Race Recap: Utah Valley half marathon

Half marathon number 3 is in the books! And I’m pretty sure it was my strongest one yet.

But first,ย  hats off to J who got a 18 min PR and qualified for Boston in his third marathon finishing sub 3.05. I hung around after I finished the half and waited anxiously as the clock hit 3 hours. At 3.03 I saw him hitting the finishing strait and started shouting like a crazy person (all of which went totally unnoticed by him). All that training finally paid off! I was so happy for him. And so proud!

Our day began a little after 2 AM. I think I got about 5ish hours of sleep but actually woke up feeling pretty rested. I ate a piece of toast smothered in Trader Joe’s cookie butter and we hit the road around 3 AM to head to Provo. We first dropped off John in downtown Provo so he could catch the bus to the start of the marathon. I parked in a nearby shopping mall and caught the bus up to the half marathon start.

I got there at 4.30 AM. It was dark, but not too cold. Now just had to kill 1.5 hours before the race start. They had plenty of portapotties, fire pits and even had some music playing. The sun started to crest the mountains and it was almost time to go.

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The first 8 miles of the race run down Provo canyon. This is pretty scenic and you even pass a pretty waterfall at about mile 4. But the one half of the four lane road remains open and cars are speeding (pretty loudly) up and down the canyon for the whole race. This might not bother some people but it kinda took away from the beauty of the canyon. Last year, I ran Ogden half marathon which is a simile race – downhill through a scenic canyon. But for Ogden, the entire road was closed and it was a million times more serene and enjoyable to run.

I managed to keep a reasonable first mile pace but I have to say that the first four miles seemed to go so SLOWLY. I was a little worried that I would just have a terrible race. This further hit home when I say the hill at miles 2-3. They advertise this race as a fast downhill run. Well, it’s true that it is net downhill but I still recorded 447 ft of elevation gain through the race. Including this LONG uphill mile. (Note: Ogden is completely hill-free).

After mile 8 it was completely downhill or flat. This was good for my legs but seeing the finish line from 2 miles out is a little soul-crushing for me. Why is it not getting any closer? Ughh!

One major bad point for me was the ‘closed-ness’ of the course. The main advantage of a race is that you don’t have to check for cars or stop at traffic lights. You just need to concentrate on running. At two separate sections, there were cars trying to cross the race course but no police officer to control traffic. I was a little concerned that they would try to squeeze in. This happened to J towards the end of the race – and he actually had to stop cos some dumbass in a car couldn’t wait 10 seconds to cross the road!

Another downer was the lack of crowd support. This was to be expected in the canyon. But even once we hit the residential are there was almost nobody around. In fact the only crowds were near the finish – and this was a pretty small group. Come on Provo – support your runners!

On Thursday I posted about my race goals. So, how did I do?

Negative splits: Nailed it! First half – 51 mins Second half – 49.35 mins. In fact, my last mile was the fastest of the race!

Have fun: The race was just OK (see reasons above) but it went pretty smoothly. I don’t think I would run it again.

Remember the marathon: Plenty of stretching as a warm-up and a cool-down. I even managed a 1.95 mile cool down run as I waited for J to finish. At the finish line they has a massage tent – and both J and I had a free 15 minute leg massage. It was the first time I’ve ever done this at a race but it felt awesome! In general, I felt so much better after this race compared to my half last month. Way less sore and I could even manage stairs for the rest of the weekend. My knee felt a little stiff for a couple of miles during the run but by Sunday I was feeling good – just a little quad and calf pain.

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View at the end of my cool down mile.

Back to marathon training on Tuesday!

Time: I wasn’t sure how I would fare in this race. I didn’t really go all out but I still managed a 1.40.35, 124th overall, 43rd female and 10th in my age group. After you leave the finish area, you can get a receipt of your time printed right then and there. Pretty cool!

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I ended up being a little under 2 minutes over my half PR and a lot faster than I had been anticipating, but the course was designed for faster times.

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The finish!

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Extra Creamies! Do they have these at every race? They are so good!

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, eating and drinking beer!

