I went back and forth for the longest time about the half or the five miler. In the end, I ran the 5 miler. By the end of the five miler,I wished I had run the half, but who would have known, and when thinking about it, it is probably best that I ran the 5 instead, as it was challenging and I am quite sore today, though it may have been from the long afternoon spent hiking in the National Park.
The day started out cold and grey. I never checked the temperature, but it was probably 35-40 degrees. SInce I had beenrunning in this weather, I was prepared, and was able to wear my fun little hat.
That alone made my day because my hair, not matter what I did to it, did not look like I wanted it to.
I was up early and started to snack on Wasabi Peas, which I think was not the smartest idea, but well,they were there, and I was a little hungry for them.
Eventually I went down to breakfast and had my favorite pre run food, an english muffin with butter and jelly. As well as some yogurt.
The lobby was buzzing with racers and it was lots of fun.
B. came in and picked me up and took me to the finish line where there were buses to take us to the start.
The staging area for the 5 mile and Half were of course different, so we had to part ways. I had a nice adrenlin rush at that point and if I had been able to change back to the half I would have. BUt, some smart person made a Good rule, no changes on race day!
So, we had about 45 minutes at the staging area to wait until the race started. I hung out,talked to some nice people, stretched a little and tried to keep warm.
Eventually we were all herded down to the start. Oddly the start was notright at the staging area and we had to walk for a few minutes to get to it. I recall this because the walk was actually so long that I started to think that possibly the race had started and I was with a congenial bunch of walkers. Luckily that was not the case.
So. an actual very very loud gun went off and we were off. The Canyon is a great place to run. There were almost no spectators, which was fine with me. I discovered oddly that running at 4,000 feet really was fairly easy compared to my usual running in Espanola. I was not fast, but I did not get out of breath at all.
I actually used my ipod durign the race. Normally I would not do such a thing,I am anti-ipod in racing, but in this case, I was so worried that I would be unable to complete/run that I decided to just use it. I think it may have helped to pace me. The other wierd new thing I did was actually try to pick people off as I was running. Even to the very end,I was pushing past people as I went, which I am sure looked odd, because I really tried to have a sprint there at the end, even though I didn't feel much like sprinting.
So Mile one went by without comment, I didn't wear my Garmin as another experiement becauseI tend to run a little fasterif I don't know exactly what my pace is. I also thought there were going to be more chip mats, but there were only mats at the start and finish…so, I have no ideawhat splits were.
At Mile 2, there was a hill. On the profile, its at mile 9 and it looked steep on theprofile. Remembering this, I sort of gritted my teeth. Wierdly, I passed alot of people on this hill. I was telling myself to run halfway up it and then I could walk it, and then when I thought i was half way, I would tell myself, "If you run 10 more strides,that ten you don't have to think about" and suddenly, before I knew it the hill was gone, and I was going downhill, with no opportunity to walk!
I actually enjoyed the downhills.I lengthened out my stride and such and took advantage of it. Several people were complaining about their knees, but I guess my knees are ok.
Mile three came and went uneventufully. At mile three or thereabouts, we switched out of the Canyon, and on to the highway (!!!) for the last 2 miles of the race, to bring us into the park. I don't know if it was the change in scenery or if I was started to get tired, but Mile Four just never seemed to come. I walked a bit. A very elderly man came up behind me and told me I was doing a great job, which made me start running again, because I didn't want to be beat by him! And finally mile 4 came about. Mile 5 came up fast enough, but that mile 3-4 was the longest ever.
Mile 4-5 was fun. lots and lots of little kids were out for "Low fives" and people in the neighbourhood were cranking up their stereos, to add ot the party atmosphere. And of course it being the last mile, there was some morepicking off to do. I actually walked a bit more in this mile simply because I was tired. But in the end I passed everyone who passed me during my walking phase.
I crossed the finish line in 59 minutes, so you know I was moving sloooowly.
But I had a good race for me, though I probably could have run a bit faster… the funny thing was that I did feel like I could have gone some more. I think though it felt like I could have run 3 more miles not 7. Since I had never raced a Five miler, it was a PR for me, and I was allowed to join the Canyonlands PR club and given a very snazzy pin.
So, a good time had by all. Post my race, I hung around waiting for J and B who ran the half. J and B came in together, J looking really drained and B looking completely fresh as a flower and not sweaty at all!
It was great fun to watch the half finishers. The winners had some great form to watch, and there were some real contests there at the finish line!
I will also add, the expo was small, and not that super, but it is a small race. The volunteers were AWESOME. They were super organized, and I had no problems getting my sweat bag back, or finding things. Plenty of portapotties, and lots of yummy food at the end of the race. I didn't much like the live entertainment, and could have probably dispensed with the band entirely, but it seems to be a thing that people want soooo it was there. I really do hope to return next year and run the race I intended to run, but things change drastically in 365 days….
So. I am inspired to possibly run the Minnie 15 K in May in Orlando. Not sure about doing the whole racing at Disney thing, but I want to run the distance, and such. I think the living at altitude has helped marginally, and some more intense training would also benefit me a lot.
J and I are already talking about next year (As I have a Gaurenteed entry and no need for a lottery) and also running "THe Other Half" in october.
We shall see. I hopeI can benefit from both the living at altitude and also the upcoming visit to the National Training Center, and perhaps I can run at an average8 min mile pace, unlike what I did yesterday!
Still, I have had so many very unpleasant races that this was lovely. People were super friendly, great sights. I think I'll pass on the ipod forever more though because I felt like I was so so seperate from everyone else.