Woke up at 5 a.m. ate a granola bar and half a peach. Drove with Ashley and Sarah to Mapleton City Park and got on a bus around 5:45 a.m. The school bus driver was half asleep (bed head and all) and made a left turn instead of going right up the canyon but a few of the runners promptly corrected him and we got back on track after a long slow multi-point turn in the quiet, dark, early morning streets of Mapleton.
Got to the race start around 6:45 a.m. and did a pit stop in the trees and a very slow two mile warm up. Enjoyed hanging out at the start chatting with Lindsey, Amber, Melody, JulieC (thanks for coming up to say hi!), Cynthia (former Weber State competitor I haven’t seen in YEARS), and others. Did a few strides to keep warm and the race finally started at 7:53 a.m.
Not wanting to go out super fast on the downhill and blow my quads out, I started off conservatively and relaxed. I told Lindsey at the start I was not going to go out with her and I was not interested in potentially blowing up at the end, having never run that downhill of a race and never run faster than 1:19 in a half. So as the gun went off I watched Lindsey fly off with the men and enjoyed running with Amber for close to two miles, chatting with her about life and running. I did not get lap splits based on the race mile markers, but my garmin says my first two miles were 5:41 and 5:35.
Side note**I noticed right off that my Garmin and the race mile markers were not in agreement but I didn’t really care to push my lap button every time, so all I have is the auto lap data from my watch, which actually only measured the course at 12.85 miles. After talking to other Garmin wearers at the finish many of them said the signal in the canyon was pretty weak and their watches were loosing signal here and there. One guy said that before he decided to fly up from Phoenix for the race he actually called USATF to confirm that the race course was a certified half-marathon distance and they assured him it had been certified on July 6th, so even though most of our watches measured .2-.25 mile short, I guess I have to trust that the race was certified and maybe the Garmins were just having a bad day. Anyway, back to the race…
After a couple of miles my legs really started to feel warm and quick so I started picking up the pace. Next few miles were 5:19, 5:17, 5:17, 5:20 as I passed a few guys.
Mile seven was a little slower (5:36) because I slowed for the water station and almost gagged on my Gu, but eventually got it down.
Mile 8 was 5:23 then the course came up out of the canyon path onto the road and mile 9 was a little slower at 5:42
After a mental low point at Mile 9, I looked up and saw Lindsey off in the distance. This helped me regain my focus and feel inspired by the fact that Lindsey was out there working hard and running strong. I felt happy for her since it was clear that she was just minutes away from achieving her goal of winning and breaking the course record. Miles 10-13 were less downhill and harder to keep the intensity up but seeing Lindsey out there motivated me to push hard and try and reel her in a little (even though I knew it was virtually impossible to make up the minute+ gap she had on me). The next few miles were 5:31, 5:36, 5:34, 5:37. At one point about a half mile from the finish I realized that I was on pace for sub 1:11. This thought seemed unreal and pretty much blew my mind at the time because going into the race the best I possibly imagined myself capable of was in the 1:13 range. I kept feeling myself getting closer to Lindsey and the finish line. The race spectators and excitement near the finish as she set the course record gave me the chills. As I crossed the finished line and congratulated Lindsey she seemed startled to see me so soon after she had finished. To be honest, I was a little shocked too as I hadn’t planned or even dreamed of running that fast of a time. We laughed and enjoyed the moment. Lindsey’s family quickly gathered around her with smiles and congrats and we saw and spoke with Allie and Lily too. The fact that I had just run sub 1:11 wasn’t sinking in. Mostly because it just felt too good and also because I was kind-of irritated that my watch said 12.85 miles. The Anal Type A personality part of me wanted to just keep the watch running and sprint another .25 mile. I resisted though, and went to the food tent for some watermelon and chocolate milk instead. Since I had planned to make this my long run day as well, I took off for another 5 miles with Allie and Lily. We ran back up the race course and saw JulieC (breaking the rules with her earphones still in), my former teammate Melissa Teemant, Cynthia, Melody, a couple of barefoot runners whom we hooted an hollered for, and my sister-in-laws, Ashley and Emily. My legs were pretty dead; I was relying solely on adrenaline, which was starting to fade. I was ready to sit down and eat some food, which is just what I did. The awards ceremony was way late but I enjoyed sitting and chatting with Allie, Lily, and Ashley. We laughed at the 4 or 5 lost children the race announcer kept describing and trying to find parents for. I felt grateful that my kids were safe at Grandma’s house playing with their cousins.
After the awards, Ashley and I went back to Kristen’s for a quick shower and I headed north to pick up my kids in Layton, have lunch with my family, and get back on the road for home. I met Aaron and Craig (Jun) at a little burger joint in Mountain View, WY where we ate greasy food and heard all about their Quest for King’s Peak. Then Aaron and I pressed on for the remaining 6.5 hour drive home. It was a super fun trip and we both had awesome races. I am very encouraged with my time and pleased with how strong I felt. I feel SO grateful for a healthy, efficient body and SO grateful for my very supportive and loving circle of family and friends. Life is good!