Sunday, March 17, 2013

Shamrock Half Marathon

Race #6 of 2013 
This running adventure I started a little over two years ago is starting to come full circle with the races I'm running this year.  2012 was the year I went crazy and ran every race I could get my hands on.  This year I want to run a lot of the same races as last year, with my main objective being to see if I have improved at all over last year as a runner.  I will never be fast but it's just nice to see if I have improved, even if it's just a little bit.  My whole mentality this year, as I run a race that I ran last year, will be to just beat my time, beat my time, beat my time.  Even if it's only by a minute.  

The Shamrock Half Marathon is a race I did run last year and after reviewing my experience then I was ready for the challenge this year.  Last year I knew nobody.  This year Josh was going to be there, and my friend Julia who is here from Minnesota.  Starting a race with familiar faces and friends is so much more fun.
Me, Julia, Josh
  I was so super surprised to see a friend I met at Top of Utah last year, and who came to our Christmas RA run, Melanie Maxwell.  We saw each other in the port-a-potty lines and had a fabulous visit.  She was here with a friend of hers who recently lost her husband and I was able to visit with her as well.  In my own experience, death was not an easy topic for me to talk about until I had experienced it so close to home myself.  I was always so grateful when people weren't afraid to bring up my sweet little Porter after he died.  I think actually talking about our loved ones helps the healing process and helps us feel closer to them.  My heart ached for this dear little lady and I wanted to tell her that in time the sting, painful aches and deep hurt will eventually ease, but until you're there it just doesn't seem possible.  Each person will eventually heal, in their own time and way, although that longing for that person never goes away, nor should it.   Running has been a great way to help me think about Porter as I have healed.  

My morning started with a 5:00 am alarm clock.  As part of my training for the Moab 24 hour run next week I have been putting in at least 3 hours or longer on the treadmill on Saturdays.  So I got up and headed downstairs to get in some mileage before I headed to the race.  I watched a fun show on Netflix called "The Adventures of Merlin" and got in 4 miles.  I then showered and put on some fresh, clean running clothes.  I ate some oatmeal and pears and headed off to Saratoga Springs for the race.   
I had picked up me and Josh's race packets the day before and met him in the parking lot to give him his.  The sun was just barely starting to come up over the mountain and I was just so stinkin' excited to finally be running outside and the temps actually being above freezing.  You can't tell how happy I am, can you??? I think it was about 45 degrees at race start which ended up being absolutely perfect!! I always over-dress in the cold and then I'm wishing later, when I'm too hot, that I didn't have a long-sleeved shirt or a jacket.  Today I decided to just be cold at the start and wear short sleeves and leave my jacket in the car.  I was so glad I made that decision.  
The race is well organized and started on time at 8:00 am.  I don't have a mileage recap to share.  This course is tough and seemed to be a constant climb.  There are a few downhills but the ups out-weighed the downs.  Or maybe it's just that the ups take longer to accomplish and so when the downs come and you zip through them it seems like the joy of it didn't last long enough.  I will never be one to complain of downhill running.
It's a constant mind game I have to play with myself while out there running to just keep pushing, pushing, pushing to try and beat last year's time.  Well, I am happy to say it happened by a whole whopping 3 1/2 minutes. That's o.k.  I'll take it!!
Pretty nice little 4 leaf clover medal that was handed to us at the finish line.  I quickly headed over to the treat table and enjoyed some orange slices, chocolate milk, and whole wheat bread and butter.  For some reason the oranges seemed to taste exceptionally sweet and juicy.  I may have eaten a few too many.
I decided to sit in the grass and stretch while I waited for Josh to come in.  It was a little chilly and the wind was blowing lightly.  I was still just so happy to be outside and so grateful for what my body just accomplished.  Those endorphins were kicking in, or it was just the beauty of the hills and snow and sunshine all wrapped up in a package. 
After Josh came in, Julia and Melanie both came over and we had an awesome time chatting about our run and life in general.   Sometimes I don't think very good and I totally missed out getting a picture of my cute friend Melanie.  Hopefully she has one she will share with me (wink wink) and I would love to post it here. 

This was an absolutely awesome day and I had a blast!  This early Springtime race just makes me so excited for the line-up of races I have scheduled for the rest of the year.  I'm not quite done filling it in yet, as I am still deciding which ones to do, but it's getting there.  

Next up........... 24 hour race in Moab.  I hope I don't get lost in the mountains in the dark!!!
Thankfully I have a brand new super bright head lamp and some awesome shoes to keep me upright.
I'll definitely be saying a few extra prayers.


Jenny Lynn said...

You are so amazing. Glad you are making new friends.

Amy @ Run Mom Run said...

You beat last years time AND put in extra miles before the race? Incredible!!

I have medal envy. Everyone got a medal this weekend but me!

I'm jealous of the sunshine too. Time to go repent of my envyings and strife. Okay, mostly envy.

Good luck in Moab! I wish I could come pace you for awhile! It would be so fun. Stupid reality...

Doran & Jody said...

Woot! Run Forest!!

Cory Reese said...

Great recap, congrats on another race! Cool that you got to see Julia again.

Good luck at Moab! Pack a hand-held flashlight too. On the trails at night, the headlamp can give strange shadows which make it hard to see, but a hand-held takes care of that. I always run with both on trails in the dark. You will do awesome!

Jerilee E. said...

Dang, I wish I could have done this race! I get all envious of the cool medals you get ;).
SO excited to hear about the Moab 24! I can't believe you run 3 hours on the treadmill... that's some running dedication.

Josh said...

You are a rock star! Way to go on your goal! It's also fun running with you!

wendy said...

Here she comes, running down the street (ala Monkee's)
You have the Best smile

Yo Momma Runs said...

I love that you and Josh are running friends. I enjoy his blog too! Congrats on beating your time from last year. 3.5 minutes is a great improvement! Plus you ran before the race. So bonus points there. I cannot wait to hear about your 24-hour race. I've never run anything that required my own lighting (other than the sidewalk by my house). What a cool adventure!

One of my best friends lost her little boy in a drowning accident almost five years ago (cannot believe it has been that long), and it really helped her to be able to talk about him too. I remember right after it happened consciously trying to overcome our sometimes cultural tendency to avoid talking about tragedy and sadness so that we could talk about it together. But most of the time it was less about talking about his accident and more about talking about him so that his memory didn't get lost. He was very young when he died, and I think not talking about him almost made it feel like he never existed.