September 10, 2016
I give in to peer-pressure easily. Not really. But, when a few of my girlfriends decided to run this race and I checked my calendar and realized it would work for me, I jumped at the opportunity to mark another state off my list. So, I hopped online and signed up for the full marathon.
If you remember, a few months back, I sprained my ankle. Severely. It took a long time to heal because I ran all three races at Star Wars Dark Side right after it happened. I took some time off to let it heal but I had another race planned in June. While my ankle was 98% better by the time Race 13.1 Roanoke rolled around, I was in no shape to run a half marathon. I did my best and got through the race but I realized how bad of shape I am in!
I started going to boot camp classes with my old trainer, Orlando. I’ve been fortunate to have some pretty awesome trainers over the years and Orlando is my favorite. We do a lot of interval style workouts, blending cardio and lifting, and that really seemed to work for me. I lost a good bit of weight and I was toning nicely. When I had my stress fracture, everything sort of went downhill from there and now I’m trying to get back on the wagon. Unfortunately, it takes time and I just haven’t had enough of that.
With the injuries and general lack of time, I haven’t put in the miles I need in order to be adequately prepared for a marathon. So, a few weeks beforehand, I made the choice to drop down to the half marathon. It didn’t cost me anything extra and I know I’ll feel more comfortable running the half than the full at this point.
On Friday, I had to leave my house way before the roosters would crow. My flight to Salt Lake departed before the sun rises. I’m meeting Kathy and Shannon at the airport in SLC. I am the last to arrive and I even changed my ticket to arrive earlier. Shellie has family in SLC so she’s already there. We are going to meet her for lunch.
Once I arrive, I find Kathy and Shannon and we head to meet Shellie. Salt Lake City is really pretty and the weather is fantastic. It is warm but breezy and not very humid. I wish we had this lovely weather in Florida! We grab lunch and then walk around the city some before heading to packet pick up and the hotel.
Shellie takes us up the mountain so we can see the race course and the view on the mountain. Then we head to dinner in Park City at a little pasta and pizza place that Shellie likes. We’re all pretty tired once we get back to the hotel. Since we have to be up early, we all head to bed.
Shannon and I are running the half while Shellie and Kathy stuck with the full. We load the school bus and it takes us up the mountain. Shannon and I say goodbye as we get off at the half marathon stop. Shellie and Kathy continue the journey up the mountain.
It is quite cold and windy. Shannon and I are thankful for the gloves that were in the swag bag. We dub them “Hamburger Helper” hands and they are warm! We both need to use the bathroom so we find the porta-potties. There are lines at the first few but there are a lot of open ones a little ways down the row. We enter and find they haven’t been used yet. While we’re using them, we both comment on how warm it is in there; warm enough that we decide to stay in them for awhile. There weren’t any lines so we stayed in the warm shelter of the porta-potty for a good while. When we finally resolve to go out in the cold, we have about 20 minutes until the race start.
We hover around with some folks we don’t know so we can stay warmer. Once the sun peaks over the mountain, the race begins. We run/walk our intervals for the first mile or so going back and forth about how unmotivated we are to run. By mile three, we’re making deals with each other to keep running. When I’m complaining, Shannon diverts my attention and keeps me moving. When she complains, I do the same for her.
We chatter as we run as it keeps us occupied. The scenery is breathtaking; truly a postcard type view. And, it is incredibly peaceful to hear only the sounds of footsteps on the pavement at times. We go stretches without talking simply because it’s so peaceful and we’re enjoying the calmness.
Shannon ends up tossing her sweater/robe that she started with. But, she wants something in case she gets cold. So, while we run, we start looking at all the clothes as we woggle by them. She finds a nice pullover and ties it around her waist. I end up finding a race jacket along the way too. Big score!
We finally make it to the bottom of the mountain and we have 5k to go. And now it’s hot. We started the race and it was about 35F and windy. It’s now 75 and we’re in full sun. Some guys were handing out pop ice popsicles; best race treat ever; I wanted to go back for seconds!
The last stretch of the course was a struggle for us. We were both just ready to be finished. When we finally saw the finish line, I think we both felt like we had lead feet. But, we took off and ran across the finish line.
The finisher’s area had pancakes (delicious pancakes), pizza, water, Cokes, and more. We grabbed a few things and tried to refuel a bit. Then we went to get our gear bags. We ended up heading back to the hotel to shower before Kathy and Shellie got finished (this way we’d be out of their way so they could shower and relax).
By the time we got to dinner that night, Shellie was the only one of us that wasn’t walking like a crippled runner. Shannon, Kathy, and I had seriously tight leg muscles. We were all in rough shape. We had a great dinner at the Wasatch Brew Pub though.
I don’t think it took any of us long to fall asleep that night. We were all beat. And, we all had to catch flights the next day.
Big Cottonwood is, by far, the prettiest race I’ve done. The view was incredible and the race was well supported. The swag was great and the race staff was top notch. And, free race pictures! This is a race we’re actually considering again for next year. Properly trained, this could be a PR for all of us as it’s a fast, downhill course.
A couple of days after the race, the race director emailed participants about a defect in the race shirts. Many people had complained that the lettering was peeling off the shirt. They had the shirts reprinted and sent everyone new race shirts! When my new shirt arrived, the shirt in the package was not the correct size. I emailed them and they sent me a new one in a few days. Seriously, top notch folks!
Until next race…gotta run!