Sunday, January 27, 2013

A marathon and a half

No really.

We headed down to St George kind of on a whim (well we decided the week before) to go work the St George Half marathon expo. Seemed like it'd been forever since we traveled as a family and the kids even had that Friday and Monday off school so off we went!

I wanted to get as many miles as I could while the air was clean and a bit warmer. It didn't turn out to be warmer while I was running, only in the afternoon, but the air was delightfully clean! You see here in Utah, the valleys specifically get strong inversions which is just a strong low cloud cover that stays because our mountains hold it nicely like a big bowl. Pollution then has no where to go, the warm air can't get below it and we get stuck with very cold dirty air for weeks on end until another good storm comes. Sorry, I'm sidetracked. Moral of that story, St George doesn't have inversions like we do up north.

Friday I left dad and the kids to sleep in, get hotel breakfast that the kids love so much and go set up for the expo. That meant I had to leave on foot from the hotel. So at 6am I ran about 6 miles of paved trail and road to the Bearclaw trailhead. It was quiet and peaceful running under a dark sky with stars visible, just me and my headlamp. I got a little lost but finally arrived at the trail. Bearclaw is a fun little area for bikes and kids, but in the twilight light I missed the main trail and ended up running through roller after roller, think giant bmx track. Finally got out of it though and ran the Stucki Springs trail the rest of the way till my turn around and then basically came back the way I went out (minus some of the getting lost buisness).
It was really great but oh boy did it get cold, SO cold! I was dressed for winter like at home and was glad. I was only missing my neck gaiter and better gloves. Once the sun was finally up for good about 9am I was ok but during it's rising man it was cold. I did learn a few things though while my hands were too cold to function:
1. Don't untie your shoes to tighten the laces. You won't be able to retie them.
2. It's hard to squeeze cold gel without functional hands. Hold the package in your mouth with your teeth then squeeze from the bottom up with the outsides of your hands pressed together.
3. As much as I love my forested mountains I sure do love the scenery down there! Red rocks and dirt, ahhhhh.

I made a couple stops and got lost a little on the way out and realized I wouldn't get the mileage I wanted if I didn't hustle on the way back. No more picture breaks and luckily no more frozen hose leading me to stop and drink directly from the Ultrspire Surge bladder. It felt good to pick it up and I'm pleased with the effort. I really didn't feel it get wall like hard until about 23 miles in and that makes me happy, in my previous marathon races I've hit it at 16-18. Just turned on a couple songs and concentrated on keeping my cadence high and kept moving. 26.5 good quality miles. 
Don't you hate how cameras never quite capture the image your eye sees? 
Ok, maybe it's just because I only every use my phone as a camera, but this view was awesome!

Enjoyed the rest of the day with the kids and food and the pool. I wasn't planning to run the half the next day but my husband said he could get me in and a generous friend Cheri came with her two girls around my kids age and hung out at the hotel while we ran. We ran to the race as it was only 1/2 mile away or so and got there close to the start so I started back with the 2:15 or so pace group. I have never realized how beneficial it is to start where you want to finish. Anyway the first 6 or so miles were not so much fun. It felt hard, felt like speedwork and I couldn't have been running faster than 8:30. I could blame it on my legs but I still wasn't happy they, my legs, just weren't showing up for the party. Then around mile 7 things picked up. I felt better and started to push. One good thing I guess about starting in the back (and taking a bathroom stop) is that you have pace groups you can try to catch. So around mile 7 or 8 I finally passed the 1:55 group and had my eyes on 1:50. Well I couldn't see them but they were my next goal after I caught up with some friends who I lost on my earlier potty stop. I swear I ran forever looking for 1:50 and finally by about mile 12 I found them. Felt great to pass them after running so hard hoping I would! I would have loved to catch 1:45 as a friend of mine was pacing it but never did, probably finished about a minute behind them. Ended up running a 1:46 which includes my stop (I personally don't believe in claiming a time the clock doesn't say I ran unless it's in my own head). Totally negative splitted the second half for sure! I bet I was running 7:30 on average those last 6 miles. Very pleased considering how the first half went.
Waited for and found my husband who struggled a bit but did well considering his lack of road and pace work since the summer and we hobbled back to the hotel and enjoyed the rest of our trip including a little playtime at Bearclaw later that day with the kids and Cherie's girl Sky. What's 1 more right?

40 miles, I ran 40 miles in a 24 hour span. A marathon and then a half. And yes I was a bit stiff and sore but nothing horrible. I really love watching my mind and body stretch their limits. Doing things with 'relative' ease that were previously such a big deal. Really cool stuff


Stan said...

HI Leslie

I never know what to comment on your posts because I'm having a hard time digesting some of your running "exploits".

Yeah, I have a half mary in about 24 hours so I guess I'll go warm up for 26.5 miles. Oh did the training program only say I was supposed to warm for 2.65 miles? Oops my bad, oh well. Too late for that now anyway. :D

My mind is still unable to process this post.

Leslie said...

Hey Stan! LOL, I totally get what you're saying. I have been totally shocked and frankly a little in wonderland with how my mind has changed and body adjusted to these longer distances, but if it makes you feel any better, I did have a pretty rough 24 miler Saturday, and just one too :)
Thanks for reading!