The Sun Half Marathon Race Recap| An 8 Minute PR!

Before the end of last year, I decided what my race budget would be for 2018, and then registered for the races that I wanted to run. Like most runners, I always find myself somehow getting into even more races than I planned on, and then Sun Half Marathon definitely falls into that category. 

I actually really wanted to run this race, but it was 4 1/2 hours from home in Southern Utah, and it cost $80 to enter. When I was making my race plans for the year, despite really wanting to run this race, I decided not to. A week before the race, someone in one of my running groups decided they couldn't do the race anymore and was offering a free bib, and I jumped at the chanced! 

When we go to St. George, we always stay with my friend Michael's family. He baptized me on his mission in NY 8 years ago, and although he now lives in Vegas, and not Southern Utah, we've become close to his family over the years too, and so we stay with them when we're in the area. Once our travel and accommodation plans were setup, it was time to start mentally preparing for the race.

This race was SO HARD to plan for. I know a lot of people don't like running with pacers at races, but I really do. This race was going to have pacers for the 2:10:00 timeframe (which my friend Jen was pacing for), and the 2:00:00. I knew I was going to PR this course because my running times had gotten progressively faster since running the Thankful 13, but I didn't know if it was physically feasible for me to run a two hour half or not. 

My friend Jen texted me a few days before the race and told me that even though she was pacing the 2:10:00, she did not want to see me at all during the race (because she knew I could get a PR and hanging with her wouldn't be my best effort). So I knew I wasn't going to be hanging with her. I figured the smart move would be to shoot for 2:05:00, but that would mean running most of the race in this vague middle area by myself, and I didn't love that idea either. 

Come race morning, Derek dropped me off at the busses, and me and the other runners headed up the mountain. I was eating my breakfast on the bus when I started to get a huge cramp. Jen told me it was nerves and then the more and more I thought about the cramp the worse and worse it got. I was thinking to myself, "So this is what it feels like to have an anxiety attack... fun!" 

When the race started I just decided that I would stick with the two hour pacers as long as I could. Derek and I talked a little bit about the possibility of me going sub two for the race, so I kept texting him updates with my time while I was running. That, and he was going to be meeting me at the finish line with the kids, so I was trying to give him a ballpark of when to get there. I sent him four text messages throughout the race, they read:

"Just started"

"3.7 sub 2 still" 

"7.14 sub 2 still"

"11.8 I will be close" 

Every time I looked at my watch to see where we were at, I was shocked that I was still hanging around with the sub two hour pacers, and that I seemed to be further in the race than I thought at every glance, which is always a nice feeling. 

The course was fairly challenging. There was some downhill, which was nice, but then there were three major hills from what I remember. Everything felt amazing until mile 11 when there was a hill that wasn't necessarily steep, but it was long, and felt like it was dragging on forever. It was at this point that I fell behind the sub two hour pacers and had to wave them goodbye. 

I wasn't listening to music yet at this point in the race, but since I was now in no man's land, I turned it on to help give me some sort of boost to the finish line. Around mile 12 I got my energy back a bit and just went as hard as I could to the finish. I came in at 2:01:57, with an 8 minute PR from the A to B Half Marathon that I'd ran a few months ago.

Derek and the kids were waiting for me at the finish line, and the second Derek hugged me I just sobbed, and sobbed, for probably a solid minute and a half. I literally left everything in me on the course. I'm not the type of person who feels sore after my races, but with this one, it hurt to walk for a few days after, which was a validating feeling knowing that I literally gave everything that was in me. 

My goal for this year is a sub two hour half marathon. I know it's inside me, and come June when I run Drop 13 in Salt Lake, it will happen. 

No comments