Handcart Days Half Marathon 2013: Happy Birthday Utah!

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August 3, 2013 by UtahMan&Wife

On Wednesday July 24, 2013 we ran the Handcart Days Half Marathon. This race is part of the South Davis Race Series and is organized each year in conjunction with the Bountiful City Handcart Days, a BIG annual event for our hometown, in honor of Utah’s PIONEER DAY “Birthday”!

When we picked up our packets the night before we decided to switch ourselves out of our age group divisions and into the Clydesdale/Athena divisions. This is the only “silver lining” I can think of having added some pounds lately. We actually met the weight requirement (sad. But, might as well embrace it for the race). We figured there might be less people enrolled in that category, possibly giving us a chance at winning a medal (this plan worked out well…for half of us).

2013.07.24 Pioneer Half-pre-race

It was nice to have a fairly good night’s sleep prior to this Half Marathon (as opposed to our previous one!) since we got to sleep in our own bed this time, and we had a little later start time. But, with the late start time also came the heat. This year, Utah officially clocked in the “Hottest July on record“. At 6:00 am race day it was already 80 degrees. By our 6:30 am start it was inching past 85…and the sun wasn’t even up yet! That made us nervous. Our race was started by a shot from a real little cannon! And we were off!

2013.07.24 Pioneer Half-Start
The course took us West over the railroad tracks and then Northbound onto the Legacy Trail (beginning at the same stretch we ran the Race For Grief, and our 10 mile training run). I like running the Legacy trail, but since this was a Saturday morning, there were simply too many cyclists out for their weekend rides to compete with! Our biggest pet peeve with the Legacy trail is that it was woefully underestimated how popular it would be – thus, they only created two narrow lanes with no safe passing lane when traffic is coming and going both ways. (Booooo!)

As the blistering bright sun began to rise over the mountains, we could watch it creeping quickly across the valley toward us. Our new goal was to “beat the heat” by running as steadily as possible and at least try to reach mile 7 (the bridge) before the sun hit. Wife did it! UtahMan had fallen a bit behind.

The good news was that as we crossed the bridge and contended with the steepest slope of the course (a killer hill, actually) a small miracle happened. Clouds! The lovely white stuff seemed to materialize out of nowhere and blocked the direct rays of the sun taking the temperature down a few blessed notches and making the rest of the race more bearable. It was nice that two “misters” had been included along the course (even more would have been great). Best of all were the frequent water/Poweraide stops which happened every mile from mile 7 to the finish line. All of these stops were manned primarily by enthusiastic young people (you all rock!) – and many of them were high school aged cheerleaders or the local track club (sorry we didn’t take any photos of you! Thank you for all your hard work!)

The course from mile 8-10 was pretty hilly. Wife got her second wind and was really pumped up all the way to the end.

2013.07.24 Pioneer Half-Utah Wife

Wife: I would have attempted a smile if I’d known a race photographer was standing at the final turn to the finish line! I have to say I was really surprised how well the race went for me despite the heat and having just run a Half 10 days before. Even without any downhill advantage, I finished in only 10 minutes over my PR! Time = 2:22:04

UtahMan: I really struggled the last 5 miles with some serious muscle cramps and nausea. We think this was probably due to some poor circulation issues (next time compression socks!) combined with serious dehydration (next time, better pre-race hydration!). Thanks Wife for walking back down the course and cheering me in, that was nice! Time = 2:48:35

2013.07.24 Pioneer Half-Utah-Man

At least I finished under 3 hours!

Wife: I was further surprised to find out that I had taken 2nd Place in my Athena division! I was the 2nd fastest out of 8 women. And, that meant that I won a really cool HUGE real-live Cowboy BELT BUCKLE TROPHY! 🙂

(Now I just need to get myself into some skinny jeans again so I can show this off properly!)

2013.07.24 Pioneer Half-Utah Wife-2nd-place

UtahMan found out there were only 4 registered in the Clydsdale Division, but he unfortunately took 4th. So, no Huge Belt Buckle Trophy for him this time. 😦

The good news is that we actually ran and completed our 2nd Half Marathon in just 10 days apart and we didn’t get injured or have to quit. We did it! And, afterward we enjoyed a great big (free to racers) hometown Chuck-wagon Breakfast. Yum!!! Thank you so much to all the awesome volunteers who made this day possible!! – UM&W

UtahMan and Wife's 2nd Half Marathon!

UtahMan and Wife’s 2nd Half Marathon!

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