The first year I ran half marathons, I ran 6. Maybe because I figured I was all trained and I may as well or because with each run I lost a little more of my sanity. The second year I ran 6 and that was mostly because I am undoubtedly insane. The third year I ran only one and that’s because I broke my hip. So this year, my fourth year of collecting medals, I was only willing to run my important races in case I got injured prior to an “unimportant” (read anything other than runDisney) race.
But then I needed a POT. …I mean yeah, but no, not what you are thinking.
Big deal races (and runDisney) require a POT (proof of time) if you want to be in a good corral (A or B, but really A) on race day, and not elbowing your way through the people who are here for the medal and a long ass walk. The last time I needed to sign up for a race solely for a POT was prior to my very first race, so, almost four years ago. Unfortunately for me, after taking almost a year off of running races because of my hip injury, and then returning to running about 30 seconds per mile slower, all I had were some disappointing (to me) race finish times to submit.
In the past, I flat out refused to submit any POT that was from a downhill race. This year, I was willing to bend the rules (my rules) a little with the Haunted Half being that it is half down emigration, half Salt Lake streets. Therefore, only half cheating…
I held off on signing up because I was worried about the famous Utah Fall weather. I was worried about snow and ice and all that other fun stuff that could cause me to slip and fall and miss the last runDisney race in California forever. Then a coupon hit my inbox on October 1st, and even though I was about 4 days away from a credible-ish forecast, I decided to sign us up and hit the snooze button if it snowed.
Race day arrived cold, but no snow. At least in the valley, but there were reports that there was “a little” snow up Emigration Canyon, where the starting line was located. I dressed in layers and kept reminding myself that there’s salt and the race didn’t start until the sun was up, so it would be all melted before we started! Right? RIGHT?!
The first two miles were pretty much ice. I almost fell twice. Like, the comical arms flailing, saying “whoa!” out loud, and legs spinning uselessly. After the second almost slip, I slowed down to a 10 minute mile. As it started to warm up and the ground became ice-free, I started running a more normal 8:20ish downhill pace. In fact, I ran almost 9 miles without stopping – save for walking at the water stations. That’s when it started to fall apart.
First, we had some cheerleaders halfway through mile 9. They had water and smiles and we stopped to take a photo and thank them for waking their butts up on a Saturday to cheer us on.
That also happened to be the part of the run where you run flat for a few blocks and then go uphill for a bit. I had to stop and walk a few times and have an honest chat with myself about the fact that I was almost to mile 10 and I hadn’t had ANY gu (race fuel) and basically, WTF, man?!
I dusted myself off and ran slowly from then on out, stopping to walk for a bit or a while depending on the grade of the hill until mile 12 when I fully realized that I wasn’t going to be getting the “cheat time” of under 2 hours that I had been depending on. I was so annoyed with myself that I just concentrated on moving forward and learning from my lack of fueling during races thing.
I dragged myself to the finish line and didn’t even stop for apple juice or pizza. But I did grab my medal, which wasn’t as fun as the 2015 Dracula, but was still fun.
Crystal (our Half Marathon running buddy who was resting off an injury) brought beignets to us, so all in all, totally worth running and almost falling down the canyon. Even if I didn’t get the finish time I wanted.
Event Managed by: Runtastic Events
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Event Expo: Yes
Race Start time: 8:30 am, last bus up the canyon leaves at 7:00 am
Race Day Weather: 25-50 degrees
Race Features: beautiful views, all downhill (you run fast without even trying), and this year featured ice and snow (-1)
Water Stations: 6 | 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12
Energy Supplement Stations: Yes | Gu at mile 7
Race Course: Emigration Canyon, Foothill, Harvard/Yale, Sugarhouse, Sugarhouse Park
Running with Traffic: Yes, but very well protected
Finisher Medal: Yes
Special Category Medals: Yes
Half Marathon Rating: 9 out of 10