Last December my brother. Bruce, and I signed up for the Deseret News Marathon. Training began right away and I spent months in the wind, extreme cold, and heat slogging in my miles. About two months before the event, I had a mental breakdown on a long run and I asked him if we could change to the half marathon instead. We both agreed it was the best decision we ever made. And on July 23, he and I woke up at 3 a.m. to run in the Deseret News Half Marathon.
Man was that an early start! But the race began at 6:00 a.m. sharp and runners were shuttled to the starting point up Immigration Canyon. We waited in line at the porta potties forever to get one last pee in before the race and we watched the sun slowly rise as we waited to start.
I was surprised at how small the group was. This race is part of the Pioneer Days celebrations in Utah so I expected a much larger turn out.
We started and it was a downhill run for the first 10 miles. Woot! Woot! I lost Bruce early on as he needed an early bathroom break so it was just me as I ran along.
I knew from the course map that this run would be downhill most of the course. I actually had to pull back a little when I looked down and saw a 9 minute mile because I knew my body couldn’t sustain that pace. At mile 6, I was running a 10:22 pace (I usually run a 12 min/mile).
I was feeling good. I kept up with my plan of a Gu gel every 30 minutes and I felt like a rock star. My goal was to beat 2:30 and I was well on track. But then as we went on, even though we were still going downhill my body naturally started slowing down. Slowly, the 2:15 pacers passed me, then the 2:30 pacer. I picked it up to keep the 2:30 pacers in my sights so I could pass him and beat 2:30. But then mile 10 hit.
At mile 10 my body was done. I had been training at longer distances but it was flatter terrain and at a slower pace. At mile 10 my left knee had a sharp stabbing pain like no other. I wasn’t worried about it, I just shifted my weight onto my right leg. Until my right ankle had sharp pains at mile 11.
So there I was, with only two miles to go and every step hurt.
Did you know how they finish this run? The last two miles are along the Pioneer Days parade routes where thousands of families are set up waiting for the parade. Some people may find this kind of audience uplifting, but I was downright embarrassed. At one point I looked down and my limp/jog pace was 14 min/mile.
Then I looked down and realized it was 2:25 and I had a half mile to go. If I could push through and run a 10 min/mile pace I would break my goal of 2:30. I bore down and gave it all I got- for about 30 seconds when I realized I was barely moving.
Right before the finish line my sisters and brother in law were waiting. They had run the 5k/10k. My sister saw a very slow figure coming up who was hunched over and barely moving and they realized it was me.
I crossed the finish line in 2:34, I missed my goal by a mere 4 minutes! Bruce crossed at 2:44, ten minutes behind me. He also hit the wall at mile 10 and suffered through the last three miles. But we had done it!
My sisters captured this very flattering photo of us dying after our race.
Bruce and I agreed we were done with long distance running and this was our retirement race. From now on, we’re sticking to 5k’s at the most. Ha ha!
An Awesome Race
All that said, I really liked the Deseret news Half Marathon and if I ever wanted to take on a half or full marathon, this would be the race I would look at. I loved the mountain running, Salt Lake City is such a fun city to visit, and the town is having a good time celebrating the holiday.