I really didn’t know how this race was going to sort out for me. Nearly all of my miles over the winter have been easy miles with only a few in the 6 minute range, however my easy run pace has moved closer to a low 7 minute pace over the last few weeks (maybe my increased mileage was actually starting to pay dividends). My goal time for this race was 1:25:00, anything lower was gravy.
I got up at 6:00 am and had a banana, a yogurt and a clementine for breakfast and got in a couple visits to the toilet. Over the next couple hours I took it easy on the couch (even dozed off for a few) and watched cartoons with the boys (Thomas and the Cat in the Hat). At 8:00 am I got all my affairs together and got out the door by twenty after. The start of the race was only a few minutes from my home and I got there with plenty of time to spare. As has been well documented for this race the cold was expected but the south wind was most certainly unwelcome. Clothing wise I went with a tech-t (pinned number to tech-t in anticipation of pulling the jacket somewhere near the end), arm sleeves and light jacket on top and compression shorts on bottom. I also wore a beanie and gloves. I did a few warm up jaunts and headed to the start line. At the start line I met up with Rachel (RAD), Walter and Scott Ensign. Scott and I determined that we had similar goal paces and decided to trade off taking on the wind (not like I provide the biggest of wind barriers). The plan was set and it was time to race.
Mile 1 – 6:02 – As is typical I always get a faster than expected run out for the first mile (especially with a nice tailwind helping out). I gapped Scott by about 30 seconds in the first half mile but once I settled my pace down we linked up at around the mile marker.
Mile 2 – 6:11 – Still enjoying the tail wind
Mile 3 – 6:13 – First mile into the wind and Scott and I take turns pulling in the wind and we both do well planning our tangents.
Mile 4 – 6:36 - Welcome to the first hill of the course a 75ft climb over a 0.4 mile distance. Ironically the hill is called Tithing Pointe – you definitely give 10% of yourself on this one. My legs certainly felt the hill but I am still feeling great.
Mile 5 – 6:32 – More wind and hill recovery. Scott and I are still pulling strong.
Mile 6 – 6:15 – A quick downhill switch back and heading more east than south made this mile pretty fast. Scott certainly knows how to let it fly on those downhills.
Mile 7 – 6:40 - More wind (will this ever end) and a net uphill mile with a 75ft climb over 0.3 miles at the end. Scott let me know that I was going to lose him as we approached the hill.
Mile 8 – 6:48 – More wind with no one to help pull plus hill recovery made this mile slow. I am definitely getting tired at this point.
Mile 9 – 7:04 – This was my maintenance mile. I took off my jacket and tied it around my waist, took off my gloves and stuck them in my shorts and started to take down was GU I could (it is really hard to swallow when you are breathing hard (I need to practice this more)). I stopped at the water station to make certain to get some water down with my GU and headed off. Scott passed me at the water station.
Mile 10 – 6:19 - Fueled up and out of the wind I quickly caught up with Scott and dropped him. It was go time.
Mile 11 – 6:32 – The forecasted most daunting hill of the race became nearly no more than a speed bump (75ft climb over 0.2 miles). Only 2 miles to go (nor more hill) and I am starting to put a good gap on my 6:30 pace virtual partner – I nearly evened out at mile 9)
Mile 12 – 6:21 - A little bit of hill recovery but I am still feeling great.
Mile 13 – 6:12 – A little bit of downhill (and some wind of course) and just riding it home. Scott is about 40 seconds behind me but is holding strong.
0.02 – 9.6 sec – 6:29 (Garmin clocked this one short.)
I am very encouraged by this race. Last year I did the TOU half in 1:23:00 but the conditions were much more pleasant and the course is much tamer. I definitely felt much stronger overall in this one. My next race is the Ogden Marathon (my first full) and I really think I can get the 2:5x that I’m shooting for. Thanks for running with me Scott and helping to share the wind (I really think it helped). And yes, Kelli, the trophies are awesome (nice job). I did a 3 miles cool down with Rachel after the race (nice conversation).