Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Half Marathon

I had the wonderful opportunity of running with my wife, Emily, in her first half marathon; the Halloween Half Marathon up Provo Canyon. The race is only in its second year and they went from 700 participants last year to nearly 2500 this year. While there were some minor frustrations with the race (as there is with EVERY race) I thought everything was really well done. There is just nothing better than running with several thousands of other people dressed up like idiots down a beautiful canyon a beautiful fall day.

I can't say enough about how awesome Emily was on this run. Her goal was to run a 2:30:00 and I knew it was very achievable. She has been working hard and has some good, fast, long runs in and I knew she was ready, even if she didn't. Along with her my Mom would be running her third half with her friend Deanna and my brother, Brent, would be running his first half, as well. We all dressed the same; black tights, black top, masks, and a purple and red kids cape. We all met at University Mall in Provo to catch the buses and quickly got on. We were on one of the short in-town buses and had a great time riding up with other costumed racers.
On the bus. So fun.

The buses dropped us off at Aspen Grove, above Sundance Ski Resort. They had a large 15000 square foot heated tent for the runners to hang out in prior to the race. I don't know why they had people get up to the start so early, but we were there for two hours. At least we had fun seeing the other costumes and hanging out together. 
Our group costumes

Me and Em

A group of people up for the costume contest

When it came time to gather outside it had warmed up a  bit more and wasn't so bad waiting for the start. It was cool to be out there with so many people on that narrow road. Since we were lined up with the 2:30 runners we were right in the middle of the pack. Below is a picture looking back behind us.

And the four of us at the start (Brent lined up with the faster runners)

When the gun went off we headed out slowly, as usual. We had to make our way through a maze of cars and buses shortly after the start that got stuck in the road, but after that it was clear sailing with the rest of the group. Emily was running at a very even pace as hundreds of people zoomed by us. I told her that we were pacing it just right down this steepest of sections. I then told her to pay attention to what happens after we exited Sundance Canyon, we'd start pacing people all over the place because they started out way too fast. About mid-way down the canyon a guy in tiny shorts and a half cut shirt was dodging the cones in the road and at one point picked one up and carried it over his head for about 5 minutes. It was really funny and there were about 100 of us just laughing at him. It was awesome.

Em running strong down the canyon

At the bottom of the canyon we hit the the Provo Canyon Rd and then at Vivian Park we caught the Provo River Trail all the way to the finish. As predicted, we passed hundreds of people on this 8 mile stretch. Emily continued to run super strong. Her pace never faltered and we only had to stop for one potty break (in the bushes) and then to walk a couple of times while she ate a gel and took a salt pill. 

At about mile 9 we started up this super short hill by Nunn's Park and while we ran up it really strong these two girls started to walk it as one said to the other, "there's no way I'm running up this thing". The hill couldn't have been more than 100 ft long and both Emily and I laughed as we easily ran up it, never breaking our pace. 

Emily along the Provo River Trail

Such a beautiful trail

Em started to have some cramping in her calf towards the end, but other than a grimace on her face she never showed it and her pace remained consistent. With less than a half mile to go she really picked up the pace and pushed strong to the end. We crossed the line at 2:16:36, nearly 15 minutes faster than her goal time of 2:30:00. I was so proud of her and her determination to train hard and run a solid race. It is a fast course, but you still have to run the distance. She was amazing the whole way. Here are some final pictures of the finish line. We hung around for a while with friends and then my step-dad came to pick us up to take us back to our cars. We ended the rest of the day with our children, trick-or-treating in Lehi and having a great time!

Em and me with our finishers medals

All of the great finishers

My FastRunningBlog friends:
Allie, RAD, Bec, and Lily

Me and Scott W

1 comment:

Lloyd Family said...

Are you proud I found time to read your blog...and comment nonetheless!? This was an awesome race and I'm excited we all want to do it again next year...nothin' like traditions! Thanks for running with me, you're the best...I love ya!