Get Ready, Get Set…

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July 9, 2013 by UtahMan&Wife

We’ve reached the final countdown for our very first HALF MARATHON! It’s T minus 4 days and counting now!

At 6:00 am Saturday morning we will begin the race we have been planning on, training for and talking about ad-nausea ever since that fateful sub-zero New Year’s Day when we decided to commit ourselves to a “Race-Per-Month 2013 Challenge“, (which actually has turned into more than one race per month).

On July 13th we will be running the BRYCE CANYON HALF MARATHON. The race organizers have recently updated their official website and it looks nice. We’ve also been reading some great reviews and past blog posts about it here, here, here and here to get ourselves all psyched up and prepped. The race also has a nice YELP! review, too.

Here’s the race history in 19 seconds:

ARE WE READY FOR THIS?

That’s the nagging question that’s been in the back of our brains for the past couple of weeks. We have to be able to finish all 13.1 miles within 3 hours. It would really suck to still be out on the course after 3 hours. They send a shuttle bus around to collect all the stragglers, and none of these poor souls even get a finisher’s medal. We do NOT want to be in that group!

So, on Saturday we knew it was crunch time to test our mettle and see where our abilities are by doing a full 10 mile run. We decided to take advantage of the Legacy Parkway Trail in Davis County that we ran a little of during the recent Race For Grief 10K. It’s a flat paved course created exclusively for pedestrians and bikers (and in some places, horseback riders) with a nice view of the mountains.

Legacy Parkway trailhead

Legacy Parkway trailhead (Photo credit: CountyLemonade)

Various things kept getting in our way that morning (including getting lost trying to find the trail) so we didn’t actually start running until well after 10:30 am! By then it was over 75º F out. It was hot and muggy from the recent rain storm, and the sun was already high in the sky. There would be no water stops or access to any drinking water along the way. We were definitely not running under ideal conditions. Case in point, we never saw even one other runner the entire time we were out on the trail – only bikers, and two folks on horseback. After driving around forever trying to find a trail-head, we accidentally located the Legacy Nature Reserve parking lot. A helpful guy on a bike told us to walk across the highway bridge and there we would find the Legacy trail. (there was also a handy Porta-potty next to the bridge, which made a good start & finish line) We randomly chose to run North and do a straight out and back route. We eventually ended up running on the same section we took as part of the Race for Grief 10K.

WIFE: I kept a consistent 10 minute mile pace for the first 4 miles. Each subsequent mile my pace slowed a few more seconds. It was hot, and despite having “pre-hydrated” before running, I could still feel myself getting dehydrated and my mouth feeling like sandpaper. (luckily, I know our race will have many water stops, so this should not be a problem during the Half)

Winding trail

Winding trail (Photo credit: CountyLemonade)

At approximately 5 miles there was a random Porta-potty sitting on the trail, so I took advantage of it. For some reason I chose to pause my RunKeeper app during my pit stop, but then I completely spaced out and forgot to turn it back on for well over .5 mile afterward! (ugh) In the end, while I was waiting for UtahMan to cross our “finish line” I went ahead and ran an extra .5 because I wanted my RunKeeper to record a FULL 10 miles. The heat was getting pretty unbearable, and it really slowed down my overall pace. My final stats were:

Miles 10.04  Time 1:52:24   Average Pace 11:12

According to the Runners World Pace Calculator my average pace would allow me to complete 13.1 miles in 2:26:43. Of course, that pace will naturally increase running 3 additional miles. But, taking into account a steeper downhill race course, regular water stops, and (hopefully) cooler temperatures I’m thinking I should be able to finish the entire Half in 2:25:00. My official goal is to beat 2:30:00. Anything less will be icing on the cake! (and the good news is that since this is my first Half, technically anything will be a “PR”)

UTAHMAN: I was able to keep up with Wife for about the first 1.5 miles but her pace is much faster, so I let her leave me in her dust.

A bench on the nature trail

A bench on the nature trail (Photo credit: CountyLemonade)

Wife loves to see how long she can run before having to stop and walk. I prefer using a run-walk-run-walk style right from the start. Eventually, I settled in and was steadily travelling about a 1 mile pace behind Wife. Apparently I turned around before the 5 mile mark, so I was short .5 mile

Miles: 9.48  Time: 1:58:13  Average Pace: 12:28

At that average pace I would finish 13.1 miles in 2:43:19

Of course, my average pace time will naturally increase the longer I go. But, allowing for cooler temps, better hydration and a continual drop in elevation on our race course, my goal is to finish the Bryce Canyon Half in 2:40:00

The great news is that I actually finished 9.5 miles all in a row without keeling over (plus I walked at least another mile round trip from the car to the trail). I was feeling really tired by the end, so I know the Half is going to be a challenge. Despite Wife’s protests, I still say “I am not a runner”. But, I know I can do 13.1 miles.

~~~

The most important news of the day was realizing that we ARE READY to run and complete our first Half Marathon (13.1 miles) without dying, and within the 3 hour time requirement. We don’t have to worry so much about it now! Of course, we will still worry a little bit…because you never know what crazy thing might happen out there…but, in all likelihood, we will have fun and do well this coming weekend!  – UM&W

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