Sunday, April 20, 2014

Another timely blog?! I'm winning at life.

It's almost like this blogging thing has become a priority! I have two weekends of racing to talk about instead of 5 or 6. Hopefully that means I will be able to put in more detail and my special random ramblings that I'm sure you're all so fond of.

Last weekend, I ran my 39th half marathon, the Wonder Woman Half out in Saratoga Springs. I got quite lost trying to find the tiny park that would serve as the start and finish because the map that they had of how to get there didn't show the newer Pioneer Crossing road, which caused me to think I was in the wrong area completely. Then I remembered that I own a phone that is considered "smart", so I made the magic of the interwebs and Google maps guide me to my destination.

I finally arrived at the park and even though it was about 20 minutes to start time, there were surprisingly few people there. When I went to the pavilion to pick up my race packet, the lady checked my name off of the list. The list that only had about twenty runners on it. Eep. Twenty runners?! In a race that size, I am bound to be the slowest. My strength is in numbers, not in speed.

Mmmm. Peanut butter.
Before the race started, the race director gave us the rundown on the course. It was a simple out and back, so I wasn't sure why we needed to be reminded of where it went. It was on the Jordan River Parkway Trail, I didn't really think that it required all that much explanation. Turns out, people are very talented when it comes to screwing up simple things. I followed her instructions, I stayed to the left, I stayed on the trail. I knew I was on course because my Garmin mileage kept matching with the mile markers on the course. Basically everyone else didn't listen, didn't stay to the left, and they didn't stay on the course.

I watched the pack peel away from me within the first mile. I started getting a little upset, because it's frustrating to be the slowest. But then I reminded myself that this was only a training run and it didn't matter when I finished, just that I finished. Besides, I had to come home and run more miles after to get my total for the day. Anywho, back to group stupidity. It turns out that being at the back helped me not get swept up into the mob mentality of following the leader when the leader is wrong. The people in the front of the race decided that they were going to take a loop of the trail that went off course for about a mile. This loop was on the right. STAY TO THE LEFT, PEOPLE!

I'm sure that many of the people who followed those in the lead started to question if that was the right thing to do, but they didn't want to appear silly by arguing about it, so they just kept going the wrong way. I didn't see them take the loop, but I saw them coming out of it. These people had all passed me in the beginning, and then they got to pass me again. Much to their dismay, I might add. It seemed that once they saw me, it dawned on them that something was wrong. I know that one or two probably thought I was the one that took a wrong turn, but their watches confirmed the truth.

The only thing that really irked me about them getting lost, is that even though they all ran an extra mile, they all still beat me. Well, I wasn't last... I was second to last. When I came through the finish, I made a point of telling them that there was one more lady out on the course. I didn't want them to shut it down and leave her without a medal. Because that would be awful. That's not something I would wish on anyone, being the medal fiend that I am. I did see my friend Greg out on the course, getting some training in for his marathon. That was a nice bonus. The more I run, the more people I know who run. (Imagine that!)

Half #39, in the bag.
My 40th half marathon was yesterday, the Salt Lake City Half Marathon. I stayed up at my friend Krista's house, since she lives pretty close to the starting line. I was a little concerned about the quality of sleep I would get on the couch, but it was just fine. She even put mints on my pillow, making everything that much more special.

It was a beautiful day for a race. I didn't even bother to take my jacket with me to the start. The temperature stayed pleasant throughout the race. These perfect conditions won't last long, as the desert summer creeps in, so I made an effort to really enjoy being out there. This race was much larger than my last one, 6500 in total between the half and full marathons. The marathoners stayed with us until they split off at mile 9 and rejoined us around their mile 24. 

The course was just challenging enough, there weren't insane amounts of hills, but the hills that were there were steep beasts. There was some very nice downhill, not enough to beat your quads to death, but enough to speed me along at a sub 10 min/mile. I lost five minutes waiting for a porta-potty around mile 8, but I'm still happy with my finish time. It was right in the window that I was planning on, leaving myself some energy for the nearly 7 more miles I had to run afterwards to get my 20 for the day.  At the finish line, Krista was there with a sign, cheering me on. 

Will run for cookies.
It's always nice to have a familiar face at the end of a race. And cookies are just the cherry on top. I survived my hour long drive home without my legs stiffening up much. Hooray! So it wasn't too bad to coax myself on to the treadmill to log the remaining 6.67 miles needed for my long run weekend. I made sure to just take it easy, since the miles mattered more than the time. I completed my 20 in a total of 4:18:07, which is actually the fastest that I have ever run that distance. And I even felt pretty good afterwards! I went out on a date that evening and was able to walk around all night, tackling flights of stairs and everything. The legs are a little sore today, but not as much as I had been anticipating. I must be making progress! 

Half #40! Over the hill!
I just have to knock out some recovery miles today and another decent week of training is over. Some weeks leave me feeling quite optimistic about my 50K. Other weeks leave me feeling terrified. But I guess that's just how life goes. I was in a bit of a funk a few weeks back, but a few good runs brought me out of it. June 21 is going to be here before I know it. Right now, I'm just trying to focus on getting through the Ogden Marathon here in a few weeks. Once I get that out of the way, I should feel confident enough to survive the 33 miles in June.

Until next time, happy running!


  1. Just wanted to say that I'm reading, and enjoying, and hoping one day I'll be as far along as you are! I've just started this running (and sometimes walking) thing, in hopes of finishing a half marathon in September. It feels so nice to be working towards something that's just for me.

  2. Walking is a big part of my running, it helps me get through each and every race. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your journey! Best of luck in September :)