Saturday, October 31, 2009

Running a Half Marathon on a Whim

For being such a type A list maker, I sure do procrastinate a lot.

Like last week. I heard about the Provo Halloween Half Marathon. I thought to myself, "hey self, that could be fun!"
"But I haven't been training, and I've cut my running down significantly (like to twice a week, and short runs of just 3-4 miles). And I've never run more than about 10 miles. And it will be cold-only about 30 degrees. And I have a party that night before, and it's on Halloween. Am I really going to be able to run that far? Downhill? With my iffy knee?"

(yes, I talk to myself. But it is mostly in my head. I promise.)

And then I mentioned it to the neighborhood running guru, my friend MaryAnne. And she said "you can do it, you'd be fine!" And then I talked to my friend Ashley who I run with sometimes, and who I went on my last long run with, and she said the same thing.

And so I figured, why the heck not? Ironically I felt better about running my first half marathon without training for it. That way if my time was really crappy, I had a real reason for a crappy finish time! Plus MaryAnne agreed to run it too, and despite the fact that she runs astronmically faster than I do, I wouldn't have to hang out alone at the start.

And so I signed up on Wednesday. Three days before the race.

See? I told you I had procrastination issues.
Also, I am not a pretty runner. But I already knew that too.

hahaha! Not sure why I felt the need to eat my top lip as I was coming in.

But I am so glad I signed up!

Despite the fact that it was cold, my knee hurt, and I was going on 3 1/2 hours of sleep. It was fun!
(Although I will not plan a party the night before an event. Or rather not plan an event the morning after hosting a party. Either way.)

The course was absolutely gorgeous. Start time was delayed almost a full hour (53 stinking minutes!!), which was horrible as we waited for things to get going, but beautiful once we were on our way. The sun was up making things a few degrees warmer, and causing the canyon walls to sparkle. Everything was frozen and it was beautiful! The mist snaking through the canyon and coming off the river made it like running through a wonderland. I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true!

We started at Aspen Grove, a couple miles up above Sundance. (think film festival resort) The first 5-ish miles were really downhill, which was interesting, but turned out to be great for helping me settle into a decent pace without over exerting myself too early on. The course was over a 2000ft elevation loss, so while it was a little tough on the knees at first, it made it easier to keep moving forward.

With the incline of the beginning of the run, they asked that headphones not be turned on until out of those first miles. I thought that would be hard for me, but it was actually really nice to just lose myself in the scenery. Plus then when things flattened out a bit and I turned on my music, it was like a shot to the arm and helped me keep up a decent pace.

While my time wasn't great, it wasn't so bad for my first half either. But two hours is a long time to run, and by the last mile or so I was really feeling it. Thank goodness for MaryAnne coming back to help run me in. She's awesome! And since she had been finished for such a long time already, I didn't feel bad about having her come back and get me and making her run in again. Especially since I run so much slower than she does!
So how'd I do? 2:09:53, averaging just under 10min/mile, and placing 299/499 for women, and 487/727 overall. Not too bad for a first time out.

I met my 3 goals; #1-finish, #2-run the whole thing (no walking! not even at the water stops!), and #3-finish before 2:24:19.
That time was the fastest time for the half marathon the contestants ran on The Biggest Loser last season. I know, I know, issues.

While I'd have loved to finish under 2hrs, I was thrilled to be that close to 2hrs without any real training. And it makes me very happy to know that I should be able to easily finish under 2 if I am really training. Something to look forward to next time!

MaryAnne seriously rocked things coming in just a hair over 1:30. She placed 2nd for our age division and I think 7th overall. The woman is amazing! I actually happened to check my Garmin (yay Garmin!) at 1:23, and thought "hey! She's almost done!" Then I realized that I still had a lot of miles left to go so I tried to refocus.

The costumes in the run were a ton of fun, really keeping things entertaining over the course and helping me spot people to pace myself off of. I debated running in my Mrs Incredible costume, but realized that if I had to make a pit stop I'd be in big trouble with that zipper up the back, so I just wore layers of running clothes. There was one guy who ran in khakis and a button down shirt with a briefcase (yikes!), a girl in a wedding gown-the Runaway Bride, a lot of ladies in tutus, and a ton of others who had fun with the whole thing. Next year a costume for sure!

Overall, good run, great scenery, good time. It actually felt good to find a groove and just run for that many miles without stopping.

Aaron brought the kids to the finish which was so nice. It really helps me to be running to something other than a big inflatable finish gate and a clock. And I'm very happy to finally have a finish line picture with my kids!



Kelsey said...

I am PEEING about Dallin in this picture. He looks so happy to be there :)
Way to go!!!! Maybe I'll join you one of these years. I said maybe.

Kelsey said...

post Halloween pix already! Geez!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

GOOD WORK! Wow your hands are FULL of kiddos..

I love the pictures. Wow I wish I was as fast as your buddy, so FUN!!

Mary said...

Woo-hoo!! Great time!! The weather looks really fantastic as well, I LOVE that you are so spontaneous!! Nice work, pass some of that ambition my way!

Deedles said...

Way to go Catey!