The weather was a mild 30 degrees in the parking lot by the now-empty Mervyn’s building. Waiting in line in the dark at 6:30 a.m. Saturday with a bunch of people wearing tutu’s, wedding dresses and leg warmers to get on buses, my friend Paige, my cousin (-in-law?) Nathanael and I tried to keep warm. And not think too much about why we were there.
But, when we loaded onto that charter bus and Nathanael told me one more time that I had to wait to eat my Cliff bar, there was no turning back now. We were about to subject ourselves to the craziness of Halloween and run the 13.1 miles down the canyon from Aspen Grove.
The warming tents at the top of the canyon were a welcome sight. And the taste of that Cliff bar when I ate it was even more welcome. Even though I didn’t wait as long to eat it as I should have. My friends Emily and Rachel (pictured above, they’re cute!) were hanging out in the warming tents too. Waiting for the race to begin they held a costume contest. There were an amazing number of entries. I was impressed that so many people thought they could run in full-fur costumes and with wings. The winner of the costume contest? Forrest Gump. The long-haired-short-shorts-run-across-America Gump. He even had a box of chocolates. We knew he won when the entire tent erupted into cheers of “Run, Forrest, Run!”
Finally it was time to line up. After one more quick trip to the Honey Buckets (I nervous pee like seven times before any race.) We searched the crowd at the starting line for our desired time pacer. As we kept moving forward and more forward, I started getting worried. “Um… Can I really run this fast? Shouldn’t we be back toward the end of the line a little more??” That’s when Nathanael had his earphones in and couldn’t hear me, so he didn’t answer. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.
After a false start the race took off. Well, sort of. After we walked across the start line (and almost got killed by someone turning around because she thought you had to actually step on the barrier to start your chip), we saw what the hold up was. The news camera had the advantageous spot of parking in THE MIDDLE of the road. It was like on I-15 when a car breaks down and all traffic comes to a standstill because no one knows it is there and keep trying to go up the lane where it looks the most empty only to come to a stop when there is a car blocking the way. But this time at least you got to be on T.V. Or that’s what they made you think.
The first 5 miles were incredibly easy. We were going about an 8 minute mile pace down the most intense slant I’ve ever run. I almost had to hold myself back (and I think that’s why my quads hurt today.) For the first while I ran with Emily (who is an awesome athlete and kept talking about how much better it would feel if she were in shape… and she was pushing me.) When we hit mile 5 we hit the flatter section of the race and it definitely caught up to me at mile 7. I think because I didn’t want to look all lame and let un-trained-Emily beat me, I kept going.
1 hour and 49 minutes later I crossed the finish line. Then I noticed that my legs were weak. And tired. And as the minutes progressed I quickly became aware of more sore muscles. About 3 weeks before I had hurt my knee during a flag football game and so I had been taking it pretty easy running so I didn’t really hurt myself. I was worried that the race might be more of a stroll through the canyon if my knee started bothering me, but as a little tender mercy, it didn’t hurt… at all.
I ate a few slices of orange and found my cousins and cheering squad. They gave me flowers! So pretty. I love flowers!
I can’t believe I took about 12 minutes off of my first half marathon pace. I am pumped about that. The canyon was beautiful too. During miles 8 to 10 it was like running in a lane in a movie, the floor was covered with crushed yellow leaves. So gorgeous!
Luckily the rain held off until that night. Just in time for the trick-or-treaters to come out. Poor little kids. But, I have to say, I’m really grateful to not have run in the rain!
Today, I’m so sore I have a hard time moving. But, I’m probably going to sign up for the Utah Valley MARATHON in June. If I can do a half, I want to at least do one marathon!