It is hard to know where to even start with this race report. This was our first half marathon. While we had run the distance a few weeks earlier, our training had been way less than it should have been and I was ridiculously nervous because of it. Our one and only training run at 13.1 miles was all downhill and flat running and we finished in 2:58. I was so scared! I was honestly a little ashamed too. I knew our times were going to be slow. It was what we trained for and frankly at my weight, all I could muster up. My competitive nature however kicked in and I was embarrassed to be so slow.
Paul and I had driven what we thought was the course the day after we got to Moab. I was more than a little nervous seeing some of the hills. We train on nice flat ground for our long runs. These hills were going to pose a challenge.
We stayed at The Moab Valley Inn which was the host hotel. That made life so easy! The expo was at the hotel as was the shuttle pick-up and drop off the day of the race. Paul and I got up about 5 am to eat. We lay in bed and ate our banana, granola, Nutrigrain bars and caffeine breakfast. We had laid out everything the night before so it was pretty easy to get ready. We headed outside at 6:30 am to board the buses in front of the hotel. It was cool, but just right with a sweatshirt. Race start was forecast to be 63 degrees, sunny and warming quickly.
As we left Moab on the buses and headed up the canyon along the Colorado River, we soon past the spot where Paul and I believed would be the start. We soon realized our error. We thought we started near Moab and ran towards the Sorrel River Ranch. Instead we drove clear out past the Ranch and then ran back to it with the flow of the river. Oops! Note to self – Be more informed next time. :)
As we rode in the bus, the butterflies in my stomach turned into raging birds at the revelation of the new course. As well rode down a few very large hills the realization that I would have to run back up them freaked me out. We were nearly 30 miles from town when the bus crossed the Colorado River and dropped us off at what was left of the historic Dewey Bridge. It appears to have been pretty cool looking back in the day.
The start line had the usual lines for port o potties. There were also fire barrels, water, Gatorade, coffee and hot chocolate. The fire barrels were not really necessary that morning. It was not that cold and Paul and I made our way to a small dirt hill to sit and relax for a bit. We made it to the potty lines a few times. What is it about pre-race jitters that make me need to pee 12 times before a race??
They finally announced the race would be starting and to line up with your pace wave start. For those of us that are slow, we just kind of hung to the back. We lined up at the bridge as the drummers beating rhythmic sounds drove off to get set up at Mile 12 hill.
If there was a gun or a horn, I missed it but slowly the people in front of us started to move and within about 2 minutes we crossed the start line and we were off! I can’t even begin to describe the feelings I felt as I crossed that start mat. I was excited and scared. I wondered what we had gotten ourselves into. I wanted to cry and I wanted to do so good.
We tried to start slow so I could ease into it with my calves. Even though we started slow, within the first 1/4 mile my calves were starting to tighten. By mile one I was hurting and they were pretty cramped. Paul was feeling light and loose so it was very hard for him to stay with slow little old me. I was frustrated and hurting. It was hard to keep up with Paul even though he was going much much slower than he wanted to be going.
Mile 2 we came to the first aid station. I grabbed a water and was hoping for a quick potty stop. I saw the line of 7 people and decided I could wait till the next one. We trudged on with my calves still really hurting. It was a very gradual sloping road, so I don’t’ know what happened other than lack of training and maybe some better warming up. At mile 3 the pain started to subside and my stupid calves started to loosen. I was finally starting to feel it. I was also able to stop hating Paul for pushing me. :)
The first 3 miles sucked but we weren’t really that off on our goals, so we just picked up the pace and started reeling people in and passing them. Things started to feel pretty good at this point and then the sun started rising and it got hot fast. Moab had record high heat for that time of year. As the temperature climbed, I started to wilt in the heat. Paul and I both debated wearing our Nathan waist packs and we were so glad we did. We were drinking all our water in between aid stations and then filling them when we got there. Paul was on fire, so he would run ahead and fill all four bottles and be ready when I got there. He was such a great motivator through the run.
There were a few big hill climbs. In the heat, it was brutal. We were just trying to keep moving to get it over and done. As we came up to the last hill around mile 11, you could hear the drummers in the distance. It was such an amazing sound, drawing me to the top of our last hill climb. I had to walk much of it, but took the opportunity to savor the moment and watch the drummers.
From the drummers, it was all down hill and Paul pulled me along. We tried to run in the few spots of shade we could find and just fly down the hill. Once we could see the Ranch/Finish area in the distance, I wanted to cry. We were going to make it. We turned off the main road onto the long driveway up to the ranch, and entered what must be the longest finisher chute in the world. Paul was flying as if he had fresh legs and encouraging me along. We passed people that last half mile and held off everyone to finish. Crossing that mat was surreal to me. I never thought I would ever get into running, let alone run a half marathon. I could never have made it through without Paul. He could have easily finished a half hour faster or more if he hadn’t stayed with me. Because this was our first, we wanted to run it together to just check off a half marathon. I’m scared to think about doing it all on my own without his motivation and support.
We headed straight for the food area. I was STARVING! I don’t really like peanut butter, but ate a whole peanut butter sandwich and it was the best sandwich I have ever tasted. I also downed chocolate milk and a banana.
We waited FOREVER for a bus to take us back to town. After a short hot sweaty ride, we made it to our hotel just before we needed to check out. We had a super quick shower and loaded up the Jeep. We gingerly walked across the street and had lunch before the long drive home. We were both exhausted on the drive home. We didn’t get home until around 10 pm and we both had to work the next day. My whole body had stiffened on the drive and I hated life unloading the Jeep.
It was all worth it though. Our time wasn’t fast, but it was faster than our flat course practice half, so we were satisfied. I was just so happy to say I had completed a half marathon.
2:27:02 Chip time 12:45 pace
Paul 561st Male, 91/94 AG, 1541/1741 overall
ShaRee 981st Female, 197/217 AG, 1542/1741 overall