What the heck am I doing with my hands? My daughter snapped this picture as I crossed the finish line at the Top of Utah Half Marathon. I didn't know she was there. I didn't know anyone was there. Needless to say, I was pleasently surprised. In fact, the entire race was filled with pleasent surprises.
If you will remember, the night before the race was wet, cold, miserable. Packet pick up took place at a park, where the finish line would be the next day. The staff and volunteers were set up under a pavilion, but for the most part, the entire affair took place under a slow and steady drizzle of cold rain. To be honest, I wasn't excited about the race the next morning and was really bummed about racing in the rain.
I met up with my sister for the packet pickup, then we went to a little carb-loading party with a few of her friends. We snarfed down plates of pasta before ditching the party to go watch my niece perform a drill team routine at her high school football half time--in the rain. It was miserable. I was excited to head back to our Cache Valley vacation home for a good night of sleep.
I woke up before my 4:30 a.m. alarm, brushed my teeth, slapped on some mascara, and dressed in some Old Navy compression capris and an Under Armor t-shirt.
Breakfast was cinnimon swirl toast and half a banana, washed down with 12 ounces of Coke Zero--I swear by this breakfast before every race. Then we bundled up and headed out just in time to catch the 5:45 a.m. bus to the start.
The Top of Utah people put on a good race. Everything was organized and ran smoothly. There were plenty of port-a-potties at the start, finish, and along the route.
We started 7 miles up Blacksmith Fork canyon in Hyrum, Utah. I was worried about the cold and rain from the night before, but thankfully we woke up to clearing skies!
My sister was pacing the race for a friend, so my sis-in-law Janelle and I ditched her at the starting line. I had gone with a goal if beating 2 hours but secretly hoped to break 1:56. With how cold it was, I didn't know if that would be possible. So, Janelle and I started out at a comfortable pace. It rained between miles 2 and 3, but then steadily cleared as we moved down the canyon. I was still comfortable at mile 7, but knew it was time for fuel. I packed some Clif Bloks and breath mints and carried my own water in a Nathan handheld.
I had been running with Janelle, chatting and enjoying the race to this point. But around mile 8, Janelle started having trouble with her back. I didn't want to push her, but, you know, I had a goal. So I struck out on my own. I had been warned that between miles 10 and 12 the road has an uphill grade. But to be honest I didn't really feel any hills, the grade was so slight. At mile 11 I checked my Garmin and realized I was well within my goal time. My handheld had run out if water so at mile 12 I took a cup and walked a few paces while I drank. I have to say that felt soooo good.
Regardless of how good the break felt, mile 12 felt endless. I could see the finish line for about a full half mile! What the...? I finally crossed at 1:54--can't remember the seconds. I grabbed my medal and headed toward the food tent for some water. That's when I saw my family. I thought they were all still sleeping. I was so happy to see them and wanted to hang out at the finish for a while, but I was freezing! So as soon as Janelle and Mindy came through, I was ready to go.
I never like my finishline photos, but I like this memory with my girls.
Later that afternoon I was sitting with my husband and had the craziest thought ever. I actually said to him, "I clearly remember taking the bus up the canyon to the start, but I can't remember how we got back down." I guess I was a little tired.
All in all, it was a great race for me. I'm happy with my time and can't wait to crush it at the Big Cottonwood Half in September!