Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon Review

HALF MARATHON RECORD: 1 Hour & 51 Minutes

We drove to Bryce Canyon with our friends Darin & Shelly Thomas. I have an incredible amount of respect for Shelly who somehow manages to put up with someone as obnoxious colorful as Darin on a daily basis.


On Friday we drove the race course from the start at Ruby's Inn to Cannonville. The scenery along the road is amazing. With views like this, it's no wonder that the race sells out.




The night before the race we met up with the entire neighborhood who was also up at Bryce Canyon for the race. We had a big spaghetti dinner with French bread, fruit, Dutch oven potatoes, peanut butter bars, salad, and Rice Krispy treats. I ate so much that I made myself sick. This is classic Darin as we were preparing dinner:


At the Ruby's Inn campground there was a raised water drain that I jumped off a few times to get a mid-air photo. This was my favorite:


Our friend Liz came up with the idea to make a pyramid for the group shot. Fortunately no spines were snapped during the production of this photograph.


I love the whole process of racing. I have absolutely no expectation of winning anything, but I love the excitement of pinning my race number on my shirt and feeling the anxiousness of wondering what is going to happen during the race.

The ONLY thing I DON'T like about racing is the lack of sleep on the night before the race. We went to bed at 10:15pm and I woke up at 1:50am. I'm usually too excited and anxious to sleep. Racing on 3.5 hours of sleep adds to the challenge. Why does this photo at the starting line make me look like I'm half asleep? Because I am.


The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon is a runner's dream. It's fast and beautiful. I wasn't able to find a Bryce Canyon Half Marathon elevation chart before the race. So....here's my own elevation chart from the race:


The mega downhill starting at mile 2 is so fun, but also dangerous because it's easy to push hard going down the hill and then the gas tank is empty later in the race. I felt like I did a good job of pushing down the hill but not overdoing it. My times for each mile were:

Mile 1: 8:35
Mile 2: 8:30
Mile 3: 7:11 (which included a quick bathroom break)
Mile 4: 8:17
Mile 5: 8:33
Mile 6: 8:09
Mile 7: 8:18
Mile 8: 8:47
Mile 9: 8:31
Mile 10: 8:43
Mile 11: 8:57
Mile 12: 9:19
Mile 13: 9:11

Starting at mile 4 I started doing a walk break every half mile. Sometimes I walked for 30 seconds and sometimes a minute. Before the race I was really nervous about the pain I've been feeling in my foot. I usually use the male approach to medical issues: If You Ignore It, It Will Probably Go Away. I am so happy it didn't bother me too much during the race. My calves did start to cramp up in the last mile. They become really tight and get shooting pains like a German Shepherd just took a bite of flesh. Fortunately I was close to the finish line.

I was reminded about the importance of the mental aspect of racing. While I'm running, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the physical stuff that is going on:
  • Sweet mother of all things holy, my knees are going to buckle.
  • It's so hot that my body might run out of water and start sweating blood.
  • Hmm, I don't remember stepping on an ice pick. Why does it feel like one went through my shoe?
  • This blister growing on my foot is going to be big enough to need a birth certificate.
  • Oh boy, it's going to be embarrassing if I throw up Gatorade all over the road.
The fascinating thing is that these thoughts and many others are constant and come all at the same time. So mentally, it is critical to learn how to tune out these thoughts and focus on something different. Sometimes I can do that well, but I still have a lot of room for improvement.

In both of the marathons I have run, I reached a low point where I realized that I wasn't going to meet my time goal. So during this race, it was such a good feeling to be at mile 8 and realize that I could run 10 minute miles for the rest of the race and still beat my record.

I was ecstatic to cross the finish line in 1 Hour & 51 Minutes to set my half marathon PR (personal record), beating my previous PR by 5 minutes:


I ended up finishing #289 out of 1141 who ran the half marathon. My crazy fast friend Tom finished 16th in the whole race, and our friend Ty finished 22nd. Incredible! This is a picture of Ty - I wondered if it was her gold shoes that made her so fast.


The best part about this race was spending time with so many good friends. Here is a picture with Liz, Renee, Mel, and Cherie.


Mel did awesome finishing in 2 hours 24 minutes - without any injuries. This was way faster than her time last year.


The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon was a great experience and I loved the feeling of accomplishment after working hard to progress toward a goal. Next on the list: Park City Marathon in about a month. Bring it!


"People can't understand why a man runs. They don't see any sport in it. Argue it lacks the sight and thrill of body contact. Yet, the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. For in running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability, with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions."
~ Glenn Cunningham, Olympic Games medalist

5 comments:

Jen said...

Great job to everyone. I like the quote at the end of this post.

Dansie Family said...

you so rocked it, as did everyone else. and it was so fun to be able to see everyone finish. i can't wait for next year!

mizunogirl said...

I know this is super old, I'm getting ready to come out to Bryce for the Half! I admit I'm a wee bit nervous about the elevation and also the incline. I don't want to tear up my quads!!!!

brycecanyonhotel said...

Great pictures, It look full of fun and enjoyment there.

Bryce Restaurant

rubysinn said...

Beautiful pics and great job! Hope to be there soon.

Map of Bryce Canyon