Saturday, October 31, 2009

Provo Halloween 1/2 Marathon

This was a fantastic race. I have a few complaints but overall good times.

Even though the 8:00 start time is later than most races, I was still whining and grumpy about getting up so early (5:30). We got to the shuttle rendezvous spot and it was freezing. In August this seemed like such a good idea. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think I knew it would be colder than most races I do, but it was still shocking to be in it. They didn't have very many buses going, so we waited in line for almost 30 mins. We complained about the cold the whole time. :)

Fortunately they were able to get the dining hall at Sundance for us to wait in before the race. It ended up starting a little over 30 mins late cause they didn't get all the runners up on time. That gave me plenty of time to check out the costumes of the other runners and chat with people. I actually ran into an old acquaintance from when I taught in China, Shannon. So fun.

The course was fantastic. The sun had come out by start time. We were in the shade for most of the canyon still, but the lighting was great. Wish I could have taken lots of pictures. It was like being in a Bob Ross painting only even better. Magical. Rocky out crops, snow cap peaks, happy little trees. There were low clouds too hanging in the pines that made it very mysterious.

The first 5 miles of the course are the steepest. I tried to hold back and just take it easy. I have a tendency to push too much at the start of a 1/2 M. We came out of the canyon to Sundance at that point, then crossed the road. It meets up with the river trail at Victoria park about a half mile from there. I took that rest stop to stretch my quads and calves a bit. I took my first energy packet here. I went with a Cliff Mocha gel. One of my new favorite flavors. It's everything chocolate was meant to be in a gel. I also started pushing a little harder at that point.

I took my second gel at about mile 8.5. It was a Powerbar Tangerine. I like the texture of the Powerbar gels the best cause they go down pretty easy. I decided to only take 2 gels this time. I ran the Provo River 1/2 M and took three. I got some sever intestinal discomfort after the third one on that race. Maybe it was the raman noodles for dinner the night before. All I know is I was surprised at the finish line that I hadn't left a trail of energy gel behind me. Anyhow.....

I gave another push at mile 9ish. I'm not sure what mile it was exactly, but there's a spot in the Provo River 1/2 that you make a u-turn and go back uphill a little over a mile. When I passed that spot I gave a little woo-woo out. I can't tell you how happy it made me to not go up there. I think the total elevation gain for this course was 39 feet. So nice.

The last aid station I passed they said it was only 2 miles left. My first thought was these guys have no idea what they are talking about. My garmin had me at 1:31:something. That put me on pace for around a 1:50:00 finish time. I thought "no way" cause that was 10 mins under my previous PR (Personal Record) (Ogden 1/2 this year, 2:01:30). I knew this would be a fast course, but Ogden is mostly downhill too.

The last 1/2 mile was where you turn into the Riverwood area. And there ahead of me I see a red shiny cape. D & I both went as Wonder Woman (I had several girls tell me they liked my costume and one guy thanked me), but she had a cape. That totally got my adrenaline up, so I pushed as hard as I could to catch her. I cut the distance in 1/2 but didn't completely catch her. I think she had me by about 20 seconds. Oh, and she was pregnant. I did my best ever and still got beat by a woman 13 weeks pregnant. She's kind of a really good runner though, so I was actually happy about that.

So my chip time was 1:52:18. That's about 9 mins off my previous PR. Some of that was due to being so much downhill and part was having lost 10 pounds since my last 1/2 M. But some of it was definitely due to training hard and pushing myself. I have to say I'm really happy with my performance today. I've been dreaming of breaking the 2 hour time all year. So much for just running for fun. :)

Chip time: 1:52:18
Overall place 227 out of 727
Gender/age category 28 out of 113
Overall women 112 out of 499

I was 41 mins slower than the 1st place runner. That's just crazy to me. I'm super happy with my results though. I'm a little sad though cause I just can't imagine doing better than this ever.

Happy Halloween!