Friday, December 14, 2007

The Rose Bowl Half Marathon - Our report -

We got up early Saturday morning and got our selves raced up. I love the anticipation of race day. It’s so fun to pin your number on, strap the timing chip on, and enjoy the excitement of it all. I laughed and laughed and Jeff’s bib number. Doesn’t he look great for 90???

When we got to the race we felt like the only ones in shorts. For S. California, it was a chilly morning at 48 degrees. It felt like summer to us. We headed over to the Rose Bowl to the starting line. There were about 1200 half-marathon runners there and about 1000 more 5K’ers. It was a fun starting line, complete with the “Star Spangled Banner,” sung by someone awesome. Then the horn went off, and we started our race. Jeff and I started our anniversary race with a kiss – inspired by the one and only Kristy. It was the most beautiful run I had ever experienced. I love the Pasadena area so much now, because I have run their streets and trails. As I started the race, I decided to dedicate each mile to people who had helped me do this race. Of course Mile Number one went to Jeff. We ran together and felt really good at the first. We ran with a guy that runs with no shoes!!! I can’t even imagine. About mile two I started to feel not so good. I have a reoccurring pain underneath my right rib that is excruciating. That’s when we faced our first hill. It was a steep one, but I leaned into it and made it to the top. At the top, I could already feel it in my legs. They were screaming at me. The next few miles I stayed with Jeff, but I struggled. We ran down a busy street lined with bleachers for the Rose Bowl Parade. This is a gradual up hill for a few miles. I was hurting pretty bad. About mile 6, I slipped behind Jeff. It isn’t very good for me mentally to see him up ahead of me, and not be able to catch up. At this point I decided to stop pushing as hard and let him go. As soon as I couldn’t see him, I did better. The pain in my rib subsided and I could enjoy the race again.

At the half way mark they had a race pad to mark our 10K time. My time at this point was 57:17. Not too bad for having a little bit of a struggle and some hills. At mile 7 it was time for some goo. This is when the trail running started. It was fun. A little muddy in some places, but it was beautiful. There were lots of turns throughout and lots of trees. It was breathtaking to run here. We turned a corner and we were shocked with “THE HILL.” I was running next to a lady who explained it perfectly – Holy ---- I’m not one to cuss, but it was absolutely appropriate at this moment. It was straight up and nobody was running. I thought, I can do this – I don’t want to stop running. The race workers had somebody at the bottom of the hill cheering us on, telling us we could do it. I started up the switch back, rocky, STEEP hill. I tried to pass those who were walking, but the trail was so skinny it became impossible. About 1/4 up the hill, I too had to start walking. In single file we worked up this horrible thing. The entire way up, I could hear cowbells and cheering. Once I finally reached the top, I realized who was making all the noise for us. Race volunteers dressed (pretty scandelously) as Mrs. Claus. I’ve never been that grateful for anyone dressed that way, but those girls certainly helped me up that hill. We went under another tunnel under the highway (still uphill) and reached a water station. I had made it! I had to really fight back the tears at this point because I was so grateful I had reached the top, but it was really hard for me that I had to stop running. I knew I had to stop worrying about my time and just finish the race at this point. The next few miles were pretty great. We crossed a big bridge and headed back toward the stadium. From miles 8-10 we ran under and over many highways, and faced a few more hills. Miles 11-13 were great for me. I had one moment about mile 11 where I had to tell myself to stop crying. I get kind of emotional when I think too hard about what I am actually doing. I guess I just feel so happy when I am running. So grateful that my body can do what I am asking it to do. Most people can’t understand why we just can’t get enough of this racing stuff. It has changed my life. The feeling of accomplishment is unbelievable. During mile 13 I was so excited I had almost made it. This was the only point in the ENTIRE race that I had a moment of, “Can I really do this?” Running is such a mental game for me. You push through a lot of pain and talk yourself into doing things that part of you is screaming for you to stop. I just kept thinking, Jeff is at the end and I am almost there. The last turn into the finish line was so great. I kept looking for Jeff, hoping to find him. Then I saw the clock. For a split second, I was really disappointed. I saw 2:04 – I ran my hardest through the finish line as they announced, “Jana Hanni from Terreton, Idaho.” That’s when I saw Jeff. I can’t explain how great it was to finally see him. We finished it!!! They put my beautiful medal on, took my timing chip off and I headed for the water. My official time was 2:04:02.

