I’m a perplexed individual (if you couldn’t tell by now). For one, I hate Halloween … but … on the other hand I love Halloween races. I have really been a huge fan of Halloween ever since I got a bloody nose during my first grade Halloween parade. I was a clown. So, I quickly went from something whimsical and non-threatening to most of my classmates’ worst nightmare. So, yeah, that did it for me. Ever since I’ve just hated Halloween.
But, I love running Halloween races. Not because I get to dress up, but because it’s a party. I get to hang out with my friends and it more festive. The way I look at it is that the Halloween races are like the after parties to the close of the racing season. You just run for fun and focus on the friendships and relationships around you. Plus, you don’t have to feel obligated to carve pumpkins or go to an awkward Halloween party.
This race was special for me for a number of reasons. For one, this was my second Haunted Half race that I ran this year. I swept the course last week in Salt Lake and did it again this weekend. In addition this was my first of two half marathons for the day. I was running this race in the morning and then running the Howloween Half Marathon in the evening. But, probably the BIGGEST reason that this race was special to me, was because this was my 80th of 180 race goal. Meaning 100 races to go!
Leading up to this race it’s been fun looking back at the last 79 races and seeing how my journey has gotten to this point. On the bus ride up the canyon I was talking to Sonja about how the emphasis of time and racing my best is not my top priority every race. It’s the people. It’s the friendships. It’s sharing and encouraging others in their journeys that bring MUCH more satisfaction to me than a consistent 2:10 half marathon pace.
While time is still my goal, I’ve also learned in my experience that you really have to pick and choose your races to race for speed. My body can’t do that every week, so I when I race it’s either for time, for fun or to encourage someone else either through pacing or by running with a friend. And, I know that I couldn’t have come to that conclusion without the experience of running 80 races over 13.1 miles. It’s something you learn on the job.
While being reflective of my journey I also was very aware at the task at hand. I was running two half marathons in the day. I’ve done this before this past summer so I know from experience what to do to make sure I don’t die. I knew that I had to baby my legs more than anything. I knew they’d be okay for the first race, but after five hours of resting to start racing again … would be tough. In July during my second race I pretty much died at mile three and questioned my very existence a number of times throughout that race.
Luckily, I was sweeping the course and then pacing the three hour group in the evening. Sooooooo … I felt that my feet and I would be on speaking terms later that night. I was running with my friend Jen Archibald and Reese as the sweepers. We didn’t have a canyon cut-off time like last week, but there was a course limit which was three hours. But, the limit mainly meant that aid stations wouldn’t be supported after those three hours. So, there would be other runners out on the course and they wouldn’t be pulled unless asked to be.
The first few miles on the course Jen and I pretty much literally SWEPT the course. There were a number of discarded hoodies, sweatshirts and gloves. I must admit, I picked up a couple of hoodies and jackets that I could use as throwaways for future races. Jen picked up some nice jackets as well. We joked that we were a mobile DI. And, it pretty much turned out that way. Luckily, we had Reese’s jogger to carry all of it.
The first eight miles or so we paced behind a mother and son that ended up walking most of the race. Once we got a bit past our pace for a three hour limit we made sure they were okay and moved on. I felt bad for the son, because he was in a full-body lion costume that looked HOT! But, as hot as that looked it still seemed a lot better than the pirate in full garb I ran with last week. I mean full garb. LIke the puffy shirt and the worst possible shoes for running a half marathon.
But, I digress.
Once we got to mile 10, Holly came to see how close we were she ended up taking Reese to the finish line while we ran with a runner that was having a hard time. After running with the runner and Jenny for a while I needed to speed up and finish because Sonja was my ride and she needed to leave early. But, while on my way to the finish line I came across a first-time half marathoner who was in tears. She had pulled (or torn) most likely her Achilles heal around mile right. Every step she took just killed her. So, I gave her some support and walked the last 3/4 of a mile with her to the finish line.
I didn’t spend much time at the finish line because I felt horrible taking longer than I told Sonja. She had to drive back to Ogden and it would have wiped out her day. So, I was given a whole pizza (yes, a whole pizza), some water and my medal and then I was off back home.
I ate a couple of pieces of the pizza, but I knew I was FAR under my calorie in-take for the day, especially knowing I had another half marathon later that day. So I grabbed an egg white and steak sub from Subway to chow down before I had to leave back down to Provo. It was a great decision. But, I would find out later that night, that still wasn’t enough.
But, that story is for the race recap of my second race of the day. Just click here to continue the story of my Saturday.