Monday, April 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Gardens Half Marathon

THAT was my very first thought after running this half marathon. But I will back up and begin at the start.
I got up about 5:15 am and got myself ready with the pre-race things I do: hair, make-up, dress, eat, gather necessary things for running etc. I then headed out the door about 6:00 am.  I got to Thanksgiving Point about 6:30 and got some good parking and headed to the hub where people were gathering.  It was so incredibly cold, about 35 degrees this morning and there was only one big heater for people to warm up by.  It was already so packed with people so I decided to just keep walking around to try and stay warm.  I also wanted to see if I could find my neighbor who was also running. In the process I found a couple more people I knew.  Scott Wheelhouse, Clint Friel, and eventually my neighbor Natalie. Monnica found me between mile 1 and 2 and we chatted for a couple minutes and then off she went.  She was hoping to beat her last week's time and I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep up with her so off she went.
My hands were so ice cold and some random person took my photo for me and didn't warn me when she was pushing the button so this is my unready pose.

At 6:50 am I dropped off my jacket and misc. stuff in the gear bag, drop-off area and started meandering to the starting line area looking for the 2:20 pacer.  Since I ran Salt Lake Half Marathon last week at 2:25:46 with three other people I was hoping to really push myself and beat that this week and get in around 2 hours and 20 minutes or less.  I was unfamiliar though once again with the course and didn't look up online ahead of time the elevation changes.  I kind of like to be surprised actually.  I may have to rethink this idea in future races after this mornings adventure.

The race started right on time with a lot of buzz and excitement in the air.  The MC was keeping us all laughing with his comments and jibberish. Well, off we went with the temps super cold but of course once you start running and heating up the cold actually feels good.  People shortly after started shedding gloves, hats, jackets, etc all along the course. 

I didn't keep track of my thoughts and feelings mile by mile but just tried to enjoy the scenery and the feeling of running with so many people around me.  Once we hit around mile three we were finally in the gardens area, which was actually my most favorite part of the run. 
(google images)
Unfortunately it only lasted a couple miles and then we hit the dreaded golf course area. 
I had heard a little bit of people talking about some hills in the golf course area but I had NO IDEA it was going to be so challenging.  Clint Friel who works at Gold's Gym as a personal trainer, and also used to be in our ward, ran this race and totally validated my feelings when he said "I have run 17 half marathons and this one was by far the hardest course I've run".  I was so glad to know that I wasn't just feeling like a big wimp but that it was actually very challenging for the well-seasoned runners out there too.  My friend Monnica who ran the Salt Lake Half with me last week also said she just ran out of steam around mile 10 because of all the hills in the golf course.
I'm not a golfer and have never been on a real golf course before but I have a new respect now for all those golfers out there who decide to walk the course instead of riding in the golf carts.  Definitely this is a great way to burn calories.
I'm not sure which half marathon number this is for me, maybe 9 or 10 but I definitely took the most walk breaks in this race than any others.  It just proves I should get out and do some more hill training in my runs. 

I was very impressed with how well the aid stations were managed.  There was plenty of bananas and oranges, Powerade and water all along the course. They also handed out more GU packets here than at any other race I've run.  I actually came home with more than I started with.  But one lesson learned is to not store them in my bra.  Major chaffing!

As I was coming toward the finish line my good friend Laurie was there to cheer me on.  I was so spent of my energy and was so glad to see her face.  I grabbed her arm and said "Please help me run faster and get to the finish line".  She ran the last couple minutes with me and I even made her run through the chute with me with all the crowds cheering us on.  What a great boost that was for me to have her be there at the end for me.  Thanks so much Laurie!!
We walked around and I got some super delicious after-race goodies.  Thanksgiving Point knows how to do good treats!  Chocolate milk, water bottles, bean and ham soup, kneaders bread, California Pizza Kitchen samples, big soft cookies, bagels and cream cheese, and fruit.
Somewhere around mile 11 my left calf started seizing up and I was really feeling it after the race was over.  I stopped to stretch it for a moment and Laurie felt the need for a photo moment.
My final time was 2:31:42 which was nowhere around my desire of 2:20:00 or better.  I'm totally fine with that considering what seemed like never-ending rolling hills!  I'm actually looking forward to a few races I have scheduled for this Summer which will be quite a bit of downhills on the courses.  That's where I will hopefully get a new PR.
The shirt and Medal
I have learned the importance of ice baths for muscle recovery and have talked about them a little bit in previous race recaps.  This is my first time actually showing myself in the tub. Mark wasn't home this morning and so Cooper helped me out by dumping the ice bin in the tub for me.  
The technique for taking an ice bath is quite simple.  Turn on lukewarm water and get in while it feels somewhat bearable.  Then immediately shut off the warm and let it fill up with straight cold water while your body gradually adjusts.  Then have a helper come in and dump the ice bucket.  Sit for 20-25 minutes reading a book and then go take a real nice hot shower afterwards.
After I got cleaned up and showered I was headed off to Southern Utah. My friend Annaleesa invited me to go see Martina McBride at the Tuachan in St. George. She picked me up and away we went for the almost 4 hour ride South. I was so glad she drove since all I wanted to do was relax and sleep.  Martina puts on a very nice show and was very chatty with the crowd.  She has an amazing voice and the weather was absolutely perfect.


Arica said...

Nice job! I hate hills but I train on them a lot, go figure:)

Unknown said...

Hate the hills and the ice bath but congrats on another half marathon!!

Ginny said...

Just stumbled on your blog. I ran this half too and I was 14 minutes slower than the SL half from last week. It was a tough race. For some reason I thought the miles eased up at mile 7 so when that didn't happen I had a hard time overcoming it mentally. Tough tough but I think I would do it again. =)

Jerilee E. said...

Great job! So impressive, doing 2 half marathons back to back like that!
I have heard that the Thanksgiving Point half is exactly as you described it- beautiful and full of hills :). Maybe next year I will try it out.

Alana said...

Holy crap woman. I hope one day I can get to as many half Marathons as you!!! Good work!

Pedaling said...

you are the running machine, lately!

way to go---hills and all!

wendy said...

WAY. TO. GO. You are quite the athlete as far as I'm concerned.
and as far as the ICE BATH is concerned...No freaking way could I do that.
I hate it when I even have to just ice a knee or something.
yes, you can say it...I AM A WHIMP.

looks like it was a beautiful run though. Thanksgiving point is wonderful. My daughter had her wedding bridals shot there.

Doran & Jody said...

Oh my heck! You are awesome!
I can't even run 3 miles anymore. How am I EVER going to be ready for the TOU Half?

Jen said...

What beautiful scenery! Great job. Finishing with cramps is never fun but you should be proud of your finish. I love your shoes and your picture of the ice bath!

Julia said...

you are BRAVE for jumping in the ice bath! WOW! that first start pic is way too awesome! ;) also. you will be flying in the AF canyon but if you decide to run a should run with me :) Congrats on another finish line!