Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Halloween Half Marathon review

My husband and I had the chance to run the Halloween Half Marathon together this past Saturday in Provo, Utah.  My husband ran a little track in high school, but nothing serious.  Then he picked up running (or any exercise for that matter) last summer, 10 years later, and I'm so glad!  While it can present training time management challenges with the two of us, he understands me better now, and best of all we can go out and be active together!  Now I've come to learn that we have our differences still, speed/endurance obviously being one of them because I've been fit for over a decade, he only has one year under his belt.   He doesn't care that I train or race faster, but he isn't overly fond of trying to do my quality workouts with me, even if he goes at his pace, and frankly I don't like having to worry if he's upset or not that I'm ahead.  So that's ok, we've learned that we can go on base. or non-tempo or speedwork runs together, and most trail runs (although he is way more into 'bagging' peaks than I am, I'd rather find a rolling trail and run fast, he likes climbing to the top of stuff then flying down).  Anyway, not sure where I was going with that except that we wanted to do this together.  I'd normally be about 20 minutes faster, but didn't care about that Saturday.

So anyway, we arrived at the buses at 6:40am or so only to find a VERY long line of people waiting to get on.  We also saw at least a dozen if not more buses waiting to be loaded.  We probably stood in line for close to 45 minutes while they loaded 1 bus at a time.  That's ridiculous.  I went up and asked some guy who appeared to be in charge why and he said "we have to make sure every bus is full, it's just easier for us".  Well yes, I'm sure it is, but there's no reason you can't load 3 buses at a time and check the full status of 3 buses, that's not 10, it's 3.  Just seemed silly to me that they were trying to get the race as large as possible, even encouraging people to call their friends to sign up the night before at packet pickup, yet they weren't being smart about getting everyone up there and not waiting in the cold for an hour.  We got up there in time and there was only 2 buses that were after the 9am start time, but still, could have been SO much more efficient.
Pre Race
So we get to the top and to the race director's credit there is a heated 15,000 sqft tent.  Very nice touch.  Not room to spread out per say, but plenty of standing room to watch the somewhat disorganized but entertaining costume contest.  The usual lines for bathrooms, not more than 15 minute wait probably.  The only thing the start was really lacking was water and music (both which can be important).
Steeper downhill about mile 2, Mt Timpanogus behind us
Anyway, so a brief post about the race itself.  Starting a couple miles above Sundance Resort, the first 5 miles are very steep, much steeper than one would normally run.  Didn't feel unmanageable except for in a couple spots.  The next 8 were on the Provo River Trail which is very forgiving, either flat, slight up, or slight down.  No big deal.  I was worried about crowding, but I think our pace managed to avert it.  Seeing some pictures like this one, from slower paces though, it looks like it got pretty crowded.
The aid stations were fine, simple, but fine.  Although they totally could have put MUSIC at least at the aid stations.  They made a big point that this was a fun exciting race, but it was kind of quiet and lonely during all but the start and finish.  I took a gel at mile 5 and water at most aid stations and was fine.  My hubby did well until about 9 or 10 where I kind of had to keep the motivation alive (very carefully though as not to make him feel like I wanted to run ahead, I did, but I didn't want him to feel that way), and then finally we got to mile 12 and we ran the last mile in under 8.  So we ended up with a 1:46 which is a 3 minute PR for him and not insanely slow for me, but yes, 20 minutes slower than I could have gone and it was hard sometimes to be running that slow, but it was easy and fun and gave me a chance to observe the fun costumes around me.  Some favorites were a Forest Gump who carried a box of chocolates the whole way, a Mr Clean who carried a mop the whole way, Dwight from The Office, and a huge 6ft5in guy in a full Captain America muscle costume.  Oh and my good friend Jason Crompton sported a full Super Grover costume.  Check out Zazoosh or the Halloween Half website for more.

Couple more tiffs I had with the race.  Finish food was sad, self serve cut up oranges and apples and bottled water, that's it.  No carbs (bagels), treats, chocolate milk etc.  Had to walk back 3 blocks from the finish line to get our drop bags.  I heard the transportation back to where people parked was ridiculous, taking an hour to go 10 minutes, and we saw several people walking the 2 miles back to the cars.  And finally the shirt.  Now don't get on me because I'm being prideful or something, my husband even pointed it out.  The shirt says in big bold letters "Halloween Marathon".  Now I've done marathons, and I don't know about you, but they were quite noticeably different than the half marathons I've done  :)  My husband could've thought that was cool to have a shirt that says he did a marathon, but he didn't and he doesn't.  That's like saying you're an Ironman when you haven't gone the 140.6 miles, not cool  ;)
We had fun though and that's what was important.  I don't know that I'll race with him again unless it's some fun race with costumes or a team event or something, but this was fun.  


Steven Malone said...

Leslie, if you have an opinion please share it, don't hold back :)

Jarvis Family said...

Haha. I agree with Steve. It is also funny to see how you are TRYING to not be competitive but it's just not working.... It makes me laugh. In a good way :-) Love your blog!

Leslie said...

Ok you two, am I missing something? Do I need an intervention? :) Isn't a blog supposed to be somewhere for opinions?...

Steven Malone said...

I love it, keep it coming.

Nurse Heidi said...

Ha ha - ditto what Steve said.

You know, it's ok to not always PR ;). I held back and stuck with my sister too, even though I felt capable of at least a 12-14 minute faster time. It was important to her and therefore important to me.

I agree about the shirts. I thought it very odd that it said "Marathon" instead of half marathon. And we passed several people walking back to their cars when my mom was driving me back to mine. If we'd had extra room in the van, I would have taken them, but we were full.