Monday, April 7, 2014

Strider's Half Marathon Race Report

The night before the race I did not sleep very well, but I made myself stay in bed until 5 when I finally got up and got ready. I had taken 2 Predensone the night before, and I took 3 more in the morning along with my oatmeal to really ward off that dang inflammation. My achillies was feeling pretty good, but I rubbed some warming cream on it and put my leg warmer on top just to help it out a little more.

My friend, Chris, picked me up at 5:45 along with her friend Melissa. It was an hour drive to the race location, but it was actually really fun talking to them and getting to know them so the time went by quickly! 

We picked up our packets, waited in line for the bathrooms, then got on the very last bus before they all pulled out and headed up to the start. It was pretty cold at the start, which was one of the reasons we got on the last bus. But it wasn't too freezing cold and they did have a bag drop so we were able to keep our jackets and blankets on until just before the start. I ended up forgetting to take the leg warmer off my ankle, though, so I was sporting that the whole time. Who knows, maybe it helped though. 

Me, Melissa and Chris just after we got off the bus. It was beautiful up there!

We had to walk a little ways up the road to the start line, and just went to the back of the group. We decided we'd stop at the port-o-potties after the race started since they were down a ways from the start line, and none of us were in a hurry. 

View from the start line.

Just after the gun went off and the crowd started moving. I love all the colors!

After the potty break, I waved goodbye to my friends and went ahead and just ran my own race. This is the first race I've done where I had no idea what my pace was or even what time I was at. I just took it easy and plodded along. Slowly and steadily, I kept passing people pretty much the whole way, but I tried not to try and pass anyone. I tried to just stay at my comfortable pace. I also tried really hard not to care at all when people passed me. I would just let them go and stick to my pace.

At what I thought was probably half way, I had to stop to take a picture of just how beautiful it was up there! You can see it snowing up at Snowbasin, but the weather ended up being pretty perfect for us. I kept my long sleeve shirt on the whole time, but I wasn't really too hot or too cold.

I hurried and took this screen shot of my runkeeper so I could look at it later, but I didn't even really look at it at the time. That's how much I just didn't care about my time. It was my goal for this race to take it easy, treat it like a training run and not worry about my time at all. I am pretty happy with my pace here at what turned out to be a little more than half way.

While I was stopped, taking that picture, these horses came running up to me. Poor things probably thought I had a treat for them! Maybe next time I'll try to carry an apple with me...

Isn't this just so picturesque, though!? You can see the runners on the path to the right. The whole run was so beautiful, but I didn't stop to take any more pictures. This was the only time I stopped, other than to walk for a few seconds and drink my water at each aid station which they had about every 3 miles. I carried Honey Stinger Chews with me and ate 3 each time I saw an aid station coming.

Just before the 9 mile mark, I caught up to a guy who I had passed before and given encouragement to. He must have passed me when I stopped to take pictures. He asked if anyone had the time and a girl behind us told us we were at 1:30 which we were both Ok with. I stuck with him and we chatted for about a mile. I feel like maybe he was getting bored and needed someone to talk to, he was one of the few people I noticed with no ear buds. He also kind of helped me reign it in and keep my slow and steady motto at a point where I might have normally tried to speed up. Talking to him also helped me pass the time and tune out the running for a little bit before the last little push.

Since I was so careful to take it easy the whole time, this is the first half marathon I've done where I didn't have a really tough mental place to get through. Usually the last 3 miles are really hard for me and I have to really dig in and make myself keep going, but I felt really steady this whole race and the time just flew by as I chugged along. I did start to think that I wanted to walk when I had less than a mile left, but it still never got to that really painful place, physically or mentally.

This race is also really gentle. There are not really any steep uphills or downhills. Most of it felt pretty flat or just a slight grade. There were a few hills, but nothing crazy. I really liked it and I think it ended up being a perfect race for me to come back with and to test out my achillies. My legs were sore at the end, don't get me wrong, but everything hurt in a good way - in a way that I would expect and not be worried about.

Here's what my runkeeper app said after I crossed the finish line, but I guess I was a few minutes late starting my time because I just checked my official chip time and it is 2:18:31. Here I've been telling everyone I finished in 2:16. Oops!! I came in as number 43 out of 65 in my age group. Not bad for a training run, though, right? I was just happy not to be limping!

I got a drink and a parfait and went and sat in the grass to stretch for a few minutes before I went to watch for Chris and Melissa to come in.

It started to rain and the temperature seemed to drop as we were walking to the car so the timing on that couldn't have been more perfect! The drive home was really fun talking to them again. I'm really going to have to start hanging out with them more often!

 I forgot to take a finish picture until I got home (Notice Ethan doing pull ups in the background, haha!). I got a cute medal, a nice half-zip long sleeve tech shirt, and a happy face! 

It's now been 2 days since the race, and I CAN NOT believe how good my achillies feels! It seriously feels almost as good as new, and way better then it did in the 2 weeks leading up to the race. Who knew running a half marathon would actually help it?! ;) I'm not going to get too crazy, but I'm going to start planning on doing my next half (in 2 weeks) faster!

I went and swam today so that felt good on my sore muscles, but I don't feel any more sore then I should. Overall I feel really good about this race and I'm so glad I did it!

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