Race Recap: The Other Half 2012

I ran my first half marathon on Sunday!

And ouch, now I hurt. But I’d say it was worth it!

I decided to do this race with a few friends about 4 or 5 months ago. I’d been looking forward to it for so long that when the time came, I couldn’t believe it was finally here! We headed down to Moab on Saturday morning and spent the afternoon and evening hanging out by the pool, visiting the race expo, and walking around downtown Moab. The town was crowded with runners and other Northern Utahns coming down to the desert for some sun, now that it’s fall and Salt Lake is getting chilly.

We had a relaxing day on Saturday and headed to bed early in anticipation of an early wake-up on Sunday. The race started at 8:30, so it could have been a lot earlier, but there were mandatory shuttles to bus us 30 miles out of town to the start of the race, meaning we had to get there much earlier than if the race had just started in town.

moab at dawn

The morning was warmer than I’d expected, and I was thankful – until we got off the shuttle, where it was FREEZING.

Maybe it was the slight change in elevation that made it so much colder out there? In any case, it was a chilly start to the race.

The race itself was well-organized, with a speedy packet pick-up on Saturday, shuttles to the start of the race, plenty of port-a-potties beforehand (remarkable!), lots of water and Gatorade at all the aid stations, and a great finishers area with beer and food. The only hiccup seemed to involve the shuttles. Apparently they didn’t send enough shuttles to one of the pick-up locations, and had to send a few back (30 miles into town) to get the rest of the people waiting there. Those shuttles showed up after the race was scheduled to start. They held the race for them, so we started 10 or 15 minutes later than planned. That doesn’t sound too bad, but when you’re waiting out in the desert in a tank top at 8:30 am, 10 minutes seems like a LONG time!

Once the race started, the course was beautiful… although to be honest, I could only appreciate it for the first few miles. Looking around at the scenery was quickly replaced by focusing on putting one foot in front of the other!

moab the other half

As far as my run, I stuck to my race plan, and I think I ran as well as I could have, considering my injured knee! Amy and I started off strong and ran together for the first 5-ish miles. My splits at the beginning were:

Mile 1: 8:57
Mile 2: 8:26
Mile 3: 8:35
Mile 4: 8:39
Mile 5: 8:28
Mile 6: 8:25
Mile 7: 8:44

The first hill started at the end of that 7th mile, and I kind of broke down from there. The hills were frequent and LONG for the next 5 miles, and you can see there was definitely some walking involved by mile 10!

Mile 8: 9:30
Mile 9: 9:25
Mile 10: 10:22
Mile 11: 9:35
Mile 12: 11:08

The 2:00 pacer passed me at the mile 12 aid station. Noooooo! He had clearly been very consistent the whole race, and was just going much faster than me at that point. I had no hope of keeping up.

That mile 12 hill was a killer, but at the top were the taiko drummers! They were just the motivation I needed to keep going at the top of that hill.

Mile 13: 9:22
Last .25: 2:01

The race was totally at least 13.25 miles instead of 13.1 – brutal! I think I can safely say that making it through the last 2.5-3 miles was the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically. I know it was only a half marathon… and I can’t imagine ever running a full! After running the first 12.75 miles or so on highway 128, we turned into the Sorrel River Ranch to finish up. It was one of those finishes where you think you must be so close, and it just. keeps. going. I was so ready to be done by this point. I had been told that the final stretch on the ranch felt long, but I didn’t really appreciate that fully until I was ready to fall over and still couldn’t see the finish line.

I finally made it over the finish line in 2:01:41. Not bad for my first half! In fact, considering the fact that I hadn’t trained in over a month because of my knee, I’d say I did as well as I could have.

Happy girls!

After the race, we got our bags, snacks and free beer in Other Half pint glasses, and hung out on the grass for a bit.

moab the other half

It was a great finishers’ area. I’d never had beer after a race before, and although it’s nice that they had it, beer was not exactly what I wanted. And this is coming from a major beer lover! All I wanted was Gatorade. Luckily they had that too :)

So now I am back in Salt Lake, hobbling around and looking ridiculous… and already wondering whether I’d be able to run the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab in March. Of course I won’t let myself – remember how I promised myself I wouldn’t race for a year? – but the point is, I think I’m hooked.

Thanks to Nate and my family for all their long-distance support! And of course to Jacquey, Madelyn, Amy, Janelle and Carlee for making this such a fun trip.

The Other Half – I’ll see you again next year!

Pre-Race Jitters

Tomorrow morning I’m heading down to Moab, Utah with five girlfriends to run The Other Half on Sunday.

As I mentioned before, this is my first half marathon, and my training hasn’t exactly gone as planned. I’ve been injured for over a month, and my longest run was 9 miles, rather than the 12 I was hoping to build up to. So it’s with some definite nerves that I’m looking forward to Sunday.

On the bright side, that 9-mile long run was also down in Moab, during a super-fun weekend with my parents in September.

And it was beautiful. The red rock just astounds me, similar to the way I felt about the Wasatch mountains when I first moved to Salt Lake. (They were so beautiful I couldn’t take my eyes off of them, and was even afraid I would crash my car on the way home from work because I was so distracted by the scenery!) Well, I don’t think the red rock will make me run into anything on Sunday, but the gorgeous nature I know I’ll be running through makes me very excited for the race, despite my doubts about my fitness.

I’ve watched a few videos of the 2011 race to psych myself up for Sunday. And what I’ve concluded is that 13.1 miles is long! Not that I didn’t know that before, but watching the mile markers roll by in the videos just emphasizes how many of them there are. One video showed lots of runners walking by about mile 10… and I can’t help but think I’ll be among that group.

So what’s my race strategy?

– Start out with the 2:00 pace group (9:09 miles) and stay with them for as long as I can.

– Walk and drink water at every aid station (located every 2 miles).

– Skip the Gu they’re handing out and instead take 2 Shot Bloks each at miles 6 and 10 (plus I’m bringing 2 extras). I’ve cut the Shot Blocks in half to make them easier to chew, and am going to pin this Ziploc bag of them inside of my shorts.

– If I reach a point where my legs, lungs, etc. can’t carry me any further, stop to walk for as long as necessary (but preferably for only a minute or two at a time).

– If my knee is in serious pain or I feel like I might be doing permanent damage to it, drop out of the race at the next aid station.

– Wear a hat and lots of sunscreen!

I’ve promised Nate I won’t hurt myself, so I’m going to do my best to stick to that. As happy as I’ll be if I can jog the whole race, I also hope to have many more decades of running to look forward to, which is much more important than finishing one half marathon. I’m not putting much pressure on myself, because I know I’m injured and can’t do my best. Oh, and I’ve sworn not to race or train hard for the next year so that I can build up a base and not injure myself next time!

We’ll see what Sunday brings!

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