Sunday, June 16, 2013

Race Report - 2013 Utah Valley Half Marathon


I was a little stressed out going into this race because it came in the middle of an already busy weekend. 

It started with Thursday being Pete's birthday. We had a lovely dinner in the Tree Room up at Sundance Resort. It was beautiful up there! We walked around a little before dinner and saw a couple celebrities (though I didn't recognize them, Pete just told me who they were after they had passed-I believe you have my stapler).  Dinner was so delicious! We did the tasting menu which is our favorite thing to do and it was amazing! I think this might also be my favorite restaurant (Next to Spago in Vegas). Happy birthday Pete!

The next day (Friday) was free day at Lagoon for Pete's work so he was able to take the day off and we took Ethan, Elle and George. Mindy had a ballet rehearsal and performance that took pretty much all day so she couldn't be there. Luckily it was free so we didn't feel bad about not staying too long. We actually stayed longer than I had planned because I was going to meet my sister, Katie, for dinner to carb load. We ended up eating the free food they were serving for Pete's work party which was a not very good burger with some jello salad and chips. Ummm, that's still carb loading right?

After Lagoon, we got home at the same time as Katie got there so I just had her and her friend go out to dinner without me. I still needed to shower and go to the viewing for Pete's cousin who was only one year old. It was really sad, but we were glad to be able to see some of Pete's extended family and hopefully give a little support in the short amount of time we were there. I have more thoughts and feelings about this, that don't belong in this post, but I have not been able to formalize them for their own entry. I'll just say now that this family is so amazing and has been such a great example of faith and love.

Katie picked me up from the viewing then we went and picked up our race packets. She saved me her left-overs from dinner, but I ended up not feeling hungry enough to eat much. Pre-race nerves I guess. They had the PR bell, which was new this year, set up so we could try it out. They were going to have it at the finish line so anyone who set a PR could ring it. I said, "I am going to be ringing that bell tomorrow!"

We went to Heber and slept at my dad's place, and I guess I got Mindy's usual spot on the top bunk because her bunny was sitting up there to keep me company.


Luckily we all slept relatively well and woke up easily when our alarms started going off at 3am. We hurried and got ready, picked up another friend of Katie's (so there were 4 of us) and headed to Provo to get on a bus to the start. On the way up, we were disappointed to see that they had changed the start to be on the lower part where the road splits instead of the higher part where it has been in the past. This shot my race nerves up and made me feel kind of sick since it took away the first big downhill which I knew would make it that much harder to reach my sub 2 hour goal. It made a lot of sense logistically why they did this for traffic congestion, though, and it also made it so we were in the shade for pretty much the whole race which was nice! 

You can see the higher part of the road coming down behind us.

As usual it was really cold at the start and we spent most of our time waiting in line for the port-o-potties and trying to warm up. It was fun, though, and we felt good and excited! Then we all found our places. I lined up between the 1:55 and 2:00 pacers. I was being really optimistic!

Here we are right after the gun went off, slowly making our way to where we could cross the start line. It's always cool to be part of such a big group of people running together!

Not long after the start, the 2:00 pacer passed me, but my plan was to take it a little bit easier during the first 5 miles so I just let him go and told myself I would catch up to him later.  

Then after a few miles, we hit the big hill, and the 2:05 pacer passed me. I looked at him and said, "Hey, you're not supposed to pass me!" (I'm always so funny when I run!) He was like, "It's ok, don't speed up, I'm a little bit ahead." I took his advice and didn't kill myself on the hill, but I tried to keep a pretty good, steady pace, and stayed right with him. 

Then we got to the big downhill and it was so much fun! It's about a mile of just screaming downhill, and I took full advantage of the help gravity gave me here! I was passing people like crazy and shouting out "Wahoo!" It was so much fun! After a few minutes the bottoms of my feet felt like they were on fire! I just ignored and enjoyed the rush of running that fast instead! I felt like I must have left the 2:05 pacer in the dust and that I'd catch up to the 2:00 pacer any minute. I kept watching for the little pacer sign to pop up above the crowd, but it never did.

Mile 1 - 9:14
Mile 2 - 9:09
Mile 3 - 9:28
Mile 4 - 9:12
Mile 5 - 8:42

My plan had been to take it easy until mile 5 (which I didn't really follow, because that big hill was at mile 3.5 and I did not hold myself back at all there), then speed up for the next 5 if I felt good. Well, I still felt really good, and there's another good downhill at about 4.5 so I actually sped up a little early.  I tried to keep the pace up and I think I did pretty good, and mile 6 was perfect! My goal had been to get to the half-way point by 1:00, and I was really close to that so I was still hopeful at this point. (My Garmin showes me being at 1:04 at mile 7)

Mile 6 - 8:54
Mile 7 - 9:36
Mile 8 - 9:11
Mile 9 - 9:23
Mile 10 - 9:24

I wanted to be at around 9:00 for the second 5 miles and get to mile 10 by 1:30, but I didn't quite pull that off. I finished mile 10 at 1:32:18 so not too bad, right?! I knew I would have to run a really awesome 5k at the end to reach my goal, but see that little tiny hill at mile 10.5 or so? Well, it didn't feel tiny and I slowed down quite a bit there and wasn't able to get back up to speed. The next 2 miles were faster, but sill a minute too slow each. 

