My Life as a Dog

Monday, June 25, 2012

AF Canyon Half Marathon

Remember way back in February when I said I had registered for the AF Canyon Half Marathon? Well, I just completed my first half marathon last Saturday. I began my training program for the half on April 1st and quickly started to think that I had gotten in over my head. There were days when I was struggling just to do a 30 minute run, which what I had been doing for about a year. But I did find as I plugged along that I was surprised some days that I could go as far as I did. After a while I realized that if I was going to complete a half marathon that I was going to have to start out at a more reasonable pace so that I could maintain that speed through most of the run. During my training the longest that I ever ran was 10 miles and it was a few weeks before the actually race. By the time for the race I was starting to get anxious about my abilities.

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early: 3:45am. I had tried to get to bed early the night before after going to dinner with my family. Also at dinner I tried to eat what I thought would not cause me problems during the run. As soon as I got home I realized that my dinning choices were not the best and my stomach began to ache. When I awoke in the morning my gut still was not feeling very good. Still I got up showered, dressed in the clothes I had laid out the night before, grabbed by supplies, and hit the road. I had to be to American Fork High school by 4:30 to meet up with my friends, Bryant and Curtis, that were running too. I downed a protein shake on the road and brought a banana. I arrived at the high school just about the same time as my friends. We quickly found ourselves a seat on one of the buses and road up the American Fork Canyon to Tibble Fork Reservoir where the race would begin. I tried to relax a bit on the ride since it was so early and I was operating on 4 to 5 hours of sleep. Up by the reservoir it was kind of chilly. I didn't bring anything extra to keep me warm. I figured the low temp in the valley was supposed to be 70 degrees and how much colder could it be up there? Enough. I borrowed Curtis' extra shirt for a bit until it was close to time to start. 

As the start time approached we worked our way to the front of the crowd. Bryant and Curtis have been running marathons and are plenty fast. As for me, I felt totally out of place so far towards the front. I puffed on my inhaler, got me a my fresh piece of gum, put my headphones in, and started my music. Then it was off!

The course started off with some pretty steep downhill. I hadn't trained with any downhill runs so I was a little nervous about that initially. Soon I felt like I got in my groove. I was staying with 1:40 pacer for quite a while as we worked our way down the canyon. I was surprised by the number of people who were stopping at mile 1 or 2 to use the port-a-potties but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do. (Oh and I did take an Immodium that morning just in case. -- Great advice from another of my running buddies.) By mile 3 I had reached the first first aid station, and taking the advice of Bryant, I was going to drink at each first aid station. So I grabbed what I thought was water and gulped it down only to have it be Gatorade, which I'm don't really like. Then I was off again. At all the following first aid stations I made sure to get the water instead until I reached the last one and then I felt so depleted that I once again took the Gatorade. The run through the canyon was quite nice and cool. for the first 6 miles. Then the sun started to peak over the mountains and then it was much warmer.

When I came out of the canyon and started on the bike path by the gold course it suddenly felt much warmer. And as there were small uphill parts, they felt like mountains after going downhill for so long. I thought at several times that I would like to walk for a while but no one else was. I didn't want to be "that guy" so I plugged on. It was around mile 9 or 10 before I decided that I needed to walk some. But each time I walked it was too long before I realized I might as well be running at a slow pace. Plus I really don't like all those people passing me! Somewhere along the way the 1:40 pacer had moved ahead and the 1:45 and 1:50 had also passed me. When I initially signed up for the half I thought 2:30 was a worthy goal. As I had been training I realized that I should be able to finish closer to 2 hours. So when the 1:55 pacer passed me, I decided that I needed to stick with him. I only had a few miles left to go. I actually gave me a little boost to think that I could actually finish under 2 hours! I found as I got close to the finish line and I could see people leaving with their medals and going back to their cars I had another boost of energy. And when I got close to all the people cheering I felt like I could easily go another mile. I pushed. I had to get under 2 hours! As I ran in I saw my friends Ty and Bryant cheering me on. I was so happy to find that I had not only come close to finishing in 2 hours but that I had come in under 2 hours with a time of 1:56:02. Here are some of my other stats:
   388/1166 Overall
   36/61 Division (males 40-44)
   185/379 Males
   59/174 Age Group (40-44)

Of my friends, Bryant came in first with a time of 1:31:02 and Curtis came in with a time of 1:43:43. They were awesome. It was fun to share my first half with them.

Curt, Me, & Bry

The proceeds of this half marathon go to help support cancer patients. Since I have three cancer survivors in my immediate family I got two wear three different ribbons on my bib. The pink is for breast cancer, the blue is for prostate cancer, and the purple one is for non-hodgkins lymphoma. The colors are really off in this photo but trust me they are pink, blue, and purple! :)