I decided earlier in the year that I would not do a marathon this year.
Half marathons are another story.
I did the Thanksgiving Point Half a few weeks ago and loved it.
About a week ago I found out about the inaugural Herriman Oquirrh Mountain Marathon and figured, "Ah, what the heck? I can do the half. Besides, it's supposed to be fast and basically...awesome." Prices for the race went up the Thursday before the race at midnight. I signed up at 11:55 p.m. Little did I know what I had gotten myself into!
Friday the kids and I drove to the park where the finish line would be to pick up my race packet. No one was there. Talked to a few people working at the park, they made some phone calls, and I found out I needed to go to the running store to pick it up. At least I knew where I needed to be at 6 the next morning!
Before we (all 140 of us - 100 for the half, 40 for the marathon) loaded onto the buses, the race director gave us some basic instructions: Half marathoners and marathoners will be on the same course off and on. Pay attention to the orange spray paint on the road, blah, blah, blah....
We loaded onto the buses. I sat next to a nice girl from Alaska. The drive up Butterfield Canyon was beautiful (and totally scary - the road was as wide as the bus and super twisty. I felt like I was on one of those "most dangerous roads in the world") and I knew the run down was going to be fun.
They dropped us off. Waited for everyone to use the bathroom then blew the horn and off we went. I should have held my horses a bit because I took off fast - waaaay too fast. I tried to slow down, but the grade was so steep it was almost impossible. Plus, I have changed my stride this year and I cannot figure out how to go downhill. (Yes, I am a running dork.) Needless to say, but mile 8 my feet were on fire. I was paying close attention to the spray paint on the road and kept following the half arrows on the right. I was really not having fun by mile 11. I wanted to be done - 2 miles ago.
I kept running (okay sometimes I was hobbling), pumped up the music a bit (not that it helped) and saw my last aid station at mile 12. Sweet, I thought, I can get to the end of this. I can even run to the end of this. I knew I had one mile left in me. I grabbed my water from the kid sitting at the aid station and followed the "halfer" in front of me to the left. I ran for a little way and started to look around. I knew where the finish line and I knew there was no way in you know where that I was ever going to circle back there in less than a mile.
So I stopped.
Right in the middle of the road, I stopped.
I turned around and almost got run over by two men. I stopped them and said, "Hey aren't you guys running the half too?" They said that they were. I said, "We are on the marathon course." They looked at me like I was kidding, but the three of us decided to turn around. Problem - we had to run UPHILL. Okay, so the three of us walked up the hill. Sure enough, at the corner where we turned left, was spray paint, with an arrow pointing straight, not left, for the half marathoners. UGH! We still had a mile to go. (I feel really bad for the girl that was in front of me. I couldn't catch her, or call out to her. I don't know how far she went before she turned around...) The guys and I hobbled in. I actually had to take my shoes off when I got to the finishing shoot, I couldn't take another step in those blasted things.
I was disappointed when I crossed the finish line, until I looked at my watch and realized that I finished the race in the same amount of time I finished the Thanksgiving Point Half. After the race I clocked my detour. 1.5 miles. Are you kidding me? Why oh why didn't I listen to that little voice when I started turning left that said, "DON'T GO LEFT! GO STRAIGHT!!!" I'll never make THAT mistake again!!! I have no idea what my time would have been. But I'm guessing that my last 2.5 miles were close to 11 or 12 minute miles. Had I not done the detour, my time would have been close to 1:45, which would have felt like a world record to me. :)
So, what did I learn from this race?
* Inaugural races are great. At what other race does the race director drive his car up next to you and offer to take your jacket to the finish line because it's getting hot outside??
* School buses can get you up a narrow, twisty, mountain road safely (even if you are too scared to look out the window.)
* PAY ATTENTION TO SPRAY PAINT!!!
* Practice going downhill with a new stride before trying it out on a super steep downhill race.
* Be sure to have a massage scheduled later in the day.
* I will definitely have to do this race again!