This Saturday I had the opportunity to run The Sale Lake City Half Marathon. I really had not planned on spending the money on it because I put off registering for too long and it got too expensive, but a friend got me in for free so I was happy to give it a try! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get ahold of that friend the whole day so I was kind of a loner, but that's ok. The ownership and course for this race were new for this year so if you've done it in the past, it's a little different now.
I wasn't able to sleep very well the night before(DANG RACE NERVES!), but at least I made myself a new play list using songs I found in the 170 bpm tempo range that I found on jog.fm. I highly recommend this!
The finish line was about 4 miles from my house so it was really nice going to a race so close to home! I left home at 6am, parked at the finish line by 6:15 then walked over to the Trax station, about 2 blocks away, to ride up to the start line. I just missed one train as I was walking over, but there were a ton of runners waiting for the next train so I wasn't worried.
I had rigged my Garmin with twisty ties so I could still wear it even though the band broke. It worked pretty well! It did bother me sometimes, but at least it stayed on.
Finally the train came and we had a nice ride up to the University of Utah. When we got there, we could hear the announcer saying that we'd be starting in 3 minutes, so we all started running down to the start. I ran to the bathrooms first, and found one without a line so that was nice! I hurried over to the start line just in time to hear the National Anthem which was just such perfect timing!
6,500 people getting ready to run the streets of Salt Lake City. So Rad.
We finally crossed the start line and started running a little bit, but we were soon slowed way back down by a narrow uphill bottleneck. We slowed down so much that I hurried and pulled my phone out for a picture of the U on the mountain that we were running towards. It was a pretty steep uphill and I was kind of happy to walk it a little bit. But after a minute, we were able to run again.
Before I knew it, we were at an aid station, and we hadn't even hit mile 2! I actually didn't even notice it until we were almost past it since there were so many people, and I decided it was fine if I skipped it anyway. They had aid stations pretty much every mile which was nice, but it kind of threw me off since I'm used to stopping at every aid station when they're every 2-3 miles. I didn't want to stop every mile so I had to keep track of when to stop more than usual. I tried to stop at every other one, and I had to watch for the aid stations carefully - they would sneak up on me because the road was just full of people all the time.
Mile 2 was a lot of uphill so it ended up being slower (10:08), but then the next 3 were beautiful, fun downhills - 11th Avenue, Bonneville Boulevard and Memory Grove (8:34, 8:48, 8:30). Some of my favorite places to run! I love my city, it is so beautiful!
But then we had to turn and run up South Temple for mile 6. It looks pretty flat, but it's a pretty good uphill and I had to really focus on keeping my pace up. I still managed 9:49 here. Not bad. I felt like I pushed through it really well!
Next we got to turn south and go slightly downhill for the next mile (9:17). I was feeling really good and happy on this mile!
I think it was around here that Raise Your Glass by Pink came on. In it she says:
So raise your glass if you are wrongI just thought about how I never used to fit into that category, and now I do (not really in the way she's talking about, though! haha), but I'm so glad! I'm glad that I'm "wrong" in all the right ways. I'm so grateful for that. I also thought about how dirty, sweaty and nitty gritty I and all the runners around me probably were and how there are a lot of people who look at runners as "freaks." But again, I was so happy to be where I was and to be who I am!!
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty, gritty, dirty, little freaks
So I started to get emotional, and then I started to have a hard time breathing for just a few minutes. It was really weird! A lot like what happened to me at the finish line of my last marathon, but not as bad. I took some deep breaths and made myself calm down so it wasn't a big deal, but I think I was a little more nervous to push myself too hard after that weird few minutes. I really don't know what happened, but it did make me a little nervous.
I was still happy though, I just had so much fun this whole race!
At mile 8, we had to turn east again for the hardest hill on the course. Or so it felt. We weren't as fresh as for the first few hills so it was hard! They actually had an aid station on this hill so I stopped to walk while I drank, and ended up walking a lot longer than I usually let myself at aid stations. My knees were starting to hurt and I just didn't feel like it was worth it running up that big hill. I did start running again before we hit the top, though, and finished that mile in 10:17. Not too bad, and boy was I happy to turn right and head downhill again! Wahoo!
My next 4 miles were pretty close to on pace! (9:29, 9:36, 9:28, 9:32) I was feeling really good, and happy and my music was really helping to push me! I saw a friend out on her bike spectating so that was really nice! She was the only person I saw who I knew the whole race so it was really good to see her.
We ran through Liberty Park, and I realized it isn't as flat as I thought it was. The section we ran was definitely a little uphill. There was a big cheering group with funny signs right as we entered the park, and as we make the first turn there was a group of people with signs saying "This is the Place...for beer!" and "Temptation Station." They were handing out vodka shots! I don't know how they were allowed to do this! We had 2 miles to go and I needed to push it and keep my energy up so I certainly wasn't going to take one, but the guy next to me grabbed one and it made me laugh. (MarathonFoto actually got a good shot of me here, and I would totally buy it if it wasn't 25 bucks! Look for the one with me next to a lady in purple, both of us looking to our right.) There were several funny diversions like this throughout the course. Just a fun day.
The fatigue suddenly hit me in the last mile! I also realized that I wasn't going to be able to make a PR so I decided to stop for a potty break at the last aid station. I just thought it would be nice to not worry about peeing my pants for the last mile! The music was so loud at that station that I felt like the port-o-potty was on a truck or something! I don't feel like I stopped for too long, but this was by far my slowest mile at 11:13.
As I neared the finish line, Vaseline by Stone Temple Pilots came on and I thought it was so fitting because I did feel like a fly in the Vaseline, so sluggish and just struggling to keep my legs moving! Just before I crossed the finish line, the guy next to me fell down to his knees, but it looked like he was doing it on purpose, maybe to have a dramatic finish or something, so I just smiled and I didn't stop. I kind of feel bad now, but it happened so fast. Hopefully he was ok!
My official time was 2:07:56 (126 out of 352 in my age group!). It was my 3rd fastest half marathon, and 10 minutes faster than my last one so I was totally happy with it! Especially because I've been injured and this was a pretty hard course. It reminded me of a line from George's favorite book, Dino Racing, "This is not an easy race!"
They had a bunch of goodies at the end, including Creamies which are always so delicious after a hard run! Also note what a beautiful day it was!
I hurried home and took a quick shower, then Pete and I went out to breakfast with a friend for her birthday! It was so good, and so much food. I did NOT eat it all! I actually felt kind of sick, but I went into that race wanting to push myself hard and that's what I did! Feeling sick for a while afterwards is one of the consequences of doing that.
When we got home, I actually was able to sleep for a few hours. Usually I have too much adrenaline after a race to take a nap, but I think not sleeping well the night before really helped with that! It's been 2 days now and my achillies is feeling really good! It felt good during the race, but was a little sore after so I'm glad it's feeling better now!