Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Big Cottonwood Half

I liiiived! I lived! Woot woot, I lived! Holla!

I haven't updated my sweet little running blog for a few weeks, here is what you don't know.

I was on track to being so prepared for my first half marathon but then I hurt my foot which put me out of the game for a few weeks.

About four weeks ago I did a long run of 10.5 miles (little did I know, this would be the longest run I got before race day, training plans have you running up to 12, or some even 14). The night of that run I couldn't walk. My right foot was killing me. As near as Dr. Google could tell I had hurt an tendon that wraps down the outside of your ankle and attaches on the bottom of your foot. Where it attached was ANGRY at me.

And I was now angry at it! But that did no good. Sadz.

So I took a couple weeks off. I was going to run the half, even if it had to be slow. I was going to make it happen... might as well go about healing my foot the right way. I took Ibuprofen, iced it and did everything I could but I was super not happy about not getting my runs in.

The week before my half I wasn't 100%, but I was good enough for a run. I was scared that I was going to hurt it again! But only having run 10.5 miles 2.5 weeks prior wasn't exactly great prep for 13.1. Ugh. I went for a great downhill run with Sara down Emigration Canyon, it was longer than I had planned, ended up about 8 miles. It will have to do.

The morning of the race I got up at 3:30 to feed Grey and get him back off to sleep. I was meeting Sara at 4:30. I was not anticipating the traffic! It was terrible! She called me to see where I was and said there were plenty of spots around her, after we hung up she said it was only about two-minutes when she looked up and there were no spots! I should have been on time, that's what she gets for talking me in to a later time! I was requesting 4:15! Too early though.

We rode a school bus up the mountain where they dropped us off into the freezing cold. You could see your breath! I was prepared, I had a sweatshirt I was planning on tucking into my drop bag at the last minute but my Canadian buddy had no ides what the American 40* equated to! I gave her my space blanket so she had hers around her legs and mine around her shoulders.

At about 6:25 we followed a truck a little way down the road to the start point. Pretty much ran with the crowd to drop off the drop bag and it was time to go! People had peeled off their clothes to reveal tank tops! Sara and I gasped! Cold! But not two miles into the race we knew we totally could have gotten away without our running jackets. We were fine, it wasn't terrible... but I could have been cooler.

The count down, and we were off. I had originally planned to find the 2 hour pacer and just stay with them until I lost them ahead of us but when it was go time we were close to the front so we just went with it. Here we go! Sailing, SAILING down the hill. There were a couple of points where I looked at my Garmin and told Sara we should likely back off the 8:15 pace that we were doing. We honestly couldn't help it, gravity was on our side... She was probably already holding back as her normal pace is about 8:45. We kept going... I knew this was going to hurt me.

Nothing like running down a big hill... BIG big hill...

There is a great S curve that we hit and I told Sara I had nothing left to look forward too. Along the way though I kept finding fun points that were familiar from us having driven the road so it really kept things moving along.

People keep asking about my knees. The only time that my knees started to bother me is when there were tight turns and I was fighting the road to not drift to the side. Otherwise, it was the usual annoying stuff. The impact of the down hill didn't bother me but I had been doing quite a bit of Plyo to prepare my joints, I think that helped.

We hit the end of the canyon and WOW, I could feel it! The first mile out wasn't so bad. Still downhill mind you... just not at the rate it was falling before! We stopped at a rest stop and I had a banana while Sara used the restroom I know she wasn't happy abut having to stop but you do what you have to do.

Three more miles to go. (The full marathoners had 9 miles left out of the canyon!)

We saw Sara's friend/sister-in-law, husband and kids at this point. They had all made cute signs to cheer her on. They packed up and drove along the road and yelled for a minute and then parked and cheered again. Every time she saw them she got re-energized and I had to tell her that my family wasn't there so she needed to chill out and slow down again. (For the record, Matthew was upset Bert was there, he said "I wasn't even invited!")

Then, I really couldn't keep running. My legs were beat up from going downhill (it's harder than you think... you just don't know it until it's too late) and now I was forcing them to push my body along. I needed to take a break and walk here and there and I was really holding Sara back at this point. I kept telling her to go along but she isn't obedient at all. (It cost her a sub 2 hour half!)