After the race Jeff told me about his race. He did really well. We talked and talked about, “THE HILL.” About mile 11 Jeff really struggled. His thigh cramped up, followed by both calves. He said he almost fell over. He thought I would catch up. He had to walk a lot of the last two miles. He had to stretch a lot too. He finished in 2:00:05. He too was really disappointed he didn't break 2:00. This was by far the hardest race we have ever done. It was impossible to get a PR out of this one.

We went through the runners food court after and enjoyed bananas, oranges, grapes, bagels, and other goodies. We wanted to go into the stadium to take some pictures. We headed up and got stopped by the race workers. Each of the runners received a bracelet to get a free beer in the beer garden. We left our bracelets at the hotel obviously because weren't going to be using them. We didn't realize it would be inside the stadium. So, they first let Jeff in but stopped me. They didn’t believe I was 21! Can you believe that!?? The police was checking for ID as well. We had to walk back to the car to get my drivers license to prove that I was in fact of legal age. Too funny. I can't wait to have 30 candles this year!!!

I mentioned earlier that I dedicated a mile to several important people. Jeff was #1, mile 2 went to my Mom, #3 was for my Dad (they have watched and cheered at several races during the last year and helped us so much with our kids so we could do this), #4 was for Josh, #5 for Payton, #6 for Grace. Mile 7 was for Brooke Peebles. She’s the one who invited me to run in the first place. She is my friend with MS who runs marathons. She is amazing. Mile 8 went to Heather Murdock, another friend who helped me through my first half marathon. She was a joy to run with. Mile 9 went to Tami Taylor, another running buddy who inspires me to keep going. Mile 10 went to my Grandma Ruth. She is such an inspiring lady. She raised my mom and aunt by herself after my Grandpa was killed in a car accident. She has run many marathons (so to speak) throughout her life without him. Mile 11 went to Angela, Jeff’s sister. Someday, soon!!! we will run a marathon together. It will be so great. Mile 12 went to you Mommy Marathon Ladies. You are my virtual support group. Each of you inspire me to lace up my shoes daily. I am lucky to get to read about your awesome races! Mile 13 was for me. It takes a lot of time, and energy to train for any race. It is all worth it for what you get in return. I deserve each moment spent training to work on me. The self-confidence, the clarity of mind, and sheer joy I get from doing this is DEFINITELY worth it.

We went in and took some fun pictures of the stadium together. What a fun place for a race! After we hobbled back to the car and drove around to see if we could find “THE HILL.” I wanted a picture to remember it, but it was within a trail area and I wasn’t in any shape to walk a few miles to get to it again. While driving around we saw the last runner of the race. It was so inspiring. We looked up the results on the internet, his name was Ed Rasky, and he was in the 80-90 year old division. He finished in 4:57:08. His shirt said on the back, “I run for kids with cancer.” I’m so glad I saw him. He was only at about mile 10 and he looked like he was really struggling, but what a heart that man has! So many interesting and inspiring people are at each race. I just love it.

My cute husband went above and beyond to plan this 10 year anniversary race for us. I can't thank him enough.

Here's a link to some of the official race pictures:

This picture of my husband made me want to cry. Look at the pain this poor man went through for me. Man I love him.....

Every time I see a camera at a race I have this silly reflex to wave like I am going to be on TV..... Anyway here's one of me.

Thanks to all you great ladies!!! I can't wait to run with you all!


Ang said...

I love that picture of you! And you already know how much I love your race report! You guys are awesome.

Suzie Petunia said...

What a great race report!! I think it is wonderful that you train and race with your husband. What a tremendous experience to share together. I've never faced a hill like the one you described during a race. Wow! I'm impressed with your time for such a tough course. I especially love the way you describe the reason why you do all of this: "The self-confidence, the clarity of mind, and sheer joy I get from doing this is DEFINITELY worth it." I feel honored that you thought of us during your race and drew inspiration from that thought. You are inspiring to all of us!

Roxanne said...

Great job! That is a great time for a hilly course, you should be very proud. Have you ever heard of the Rim to Rim race here in Twin Falls. It is a killer route with huge hills, you should come do it somtime. Since we both live in Idaho we should run a race sometime.

foxontherun said...

As a native Idahoan I say "Way to go Idaho" Great race report. What an inspiration. Thanks for sharing