Thursday, June 16, 2011

Utah Valley Marathon '11

2:35 am
My alarm went of at the insane time of 2:35 am. I have seen 2:35 in the morning before but never on this side of it.  Who wakes up at 2:35 for anything?! Well, I do. At least this day I did.  All I can say is it's a good thing I had everything already laid out because I think I would have put my skirt on backwards if the bib hadn't been pinned on already. Obligatory race morning pic-
Oh, and don't expect a smile this early, either. I actually tried to smile in another pic and I just looked cracked. :)

3:20 am
I grabbed my usual prerace breakfast (waffle w. PB) and a z-bar to eat on the bus and I was out the door.  I felt pretty sleepy relaxed so no real nerves to speak of. I was just focused on getting to the bus on time.  I got to Provo in plenty of time and even snagged a great parking spot in a garage right next to where the finish was going to be.  I was on the bus and on my way up the canyon by 4:00.

4:30 am
Made it to the start and jumped in line at the porta-potty. The lines were short but people seemed to be taking their time. Totally not what you want when you are the next in line. (ew!) Anyhow, I survived the porta-potty and then just walked around a bit, partly to look for people I knew and partly just to keep warm. It was pretty chilly so I was really glad that I had a blanket to snuggle up in until last call for bag drop. I ran into Sam (of Operation Jack/Train4Autism) while I was wondering around. He was pacing the 3:40 group that day. Easy-peasy for him, a real stretch of the imagination for me. He knew my goal was to get under 4:30 so he told me to go for even 10:00 splits which would get me a finish of 4:22.  I told him I'd try and then left as he was getting surrounded by his 3:40 groupies.

6:00 am
Start time!  I lined up at the back of the pack and was thrilled to spot Julia right before the gun went off.  (She would end up playing a big role in my race that day.)  I quickly introduced myself and said that we should run together since we had the same goal. She was just as cute and nice as I expected her to be and I spent the 1st mile chatting away with her and her friend, Jen, as the crowd of runners moved forward.

Miles 1-5 (10:29, 9:09, 9:12, 9:23, 9:28)
Just getting going. Some weaving and getting out of the way for that first mile.  When my Garmin beeped and told me the first mile was only a 10:29 pace, though, I figured I had better speed up. I might have gone a little too fast the next couple of miles but I felt good so I went with it. I left Julia and Jen figuring I would see them again. These miles were through the small town of Wallsburg and the weather and scenery was beautiful! There were even some sweet residents that woke up early to enjoy watching and cheering the runners going by.  This is a real event for their sleepy farming town.

Miles 6-10 (9:26, 9:18, 11:17, 10:17, 9:38)
Miles 6 and 7, we were still in Wallsburg but we were about to be kicked out onto the main canyon road.  I stopped for a few seconds at a porta-potty line at mile 7 but quickly realized the line wasn't really moving and hopped back out onto the course. I might have stood there for about 30 seconds but it felt like forever as I watched the pace on my Garmin go up.  I just couldn't stand it! (Wearing my Garmin for this race sure did help keep me motivated!)  Julia must have passed by while I was in line because right before we came into the canyon, I saw her ahead of me and decided to catch up to her so that we could run the hill together. That first hill was a doozy so I'm so glad I caught her!  We chatted like old friends and it took the focus off of the hill and onto the conversation. Loved that!  Can I just say that for a downhill course there were a lot more hills than I expected! Those little blips on the elevation chart look harmless but there were some tough ones! Thankfully, we had the downhill to more than make up for it.

Julia and I after the race.
 Miles 11-15 (9:34, 10:07, 11:01, 8:58, 8:56)
Around here somewhere I noticed that the average pace on my Garmin had been consistently a 9:44 pace.  I felt really good about it because I didn't feel I was pushing too hard. We were going up and down hills and the average pace was sticking right around the same place.  I knew I had it in me to finish under a 10:00 average pace even after those dreaded final miles. I hit the half-marathon mark at 2:10:18. (And finally stopped to use the bathroom!)  I told Julia that maybe I'd catch back up to her and she ran ahead.

