Thursday, March 26, 2009

Canyonland Half Marathon Race Report


I ran the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab, Utah over the weekend. It was my 4th time running this race. My PR there was a 1:50 in 2006, and I was hoping to at least match that this year (I did the St. George half in January in 1:54). The weekend started out pretty crazy because my family had a commitment on Friday afternoon, so we didn't arrive in Moab until about 9:00 p.m. Luckily, my brother was down there, so he was able to pick up my race packet. By the time we got the kids settled, and I got my race gear ready, etc., it was 11:00 p.m. I never sleep well the night before a race, and this was no exception. I tossed and turned all night. Normally, this would not be a problem for this race, because it has a late start- 10:00, but this year I was scheduled to volunteer loading busses (my running club [locomotion] always volunteers with the race). I had to be at the busses at 6:45, so my alarm went off bright and early at 5:30 a.m., so that I had time to get ready and eat before I had to be there. It was fun loading the busses, but it made it a little difficult to prepare myself for the race. The late start makes it difficult anyway trying to plan what and when to eat and drink. The volunteers hopped on the very last bus, so we made it to the top just in time to quickly go to the bathroom, throw our bags on the truck, and hustle to the start. Not exactly my ideal race start- I like to have some time to chill. Anyway, I found my starting spot- somewhere between the 8:00 and 9:00 minute pacers, and proceeded to get my music ready. I put in my ear buds and pushed the button to turn it on. To my horror, it said "connect to power". My ipod was DEAD!!! Note to self: always check ipod the night before the race!! Mind you, I have run races without music, but I was PLANNING on having music for this race, so when it didn't work, I was sooo bummed. Oh well, I didn't have much time to be upset, because the race was about to start. I decided to do my best to not let it bother me. I managed to maintain about an 8:35 average pace for the first 5 miles, then I started to feel like I needed to pee. I was so annoyed, because I had gone right before the race. I kept running, but it became more urgent- I felt like I was going to pee my pants. Reluctantly, I pulled off to the nearest port-a-potty, and took my place in line- their were 3 people in front of me. When I finally got my turn, to my dismay, NOTHING CAME OUT!!! I couldn't believe it. I was literally standing in line with my legs crossed because I felt like I was going to pee my pants. Maybe I need depends. Or more Kegels. Anyway, like I said the late start kind of messed me up, I think. Maybe my bladder was just nervous, I don't know. So it felt like I lost 10 minutes, but when I looked back at my splits, I think it was more like 5 or 6. My next mile was an 8:30, and then the heat started really getting to me. It was about 80 degrees, and I have been used to running in Salt Lake early in the morning at 30 degrees. My body was not ready for the hot temps. I slowed down to around a 9:00-9:30 pace until the last 2 miles. If you've ever done this race, you know how awful the last 2 miles are. You come out of the canyon and then run slightly uphill on the highway with cars driving by, and it's usually windy, for about a mile. The course then turns onto a neighborhood street, then turns again to the finish. You can't see the finish line right when you turn the corner. It's about a half a mile away. It seems like forever. My stomach was really feeling awful when I it mile 11, so I ended up walking for a bit. I was able to start running again, and maintained about a 9:20 pace to the end. I ended up with a 2:05 (average 9:30 pace). Pretty far off my goal, but I figured with the lack of music, unexpected potty stop, extreme heat, and stomach issues, not too bad. I was so happy to be done. I felt like I was either going to hurl or pass out after I crossed the finish line. Once I walked around for a bit and then sat down, I was o.k. Despite everything, it really is a beautiful course, and one of my favorite half-marathons. Hopefully next year will be better!

Did any of you run this race? How was it for you?

9 comments:

Cal said...

Thanks for your post...I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought the last two miles were HARD! Especially when it was hotter than I was used too! But overall it was a great race and a great experience-good luck next year!

Mrs JP Chaos said...

Note to self: Avoid Canyonland Half Marathon.

KIDDING! (sort of)

Congrats on finishing and doing so well! Those unexpected obstacles can really mess with your head, but you still did awesome. Way to go!!

2Fold said...

Wow, Congrats on finishing. I ran The other half in October and it was so much fun, you otta try it. You get the whole road to yourself the entire race and a cooler temperature. But, I think anyone would have a hard time adjusting to the 80 degree weather as compared to 30 degree training weather. I love the picture, the background is so breathtaking.

Amber said...

You do not know how glad I am to see that someone else had my same experience!! I had trained in cold weather as well and set my goal for 1:55....a realistic goal for me...I trained at 9 minute miles. The heat killed me around mile 9 and I thought I would die at mile 10. I have NEVER EVER had to walk in a race..it is like my rule...I am very competitive against myself. This was the first race I had to walk in. I finished at 2:06. I also had the same potty experience....I had to pull over as well which definitely screwed me up. I am now running the Salt Lake Half to show myself I can have a good race experience!

amydear said...

Thanks for an honest race report. It's nice to know other people don't have perfect races. I hope you still had a good time! As a side note, my sister ran this one twice and didn't do great either time. Maybe it's cursed! Congrats on running a half marathon; that's always an accomplishment.

Anniebananie said...

Way to go! I was there cheering on my two daughters(12 & 9) and husband in the 5 mile. I was wishing I could have done it again. It is a beautiful course. The heat thing does get to ya, you did so great.

Kelly(M&M) said...

I appreciate a real race report that we can identify with. Salt Lake was so disappointing for me because of the wind and the weather. It can definitely affect you. I think the late start can make a huge difference. The potty issue must have been frustrating. But it sounds like you have a good attitude and enjoyed the race. I am looking forward to Newport with you. I hope we get blessed with good weather!

Robyn said...

Sorry to hear that you didn't have an ideal experience- but I am sure it happens to all of us sometimes. I had the same potty thing at the TOU marathon last fall. I had to stop 3 times in the first few miles. I don't know what my bladder was doing!?! It totally threw me off but I did my best and so did you. Be proud of yourself for pushing through the heat and know that you'll beat your time at SLC!

emily said...

i ran the race, too. people LOVE the moab race, but i realized i didn't. sure, it's beautiful. very beautiful. but i don't like the heat nor the 10am start time. also, it really isn't much of a downhill race - there's about a net loss 80 feet of elevation. hardly much over 13 miles. it's not too hilly or anything, but definitely not what i would call a downhill run.

but sounds like you still did a great job. finishing is what really matters, right? :)

good job on a good job!