It has been a long time since I have raced and even though I am not back to where I want to be with my running, I decided it was time and that the Timpanogos Half would be the perfect race to get back to it. My neighbor Janae planned to run so having a friend to go with made the idea seem even better. When we got the chance to stay at Snowbird, I wondered about being able to race, but decided that it wouldn't be that much further if I left from the mountain. It's an early race though so the day started ridiculously early, when I woke at 3:30 a.m. I immediately questioned my decision to run. Early mornings are not my best time. I woke up later than planned so after rushing around to get ready, I hurried out to my car where I found a note from Tim wishing me luck. I was feeling a little rattled so feeling his support was especially nice.
I met up with friends at the buses and rode up American Fork Canyon to Tibble Fork Reservoir where the race started. Even though it was dark, you could still see the water and trees which was actually a little calming for my race nerves. We were up there for the perfect amount of time to use the bathroom, stretch, and be ready to go at 6:00 a.m. when the race started. I started with sleeves which covered my watch so I ran the first three miles without knowing my pace or the actual mileage. The first half of the course is pretty downhill so I knew that I was running fast (at least for me), but I just tried to settle in and run at a pace that was hard, but sustainable. When I took off my sleeves I was tempted to leave my watch on the screen that shows the pace and mileage, but instead moved it to the heart rate screen and left it there the rest of the race. Best decision! This was a new course for me and initially that made me a little anxious - I like knowing where I am going. However, being in a new canyon and then on new trails actually made the miles fly by. The course was beautiful and mostly shaded with great water stops and plenty of runners to give the race a good energy. The best part was how much fun I had. I literally ran with a smile on my face for most of the way.
The course finishes on a high school track and I was happy to pass several people in the last half mile. Before the race I didn't know what to expect and just hoped to get under 2:30. Once I started running and felt good, I modified that to a 2:20. When I crossed the finish line and checked my watch, I was thrilled to see a 2:07. I was so happy to feel like some of my training is paying off even when it doesn't always feel so successful. Mostly, I was just so excited to have had so much fun racing - sometimes I forget that is the whole reason I started this madness.
My only friend at the finish line
Even though Jessica wasn't with me, I followed her tradition of writing my mantras on my hands. The visual totally helps me focus and keep gives me a little boost when I need it. Thanks Jess.