Sunday, April 19, 2009

Salt Lake City Half Marathon 4/18/09


Salt Lake City Half Marathon (13.1 Miles) 01:36:28, Place overall: 187, Place in age division: 24
Total Distance

1:36:28 (Official)

This was one of the best experiences of my life. And for those of you who have gotten to know me and my accomplishments then you will know how much that means.

I had a plan, from the time I woke up until the time I crossed the finish line. I am pleased to say that I fulfilled that plan to the letter (except for 1 thing) right from the time I woke up, which was 4:15am. I got down to the Gateway Center at 4:55am and found a parking space right near the finish line. I was one of three cars in the parking lot. It goes without saying that I was concerned that I might be too early.

I caught TRAX up to the start line, getting there at 5:30am, exactly as planned. I wandered around for a half hour to stay warm. I didn't know anyone there and as people began to show up more and more I felt more and more alone. But even with that I couldn't help but get caught up in the electricity of moment. I watched the bike tour leave and then the early marathon starters. By 6:30am I had my gear bag checked and was stretched and warming up. I was lined up, relatively close to the front by 6:40am and ready to go. I was very excited.

As the cannon went off, as usual, it is a malay random paced runners that I had to weave in and out for almost the first mile. By then I had settled into a pace quite a bit quicker than I had planned. Not that I was caught up in the moment or had too much energy, but simply that so much of the course is downhill, you don't have an option but to go fast.

I had planned to not grab a drink until mile 6 or 7 - check. Just after mile 6 I realized that I had set a new 10k PR by over a minute. I then set a new 8 mile PR by 6 minutes and a 10 mile PR by almost 20 minutes. I knew by mile 6 that I would achieve my goal of 1:40:00 (yes, this is an adjusted goal from 1:35:00 because I've only run twice in the last two weeks) if I could simply stay on pace.

Some place after mile 11 I was sitting at 1:30:00 and I just told myself "10 minutes left to run a mile and a half, you can do it". What I didn't know was that I was much closer to the finish than I had expected. I had missed the 12 mile marker and even the 13 mile marker. It wasn't until I was making the turn into the Gateway that I realized that I was going to beat my goal time by almost 4 minutes. The electricity of the cheering crowd hit me as I turned north toward the finish line and I finished the last 200 m at nearly a full sprint. I was happy to be done, but slightly saddened by the fact that my wife couldn't be there to see me finish. 50 feet after the finish line I did look to my left and there was my mom, beaming with pride. I gave her a big hug and just took in the moment.

I know that for most marathoners this would be just another long weekend run. Even for me it isn't even close to my longest distance. But this has been a goal of mine for a while now. And knowing that just 4 months ago I was only running 3 - 4 miles, three days a week, and now have finished a half marathon race, I am just over-joyed. I didn't think this would mean as much to me as it does, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Ave Pace - 7:22/mile

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pine Creek - Zion National Park

Let me make one thing clear, the name of the park is "Zion", not "Zion's". It is neither possessive or plural. There is never a time that you should refer to the national park as "Zions", ever. Back to business.

I drove down to Zion yesterday with my step-dad (Curt), his boss (Dennis), and a co-worker (Brad). They wanted me to take them through a slot canyon so that they could take a group of people from Dugway Proving Grounds later this month. We got down there at about 8:30pm and set up a quick camp. The weather was beautiful and we all slept pretty comfortable. Curt and I woke in the morning, broke camp and headed over to the backcountry permit station to secure a place in, what usually is, a line. There was no one there. We had intended to Mystery Canyon, but the park ranger explained that there was still a few feet of snow in the upper canyon and at the rim. He also said that there was a high chance for thundershowers today and even snow at higher elevations. With a long approach hike we felt it best to not do that canyon as we would be getting to the technical part just as the weather was supposed to turn bad. We decided to do Pine Creek, a canyon I have done on several occasions. It has no approach and with the people we had we could probably get through the canyon in just a few hours.

We drove through the large tunnel and parked at the overlook parking lot. We donned our wetsuits and backpacks and headed down into the canyon.

It wasn't long before Brad jumped into the first splash pot and got wet. He was the first to find out just how cold the water really was. Bbbrrrrr.

After a couple of short rappels and we had the big 50 ft double-arch rappel. These pics are horrible, but you get the idea. You land in water and then have to swim about 15 feet through ridiculously cold water. I was so glad for the wet suit I had, as tiny as it was.

There used to be another short drop with a 40 foot or so swim, but that had completely filled in with sand from a flash-flood a while ago. We just walked across it. The last rappel is normally about 100 ft, but that had also filled in about 10 feet from a rock fall. It was awesome all the same.

It was a great day. We had more time so we went and hiked around Emerald Pools. That was really cool. I had never been there before. One last photo of me and Curt before we called it a day.

5 hour drive home and then a 6.82 mile run. What a perfect day.