Since I wrote such a gloomy post on my marathon, I thought I better clear things up with a good report on my half-marathon last Saturday. My Ogden Marathon blog post was therapeutic. After writing it and getting out all the frustrations of a bad race day, I felt so much better. I realized (again - this happens over and over) that gee whiz, it's only a race and not my eternal welfare at stake, and that I want to run for running's sake - and have fun doing it! Since Ogden (almost 4 weeks ago), I've returned to being a much happier runner, I'm a whole lot more relaxed, and ..... drum roll.... running is fun again! Hooray!
This past Saturday I ran in a local race - Teton Dam Half Marathon - and spent the entire 13.1 miles grinning in giddy glee because I was just so happy, so incredibly happy, that I wasn't running the Full! :) I practically bounced the whole race because it was "just" the half. Don't get me wrong - 13.1 miles is a long enough distance to be a tough race, especially this race course that has four miles or more of uphill - three of the uphill miles are consecutive ("Summers Hill"). And on Saturday it was three miles of uphill into 15+/- mph headwinds (then another mile climb with crosswinds). My splits on Summers hill are a full minute longer than my other miles.
My brothers Jim and Jon and Jon's wife Kristen and I started the race together. I can't even begin to tell you how funny my brothers are. If only Don could've been there, too, it would've been perfect (his back has been bothering him so we didn't want to risk having him sit in his running chair). Jim was just running the first half mile or so with us before he had to dash off to play practice, but that first half mile was enough time to have me doubled over in laughter (hard to do when you're running) which totally removed any anxieties about racing. Those boys are silly. I love running with them. My sis-in-law Kristen ran an awesome first-ever-half-marathon race. I was amazed she did so well on such a tough course, coming in well under 2 hours. Jon, who has so little time to train, beat the 2 hour mark, too. Nice.
My husband and kids were at the 11 mile mark with a great big sign, "Run like a Mom!" and cheering me on. I loved it. One of them said, "Run faster!" I thought I was smiling back as I returned, "I'm trying!" But apparently it came out more like a bark and a growl, "I'm TRYING" with a glare. That was NOT what I saw on my end of things, but with earbuds deadening my hearing and a body gasping for breath, I can see how it may have come out wrong. :)
Speaking of glaring, I admit that despite my cheerful attitude during the run, I found myself glaring occasionally at the young ladies (all 12 of them) in front of me. They were all in their twenties or just barely thirty. I threw my irritation at them in silent grumpiness, "Just you wait," I told them in my mind, "Just you wait until you are almost 40. Then we'll see how fast you run." Hmph. I sure told them, didn't I?
All childishness aside, I was happy to run this race just for the fun of it. It certainly helped and gave me the advantage that this is the course I train on and I have run Summer's Hill in 35-40mph headwinds with gusts over 50mph, making the 15mph winds seem like a walk in the park (sort of). I knew the course and knew my capabilities. I ran smart (learned my lesson after a dumb race start at Ogden) and started slow. First mile was 8:50, next miles were around 8:10, Summer's Hill miles were around 9:10, Poleline mile was around 8:20, my last two miles were 7:29 each. I don't know if I could have run faster, but I do know I ran comfortably hard and had enough steam to run fast at the end.
Turns out that I was 13th (I think) overall for women and first in my age group. I got a nice wooden "First Place" plaque.
By the way, I do have a bone to pick with the race director. The volunteers were great, but.... The aid stations were practically bare, the runner's corral was bereft of post-race fuel, the schwag bag was nothing, and there were like two booths at the "Expo", and the first aid station didn't even have salt tablets! And gray shirts. Again. I have so many gray race shirts that I could wallpaper a room with them. Fifty bucks and that's what I got. But I guess the $50 was worth the healing - I needed a fun run after such a terrible time at my last marathon.
I finished it in 1:50, averaging 8:26 min/mile. With Summer's Hill and its accompanying headwinds, I'm pleased. I'm pleased anyway because, cliche as it sounds, I really mean it when I say "At least I had fun."