BEST RACE EVER
Bryce Canyon Half Marathon!
This race was kind of thrown on at the end of this training cycle. I registered in December, because it was only 35.00. I corralled a long time running friend Jim into registering as well. Jim lives in the same state as the race, and had run it before so he helped me with travel and hotels and “stuff”
Anyway. I really had been feeling kind of Blah in the last month. I had my less than stellar marathon, work has been insane. It’s gotten Really Steamy Hot here in Florida, and training has not been very fun at all. In fact, it’s kind of been a drag. So I started to really really look forward to this race. I had so many misconceptions about the race.
Firstly, because of this great elevation profile, I was SURE I’d have a PR of sorts.
I had not counted on the Elevation.
Ok, so from a previous post, you all know, I actually did THINK about the elevaton, but I must be 100% honest. I had NO idea how hard it was gonna be to run this race. None. I did at one point live for 3 months on a travel contract high up in New Mexico, and indeed it was tough to run. I guess I just forgot. Time fades painful memories.
Anyway. I flew into Salt Lake City, and grabbed a rental to take me the 5 more hours to Bryce Canyon. I was to meet up with Jim there. Jim and Stacie were driving I think from Arizona after being at a concert all night…what a fun and crazy guy.
So the drive was incredible. Utah is SO different from Florida. I took in the views and was astounded by the incredible beauty. I also noted after an hour of two that I was taking extremely deep breaths. I was almost gasping occasionally to catch my breath. I figured it was all in my head. Yep right.
I got there, checked in, wanted to look around, but decided against it. The area is really gorgeous and I was sorely tempted to go for a big hike. I bought a power bar for breakfast as I had forgotten anything and the race started at 6 am. Jim texted me that he and Stacy were running very late, so I drove down to the town and picked up our race packets. I realized that I was driving the race course and was totally blown away at the 8% grade down. WHOA. I was still kind of breathing very very deeply. I was also still in complete denial of the altitude.
The “packet” was a little bit sparse, but at the same time, I appreciated the fact that there weren’t tons of coupons for discounts to local things. I doubt those things ever get used. No plastic bag either, which is super nice for the environment, just this folder with pertinent race info and a very nice T-shirt. I was even more thrilled that they let me look up Jim’s number and get him all set up for the race. On top of that nice-ness, the woman handing out the T shirts allowed me to simply try the thing on, and decide on a size. Turns out the ladies Medium fit me this time, rather than being sized for a 5 yr old. amazing.
So I SLOWLY drove back towards the hotel. Once I got there, I got everything race ready and then I actually went to bed. Jim and Stacy still hadn’t arrived, but…I was feeling the effects of a very very long day.
Eventually I got a text that they had arrived and I went out to meet them. We hung around in the front lobby chatting for a bit. THen I remembered that I needed some sleep, so we parted ways.
I got up easily the next morning. I was feeling pretty good. I was a little worried, it seems that every time I run with Jim he kind of screws me up during the first mile, by setting an incredible pace. When we ran the Melbourne Marathon that incredible pace was a 10:25 mile ha ha ha. At the time that nearly wiped me out. This time around…I was determined not to let that happen, but it did…a 9:25 mile. I was suddenly feeling the altitude a bit. Whoa!!! I was totally sucking wind big time. I pulled over and walked a bit and eventually lost Jim, which was a good thing, he’s faster than me and it’s hard to pace. I was totally charmed by the miler markers…
So I ran, at about mile 3, the 8% grade began much to my relief. It was a bit softer and sure was fast. I’ve been cycling a load so it actually was nice to really use the quads.
And there were these views. I just enjoyed galloping down and seeing these beautiful views. It was AMAZING! And hard. I was still breathing heavily. I mean really really heavily. I was pulling that air in as fast as I could. Sadly, the air up there is really fine and thin and not the same as the sea level air I’m used to. When the course flattened out a bit, I walked through an aide station and threw up…still kind of gasping for air.
I of course shook that off and continued on. and about 3 miles later, I got to feeling all vomity again. At about mile 8-9 or so my friend Jim caught up with me. He had gone back to wait on me and somehow I had run by him. He ran with me for a while and was really trying to push me to a PR. I just couldn’t really keep it together. The Flywire on my shoes was rubbing funny…
And I was just starting to be kind of unreasonable. I was not feeling 100% great. The sun had come out and it was nice and warm, but not humid. I was just starting to feel tired. Every time I stopped and walked and tried to catch my breath I couldn’t. I saw my PR come and go at about mile 11. So you know, once that goes…it becomes more of a nice run. I chatted with some super friendly folks, shared some stories of different races and events. Runners, nice people.
Eventually I finally made it to the finish line.
Not a very impressive finish. I was mostly just glad it was done. I was still gasping and gasping which was just insane..Sat for quite some time, went to the restroom- abandoning Jim, to throw up again. (I don’t think he minded that.) and then we boarded a school bus to take up back up out of the canyon!
I went out hiking..
I had some really peaceful time to sit and think about so many different things, to pray, and open my head a little more than it has been lately. How anyone can doubt God in a place like this…is beyond me. So many things are just crazy in this world. I also began to see just how AWESOME this race is. I had a terrible performance as far as time, and really, lets all be honest… no one loves vomiting.
But I got to see a friend, and run with him briefly…I got an AWESOME workout!!!!! I saw things I had not seen before, which really just rekindled my enthusiasm for running, because yeah, you can see some of this stuff from a car window, but…it isn’t the same as getting to be there, and really feeling the rock under your feet…feeling the wind as it gets swept up through the canyons, and just thinking about how this has been here for so long on earth. I also felt like I had really achieved something that was “difficult” for me anyway. A lot of times running a half marathon, I don’t feel it’s a lot of a challenge.
At the Finish I was awarded my “participant medal” I’m not a medal fan, but this one I LOVE. Not because of the front…
But because of the back!
Ebenezer Bryce was one of the Mormon settlers and he is alleged to have said the quote above regarding the cow. As I was running the idea of chasing a cow through all those ho0 doos and such was for whatever reason entirely amusing- could be because I was quite hypoxic.
Anyway BEST RACE EVER! Horrible finish time! (check!) Vomited a few times (check!) Really incredible hypoxia (check!), fun time seeing friends (check!), beautiful scenery (check!). Would I do it again? Very possibly. It the timing is right and the frequent flier miles kick in.
Now I have a week to recover….and strap in for a very long Marathon training Cycle.
Anyone have any tips on how to stay focused for a long period of time in training? What has worked for you?