In the parking garage at the Gateway bright and early-5:30 am
Me, Monnica, Shea
On facebook just only a few days ago this gal right next to me, Monnica Skinner, was asking if anyone wanted to run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon with her. Her husband had to go to a Scout thing and couldn't run with her so I told her I would like to if nobody else volunteered. She messaged me back a couple days later and said "Let's do this!" She had another running friend that at the last minute decided to join as well. This was to be her first half marathon.
Friday night I went to bed semi-early about 10:30 pm and got up at 4:00 am. Monica was picking me up at 4:30 am. We drove to Salt Lake and parked in the Gateway and hopped right onto the trax. This was my very first time riding them and I'll have to admit it was pretty smooth. Even though it was early in the morning the Trax was filling up with lots of runners and bikers heading up to the East side of Salt Lake City. We arrived nice and early at about 6:00 am. There were many people taking photos and this cute little gal named May Chen from China couldn't hardly speak any English yet wanted pictures with Monnica and her long braid. We thought she was so spunky and fun.
On our way to the starting line area we met this cute couple on the Trax and got to know them really well. It's interesting how runners can start conversations all about running and then all of a sudden you feel like they are your good friends. Their names are Jay and Nikki and they live up North somewhere. Nikki runs about the same pace that I do and wanted to hang out with us and we said sure thing.
About 6:30 am we did a final pit stop and then put our stuff in the drop bags and took them to gear check drop off. We headed up to the starting line and lined up way in the back by the 2:30 pacer. Our hopes were to be able to pass him early on.
Here are all four of us at the starting line right before the gun went off. There was some great loud music playing to pump us up and we were excited to get started. I was really excited for Shea since this was her first half marathon. She is just a young mommy with two little girls.
Shea, me, Monnica, Nikki
Around mile 3 and feeling good. The weather was a little cool and feeling so good as this point.
There were plenty of easy gradual downhills which I totally love. I wanted to just take off and zoom while I was feeling good but knew I needed to take it easy or it would catch up to me later. Once the sun came up it was warming up quickly. We stopped and got water and gatorade at every station, which I was very happy that the whole group wanted to do. Usually I just try to run while I drink and end up sloshing it all over me. Nikki had a water backpack and ended up not stopping. We would get behind and then go catch her. Eventually she left us in the dust.
Around mile 8 some super kind random people on the side of the road had set up a table filled with bananas, oranges, strawberries and water. That was such a nice surprise and we took advantage.
As we turned and headed up State Street it reminded me all too well of my 46 mile birthday adventure and I was having some flashbacks of that day and the pain. We had about 3 miles left to go and I didn't realize how much of an uphill it was back then but I was sure feeling it today and had to take a lot of walk breaks. I kept telling the girls to go on without me but Monnica was so sweet and insisted we were in this together right from the very beginning. When we reached the top of State Street and made a left hand turn on South Temple it was a nice flat road and the crowds were thick! It was so fun to have people cheering and encouraging us for the last mile.
There were policemen on motorcycles coming up in the left lane and blasting their horns for us to move to the right because the elite runners from the full marathon were coming up the road. I just can't hardly wrap my head around the fact that people can run a full marathon faster than I can run a half. That is just super awesome. This guy right here was out in front and probably won the whole thing! Good job whoever you are!!
Once we got back to the house I had Monnica come in and I put her photos on my computer since I didn't have a camera at all on the race. Plus, I wanted Mark to meet this cute, spunky lady that I got to spend my whole morning with. Thank you from the bottom of my heart Monnica for a fun experience and inviting me along for a great run.