I'm not in any kind of race shape right now and would definitely not have been running a half right now, but this was a first time race that was here in town and I figured I should support them. The name of the race is from the Napoleon Dynamite movie that put Preston on the map. The course even went past some sights from the movie [including Napoleons house] and they even had some sweet tots at the end.
I ran about a 3/4 mile warmup then lined up for the start at 6:45 AM. The temp was 50 deg and completely calm. Perfect conditions. After the first few blocks, I was running and talking with a high school kid that had recently done 4:40 in the mile. A ways ahead of us was another high school runner, a ways up from him a 30 something ironman triathlon runner then way ahead of him already was Conner Mantz.
Miles 1,2,3- 6:56, 7:05,and 7:10. The first 3 miles were a gradual uphill with a good sized hill to go down then back up at the end of mile 3. I was still running with the high schooler and having a lot of conversation. The pace felt casual but that was fine with me. During the 3rd mile we caught and passed the kid ahead of us.
Miles 4,5,6-6:54, 7:13, 7:03. Mile 4 was a gradual downhill and we caught the Ironman guy and ran with him for a few miles. The pace still felt very casual and with the conversation the miles were going by quickly. The 3rd mile had another big dip with a steep hill on the backside and we were also running on gravel through here. The Ironman guy was from Pheonix up here to a family reunion and I could tell on the uphill that the altitude was tough for him. He would get breathing pretty hard and slow down but caught back up after we got back on the flat.
Miles 7,8,9,10- 6:53,7:49,7:30,7:23. Mile 7 started out with a good downhill to the lowest point on the course but near the end of it begins a 200 foot climb over the next 3 miles. A little past the halfway point, the kid I had been running with picked up the pace a bit. I went with him for a ways but then decided I was content with the effort level I had been at. The Ironman guy started falling back as we started to climb. Around in here somewhere a large dog ran out barking at the kid ahead of me but didn't get to close before backing off. I had seen this dog when I ran by here last week and it had done the same thing. However when I came along right after, he charged all the way out after me and was acting very vicious only inches from my legs. I run into dogs often and usually handle them quite well but I was a little concerned about the way this one was acting. I had to stop and face him or I was afraid he would take a chunk out of the back of my leg. I yelled at him a couple of times to get home and he backed off slightly and I was able to continue. The triathlon guy was catching back up while I was stopped and just before he got to the dog a cop that was patroling the route pulled up between and got the situation under control.
Miles 11,12,13-6:58,7:09,6:58. Finally done with most of the uphill. Mile 11 was a nice gradual downhill mile but I continued my casual comfortable pace and only ran a 6:58. It was starting to feel hot with the sun up high now even though it was still only 60 deg. My wife had stopped to cheer me on at various places on the course and as she drove by in this area she gave me a glass of water to dump over my head. It felt great. I had another dog come out after me that looked like a rottweiler cross. This time I was pissed and I ran at him and yelled loud. It kind of shocked him and he went back into his yard. He regrouped and came at me again and I did the same thing. He decided that was enough and went back into his yard. Next mile was still net down but it has another killer steep dip to go down and back up. It felt like a snails pace climbing out of it then another dip [not quite as bad ] right after that. The rest of the race I just kept the casual pace. 2nd place was way ahead and 4th place was way back. This was definitely the most enjoyable last 3 miles of any half I have run. No need to make it hurt now.
My time was 8 minutes slower than any of the halfs I have done the past few years but it was about what I expected with my current fitness. It was fun and a good training run to start off my training for Saint George.
Conner did great running a 1:14 on a tough course.