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