Wowzer trousers. The streak has finally found it’s end. Saturday’s race was my 8th half marathon in the past seven weeks. It could have been 13 races in 12 weeks if I didn’t take the weekend of September off. But, still, 8 in 7 weeks is a worthy accomplishment. My next half isn’t until Thanksgiving so it will be a good small break. But, after that I won’t have anything until January. December is my month of rest from racing.
Anyways … race #83 is now done.
This is the second year of the Saltair Half, which is also the second time I’ve ran it as well. In my opinion this is a good little off-season race. It helps bridge the gap between the September and October races to the end of the year. And, for people wanting and NEEDING to be around the race environment it’s perfect. Even just having one race a month in the winter month helps feed the addiction and stay in shape.
At least that’s my reasoning behind running. LOL!
The goal going into the race was to just run my race. Especially since I wasn’t pacing, sweeping or pushing. I just wanted to give it my best effort. I was also shooting for a finish between a 2:30-2:40 time and just kind of see what happened. It wasn’t a goal race, but it was a “MY” race.
Since the race is fairly close to my house (a 19 minute drive) I decided to head out early to hangout at the starting line and cheer on the duathletes, especially my friends Elsha and Reese. They were doing the duathlon AND the half marathon. Amazing. So, I got there a couple hours before my race started to be with them, their families and just around the whole scene. I don’t get a lot of opportunities to hangout before races like this, since I’m usually being bussed up a canyon or whatnot.
It was fun and relaxing to just enjoy the morning and not worry about a bus pickup, etc. Eventually, I met up with other friends including Becky, Sonja and Cathy and we started the race off together. Becky wanted to run with me for a couple of miles because we haven’t had the opportunity to run together much since she moved down south (meaning Utah County). We probably ran the first mile and half before I got distracted and she just kept going. Which was fine, I am always one that tells my friends that run with me that if they need to run faster to go. I won’t feel bad (only if they drink all the chocolate milk at the finish line before I get there).
The course is fairly simple … it’s out and back … and flat. So, there really isn’t much to catch your fancy with like most canyon runs. But, you do get a great view of Antelope Island and the ever receding beach of the Great Salt Lake. Oh, and the traffic driving past I-80. Which at one point the 2:30 pacing group bated the semi-trucks to blow their horn. Now, that was fun. But, really, there is beauty in anything and anywhere you look. I shouldn’t complain much, but if you are looking for a scenic route to race Saltair might not be your cup of tea.
After running with an awesome lady named Annette who was running her first half marathon after going through chronic pain, countless surgeries, etc. and the 2:30 pace group, I hit my first road block. No, it wasn’t fatigue or an injury. It was … well … you know … bowel movement issues. I won’t delve much into it, but to be somewhat frank about it. I usually go before the race (which I did), and, I thought I took care of business then … which apparently I didn’t? Instead of a simple pit stop it ended up being too long after waiting in line for the port-a-potty, etc.
Not a very fun obstacle. But, it is what is I guess?
Another obstacle that I discovered at the first aid station was that this was a cupless race. Meaning, it’s a ‘BYOC’ race. I heard a number of upset runners about this and I can understand the frustration, but on the other hand I knew it was my fault because I didn’t read the directions well enough. Honestly, I glanced at them and didn’t give them a second thought. Heck, I showed up to grab my packet at a quarter to seven not really knowing when the race started (I knew it was going to start somewhere around 8:30-9am). I just assumed it was going to be like last year.
And, it wasn’t it.
And, going back to the communication from the race director and the race website it was stated there. It was my fault for being so complacent. Plus, last week’s race, The Burn, was directed by the same race company and it too was cupless. Soooooo … fingers point right back to me. Oops.
It really wasn’t THAT bad though. It wasn’t like it was scorching heat where fuel was needed every two miles. But, I did need an extended stay at the aid station at both the 5 and 8 aid station because I could tell my body needed the electrolytes more than anything. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but I ended up cupping my and lapping up Gatorade like a heathen. Needless to say, I wouldn’t have passed the Lord’s test to fight for Gideon’s army. It wasn’t pretty.
But, beside those two “hiccups” the race really wasn’t that bad. I actually enjoyed and with that said I still finished in 2:46 hours without the bathroom breaks counted. Which I am happy about considering what I dealt with the bathroom and hydration issues.
Plus, the race afforded me to kind of zone out a bit as well. I was able to focus on my upcoming goals for 2015, my priorities of life, the meaning of man and what makes macaroni and cheese SO DANG GOOD?! (seriously, I need an answer) … you know the important things. But, in all seriousness, running is often my time to mediate, ponder and thing. It’s great personal time.
Plus, around mile six I turned on the Les Miserable soundtrack … and … well … belted it out. The runners ahead and behind were away from me enough that I could belt out such classics like “Red and Black,” “Master of the House” and my favorite “One Day More.” That took me until about mile 12 and a half. Gosh, I love that album. There is so much that I can relate to personally and with my running. But, I am afraid that is a post for another day.
Either way, the race was a great November race and I felt like I pushed myself well enough. The post race Fat Boys and Rice Krispy Treats were magical and I couldn’t get enough bottled water to save my life. But, more than that it was just fun being able to spend the time with friends and celebrating in their accomplishments. That to me is what running is all about. That’s what gives me depth and meaning to the many miles I’ve ran. Otherwise it’s just like running laps around a grass field in Junior High gym class (aka torture).
My next race is on Thanksgiving, but the next couple of weeks I do have a couple runs planned so I won’t be that far away from the running scene. But, I am going to definitely slow down on the miles for at least this week and then just be consistent leading up to the end of the year and my January races. Sounds like a good plan, eh?
NEXT RACE: Thankful 13 (Thanksgiving!)
Total Mileage Breakdown for 20142014 Training Miles – 512.6 miles 2014 Walking Miles – 128.4 miles 2014 Race Miles – 447.35 miles 2014 Total Miles – 1088.35 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 – 106.8 miles November – 33.2 miles