Thursday, December 22, 2011

Snow Canyon Half Marathon

The short of it I ran Snow Canyon half marathon in the brutal freezing cold this morning in 1:55:31 smashing and shattering my pr from August by 13:16 and beating my time on the same course in a years time of racing by 35:04. The 8:49 mm I ran would equal to a 27:20 5k very close to the best 5k race I have ever run (so time to do a new 5k starting next Saturday :) ).

Now the long of it, somedays I think put a lot of pressure on myself to pr in every race and up this point it has actually worked very well. I have pred or auto pred in every race I have done going 14 for 14 now. So while the half marathon distance no longer scares me (it is still my favorite race to run) I still was feeling the pressure of pring and getting my goal of a sub 2. I was worried I didn't get enough sleep Thursday or Friday as I only got around 6 and half hours each day and I always put myself in a little of a tizzy prerace. But I felt good as I have been runnning lots of intervals the last few weeks (twice a week) to go for my goal half here.

I have also been looking forward to this half since January when I beat my time on a different half by more than 10 minutes on a much harder course. This half was the very first half I ever ran completely untrained on 5 weeks training with two 10's and one 8 as my longs and a week lost because of the flu. So I have been wanting to run this race so very bad for nearly a year now so just some added pressure there too.

I went and got my packet after work on Friday and as I am walking in the door someone commented that they see me running all the time in the neighborhood and how much weight I have loss and how much of an inspiration I am. I somehow evidently became the poster child for weight loss in Southern Utah as I seem to get these comments at least once a week if not more. Nothing too exciting happened at the expo and packet pickup, just walked around got my packet picked up some race brochures for ones I want to run and bought a cliff shot for the race.

Got home and got a good nights sleep even if it wasn't the 8 hours I'd like. Since the half no longer scares me I don't find myself waking up hours before the race anymore so excited and nervous. Got my normal premorning breakfast on (a banana, handful of peanuts) and headed out the door to the freezing cold. I had a throw away shirt again, my gloves and my beanie and I needed them all. It was freezing and a very cold wind was blowing through (it was in the high 20's/low 30's). I was glad it stopped raining in the middle of the night but it was still very cold.

The busses to the start didn't leave until everyone was loaded as it was even colder at the start and they wanted to let us sit on the busses as long as possible. Now had I known this I would have picked a different seat, I took a seat with the darn tire wheel cover on it sticking up meaning I was sitting at a weird angle for a very long time. Plus we had to be 2-3 to a seat because they weren't making multiple trips. This meant by the time we got the start I was a little stiff from the odd angle I had to sit at. Got to the start and their is snow on the ground, there should never be snow on the ground for the start of a race brrrrrrrrrrrrr. Walked to the portapotties and was glad I got on the first bus because of how late they took us up there wasn't much time before the race started.

Lined up close to the front but not at the very front as I didn't want to weave too much in the beginning. And it always surprises me some of the people who line up at the front, like a lady I talked to in the lines for the portapotties who told me she was walking the entire thing was right up there in the front. The gun goes off and I am so glad to be moving finally. About 500 feet in almost have a head on collision with the moron picture takers who for some odd reason are walking right into the start of the race.

The first mile might have been on of the toughest I have ever run, because I was so cold my foot felt like it was asleep. You know that tingly sensation you get right when it wakes up that is what my foot felt like. Took all my will power to not stop and walk. Hit mile 1 in 8:32 which is absolutly perfect as I wanted to run 8:30-845 most miles as I planned to walk the water stations and those miles would be perfect for the sub 2 finish I wanted with the water station walking.

I finally warm up sometime between mile one and two and decide its time to ditch my throw away. As I am taking off my shirt my beanie comes off my head and I am like that's ok I will stuff it in my pocket. Throw my shirt to the side of the road and continue to run then I go to stuff my beanie in my pocket and realize its gone. Oh crap, I can't leave my beanie because it was a birthday present from my wife. A pr is cool but a birthday present from your wife is more important. So I turn around and start running in the other direction. I check to see if its in my shirt and its not, then I decide I got to just continue running back up the course tell I find it. Luckily I find it in the middle of the road and stuff it in my pocket glad I found it. I probably wasted a minute right there but somethings are more important. I hit mile 2 at 17:50 and realize yep I lost sometime as mile 2 is probably one of the few if not the only mile I run slower than 9mm but I can live with a 9;20 knowing I got some fast miles coming up.

I continue to hit my 8:45 miles and take my first water station walk at mile 4. I am doing really good and feeling great so much better than last year. At mile 6 I followed a very nice looking lady for nearly a mile and the Klown will be happy to know I was not looking at her swing pony tail at all but other things .

Also about mile 7 and the next water station I have a guy say to me hey didn't you run this race last year (going to need to look him up he was bib # 51) and weren't you heavier. I was like yea that was me, and he tells me that we passed each other a lot around those miles playing leap frog for quite a ways. I actually ended up talking to him off an on tell nearly mile 10. Which was cool because I commented you must be a lot faster this year as we are well under a 2 hour pace and he told me his time last year was 2:18 and that he wanted to run it this year in 1:54 as he is 54 (sadly he didn't get that time I am sure).

So we pushed each other for the next 3-4 miles and I kept clocking sub 9 minute miles one after another. We were on pace for the 1:54 tell right after mile 10 and he was like you go on I gotta walk and then I never saw him again sadly. It was around mile 10 I realized sub 2 was in the bank, I don't know if you have ever felt that euphoria knowing you have got your goal beat with miles to go and just seeing how much you can beat it by at that point. I came in to mile 10 around 1:26-27 or so so I knew I had around 33-34 minutes to run the last 5k which I was confident I could do (ran them in 27-28 in fact).

I really felt like a runner I mean a good runner that was reaching their full pontential at this point. There was hardly anyone stopping to walk and it felt like I was with some of the faster people and not so low on the totem pole plus I was picking off people left and right. That felt great to just be picking off runner after runner in the last 5k of a half marathon and with almost no one passing me (I probably passed several hundred the last 5k and got passed by maybe 10 or so).

When I hit mile 11 and my watch was showing 1:36 its like holy crikey I got 22 minutes to do the last 2.1 miles then you hit mile 12 and it shows 1:45 and your like wow now I got 15 minutes for the last 1.1 miles. I mean it is such a great feeling and at that point I just embraced the pain cave and was like let see how much I can shatter my goal by and how many people I can pass.

Best race I have ever run (even with losing a minute to go find my beanie and the freezing cold), I raised my hands in triumpth as I crossed the finish line having shattered every goal I set out for. This race is the closest I think I have ever run to my full current pontential in the 14 races I have done and I think it might be hard to beat for a little bit and my stop my streak of pr's the next time I run a half. Despite the comedy of errors and the bitter cold I ran my single best race ever and it's an amazing feeling.

Stuck around and cheered on the late finishers as I had a coworker who ran it and I wanted to cheer her on. But it was so cold and at around 2:40 on the clock I gave up as I was freezing and needed to get out of the cold even though I hadn't seen my coworker yet (she said she hoped for sub 3 but not sure if I missed her or if she just hadn't finished yet).


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