Woot! I ran the SLC Half last weekend and had a great time! The weather was perfect, and I was in good company. I haven't raced since October, so it was so exciting to be there among the HUGE crowd of runners again and feel the race adrenaline. I must admit to feeling jealous of the full marathoners, and also being in awe of them a bit (despite having recently run a full myself!).
The morning went like this: Matt gets up after a sleepless night worrying about the race (to race or not to race with his lack of training and bad knee). He finally decides to bag it and come cheer instead. I go through the whole lengthy race morning routine including: Glide, sunscreen, belt prep, makeup (and next year I'll be adding self-tanner! Don't hate, low maintenance ladies! See my white flesh in the pictures below and understand.), outfit, nutrition, etc., etc., etc.
Then we go to pick up Danna and her madre. Danna has a near panic attack when Matt changes his parking spot in her driveway "Kristin!! YOUR CAR'S MOVING!!!" I have a near panic atack thinking...What?!! Isn't Matt driving it?! Are we having a race morning emergency?! Waaaa!!! ...But no, it's just Matt moving the car and we laugh and realize the race morning jitters are fully upon us.
We take the TRAX train to the starting line. This part of the day includes such fun stories as: meeting up with Ksenia (D's quasi-sister), lots of racers giving us advice as runners on race day are want to do, a sardine-packed and smelly train ride (How do people already stink?), and me playing a trick on an over-zealous and insane public transit man.
Then the wait. I love looking at the other runners, their routines, their outfits, their race day choices. There was some excellent people-watching that morning. Rock music blared, and we waited in line at the bathrooms most of the hour. The national anthem was awesome- so many thousands of people watching the flag- I love it. Then the gun went off!
We started mid-pack which was new for me (in the full marathon we let the crowd go before we began wayyy back there). It was fun to run in the crowd! We started nice and slow which was tough- I hate having so many runners pass by- and our first walk break felt downright embarrassing. I wanted to tell the runners, "Hey, we don't really need this! We're just trying to be smart, okay?!"
There were a few organization issues this race- looong lines at the bathrooms, ran out of cups at one of the aid stations, and the bag drop was a mess (more on that below). D and her mom stopped for a bathroom break and Ksenia and I continued without them for the rest of the race. We bonded (huh, Ksenia?) big time, which is what happens when you train and race with someone. Danna and I are tied together for life fo'sho'. Ksenia and I had a great time chatting about running, enjoying the course and the perfect weather, checking out all the interesting people (like the guy on the side of the road cooking bacon for any interested runners, and the [then soon to be] winner of the full marathon passing us with a huge, honking police entourage). My favorite part of the race was the trek toward the city and capital building (uphill in fact). It was very epic.
I sprinted at the end which was probably not wise. In order to knock mere seconds off my time, I got some foot soreness I think. It was just so fun!
Okay, after the race there was a big issue. The drop bags (these are bags of your stuff that you go pick up after the race- such as your jacket, and extra gear) were not well organized and you had to stand in a huge line that wasn't moving much and wrapped all around the post-race grounds. I figured it was a 2-hour wait which is ridiculous after you've just raced and want to get off your feet. Matt said, "Let's just ditch your stuff and go pick it up later." But my cute new running shirt was in there and I was not about to ditch it. We went to the back of the park- the area where the bags were held and tried to sweet-talk volunteers into looking for my bag. It was total chaos and we were clearly not the only people who were trying to do so. The poor volunteers were getting lots of angry hassling, the bags were still not fully sorted and poorly organized. After lots of attempts at getting the bag in different creative ways, Matt had had it and said, "I'm going to go get the car, and by the time I get back if you don't have the bag, let's head." Well, I tried, but it was just crazy and impossible. I was about to give up and sure Matt was about to pull up, when I looked over at a strikingly handsome volunteer inside the fence sorting bags- it was Matt!!! He had somehow obtained a volunteer shirt and was gathering mine and my friends' bags, as well as a few other desperate/begging runners around the fence. He looked up at me with a mischievous grin and held his finger to his lips. A few other runners said, "Wait, isn't that your husband?" We all burst out laughing at his cleverness, and I ended up getting out of there much faster. Matt loves me to tell this story. It totally saved his "I didn't end up racing today" blues, and...well now he has a cute new shirt!
Well, that's race day for ya. I am so glad I iced, so glad Ksenia had bottles, and so glad I discovered GU Chomps. Enjoy a few pics!
Waiting for the TRAX with our fellow runners.
The bathroom lines at the starting line! -and- The first few minutes of running- check out the runners allllll the way down the street.
Mid-race and lookin' gooood ladies!
The finsihers. Hotties!
The icing...oh the agony- this icing session hurt!
The finish line!
Bag chaos! Can you spot Matt and his big grin here?
(Right in the center.) Hee hee.
(Right in the center.) Hee hee.