Oh the aching feet! The sore knees! The screaming hamstrings! The painful hip flexors! The entire aching body! That's what you get when you decide to run 13.1 miles without any walking breaks. And get it good, you do! Trust me on that...
I ran the Top of Utah Half Marathon on Saturday and it WAS GREAT!!! A much better experience than my first one, although I think I was much more prepared and trained for that than this one. Now, when I say it was great, keep it in mind that I do NOT mean the time spent running. No, no, no.... the great part is the fact that I DID it and FINISHED and had a great time! Not to mention the fact that I wasn't part of the road kill we saw along the way!
The best part was Jen decided at the last minute to run it too! She has been having some knee issues and wasn't sure if she could, but she did! I was so glad I didn't have to go it alone. We stayed together and kept each other going the entire distance. It was quite the experience from the get go. Jen picked me up at 5 a.m. and then we drove the 30 minutes to the park where registration was. It was pretty nippy, but that didn't stop all those crazies from doing it. They bused us up to the starting point and then we stood in line for the porta potties. That was an act of bravery in itself because these were much more "scent" sational then most. I did get some good lung strengthening while inside it though because I couldn't (or wouldn't!) breath! As soon as we finished our business, we were smashed as tight as sardines waiting for the starting gun to go off. We wanted to move to the back, but it was impossible to even turn or move in anyway. Talk about squished! It was crazy! I am not sure, but I think there was close to 1500 runners!
As we were riding the looooong bus ride up, I was looking out the window thinking how VERY, VERY far it was and I was going to run it???? We rode the exact route we would be running, only in reverse. Jen told me to try and not think about that. Very good idea. Before we began, I noticed my iPod's little light was on which means the battery is near death. GREAT! I had forgot to charge it! I was not happy! I have to have my running songs during these long runs or I might die. Really, I might! I actually almost forgot to even bring it with me entirely. I was just not as prepared for this run as my last one. It's a miracle I remembered my running shoes! I decided I would hold off on turning on the iPod until mile 10 1/2 where the mile and half hill began. I knew I would need it most then.
Patiently waiting for the gun!
As soon as we started out, I got a really nasty side ache and it just wouldn't go away. I wish I knew what caused those things so I could somehow learn to avoid them. I ran with it for about the first two miles and then it decided it wanted to switch to my other side. And switch it did. After another mile or two, it finally went away. Thankfully! The course was GORGEOUS and it was a lot of down hill while we were in the canyon. I wonder if that is why my feet felt like they were literally on fire for most of it. My knees are obviously not used to the down hill and so they started to hurt about mile seven. The temperature was perfect and we had a wonderful and refreshing light breeze. We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was 60 degrees when we finished. We saw some interesting road kill in the canyon including two skunks, one unidentifiable animal, and we counted up to 14 smashed snakes. Counting the dead snakes helped to keep my mind off my lack of tunes. I was just grateful I didn't end up as part of the road kill! Even though there were a few times I actually wish I had. There were more than a few times that I really wanted to quit.
I took this as we were running...
Neither of us took a watch and so we had absolutely NO idea how were doing with time. We decided that this was going to be a FUN RUN (the biggest oxymoron around btw!) and that if we had our watches then we would be worrying about our time and trying to push it harder. So since we liberated ourselves from them, we just went with the flow. Neither of us stopped to walk at all, and only slowed down while at the aid stations to drink some Gatorade and eat an orange slice. On the very last aid station at mile 11, I actually stopped to drink it and I noticed my legs completely stiffened up on me. I was getting real tired by then and Jen said she was too. But we kept on moving knowing that we only two more miles to go. The uphill at the end was pure cruelty on the race organizers part! I think every single race I have ever ran always ends with the last stretch being uphill! Why do they do that? I figure they must not be long distance runners or they would make sure it was always downhill! Same concept of a man designing kitchen appliances or bras!
This was about mile 11. We had lots of people cheering us on! Thankfully!
When I saw that finish line way in the distance, it was a sight for sore
eyes legs. Dave had brought McKay and Taylor to cheer me across it. I was grateful for their support. I am amazed how much it boosts me when I see even total strangers along the route cheering me on. It really helps. The best part was my time was 2:02:04!!!! Not bad at all for an old woman! I was excited about that. I was hoping to finish by at least 2:10. Jen and I checked out the trophies because they are so unique and not your typical trophy. They are these Aztec looking runners on a rock. Pretty cool. I have to say I was coveting one! We didn't stay for the awards because with over a thousand runners, what is the point? In my mind there was no way I even stood a chance for an award. In this race they give awards to the top six in each age division, which I think is great. Most races only give out the top three. When I got home and checked out my place on the website, it said I came in SEVENTH in my age division! OH! How sad!!! That meant I only had to run 56 seconds faster to have placed sixth and receive one of those cool trophies because the sixth place runner was 56 sec. ahead of me. If she had been three or four minutes faster, then I wouldn't have cared so much. But 56 sec! I could have easily cut that off my time. IF I had only known. Oh well...coming in seventh out of 45 or more is pretty encouraging to me even if I didn't get one of those cool trophies! But dang! Actually double dang because some of them were purple!!!
The TOTALLY AWESOME TROPHIES!!!!
I was so completely tired and exhausted when I got home. I took a Celebrex immediately upon walking in the door, but I think I should have taken it before the race. I wasn't too sore...yet! But oh boy! I was directly after! My knees were the sorest they have ever been. This is a new thing to me to be so incredibly sore. I really couldn't walk without looking like I am 90 years old. I iced the knees, hoping that would help somewhat. I didn't feel any relief until Sunday morning, but then my quads were sooooooooooo sore! I think my entire body is pretty angry at me for putting it through that! Walking downstairs is a joke unless I go backwards. Even then it takes me four times longer than it should. I am now kicking myself for not following Jeff Galloway's plan of walking one minute for each mile you run. He claims that will totally eliminate any soreness after. Next time.... WHAT? Did I say next time??? I must be also having some kind of mental distress along with the physical or I wouldn't have said that! However, during the run I decided running a full is not for me. There is NO way I could have added 13 MORE miles to that run and still be among the living. BUT....today, I am now thinking I could do it if I was trained well enough. Crazy! Totally insane I know!!! But... isn't that what all runners are? I am beginning to really believe that! Well, crazy in a sane sort of way.
Here we come....almost there!
Trying to wave and run at the same time....surprised I didn't trip!
Trying to recover
This place was packed!
Using our last bit of energy to grab the Gatorade!
Here I am back at home icing my knees.
My buddy McKay letting me hold him!
I wrote most of this on Saturday, and I am posting it on Monday night. I am still pretty sore. Yesterday it was torture to sit down or to stand back up. Talk about screaming quads and hamstrings! Today I am finally able to walk without looking like I broke something!
Overall, the experience was great! I am glad I went through with it even though I really needed a bit more training. Next time I want to run it under two hours. Yep, there is that "next time" again! Hmm...