Friday, September 16, 2016

Cedar City Half Marathon

This past weekend (September 9th-11th) I traveled down to Cedar City with one of my former roommates - AnnMarie. AnnMarie grew up in Tennessee, but during the years we were roommates, her family moved to Cedar City - a much more convenient location, even if it is still a bit of a drive.

The plan/reason for this trip was a.) to run the Cedar City Half/5K, and b.) to celebrate AnnMarie's 30th birthday! AnnMarie is the oldest of seven kids and visiting her home (where six out of the seven siblings were there, plus her parents and niece and nephew) definitely brought back the memories of being at home with my siblings growing up. It feels like it has been SO long since we were mostly all at home and young enough to bicker and tease. But it was definitely a fond nostalgic feeling/memory.

We arrived on Friday evening after an unusually long drive (for the distance we were covering). AnnMarie got lost coming to pick me up (which worked in our favor as the UPS driver didn't arrive with my present for her until just three minutes prior to her own arrival at our home). We took the long way to get gas in Provo and then had to backtrack so her brother (who we'd picked up) could leave a key he'd forgotten to leave. And then there was an accident about half an hour North of Cedar City that caused a ten(ish) minute delay. Oh! And we stopped at Rowley's Red Barn in Santaquin for apples, peaches, and delicious apple cider slushies. Honeycrisp apples at $.99 a pound. How has no one ever told me about this place before?

Saturday morning we woke up early and got dressed and had a quick breakfast before arriving at the race finish at 5:30 AM so we could be bused up to the race start lines up the canyon. AnnMarie and her sister, Heidi, had originally signed up for the half marathon, but after a series of problematic situations for training (which resulted in very little training), both opted to run the 5K instead. I, having not run a half marathon yet this year, decided to stick to that distance even though I've never had poorer training for any half marathon that I've run. My goal was to finish in under two hours and thirty minutes. I wasn't going to push myself or feel any pressure, I was just going to go with my pace and have a good time.

And I did!

I boarded the bus, chatting with the runner who sat beside me as we headed up, stood by one of the fires for a few minutes, used the restroom (only time I did - always fortunate, as having to stop and use the restrooms during the race is never my favorite), and then spent most of the rest of the wait time by the fire, slowly peeling off my outer layer. The race was set to start at 7:00 AM, but most of us didn't realize that the actual start line was almost a third of a mile further up the road. Long story short, the race started late as the runners all realized this and made their way up. I plugged my headphones in, turned my music on, started my Endomondo tracking, and went for it.

The Cedar City Canyon is beautiful. Not very different from several of the other canyon halfs I've run, but beautiful all the same. I completely tuned in to my music and ignored everything but the music and the scenery. And I felt great. Really great - as in, surprisingly great. A few of those songs I posted about a few weeks ago? They were perfect running songs. I felt amazing until about mile 10, at which point my hips started to hurt and the lack of training started to kick in. But I kept on, now alternating short walking breaks with running. I don't typically like to walk at all, but as I said, I'd put no pressure on myself to finish quickly or anything.

In retrospect, I do wish that I'd pushed myself a little more in those last three miles. Why? Because if I had, I totally would have broken two hours. Honestly, it probably could have been a personal record for me if I'd been able to keep my pace at what it was for those first ten miles. As it was, I finished at about two hours and three minutes - way faster than I'd anticipated. And, I hurt. And, I still hurt (a little). But it was one of my most enjoyable runs to date. Very fun. I was able to sprint at the end - always a good sign.

AnnMarie and Heidi's 5K went well and they arrived back just after I finished the half. We spent a few minutes taking photos, a few minutes as I rolled my legs out, and then headed home for showers, food, and naps. We mostly hung out for the rest of the day along with celebrating AnnMarie's birthday. Her mom had made a beautiful brownie Pooh Bear cake complete with a homemade Pooh figurine reading some of AnnMarie's favorite books. :) AnnMarie and I are pretty different, but our enjoyment in books is very similar. With this in mind, my gift for her was a copy of The Rithmatist - one of the few Brandon Sanderson books she hadn't yet read.

Sunday morning we went to church with her family, had lunch/dinner, and then headed back North. The drive home went much more quickly - in part because I read The Rithmatist out loud in the car as we drove. Such a fun book.

It was a great weekend. I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment from the run. Spending time with AnnMarie and her family was also very enjoyable. But admit that I was pretty happy to be at home again with Brandon and Peaches. There's no place like home, right?

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