Sunday, June 26, 2016

AF Canyon Half 2016

About 10 days before the AF half, my friend Laura text me that her friend wasn't going to be able to run the race and that I could have her spot. I was excited to run this half because I had heard great things about it. But I quickly got nervous because I hadn't been running in preparation for a half that soon. I had become more consistent with my running in April but I just started running a specific half marathon training 2 weeks prior for the Cottonwood half on September 10th. My longest run this year had been a 10 miler down Hobble Creek the week before. I knew I could run the half - I just wasn't sure what my time would be like.

Race Expo the day before. Laura, Racheal, Jaimee, and me.

 Last fall I ran my first half, the Halloween Half down Provo Canyon. I ran the race in 2:07. I ended up using the bathroom in the last 3 miles and there was a giant hill at the end that was really hard and I ended up walking. I felt great about my time, but I definitely wanted the sub 2 hours. As I have been preparing for my upcoming half, my main goal was under 2. And sometimes I thought about shooting for 1:55. I used the website to look up the course elevation and they determine what paces each mile should be based on elevation to achieve your goals. My main goal was to break 2, but I wrote down the times for a 1:55 half.

The night before the race Bob smoked ribs, and we had corn, cantaloupe, bread, and then Cold Stone ice cream for dessert. I went to bed at 9:30 and woke up to Ruby crying at 2:55, just 5 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off. I quickly got ready and went to the kitchen. I didn't plan well for what I should eat before the race. Normally, I wake up and run. I don't eat. But I figured I should eat something. Unfortunately my bananas were in banana bread stage so they were out. I ate a piece of bread and grabbed a chocolate chip cookie from the pantry I had bought the day before from the bakery.

I left at 3:45 for Art Dye Park in AF. I ate 1/4 of the cookie and a little bit more bread. I also drank a little water.  I got there at 4:10 and about 10 minutes later met up with Laura and Racheal at the busses. The bus ride brought the butterflies in my stomach and I started to get excited and nervous. We got to the starting point around 5:20 and used the bathrooms and then sat down to wait out the last half hour. (I had to rewrite my pace goals on my hand since they washed off with the hand sanitizer after using the bathroom. Laura and Racheal told me I was crazy.) We met up with Jaimee at this point too. I was running in her mom's place as she had flown out of state to be with her daughter after having a baby.

Right before the race started. Jamie, me, Laura, & Racheal. 
The race started promptly at 6:00 and we were off. The four of us ran together for the first couple miles and then we separated. As we ran down the canyon I kept reminding myself to enjoy it while it lasts. There is nothing better than running down the canyon in the shade. My brother told me once that you should always start your race in the back, take the first mile a little slower and then work your way into your pace. And then you will pass people, instead of being passed at the end. My first mile was right on and then the next few were a little faster than what I had written down.  It's so hard to hold yourself back in a race when everyone is flying by.

The AF Canyon Run is for cancer. All of the money raised goes to cancer patients. Along the route probably every quarter mile there is a sign about cancer. Some were stories, and some said plain and simple, "Cancer Sucks." I loved these because it took your mind off of the fact that you were running and you thought about something or someone besides yourself. I thought a lot about friends and family members who are dealing with or have dealt with cancer.

I skipped the first and the last aid station but stopped and walked through the 4 in the middle. Around mile 4 we passed the 2 hour pacers. I told Laura, we are good as long as we can stay in front of them. At mile 6 I ate a few jelly beans. We left the canyon somewhere around mile 7 and then joined a trail of rolling hills. I didn't mind it because for the most part it was covered and still shady. When we first got on the trail the drum line from AF High was playing and it was so neat and motivating. Laura and I parted ways right before mile 9.

I honestly felt great and was loving the entire run. Mile 10 had a little bit of a downhill to it and at the end I passed the 1:55 pacer. I couldn't believe it. When I saw her, I told her I was so happy to see her. She said she was a little bit ahead of schedule because the course was long. That instantly got in my head. I was mad she told me. Even though I felt great, I didn't want to run one foot more than 13.1 miles. I never looked at the total time on my watch. I just kept casually looking at the mile split and didn't try to think too much about it. Mile 12 was through a neighborhood which had a slight incline and even though it wasn't much, I still felt it.

The last mile was on Murdock Canal trail & American Fork trail and we joined up with the 10k, and maybe the 5k? This is the only part of the race that I didn't enjoy. We were on a small trail and there were a ton of people. I had to weave in and out of people which was a little annoying. But there was some downhill which was nice. When I saw the mile marker for 6, I knew that the finish was around the corner. I never saw the Mile 13 sign, but it should've been the same for Mile 6 of the 10k. I kicked it into high gear and pushed myself to the finish. I seriously felt so good. Normally at the end of the race I want to push it, but I'm out of gas by that point. I crossed the finish, grabbed a cool towel and my medal. I pushed stop on my watch and couldn't believe it said 1:50. This was huge for me. I was hoping for a sub 2, and thought 1:55 would be a long shot.

I got a little emotional as I thought about how far I have come. I have come a long way and I am proud of all the hard work I have put in. I can't wait for my next half.

Mile     Goal pace     Actual pace
1           8:50              8:50
2           8:58              8:34
3           9:00              8:49
4           8:44              8:18
5           8:28              8:12
6           8:28              8:24
7           8:50              8:31
8           9:00              8:57
9           9:06              8:47
10         9:03              7:59
11         9:14              8:11
12         9:03              8:40
13         9:11              7:48
 .1           :58                :30

At the end with Laura, I was so happy that she had a new PR too and came in under 2 hours!

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