Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Moab 1/2 Marathon recap

Had a great weekend in Moab. Started the trip as usual with a stop at the race expo then over to Pasta Jay's for dinner. Had the veggie cannelloni. It was ok. I like the cheesy garlic bread and Kelly's salad was yummy. There aren't really any "great" places to eat in Moab. The thing there is, you're in the middle of no where so you have to take what you get. I've tried most of the places there now. The two places I want to try out still are Edie McStiff's and the pizza place on the other end of the block from Pasta Jay's.

We stayed in a hotel in Moab this year. There were 90 people in our group. Yikes. Eight people per room. It was a little tricky trying to not step on people as we got ready in the morning, but it worked out alright. The race started at 10:00 which is quite late for most races.

This year was much warmer than last year. I just wore my shorts and running tank to the shuttle buses and up at the starting line. It was a little chilly when the wind blowed, but not too bad. On a normal year I would have needed warmer clothing for sure. I saw a couple of ladies in bathrobes. I think if I make it in next year, I'll go get a bathrobe from the DI and use that pre-race.
The race course is amazing. It follows the Green River through a canyon for 11 miles. The last two follow the road into Moab, with a few blocks of residential. The start was nice but miles 4-6 were in the sun and I got hot fast. All I could think about was how much I wanted to shave my head. I could feel the sun beat down on my head. I drank at every aid station and took a second cup of water just to pour on my body each time.

As I recall now, miles 7 through 11 had intermittent shade from the canyon or if not, sometimes slight cloud coverage. I could tell the difference in my performance every time I got out of the sun.

My personal favorite part of the race is the drummers at about mile 11 1/2. There's the last nasty hill before you get there and you're all tired and done from that then you can hear the drums reverberating through the canyon and it gives you that last adrenaline push.

Then you leave the canyon. The last two miles are definitely the hardest. The sun beats down on you and until you turn into the residential area, there's a slight head wind. Last year the wind was stronger, so I did appreciate that it was less windy this time. In the residential zone, there are a few people that turn their sprinklers onto the road for anyone who wants to run through. Love it, love it, love it.
The last two miles were where I lost a lot of time. I stopped to walk a bunch of times. With the heat, the cold I had a week earlier, and my poor training this year, I knew I wasn't going to do great. Also, my lower back started aching which told me I was haunching too much. I'll have to work on my core more. It was actually my longest 1/2 marathon time ever, 2:21:56. I was pretty sad about that, but not really surprised. The good thing is I'm so disappointed with myself that I am going to take that and do better next race. I don't know which 1/2 marathon I'll do next this year, but I am determined to break my 1/2 marathon PR this year (2:08:something). Stretch goal is to run a sub 2 hour 1/2M.

The other thing about not training well is recovery time. I was a bit more sore and stiff than after some other races. Of course you can run 13 miles without good training but you'll make up for not training in the recovery.

Just a few more tidbits from the weekend. The big sand hill across from the arches entrance--excellent. I can't jump very far apparently, but it was still fun. However I would note, if you drive done in there with a non-4wheel drive vehicle, be careful. The Saab got stuck as we (I was driving) tried to get back out.

We got up way early the next morning and hiked to Delicate Arch. It's actually almost cooler at sunrise than at sunset, having done both options now. Not so much the arch but the whole area. The colors are amazing, and the scenery changes constantly. Shadows change, colors brighten. It's like the desert is alive. Beautiful.

Another culinary note, we can't recommend Milt's too much. I just had soft serve ice cream that was good, but it would seem the shakes are not that great. I liked my mushroom swiss burger but the bun was saturated with grease.

Lastly, one of the highlights of the trip as always is the park in Wilmington. I hate to give out this secret but the giant slide and the swings are super. The giant slide doesn't look so bad until you get to the top then it's actually pretty high. I like to do the smaller one first as a warm up.

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