014 Race Miles – 90.7 miles
2014 Total Miles – 490.3 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2014
January – 100.0 miles
February – 100.0 miles
March – 130.0 miles
April – 140.5 miles
May – 19.8 miles


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  1. Pingback: RACE #61: Vigor Utah Big Cottonwood Half Marathon | Running180

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