Okay, before you read my race review first push play, because you know it’s already in your head …
I love challenges. I’d like to think it’s in my nature. Well, at least since my journey began nearly five years ago. It’s not a way for me to flaunt to others about my accomplishments, but more of a personal need to prove myself wrong. There’s MUCH more to that mentality that I really should blog about later on; because no matter what the state of your fitness is, you HAVE to challenge yourself.
That’s why this race intrigued me. Because, I knew it was going to be tough. I don’t think I fully understood how tough it was, but I knew I needed to do it. The race, The Burn, as it was designed is a 6.5 mile race UP Butterfield Canyon, but the race director gave those that wanted the option to run back down to complete a half marathon. The course is extremely steep (2,500″+ gain) and a challenge for any runner. In fact a lot of it reminded me of running up Ragnar Hill.
Needing a challenge Jill and I planned on running this together. We’ve prepared by doing a couple up hill runs and down Emigration Canyon and around here in Bountiful. We knew it probably wasn’t going to be enough training for the extreme uphill, but we both acknowledged the preparation was going to be more mental than anything. Especially considering that was coming off my double half marathons the week before and Jill’s easing back into running after her marathon.
So we knew that speed wasn’t our #1 goal. But, doing our best and finishing what we started was. Well, and we knew that it would make us stronger runners.
With a 9am start time it was nice to have somewhat of a leisurely morning. I had my typical morning meal of my protein shake, banana and bagel and then met the Gabicas down at the freeway exit to carpool the rest of the way to Herriman. We might have gotten a TAD lost on our way there. But, luckily Google Maps actually knew where to go (there’s a first).
Once we got to the start of the race and picked up our packets we started looking for a restroom. If I actually read the race instructions I would have known that there wasn’t a Honey Bucket at the starting line, so we all hopped back into the car and made a mad dash for a gas station bathroom. Needless to say, I would have much rather used a Honey Bucket. But, we got back to the starting line with about five minutes to spare before gun time.
While Jill and I were running Mark took their daughter to IKEA for breakfast. That’s why we made it very clear to him that we got to pick the post-race meal. Besides finishing the race and challenge, Jill and my other goal was to pick a great place to go eat after the race. Which actually turned out to be more difficult than imagined … but more on that later.
As soon as the race started Jill and my plan was to do a run/walk cycle as best we could. We knew the course was going to get crazy and we knew that there would be probably be a lot of walking up the hill. About a half mile into the race the course started getting steeper and our run/walk did become more of a mall walk/walk cycle. Which still was pretty challenging.
But, our goal was completion and not time, we knew it was going to be tough and we knew that it was more of a mental run then anything else. That’s why we didn’t feel disappointed seeing the other runners and cyclists passing us down the mountain. We just cheered them on. It was fun though seeing a number of friends along the way as well.
Plus, we were constantly in awe of the scenery everytime we climbed higher up the canyon. Like this view near the top …
This is simply awe inspiring, isn’t it? Make sure to click on the image to see the full image.
The last couple miles were pretty tough and had a very steep uphill which slowed us down some. It was near impossible for us to run it or even speed walk it. We joked that our run quickly turned into a hike … which wasn’t far off actually. But, after 2:17 minutes we made it to the turnaround point. And, as a small victory we weren’t the last runners to the finish line either.
After stopping at the aid station for a few minutes we refueled our water, ate some granola bars and stretched out a bit KNOWING that we were running back down the canyon. Jill got excited when she noticed that the aid station had Butterfingers. They were one of the few cravings she had during her pregnancy with her late daughter Isabel. It was a sign to her that Isabel was there with us!
We knew the run back down was going to be MUCH faster and that was our mentality heading back out. We were just going to put it into cruise control and get back down to the car. And, the miles down Butterfield Canyon were MUCH faster indeed. Before we realized it we had already ran over two miles and were feeling great. And, it helps that Jill and I never run out of things to talk about, so the miles just melted away.
It was also during the run back down that we were trying to figure out where we wanted to eat. You’d think this would be easy, especially on the tail end of our race. But, we crossed off many foods and places. No pancakes. No waffles. No hamburgers. No steak. Nothing sweet. Nothing fried. The list was kind of eliminating everything.
But, then it hit us!
Vegetables. We started saying how much we were craving vegetables and even a baked potato. It was actually quite comical how we were both fantasizing about steamed carrots, lush green broccoli and crisp Romaine lettuce. Because, honestly, who fantasizes about fruit, vegetables and salad during a half marathon?
Well, Jill and I.
As we finished our run down the canyon we quickly stretched out and climbed into the car and beelined it to Harmon’s where we hit up the salad bar. I have to say, I might have gone a tad wild at the salad bar. I loaded up on green peppers (my favorite), celery (my second favorite) and green peas (tied with celery for my second favorite vegetable) in my salad. I got a large salad and I filled that thing up with everything and drizzled it with a little vinegar and olive oil. It was glorious.
I didn’t realize the extent of my binge salad until I checked out and realized it cost me over $17.00. I was shocked, but at the same time I didn’t care. I was too hungry to care. And, I didn’t have any problem finishing that thing up. It was probably one of the best post-race meals I’ve had in a while. Seriously.
But, looking back to the race as a whole, I loved the experience. Both Jill and I not only came away from the race sore, but grateful for the challenge. We also realized that we need to do more runs and races like this. We need the uphill to help up run the downhill much faster. So we’ve started doing planning some races throughout the winter to keep us training throughout the winter.
And, on a personal note I am really starting to see the racing season wind down for me. Next week’s Saltair Half will be the 8th race for me in the past seven weeks. I am not pacing or sweeping it, and it’s flat so there’s no uphill and downhill challenge to it … so … I am going to run it for myself and see where I am at physically and mentally. It will be a good race and gauge to see what I need to work more on throughout the winter months.
But, the focus is now towards Saltair next week!
NEXT RACE: The Saltair Half (THIS SATURDAY!)
Total Mileage Breakdown for 20142014 Training Miles – 510.6 miles 2014 Walking Miles – 128.4 miles 2014 Race Miles – 429.25 miles 2014 Total Miles – 1068.25 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 – 106.8 miles November – 13.1 miles