RACE RECAP #79: The Haunted Half – Salt Lake City

79-hauntedhalfThis race has a special place in my heart for many reasons. One, I love running down Emigration Canyon. I’ve ran it DOZENS of times with my running group and it never gets old, because I always run it with great company.

But, this is also the place I ran during my first marathon two years ago. So, besides being a place where I cherish with friends, there are also certain places I CURSE because of the marathon. That’s just the nature of running though, right?

Becky and I meeting for the first time at last’s year’s Haunted Half #totespresh

Specific to this race though, this is where I first met Becky for the first time. We both worked on my costume for a good three weeks. I went as … THIS GUY. I also threw in bloody nipples for good measure. It’s where our odd friendship took root. Yep, over poop and bloody nipples. Not many people outside the running community can say that … unless your a poop or blood doctor, I guess?

Becky ended up not running the race because she was sick, so I ran with her husband Nate. It was fun. He was fast. But, mid-way through the race Becky showed up to get a picture with our costume creation. We’ve been friends ever since then. We’ve ran marathons, countless half marathons. runs down canyons and stupid 30Ks in the rain together. Running is SO much better when you have an awesome running buddy.

But, back to this race.

Joshua the Sweeper!

I love this race. For as much as I hate Halloween, I actually love Halloween races. Go figure? Maybe it’s because I love running in October? I love the cooler weather, it really is ideal for running. But, there is also a different energy to Halloween races that’s just fun. Plus, the cooler weather keeps the sexy cats, witches, devils and such at home.

Sure, people are serious about running, but there is a lighter mood to them. It’s a party, especially when costumes are involved. Especially when you come up with something original.

Since I was pacing the race as the sweeper, I decided to go as … what else? A sweeper! It was actually a pretty easy outfit. I bought some coveralls on Amazon and then bought a broom from Kmart. Pretty easy.

Of course I wore my running shoes and other needed accessories to avoid chaffing. I’ve ran in long pants before so I know the art of preparing myself to wear them for over 13.1 miles. There really is an art, because there is nothing worse than pant chafing. But, I feel like I shouldn’t delve into that subject for reasons of modesty.

Jill and I running UP Emigration Canyon the night before the race! I needed this run!

Anyways, I was really excited about my costume.

In fact, I had to run home to grab the broom I forgot I left in the kitchen. Luckily, I live about 10 minutes away so it wasn’t that bad and I didn’t miss the last bus. It was close, but I wasn’t really worried. I just couldn’t run as the sweeper without my broom, right? A witch can get away with it while running, but a sweeper can’t. You just end up just looking like an idiot running in coveralls without it.

The one thing I love about fall races is the later race times. This race started at 8:45am, which meant bus pickup was until 7:20am. Not bad. But, I won’t lie, I would have enjoyed a TAD earlier start time. The heat wasn’t an issue, it’s just I’d rather get done with the race sooner.

Miss Elsha’s costume. I love it! So practical and creative. SHE’S OLAF!

Since I was sweeping the course I took my time at the starting line. I didn’t bother waiting in line to use the restroom before gun time. I just hung out with my friends and the other pacers. Then once the gun went off and the course dispersed I walked directly to an open Honey Bucket and leisurely used it. It was actually quite nice. I won’t lie. Granted, the smell wasn’t pleasant, but my Mom is reading this … sooooooo … I’ll just leave it at that.

I was the last runner to cross the starting line and quickly realized I needed to play some catchup with the rear of the runners. Knowing I probably wasn’t going to get some speed in during the race I sprinted some a 9:15 mile for a good 3/4 of a mile. I know that isn’t much, but I caught up with the rear and I got some good downhill in. My favorite.

My one goal of the race was to pace the runners outside of Emigration Canyon by 10:15am, which was about a 14 minute mile-ish. It was actually kind of hard to keep that pace for me, so I ended up doing a blend of run/walk. I also talked to a number of the runners and told them about the timing. There wasn’t much problem with runners not making it. I think only one or two runners actually got picked up.

I love this canyon. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

But, I was proud of myself I actually made it out of the canyon exactly at 10:15am. That’s like the best timing I’ve had MY WHOLE LIFE. No joke. If you’ve ever had to meet me somewhere, you’ know I am guilty of Utah Mormon Standard Time. We won’t talk about getting me to work on time either. Let’s just say, I was very proud of myself.

Once we got out of the canyon we turned into Research Park at the University of Utah and ran up a couple of hills. This is where the police officers kind of left us and where I ran into Jone. I have actually known Jone for a while. She actually goes to my gym, but I had no idea she was running the race. In fact this was her first ever half marathon.

Miss Jone and I during the race! What an inspiration!

Jone is somewhat of an inspiration to me. She is 65, regularly exercises and eats right. She is where I want to be in 30 years. She really is amazing. We ran the last the five or so miles together. It was a great time. We got to know each other better, we helped a pirate that was cramping on the roadside. I told the poor pirate that we might have to amputate and get him a pegged leg. I don’t know if he appreciated the joke. But, I laughed.

Throughout the last few miles as Jone and I finished the race she would tell me occasionally to run ahead and I’d have to remind her my job was to sweep the course. She would apologize for going slow and again, I’d have to remind her that I am here regardless of how fast or slow she is going. This is HER race! She’s doing it, not me. But, that I’ll be right here whenever she needs me.

Jone running with her daughter and grandkids! Such an awesome moment to witness!

I was just in awe of her determination. To run her first half marathon at age 65 says a lot about her character and person. Even when we got within less of a mile to the finish line we were almost instantly surrounded by friends and family or hers. Her daughter started running with her and then the last few yards of the race she was greeted by her grandkids who ran the rest of the way with her. It was VERY touching. I just kind of stepped back and enjoyed the moment.

It was very touching watching her be greeted by so many people at the finish line. You can tell that she is a person MUCH loved, admired and looked up to. It was a very touching scene.

And, it’s moments like these that I love running. Especially, pacing. It doesn’t matter what time you are pacing or whether you are sweeping the course you are helping SOMEONE accomplish their goal and to be able to be there with them in that moment is beyond a gift for me. That’s why I’ve felt so lucky this year witnessing many of these moments with my friends and other pacing opportunities. To me these moments are the essence of running.

Pulling a Robert Merriman.

The race overall was a great experience. It’s a deceitfully tough course. Just because you are running down Emigration Canyon doesn’t mean it’s all downhill. There are a few very BEASTLY hills. But, still, for me it’s a great course even if my favorite part is the canyon. It’s just beautiful.

I am now looking toward this weekend’s Halloween Twofer. I’ll be running the Haunted Half in Provo that morning and then the Howloween Half in the evening. That would include a nap somewhere in the middle? It will be a busy weekend, because I have a few other things including two ghost investigations. I will have sneak in my sleep somewhere? But, I am looking forward to it nonetheless!

I love fall running!!!


NEXT RACE: The Haunted Half & Howloween Half Marathon (THIS SATURDAY!)

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2014

2014 Training Miles – 503.6 miles
2014 Walking Miles – 123.9 miles
2014 Race Miles – 386.85 miles
2014 Total Miles – 1014.35 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2014
January – 100.0 miles
February – 100.0 miles
March – 130.0 miles
April – 140.5 miles
May – 108.65 miles
June – 83.3 miles
July – 93.75 miles
August – 118.2 miles
September – 88.55 miles
October – 66.0 miles


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