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46 thoughts on “Race Recap: Utah Valley half marathon

  1. Way to go to both of you! Great times and so exciting. Love that you get a print out of your time. That is a great idea!

    Creamies? I don’t know what those are? They don’t have them at Canadian races as far as I know.

    • Thank you! Maybe they’re a Utah thing? Frozen ice cream bars – so good! Perfect when you’re done racing. I did a 10K in March that had the printout thing too – nice way to get your results straightaway. The last race I did sent you a text message with your results straightaway too.

      • Maybe they are yes but they could bring them my way and I would be ok with it. LOL

        We have racedaytimings.ca and they give live results but you have to go to your phone to see them. Sometimes there are delays with seeing the results though because so many are trying to see their times. Maybe I will chat with the owner and see what could be done. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Congrats to J! I think the mental game of seeing the finish at mile 2 would kill me. I do not do well with having that dangled in front of me. I absolutely hate double loop courses for this reason. It gets me mentally out of the mile that I am in and once I leave it, it is hard to get back.

    Sounds like you did great with what you were working with!

    • Thank you! I totally agree – it suddenly feels like you’re not moving forward at all and is a little demoralizing. I wish you could just turn a corner and BAM there’s the finish!

  3. Great job! I think you nailed it, only 2 mins off your PR and no big expectations for yourself is fantastic and great job on the negative split! Teach me your ways haha ๐Ÿ˜‰ and a big congrats to J!!

    • Thank you! I kinda had to make myself slow down – turns out if I see someone (especially another woman) in front of me I really really want to catch them and pass them out. The trick for this negative split was to remember how crappy I felt in miles 11-13 of my last race (seriously wanted to stop and walk/cry).

  4. Martha B says:

    Holy speedster! You are amazing.
    I love that concept of printing out race results immediately. That is so much more convenient than everyone pushing around trying to read a board.
    I can’t wait to see how your marathon pans out. If this race is any indication, I think you are going to be fabulous.

    • Thank you! I have to say when I say the finish line I was so happy…………and also starting to wonder how I would be able to do double the distance. But I’m back in denial mode now!

  5. NNNNiiiiiccceeee. Way to kick ass and take names. I’m glad that things are holding together for you! (knocking on wood as I say this). I hate when there is oncoming/going traffic on race courses, though for me it has more been an issue of people, rather than vehicular, traffic–like where the paths weren’t off limits. It’s annoying as a racer, but I know how pissy I get when my paths are off limits to me! haha
    You are going to kick my ass at TCM ;P

    • I’ve become a master of the death glare – given to drivers or pedestrians not paying attention. The muscle aches are gone but some other lingering aches :/. Time to go bug my physiotherapist to make sure I’m read for TCM!

    • I’m really looking forward to the crowds. Usually if I’m running past people I try to look like I know what I’m doing and not about to die – good motivation. Do not embarrass myself in front of strangers!

  6. dawn @ running the dawn says:

    awesome job! sounds like you nailed it even though it wasn’t your favorite race.

    my favorite is the negative split! that is so hard to do in the longer races. excellent job!

    • This is Utah so everything is PG13! A Creamie (as I’m finding out) is a Utah thing – a frozen ice cream bar. I’ve had them after every race here maybe instead of a post race beer!

  7. Amazing time! Congratulations! I am impressed you arrived at the starting line an hour and a half before the race, I can’t say I’m nearly as punctual haha…I have never been to Utah, but I would definitely love to travel there for a race-maybe a trail run!

    • Utah is so beautiful and a great place to run. At this race, the last bus left at 4.30 (!) AM and if you didn’t make it – no race. Luckily my next set of races start at a normal time.

  8. Congrats on your race! Looked like a beautiful day, and your time is excellent! Glad you felt good afterwards and can continue training. (The last time I raced while training at the same time, I ran way too hard and ended up PRing… but I couldn’t lift my legs for a week! lol Lesson learned on taking it easy!)

    • Thank you! I tried to hold back a little but was still a little sore on Sunday and Monday – and stairs were not my friend. Feeling mostly OK now but turning into the biggest hypochondriac over ever little hurt and twinge.

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