Thursday, June 14, 2012

Utah Valley Half Marathon

The morning started out so very early with the alarm going off at 3:00 am. I think I was able to get about 5 hours of sleep.  I got myself ready and picked up my daughter, Kali, at 3:50 am. This was to be her first half marathon and I was so excited for her to participate. Now, since she is almost 5 months pregnant and has been so sick for so long she wasn't able to do much training. I was just so proud of her wanting to at least get out there and walk the course, and earn her medal regardless.  Here we are standing in line to get on the buses at the Provo Mall at 4:30 am.
 Josh asked  me to pick up his packet for him at the expo the night before so we met up with him at the buses and rode up to the starting line with him and his friend. Speaking of buses, these were not the usual, yellow school buses, but nice plush buses.  We got to ride in style.  Along the way as we rode in the darkness and listened to the chatter going on I started getting so nervous.  13 miles is a long way to go while contemplating the race before me.
Once we reached the starting line area we got off the buses and headed straight to the honey bucket line.  It was about 5:15 am and the lines were huge.  We waited quite a long time to use them.  I just have to say these were the nicest port-a-potties I've ever seen.  They had a magical little flushing stick in them and the hole was covered with some sort of rubber that opened and shut when you flushed.  Pretty awesome to actually be in one of these and not have bad smells to deal with. Here's me and Kali waiting in the line.  The weather was absolutely beautiful, not too cold, not too hot.  I remember last year absolutely freezing and trying to squeeze in to the fire pits for warmth, but that was not the case this year and I was so grateful.
The sun started coming up and the race people were announcing to get your drop bags loaded in the next ten minutes so I had to book it pretty far to get our bags down to the truck.  Then I came back and got Kali and we meandered to the starting line.  I saw Josh again and he told me Fast Cory was further up in the crowd.  I just had to see this Nacho Libre outfit he has been announcing he would be wearing.  What a crack up he is. If you'd like to read about his experience go check out his blog.  He had a completely different experience than the usual half marathon runner.  Honestly, I don't know how he lasted 13 miles in a sweaty mask.  He certainly knows how to rile the crowd and have a good time though.
The race started right on time and off we went.  I told Kali I would just plan to come back and get her when I finished.  I was hoping so much that she wouldn't quit part way through.  She just wasn't sure what her body was going to do and wasn't sure she had the physical stamina at this point.  I told her it was mostly mental and to stay strong.
  This was the first race I've run carrying my phone and so I called her when I reached mile 6.  I was so impressed to hear she was already at mile 4.  She was doing it and being awesome at the same time!
I called her again when I reached mile 10 and she was at mile 7 and was a bit sore but hoping for a bagel and some moral support from her hubby.  She was still hanging in there though and was doing great.
Last year the Utah Valley Half Marathon handed out otter pops but I passed on them then.  This year seemed to be just a little bit warmer, though not unbearable and I decided to eat one.  It was so delicious, and was the perfect treat at the right time. I should have grabbed two of those babies.
My goal for this race was simply to be faster this year than last year, which I am happy to say happened.  I crossed the finish line at 2:26:18 which was a 12 minute improvement from 2011.(even after having to make a pit stop, which I didn't have to do last year)  
 Racing still feels hard to me.  I still wonder if there's a point when it will feel more natural and enjoyable.  I still wonder if I will get faster or if I'm basically about as fast as I'm going to get.  Four of my half marathons this year have been in the two hour and twenty something minute range and so I'm thinking that's about where my body likes to run. I'm not quite mentally ready to do speed work, nor do I think I ever will want to. So I may just have to be content with my times for now.   Most important fact is I'm out there running and enjoying the racing community and those great feelings that running produces. 
I love this family and these cute, mega talented girls.  I have taught all of them piano and am currently still teaching two of them. Laurie is my stalwart walking companion and I appreciate her to the moon and back!
Cooper and Mark support me at about every race they possibly can.  I love the men in my life!

After some visiting of family and friends and taking photos, and of course eating the after-race treats I said good-bye and headed back up the course to go find Kali.  I called her and asked her where she was and she said she wasn't sure if she had passed mile 10 yet.  So back I went and absolutely loved watching the marathoners run by.  I did so much cheering and clapping that my hands and lungs were getting tired.  I'm not sure some of those serious runners appreciated my loud moral support when they were so in the zone and close to the end of their 26 miles.  They probably thought I just needed to shut it.

I found my dear Kali at about mile 11.  She was so tired and her body was aching, but she was determined to finish.  We took it slow and cautious and just kept walking.  I made her eat a GU, which she was apprehensive about because she had never had one.  I think the fact that it was chocolate made her say yes.  

Wade, Miles, Mark, and Cooper had walked up the street about 5 blocks to the 7-11 and bought a slurpee.  We found them there and they walked the rest of the way with us to center street.  I was shocked that Kali actually put Miles on her shoulders and carried him for a couple blocks.
She crossed the finish line in just a little over 4 hours and proudly got her medal and a few treats.  We honestly thought we were the very last half marathoners to come through the finish line but in looking up online the results there were actually 5 more people behind us.  I think Kali was a little disappointed.  She wanted bragging rights to being in last place.
I encouraged Kali to get right home and get her body in an ice bath, which I was surprised she actually did.  She said it did help somewhat.  I swear by them. I would never end a race without one.
You know what the best thing Kali said to me later in the day was?  She wants to do this again next year!!! I am one super happy mama!!!
I came home and cleaned up for the day and met up with Janae at her favorite dessert establishment, yogurtland, and a whole bunch of other running people.  I'm so glad Julia came because although I blog stalk a lot of these runners I have never met them in real life.  It was fun to talk to a few of them and hear their running stories and hear voices with the faces.
I think Utah Valley Half Marathon has become a lasting tradition I hope to enjoy for many years.


Jen@runfortheboys said...

Your time is awesome! My Half Marathon PR is next one is Dec. 1 and I'm hoping for something in the teens if I really work hard. :) Congrats on a fun day with your daughter!

Josh said...

I love it! I really think you should review each race's port-a-potties. I value your opinion.

Jerilee E. said...

Congrats on a great race! I absolutely love the Utah Valley race- so sad I missed it this year. I got all teary-eyed reading about you and your daughter finishing the race. Seriously so awesome that she stuck to it and finished!

Heatherlyn said...

What a wonderful race! I'm so impressed that your daughter did it while pregnant! Good for her! You are setting such a good example. I'm not sure I would ever do a marathon but the 1/2 marathons seem so much more doable! :)

wendy said...

The pictures were great!!

Unknown said...

I'm so stinkin' proud of you! Way to go! What a great tradition and your family is so involved!
Makes me want to jump up and start running.