Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009 St. George half marathon

Some time last year, Braden announced he wanted to run a marathon. This must have been shortly after Wasatch Back, when he was really pumped about running. This caused me a bit of concern. I have sworn off marathons after each one I've done, and my last announcement had been that the only way I'd ever do another one was if one of my children wanted to do one with me. I quickly measured my options in my mind, and concluded that maybe if we did a half marathon together, that might be enough to cure him of this idea.

I signed us up for the Painters half marathon. I had done that one before, and it's kind of fun to have somewhere to run in January. Plus we could roll in a visit to the family down south as well.

The problem turned out to be training. It has been bitter cold up home, and when it hasn't been too cold it has been too wet and too snowy. Apparently, due to the economy or something, Spanish Fork city has vowed to never plow a city street again. Plus with Braden, Jason and Alyssa all playing basketball, and me having been lured into coaching again, there just wasn't enough time to train properly. Braden and I both arrived at the start line unprepared.

Thankfully, the Painters half has grown in popularity. It has been renamed to the St. George Half, and the number of runners continues to grow. I enjoy running with lots of runners, as the odds of my finishing dead last go down as more runners join in.

I knew this would be my slowest half ever. Having accepted that reality from the start helped. I settled into my marathon / survival pace of around 10:30 minutes per mile, and off I went. I ran the first 3 miles to the first aid station, took off my ear muffs and gloves, took some water, then ran to the first hill. I also knew that if I attempted to power up the hills I would never make it, so I power walked up the first big one and took the opportunity to enjoy some yummy energy cubes.

I ran again, this time to the next water station. I was feeling pretty good at this point. I was able to run to the next aid station as well and took 3 more cubes. This was now about 8 miles in. At this point, the race climbs around Bloomington in St. George. It looked to be about a half mile climb, so I walked this one as well. Once it leveled off, I started running again. Even though it was now downhill, I could feel an all too familiar sensation starting to form in my legs. It's as if they start to tell me, hey, we've had enough! I also had to take a few minutes to get out of my long sleeve running shirt at this time. I realize this does not sound too difficult, but keep in mind I have a hat, sunglasses, Ipod, Garmin, gloves, earmuffs and more to keep track of! It probably took me a good 5 minutes to switch shirts.

I shuffled into the last aid station, and this time slammed down two waters and a gatorade. I was now 2.5 miles out from the finish line, looking at a very flat to slightly uphill finish. This was going to hurt. I entered into another form of marathon survival, which consists basically of a walk fast / run slow combination. Once I could see the finish line, I had enough adrenaline going to finish off strong. Plus, the Last of the Mohicans main track popped up on my Ipod, followed immediately by some Hollywood Undead!

Lori and the kids were there, plus Eric, Sally, Jeremy and Emily, plus my sister Charlotte. I said hello, grabbed some water, then started searching for Braden. I eventually started walking back up the trail, and found him coming in about a half mile out. I encouraged him and kept him company, and got him back to where he could finish it off.

I am so proud of him for finishing. The poor guy hadn't ran more than 5 miles in months, so going 13.1 was quite a feat for him.

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