Friday afternoon, we dropped Splenda's car at his coworkers, he jumped into the pre-packed Cooper and we headed south. The timing was dicey since packet pick up for the Hurricane Half was only until 8pm.
I will say that I lurve having a Garmin if for no other reason than I can watch me shave off the estimated time of arrival.
We slid into Hurricane with 15 minutes to spare. The plan was to register Splenda for the 5k while there but they wouldn't go for it. I'm not sure I totally understand why since the fee would have been more, there was no morning of packet pick up and there were at least 40 packets still sitting on the table of the remaining people that were likely going to DNS. Please....couldn't he just get a bib number?
Since that was a no, he decided to run it bandit and after seeing what was in the swag bag, it was a good call. I forget that I need to change my expectations with the small town races.
We checked into our dumpy hotel getting our room keys and drove to St George for pasta before it got too late. Who knew that the Olive Garden would be so packed at 9pm at night in St George? Instead of waiting, we turned around and hit the Brick Oven instead. Good choice. Delish.
After inspecting our hotel very, VERY closely for bed bugs, we deemed it safe and brought our things in. Little FYI - if you can lift the mattress with one hand and the box springs with the other, it's a pretty sure bet that your sleep isn't going to be comfortable. Also, when you find a condom package under the box springs, it's best to get the brain bleach out.
I laid out my stuff for the morning, set my alarm and tried to go to sleep. I love my bed. I didn't this one. But the price was right. No worries.
5am came early! I dressed, woke up the Splenda and after making a stop at the Mav for my pre-race Monster and maple bar, we headed for the rec center and the bus loading area. I waiting in the car as long as possible since it was windy and cold. Thankfully, I had a sweatjacket and a light blanket to wrap around my legs. After a quick kiss and a good luck from the Splenda, I loaded the bus, plugged in my ipod and started to relax.
The start line was dark, so I don't really know where exactly we were at. I was grateful for my blankie and rather than stand in the pottie lines forever, I crouched behind a truck (to break the wind) and watched people. And looked at shoes. Fascinating that I now look at EVERYONE'S shoes!
As I noticed the time, I decided to brave the wind, take care of business and loosen up. I tried to gauge how many runners total there were but I am terrible at guessing those kinds of things. Maybe 150? Maybe?
There was no gun to signal the start, I just noticed everyone started to move, so I started my watch as I crossed the start line drawn in chalk on the road and got on my way. The course began out slightly down hill and very nice. I had loaded my blankie in the drop bag but still had the sweatjacket on. Good call since it took until about mile 2 to get fully warmed up. I ditched it there and was feeling great as I kept moving.
In my head, I knew this hill was coming up
I had previously let myself worry about it, but by the time I was running, it left my radar. Instead, it was the wind and the sand blowing sideways at me that had my attention. Seriously! There were two different occasions where a gust literally blew me into the runner at my side!
Before I knew it, I could see the hill and grade rising. It didn't look so intimidating as I had thought. As I kept running, I gauged how I was feeling and what my legs were saying and I realized that this felt no different than the legendary Veyo hill on the St George marathon course. I told myself if I could do that hill, I could do this one.
I watched my heart rate, kept it in a decent zone and my pace steady. The only thing bothering me was my left shoelace slapping my ankle, so once I hit the top, I allowed myself to pull off and tuck the lace away. I took a few deep breathes and then started back into it again.
The rest of the course was lovely. Sure we ran into a head wind the entire time, but it was back country roads and with the sun rising, it was beautiful.
The course was well marked, and fully supported at the occasional turn and/or intersection. There were enough runners to keep things from getting lonely and to have someone alongside to pace with for awhile.
On gentleman in particular kept steady with me for a good portion of the race. We were side by side before the hill, and then he moved forward. I caught him again on the backside but he fell back for the next couple of miles. For the last 2 he ended by my side again, and even though we didn't speak, it was clear that we were there to keep the pace steady for the other one.
We made the last turn and I could see the finish line ahead. I could also see the Cooper and Splenda getting out of it with the camera in hand. I pointed him out to my running partner and smiled for some pics.
As we got close, we sprinted in and I immediately looked at my watch. My goal had been to post a sub 2:10. With the hill, my health, and lack of training I had been trying to gauge a time that would be realistic. So when I looked at my wrist and saw the time of 2:03 and some change, I was thrilled!!
I had done better than I had hoped to. I felt great. My left hip was a little sore, but other than that, I felt fantastic! A few minutes later they called my number and I went up to the table to get my results.
Much to my surprise, I had placed 2nd in my age group! I asked if prizes were going 3 deep in age groups and after being told yes, I knew we would stick around to see what I won.
By now, the sweat was cooling on me and the wind was still blowing so it was uncomfortabley cold! We stood in the sun, moved around, stretched and tried to keep warm until they did the awards.
Of course, they always do the men first, and I was happy to see my "pacing" partner placed in his age group as well. By the time they called my name, most people had left, which was totally fine, I just wanted to see if I got anything worthwhile : )
Hey, a $10 gift card to the local sporting goods store is worthwhile.
Back at the hotel, I sat in an ice bath, took a hot shower, rolled and mushed my legs and then we packed up and left. At the sporting goods store I got a pair of socks and then we drove back into St George for some lunch.
The sun was up and the car warm as we finally hit the interstate and headed north. We talked, played name the band, and sometimes just watched the scenery in silence. Love that kind of drive.
So........the Runner's Series is done. I can safely register for the St George marathon and am guaranteed a spot. Will I do the Huricane half again? Prolly not. Not that it wasn't a nice course, it was. But it was a long way to drive for a dogtag as a finisher "medal"
In the immortal words of my friend Kris
"No Medal - No RUN!"
2nd place in my age division
39th place of 136 women overall
106th place all participants overall
Considering the elements and the course, I will take this time and be happy about it!