Monday, May 2, 2011
Hurricane Half Marathon
This weekend I ran my third half marathon, I am loving half marathon's more than any other distance I have run and can't wait to my next. I picked the Hurricane half marathon as my third and have been looking forward to it for several weeks now not knowing what was in store for me. Follow my logic here someone was drunk one night and was like man let's invent the craziest half marathon ever. Lets put a mountain (I am not calling that darn thing a hill) around mile 5 oooooh and lets do it out at Hurricane (I get the name now geebezus above and below who the freak turned the wind on) and make sure it's a headwind or crosswind the entire way and crank it up to like 20-30 MPH. Ok maybe they couldn't have planned that last part but dear lord I never want to run in the wind again as long as I live.
Oh and I kicked the trash out of that course, I set a 7:05 second pr despite the wind, despite that freaking mountain (not gonna call it a hill), and despite I think a road called pothole central that or you might as well be running on a trail this road sucks. Final time 2:13:15 and I cannot imagine running a better race on a worst course than today.
Now the down and dirty and long winded details. I have become a hypochondriac the last week or so freaking out about this race. I like desterilized my desk when I found out the other IT guy was sick and was freaking out about a little tightness in my calf and thigh this morning. If you sneezed around me I probably rushed to the bathroom to wash my hands the moment after. I don't think i would have worried so much had I known how horrible this course was or how bad the conditions were going to be this morning.
I tried to get into bed at 9pm the night before with my alarm set for 4am. I know I wasn't asleep tell well past 10 though, I even watched a little tv at 9:30 hoping it would put me to sleep. I never sleep good before a race and despite a 4am alarm I still woke up at 3:55 and just waited for my alarm to go off like permission to get out of bed or something. I got a new morning ritual for long runs or races and I knew we were being shuttled to the start line so I just made breakfast and planned on eating it at the packet pick up or on the shuttle. I made it out of the house by 4:35 all ready to go and packed up and go to the shuttle area (also the finish line) just a little after 5am. I really like their race shirt its the first race shirt I have ever seen with zero advertisements on it and its a nice black tech tee.
I had time to kill before the shuttle so I ate my breakfast there (my new routine a PB&J sandwich, a banana, packet of peanuts and a gatorade). It was nice to stay inside as it was bloody cold outside. Around 5:30 we loaded the buses to get taken to the start line. After getting off the bus I was like dear lord I should have stayed on the bus it's too fraking cold and windy for anyone in their right mind to want to stand out here in this but the buses left to shuttle the 5kers so it was like crap I guess we stand out in the wind. I was standing around and I realized everyone was lined up for the porta-potties and I was like sweet I stood between two lines and let the lines half shelter to me from the freezing wind. It was a 20-30 MPH freezing cold wind and the sun wasn't up yet.
Best thing happened right around 6:30 we were told we could finally run and hopefully warm up although there was no escaping that wind. The first half mile was a cruel joke it was the only time in the entire race we were running in a tailwind after that it was nothing but headwinds and crosswinds. I had decided to take the first few miles pretty easy like suggested by some more veteran runners knowing I had what at this point I was thinking was a hill at mile 5. It was cold and the wind was blowing hard so I think for the first 3 miles I looked at nothing but my feet trying to stay out of the wind. It's pretty bad when you see people wearing trash bags in a race. I think around 25 minutes in I looked over and was like hey we are running next to a lake didn't even see that (Sand Hollow reservoir) where did that lake come from.
I didn't see any mile markers tell mile 3 and looked down at my watch and was like good 28:30 we are right where we want to be. At mile 4 I made the mistake of looking up and was like wait where the heck did that mountain come from. The first 4 miles were on a pretty steady incline and I was thinking the hill would be similar, nope that thing was gargantuan.
I walked through the aid station and grabbed a gatorade at mile 4, I skipped the aid station at mile 2 as it was too early and was crowded. I made sure I got a gatorade at every aid station during the race after that too. I decided when I hit the bottom of the mountain it was a good time for my GU so I took a small walk break there too. I tried to run that mountain but it was short bursts of running then walking and I don't even feel bad, I would look around when I was running and I was the only person running that monster everyone else was walking and was like screw this thing.
I hit mile 6 around 1:02xx and knew that any shot of a sub 2 or even a 2:10 might be impossible in the conditions but I decided I still wanted to pr and run the best race possible. The first downhill we got to enjoy just after mile 6 was ruined by the nastiest crosswind of the entire race like the gods were laughing at us stupid runners.
I think around mile 9 I was like dear lord I don't even want a downhill or a flat stretch just for the love of all that's good and right can we just run away from the wind instead of into it. That's all I want stupid freaking wind go away, I even cursed during some of the worst gusts like come on leave me the frak alone. Miles 8-10 were on pothole central, that road was horrible it was like some backwoods bumpkins joke of a road, hey its paved but haha its paved like a drunk person.
Mile 10 was all nice and newly paved and awesome but the wind still mocked us. At this point some runners I know would have come up to me and gave me a hug and a kiss because I realized despite wanting to take walk breaks there was no way I was going to pr in the wind if I took any so I said screw the walk breaks and just kept on running. I was finding it hard to maintain a 10 minute pace at this time as the wind had me thoroughly exhausted. Mile 7 was 1:12, mile 8 1:22, mile 9 1:33, mile 10 1:44 and mile 11 1:55. So I was bleeding a little time even without walking.
At mile 11 I went to the pain cave and was like screw it I am finishing strong wind be darned. I ran the last 2.1 miles in 18 minutes by best miles since miles 1-4. I don't think I have ever been as exhausted as I was at mile 12 as I was here but despite being so tired I could just lay down I never got a single muscle spasm and cramp. So for those who say it was an exhaustion thing and not an electrolyte imbalance can kiss the whitest part of my arse. I took gatorade at every station, had one pre-race and despite being exhausted ran my best half ever without a single cramp. It was strange as I have suffered some severe cramps and spasms in my two previous halves and to be at mile 12 completely exhausted and hammered and to not be cramping was surreal.
I could not believe the finish clock when I rounded the corner as it was showing 2:13, I hadn't even looked at my watch since like mile 11 as I was deep in the pain cave at this point. I took off at a sprint for the finish line and came across in 2:13:15. That is a 7:05 pr in 3 months on the toughest course I have ever ran in my life. I think I need to pick an easy course so I can run a sub 2, if I was doing the Snow Canyon half today and running that course again (minus the wind of course) with today's effort and race I would have easily done a sub 2.
I have decided that I am going to do the Parowan half as my next half in August. For one after making my subsequent halves noticeably harder each time it might be nice to do a much easier half for once. Secondly because it will be a nice precursor and warmup for the Saint George marathon (my first marathon) in October as the course drops 2300 feet. This should be a nice half to get used to the second half of the marathon that drops a similar distance in a similar amount of miles. Thirdly because it should be a lot cooler than Saint George which will be in the middle of full blow summer by then and most races dry up come summer time here in the desert. And lastly because I really want a sub 2 half this year and I will get it here or at Snow Canyon in November come hell or high water.
So wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee a new shiney pr on a mean and brutal course.