Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Baker's Dozen Half Marathon

Hurricane Utah holds a special place in my heart. My grandparents lived here when I was a young girl all the way into adult life and I would come every Summer while young to work in their souvenir, moccasin, turquoise jewelry, and gift shop. It was there at "The Wheel" where I learned my first experiences in working behind a counter, helping customers, and learning about handling money. They have both passed away many years ago but I still have so many warm and loving memories of them and the things they taught me. When I learned about this Baker's Dozen Half Marathon coming up in this cute little town of Hurricane I just knew I needed to come down and participate. I still have cousins and other relatives that live here and I knew it was time for a visit with them as well as getting to enjoy a December race. Half Marathons up North are pretty much non-existent in December, unless you create your own with running friends.
(which is already in the works for Saturday December 22nd 7:00 am-let me know if you want to join us!)
I had to teach piano until 4:30 pm on Friday and so as soon as I was done I picked up my sister, Marie, who would be traveling down with me.  We got to Hurricane late Friday night.  I dropped her off at one cousin's house and I headed over to another cousin's house where I spent the night and then got up early Saturday morning to a nice little steady drizzle of rain going on outside.
I headed to the starting line and got my packet and put on my costume, where I was greeted by the ever famous Cory Reese, aka-race director, costume guru, ultra runner, piano-playing machine, and just an all around good guy.  You can tell just looking at this picture right?  Seriously, do you know anybody who would wear a pair of yellow tights?  Let alone own a pair of yellow tights? That's proof he's harmless!  This race used to be called the Hostess Half Marathon until Cory officially made this run official?  We were encouraged to dress up and so I just knew I needed to pull out this old trusty twinkie outfit to run it.
I met up with a running friend, Lori Spindler from way up North, in the Logan area.  She was just as nuts as me in traveling so far to run 13 miles.  But we weren't the craziest ones.  Apparently, somebody came from Georgia and three other gals flew in to Vegas then drove here.  They are from Colorado.  That's some serious traveling for a race.
We lined up for pictures of just those in costumes and then the whole entire group of runners as well.  The photographer has some amazing skills and was so kind to let us use them for personal use.  His name is Alex Santiago and I was happy to get to meet him.  I've seen some of his other running photography before on Face book and Cory's blog.  It's pretty obvious which photos are his in this post.  I love the vibrant and contrasting colors he so creatively edits into his work.
Alex Santiago aka, amazing photographer!!
This race was set up as a 3.25 mile loop and we would be running it four times.  I have never run a loop course half marathon before.  I have run a 5K loop course though.  I was just happy that I would get to see runners throughout the course because of my slow running skills. I knew at some point I would be getting lapped.  There was an aid station called the Sugar Shack here at the starting line that had some pretty awesome treats in store for us runners.  The only requirement when we signed up for this race was that we had to eat at least one treat each loop.  There would be a prize for the man and woman who could down the most. 
I managed to down 6 of these sweet quarter chunks.  They were super duper delicious and my mouth is still watering just looking at them and remembering how yummy they were.  I certainly wasn't going for the mostest award which turned out to be 30 by the man winner and 21 by the woman winner.  I'm not sure how they kept those things in their belly and still managed to keep running.
This is how they kept track of our eating!  Even after two days of showers I still had left over tally marks on my wrist.  That's a pretty powerful marker they used.  Although I certainly enjoy eating treats at a race for me this race was all about seeing other running friends and just being out there having a great time.  I felt like a little kid getting to play in the rain.
You could even say I was singing in the rain.  My ipod I had brought didn't get charged at home before coming to the race and so I put it back in my car after discovering a dead battery and decided to just sing some Christmas songs near the end of the race.  You could say Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Up on the Housetop, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and a few others were sung a few times with a nice little catchy beat to keep me feeling a little more pumped.
At one point in the loop we got to run on a dirt trail.  You can bet this was my favorite part of the course.  I could have just run up and down this section and been as pleased as pudding for the rest of the race.  Oh well, then I would have missed stuff like this cute sign, that after a little while in the rain wasn't looking so "Merry and Bright" anymore.
In all my lifetime of coming to Hurricane, Utah I don't recall ever seeing snow on Molly's Nipple.  This was a pretty rare sight for me so a photo was a definite need. 

As I was completing my third lap many people were passing me and I just knew they were finishing up their fourth time around.  I looked back at this cute gal, Kaelee Clifford and told her she was a speedy girl.  She recognized me from Runner's Anonymous Face book group and we chatted for a little bit as we ran.  It was certainly a fun opportunity to meet her.  She headed into the ending and I ate a treat at the sugar shack and headed out for my fourth and final loop.
When I did my final 3.25 miles and came into the ending I saw a few more people to chat with.  First off, my cousin whom I stayed with stopped by to see me at the finish.
This blogging friend of mine, Betsy Hoenes made the trip down from Salt Lake City with her husband and I visited with her for a few minutes.
This is Rebecca, one of the girls who came all the way from Colorado for this race.  She's pretty amazing because she has run a half marathon in every one of the 50 states.  I think that is so awesome!  She is also working on a race on every continent.  What a fun goal!
And this girl I saved for the very end.  Are there ever any people in your life you just feel an instant kinship with?  I have followed Jess's blog for a quite a few months now and have been so excited to finally get to meet this girl in real life.  She is a runner and does cross fit and is a super strong woman.  She is pregnant now and so didn't run the race but came to be a volunteer and cheer for the runners.  I wanted so much to hang out with her longer and just get to know her more.  We talked about different races in Utah and vowed that we WILL run a race together at some point.  It probably won't happen until 2014 because she's got to get that little precious baby here first and then get back to training.  Next time I'm in Hurricane Jess, we are going to lunch and are going to hang out K? And I can't wait to get to hold your little baby when he/she gets here.  
The most delicious looking medal I own.  Isn't it a pretty one? 
Pretty funny, sad but true, shirt we got at the race.  Creative minds out there conjuring up this stuff!  Great race Cory Reese!!

My final time from wearing a spongy, rain drenched twinkie costume was 2:41:40.  Not too bad for having a party out there on the course and for enjoying some tasty treats at the sugar shack.  This race will be on the list as a must do again in 2013.  I can honestly say this race will go down in history as a top favorite.  When you have the opportunity to just run and have a party at the same time how could it not be a great experience?


Murph said...

That looks like it was a total blast!

Becka said...

I had a great time too! Thank you so much for introducing yourself! Loved your costume!

"This is Living" said...

What a blast this will for sure be on my list for next year, and you are right Jessica is so fun! love that girl.

Cherie Santiago said...

It was so nice meeting you. I have been seeing your name on.facebook and I love that you recognized me soggy and just trying to chat my self thru another half marathon. Hope to get to run again with you. Great blog read btw. And not just cause the photographer is a hottie. :)

Cory Reese said...

Great report Susette! Thanks for traveling down for the race. I loved your Twinkie costume. That picture of you as a soggy Twinkie is hilarious.