She said "maybe I will sprint the last mile..." So finally, at the 12 mile mark I convinced her to go. She went ahead a little and looked back and said "I am torn!" I was like,"GO, GO!" (Far less dramatic than it sounds....). I put my other earphone in and she was off like a light. My dear friend finished her 13th mile with an 8 minute mile! After 12 miles! Sheesh.

I went and went, I needed the alone time anyway and I got the job done. She stayed at the end to wait for me and cheer me in. She hugged me and said "you did it!!" how sweet of her... My first words to her were "where's my medal?" Haha! Get me out of here!!!

Official Times:
Sara: 2:03:04 (148 in our age group of 321)
Me: 2:06:11 (162)

Let's look at my splits shall we? This is really funny because it's CLEAR that mile 10 was the first out of the canyon, and don't forget the potty break. 10:15 is more the pace I was planning on running so overall the last four miles weren't too slow. They were just painful. I forgot to stop my watch, our average pace was about 9:30 min miles.

And my speed chart. That first big dip was when I had to get my knee back on track, it hurt and just needed a break for a second. The first dip is the potty break and after that the three times I walked in the last three miles. 

I had a GREAT time, I am super pleased don't get me wrong, but I told Matthew that I don't want to be fast, I just want it not to be so difficult! I wanted to be more prepared, like I was on track to be. But you can't plan for injuries. Next time? What wait? Did I say next time?

I had some chaffing from my bra in the front bottom on both sides. It didn't bother me at all during the race. I didn't even know until I got in the shower and I had a few spots that were on fire. Yeouch. Duly noted for the future.

I also got a HUGE blister on my right toe and a smaller one on my left toe. Ouch. The one on my left was fine but the one on the right bothered me all night long and I just drained it in the morning (the glamorous side of running eh?)

My whole body ached, my back and shoulders were stiff, my right problem foot was so sore and my entire left leg ached. Going DOWN the stairs was torture for two days. (That's down hill running for you!) but it actually wore off faster than our 8.5 mile down hill run the week prior. Good thing we did that run! I felt nearly 100% again Tuesday.

Race review -
This was a big race! There were a lot of people, I think this s the second year? And they let so many more in this year. It was fun being in that environment, there were a ton of people.

The course was beautiful! The canyon road did not disappoint. Jessica is holding me personally responsible for mucking up the traffic on the East side though, she had a hair appointment and the detours made her get lost. The downhill was awesome! Gravity did the speed work until the end but it make the end a bit more difficult than it needed to be. (If you don't want such a huge drop, the Utah Valley Half would be worth considering it's a gradual decline the entire way. It's in June, and I am definitely looking at doing it. This was the 10k I did this year.)

It was really well run. There were a lot of buses to take people to the starting line and that went very smoothly in the morning, very smoothly. Though it did make for a really early morning (You had to be there by 5, the race started at 6:50). Parking could have been a challenge if I were there any later.

The metal is LEGIT. It is big, and heavvvvy. I love it.

I upgraded to a long sleeve race shirt and it's so nice!

Everyone liked the food at the end but the line was too long to get any! So that part wasn't that great. I just grabbed a water, they should have more tables doing that and forgo the sandwiches. I would have settled for a banana and a chocolate milk.

The official finalist photo

My heavy medal. Not sure what to do with it yet, the kids love it.

This was near the end, I was totally faking it. (Maybe mile 11?) So, yea. 

I was in the air for most of my pictures!

I'm flyyyying!


  1. Oh man! You were literally FLYING downhill! LOL!!! I love it- totally doing this with you next year!

    1. I know Patty right? I was, you really couldn't slow down even if you wanted too! (Bad for your body to try and slow down but the pulll the pulllll!)

  2. I have mixed emotions. First, let me be a good friend and say "Wow, you did awesome. Patty and I are so proud of our baby!" Now I will be an awful friend and tell you you suck. You stopped to potty, you stopped to friggen eat, and you still managed 2:06. The protege becomes to master.

    1. Ha! Thank you? The banana and potty break ran concurrently though... :) I probably would have stopped a lot more but there is no way Sara would have let me. I need to find someone slower than me that I can torture like that!