Saturday, April 19, 2008


Up until, oh, about a month or so ago, I never would have thought that I would be a distance runner. I guess I still don't really think of myself as a runner. Running to me implies a lot of speed; I am more of a jogger. But today I "ran" my first race. I remember doing the Turkey Trot with my dad when I was much younger. I think it was only a mile, maybe two at the most. It was all I could do at the time, and I think I did it just once. But at that time, I really didn't understand the whole concept of it. So, I consider this SLC half marathon my first race. And it was probably my best run ever. I would describe it as an out of body experience of sorts. I almost couldn't believe that I was doing it. I had passed races before or seen them on TV but never though of actually being in one. It was surreal.

I left my house at about 5:30, thinking that would be plenty of time to get to the start by 7:00. I parked my car right by the celebration area and took the Trax up to the starting line. There were so many people. I didn't realize that so many people did these races. Once I got there, I put my timing chip on (I could have done that before I left, but I was afraid I would lose it.) and got in line for the bag drop. That took forever, but what was worse was the line for the port-a-potties. There had to have be close to 30 or more lined up along the parking lot. But there were so many people. I got in line at a quarter to 7:00, and it took me nearly a half hour before I could go. Fortunately, with these timing chips, I didn't necessarily have to start right away to know my personal time. So, I ended up starting about 12 minutes after the countdown.

It was probably a good thing that I started later and went to the bathroom before I started. First, I wasn't under as much pressure to run as fast as the others since by the time I started there weren't too many people behind me. And second, I found that through out the whole race there were people waiting in line at the port-a-potties that were located at the water stations. Their final time probably wasn't as accurate that way.

So, I started off telling myself that it would be just like another long training run. I think that got me though a lot of it. I knew I could do it because I had done it before. The first mile was a little difficult. It was early in the morning and my body was just warming up. The second mile was fine, too, but three through six just flew by. Before I knew it, I was already coming up on mile 8. At mile 11, though, I hit my wall. It was kind of a funny feeling. It was so sudden. My heart was doing just fine and so were my lungs, but my legs just refused to moved like they were before. Up until Liberty Park, I ran the whole way. I stopped at the water stations, but I picked it up right after. But after Liberty Park I had to do some walking. I was so surprised that I had made it as far as I did without stopping. I certainly didn't make it that far in any of my training runs. But I knew my limits.

As proud of myself as I was, it was kind of disheartening when the full marathon winners passed me up just before the finish line. I averaged about a 10 minute mile, which means that to run a full marathon in the same amount of time as I ran a half would make their average around 5 minutes. That's crazy. I don't know how they do it. The advantage was that the people were cheering extra loud as I ran down the last stretch.

You can click here for a list of the results.

The after party was just ok. Nothing special. I did get a short massage. That probably helped me to get on with the rest of my day. They had water, bananas, and creamies, but I just wasn't hungry enough to really make the most of it.

All in all, though, it was a good experience. I am glad I did it, and I do plan to do another one some time.

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