(So, it turns out I had already written my Dino Half Recap. I just never edited it or published it. Clearly. Geez! Here it is; This event took place on May 4th; Read it as if it’s only been a few days after that…….)
How do I sound the most excited in written text and on a blog?!?!
I’ll give it a try: YAYAAYYYAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What an excellent race!!!!!!!! All I want to do is fill your entire screen with exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (But I wont).
Why am I so excited? I’m going to make you wait till the end…. muahahaha
Last weekend, Like a month ago A long time ago, I took a couple friends on a quick road trip to the eastern side of Utah, barely over the Colorado border. We were heading there to run the Dino Half Marathon!
This was another of my last minute, spontaneous ideas. I saw this race advertised on the side bar of Facebook, of all places, and was sold when I saw that participants get a dinosaur medal. Score!
So, friday after work, I picked up Shay, dropped off my animals at my Mom’s and picked up another friend, Duncan from Fort Collins. THEN we made our way to Utah.
Luckily I got to sleep most of the drive, being exhausted from my lack of sleep all week long. We did stop in Steamboat Springs on the way to eat some pre-race nutrition. It took a lot longer than we expected and we didn’t get into Utah until midnight.
We set up our tents as quickly as possible, set all of our phone alarms and got about 4 hours later. (I kinda have a habit of running races after little sleep).
Morning came a little too fast and we had to pack up and get ready by the light of our head lamps as we shivered in the cold. My brilliant idea was to just walk around with my blanket around me…it worked, I just got some strange looks from other ladies in the bathroom. “I was cold,” I said, as we all laughed.
After finding our way to the last minute packet pick at the race finish/bus pick up, we finished getting prepared by changing, feeding ourselves and having Duncan drop Shay and I off at the race head. This was going to be Shay’s first Half Marathon! (And she brought her doggie along to run with her!)
WONDERFUL! One of the most fun, well put on events I have ever been to! Seriously! I found out that the guy who runs this event, has a dozen other races throughout Utah including one that’s free for veterans. He picked a beautiful, easy, well marked course through the Dry Fork Canyon. The ONLY, tiny things I’d complain about is that there weren’t enough port-a-poties at the start, and there wasn’t really anywhere to park at the start (they had shuttle service buses that dropped off 99% of people but for the rest of us, we had to be dropped off by others. We chose to drive because Duncan wasn’t running). There may have been minimal, side of the canyon, sketchy parking a little bit further up, but no way to get back to the car post-race. So we had to wait until gun time while we stood there freezing.
The cool thing about this race was there was a “Sprintasaurus” competition added in. For a half mile section marked out on the street, they had chip scanners. This was where you could run that half mile as fast as you could!! I was completely focused on my pace and energy level and chose not to participate. I loved the idea though. It allowed other people that may not typically place in either their age group or an event, a chance to win. Very nice touch.
I really wanted to PR. I wanted to test my fitness level and see how my training was going. My previous half marathon PR was was 1:51:37 (I actually have been thinking this whole time that it was 1:54) Either way, I wanted to beat it. They had sent out a race email to us a couple days before, annoucing that they had hired race pacers. PERFECT. I decided to run with the 1:50 pacer to help me.
I was the only one that wanted to run with that group, so I lucked out and pretty much had my own personal coach. Jorge was his name. He was super friendly, helpful and encouraging. We talked pretty much the entire race; something that really help distract me. At one point Jorge has said we didn’t have to talk, but I insisted that talking would be beneficial.
We talked about running in general: pacing techniques, tips for my upcoming marathon, his running history and story, his family (his wife was actually up ahead of us pacing another group) as well as our lives. I learned a lot in those 13.1 miles. A lot about Jorge and a lot about myself. I also learned a lot about my running ability and the power of mind over matter.
For the first 2 miles, I couldn’t feel my toes or feet. I knew they were hitting the pavement, but they were numb from the cold (I’m tellin’ you – THAT’S how cold it was!) and I couldn’t feel what was happening. Then they thawed, and oh man did that sting! Luckily that didn’t last very long.
The course was mostly downhill with only one uphill that got me; but it only lasted for a quarter mile – at the most.
For most of the race, Jorge told me we were doing well, and ahead of schedule!!! His pacing schedule wrapped around his wrist dictated where we needed to be time wise at each mile; even adjusting time for the inclines/declines and allowing for time to walk through the aid stations.
(Speaking of aid stations. They had plenty, about every 3 miles, each with water and powerade. One even had a GU station. I took my GU at about mile 6, chocolate flavor (and I actually didn’t mind that flavor – thinking about using this one for my marathon – which yes, I did use this flavor!). I just wish I had saved it until later in the race.)
At one point, Jorge handed me the pacer time stick. “You’re going to be pacer now,” he said, “just keep this pace up. I’m going to run up and check on my wife.” He noticed that she wasn’t doing as well. “How can you tell?” I asked. He replied that he just knew her; it was her posture, speed, and energy that tipped him off. Impressive and romantic, I think! He ran up ahead, held pace with her for a moment, then returned back to me. “Great job! You’re still on perfect pace!” (In case you’re wondering, his wife wasn’t feeling that well, side cramp If I remember correctly, but recovered shortly after his talk/motivation and she kept her pace group on target as well).
Jorge stuck with me until there was 3 miles left. He encouraged me to run my own race and saying “it’s all you! It’s all YOU!.” I charged ahead, but hit my wall at mile 11. This was the only time in the race that I was hurting and wanting to quit. I felt great all the rest of the race but those last two miles killed me!
Jorge passed me, still keeping to his schedule, but having him in sight, in front helped a ton.
We came around a couple corners, and I caught my first glance at the finish line.
Finally! I kicked it in gear, passed Jorge again as he stepped back and cheered me on finishing in UNDER 1:50 at….
Yeah! I beat my PR by about 2 minutes and finished under my goal time! And guess what else?????
I PLACED 3rd IN MY AGE GROUP!!!!!!!!!! And! It was the big age group: 20-29!!!
AND I got a cool dinosaur medal and a plaque!
When I saw what time was on the clock, I almost wanted to cry! (Although, I’m saving my tears for my first full – which I didn’t really end up crying like I thought).
The After Party:
After taking my shoes off my feet as soon as I possibly could, I was just lolly-gagging around, people watching as I waited for Shay to make her way to the finish line. She predicted that she would have finished in 2:30 based on her training runs, I thought I had time. Sure enough, at 2:02, I saw a doggie round the corner! I ran around the field (in my socks, mind you) and cheered her on!
I’m sooooo proud of her for A) finishing her first half and B) Running it sooooo fast! She also took 24th in the Sprintasaurus with a time of 3 min and 14 seconds!
We took a bunch of pictures, talked to a bunch of people and hung out so I could get my 3rd place plaque.
Great event! Well organized and great camaraderie! I highly suggest adding this race to your race wish list. Plus, they change the dinosaur on the medal every year!!! After the awards, they had a kid’s race around the field. It was super cute!
We met the race director and told him our story. He seemed to love that Shay ran with her dog and loved that we came from Colorado!
We were going to climb (as in rock climb); after all, that was Duncan’s bribe for coming with us; but we were all pretty tired and had blisters on our feet. So instead, we ventured to Dinosaur National Monument. I had been there as a kid and really wanted to see it again. After looking at Dino bones, we decided to head back to the land of Denver.
Dina Half Website
If you want to read Shay’s post on it she writes her own blog and you can check it out here. Be warned! There’s a horribly gross picture of her bloody foot; but you can also check out a ridiculous picture of me sleeping in the car.