By now I was really looking forward to each aid station which had been every 2 miles, but were every mile for the last 3. My left knee was starting to hurt, but I just told it to be quiet and ignored it. I would try to keep pushing hard between aid stations, popping 2 honeystinger chews into my mouth as soon as it got into sight, then I would get to walk for a few seconds while I drank some water. I did that at every aid station, and I feel like this was a really good fueling strategy for me. 

The songs that came on during these last few miles helped a lot too, and so did the little older lady with the Arizona Marathon shirt that I was trying to keep up with. She was so inspiring to me. She just kept plugging along and we were kind of playing leapfrog. I'd get ahead, but then she'd just kept popping up next to me. At one point I told her I was just trying to keep it up until I got to the aid station and she agreed with me. I kept a close eye on my Garmin and tried hard to not to let my pace get much slower than 10:00.

Mile 11 - 10:24
Mile 12 - 10:02
Mile 13 - 10:06

As I saw the finish line approaching, I heard someone yell, "Come on! We'll all go in together!" I turned around and saw that dang 2:05 pacer coming right up behind me! I think I might have said, "Oh no" outloud, then gave it all I got to stay in front of him! I knew that if I could at least get 2:05, I would still beat last year's time of 2:06 and I would be happy with that. I ran hard into the finish, passing all the cheering spectators which is always awesome! 

The last quarter mile I kept a 9:10 pace!

So even though I beat the 2:05 pacer, I had started before him so my time was just over 2:05. But that's still a PR so I was happy! I really worked hard and ran faster then I ever run, averaging 9:27 for the race, so I was feeling pretty good!

I crossed the finish line, stopped, took my medal, and suddenly I couldn't breathe! This happened after the SoJo Marathon last year too, but I think it was worse this time. I don't know what it is, but I had to take a few minutes to just focus on breathing in some deep breaths, and it was really hard. I stood there next to the water station with my hand on my chest, trying to just stay calm and make air go into my lungs. I couldn't believe how hard it was, and it kind of scared me. Luckily, it didn't last too long. 

Soon I was able to drink a few cups-full of water and start walking around. I grabbed a piece of a cinnabun and a little smoothie. Then I got a text and it was Katie's boyfriend (now fiance!) saying he was over by the hot tubs. I was like, "Hot tubs? What hot tubs?" They were close to the finish, and there he was waiting with flowers for Katie. What a great guy! I also sent Katie a text to let her know I was done. Her goal was to be at mile 10 when I finished. She wrote back that she was almost at mile 11! Yay, that was great news! The hot tubs were actually filled with ice water so I took a few minutes to put my poor feet into the water and tried to drink my smoothie. That water was so cold, and there was a guy sitting all the way in it! I wasn't brave enough to try that, plus I didn't want to get my pants wet since I didn't have a change of clothes with me. 

After my feet were too cold to handle it any more, we walked over to the finish line and found a spot to watch for Katie. She came in looking good and happy, cutting 40 minutes off last year's time! Yay, Katie!

I had totally forgotten to ring the PR Bell since I was too busy trying to breath when I crossed the finish line so we went back in and got a picture of us ringing it together! Fun fun! I also got a some more cinnabun pieces, water and a creamie. I was starting to feel sick, but I knew I needed to eat.

I love this picture of Katie and the temp tattoo she got at the expo because HAPPY was a good word to describe her after the race!

Katie's friend was still out there so we hung out for a while, then she texted Katie that she wanted us to come walk with her so we slowly made our way back up the course. My feet were hurting a lot and I was not feeling good, but I was ok and it was probably good for me to walk around a little. We walked in with her and the timer was at around 4 hours! Ouch.

After that we immediately got in line for massages which took a while, but was so worth it. The lady who did my massage asked me how my ankles felt and I was like, "a little sore I guess." I hadn't really thought about it, but she said they were swollen so I should ice then when I got home. I was like, hmmm, ok.

After our massages, we took the bus back to Katie's car, then went to Smashburger and had the perfect post-race lunch! It was SO SO good!

There was not really much time to relax after that. We came home and got showered and cleaned up. I took 20 minutes to ice my ankles, but then I had to decorate 4 dozen cupcakes for Mindy's ballet performance that night!

These are not the actual cupcakes since I didn't have time to take a pictures, but they were just like these ones that I made for another event at the ballet studio.

Luckily I had Katie and Elle to help me or I wouldn't have been able to finish them. We got them done just in the nick of time! I was so glad to finally just go watch Mindy dance so beautifully and relax.

We didn't get back home until 11, so it was quite a long day!

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