Miles 16-20 (10:05, 9:37, 9:29, 9:09, 9:57)
I was thankful to catch Julia right before the mile 16 hill which was another tough one.  We really didn't say a word to each other on this hill but we powered up it like nobody's business. I know just having her running there next to me was keeping me going and I felt super strong.  We totally owned it and were rewarded with some downhill miles. Whew! Miles 19 and 20, I was pushed along by the fact that my husband and all of my Train4Autism crew would be there at the mile #21 aid station.  I even got teary-eyed as I thought about the time and effort they were putting into making this day a success, not only for me, but for our T4A chapter.  I sucked it up because I realized that I can't cry and run at the same time. It totally messes up my breathing. ;)

Miles 21-25 (9:33, 10:34, 9:58, 10:55, 10:49)
Our T4A aid station crew (minus hubby, who's taking the pic). Can't even tell you how grateful I am for their hard work that day.
Mile 21, I finally see the T4A crew and my husband! That was a great moment for me.  They were doing a fantastic job and cheered me on as a ran through. Just what I needed at that moment.  The next 4 miles were slow but I remember thinking to myself that I could run 12 min/miles the rest of the way and still finish in under 4:30, so I was feeling pretty happy.  I even thought that I'd meet my new goal of 4:22.  Sweet!  My hamstrings were getting pretty tight and I made 2 quick stops to stretch them out but other than that it was just running through the pain.  Julia and I met back up around mile 24.  She had a sweet friend from school with her that came to run her in.  I relished the opportunity to run with someone with fresh legs.  She was friendly and motivating and kept us on task. When she mentioned that we had 30 minutes to run less than 2 miles, I thought that I just might go under 4:20.  What?!  I hadn't even thought that was really possible!

Somewhere around Mile 21-ish. Julia and I were never far from each other. Check it. In this photo, we are even on the same stride! Haha. Love it!  By the way, could I wear that hat any lower?!
Mile 26 and the last .37 (10:04, 3:14)
Somewhere in this last mile, Sam ran back out to find me and run me in.  He said, "Do you wanna go under 4:20? Am I going to have to make you do this??" "Yes!" He told me to stick with him and he'd get me to the finish under 4:20. I ran as fast as my legs would take me and ran that last 1/2 mile or so at an 8:40 pace! I didn't know that I had it in me but I was really happy that Sam pulled it out of me. What a fantastic finish to an unforgettable race!
Sam and I after the race. I really owe him for my strong finish. Thanks, Sam!

 Chip time 4:19:44
(a 34 second negative split!)
Gun time 4:19:51

Overall Place 925/1635

Age Group 106/174

An extra special "Thank You!" to Candice for sticking around to meet me at the finish. I LOVE this gal! She PRed in the half that day.  Love our PR smiles!

Congrats to all those that ran that day! I read all the recaps and, while some had better days than others, we all finished and that deserves some MAJOR pats on the back!  Can't wait for this race next year!


  1. Ahhhhhhhhhhh what an awesome race recap! I am so proud of you girl! Sam is such a great motivator and will not let up until you realize your own potential. So awesome you had friends and family out on the course to help keep you going. I hope you are still smiling big after such a great race!!!

  2. You are right about Sam. He's awesome! Thanks so much for your support. You are such a great gal for getting involved with Operation Jack and inspiring me to also. I owe you so much!

  3. Love, love, LOVE reading marathon recaps.  :)  That is a really cute running skirt.  What kind is it?

  4. thanks, jenn! it's a nike skirt. not sure on the style name but the style# on the tag is 127806-010, if that helps. :)

  5. Loved reading this re-cap.  It seriously gives me chills to read re-caps like this when you not only met but exceeded your goal.  Love that!  Congratulations on such a great race.

  6. That's awesome Alicia!  Big grin on my face here.

  7. Thanks for posting this. It's encouraging for me as I train for my first half marathon this summer. :)

  8. Oh my gosh, that is a SUPER early wake up time! Congrats on a great race!!! That is a really great finish time!! Rockstar!!!

  9. Great race!  Congrats on the awesome PR!

  10. ummmm seriously best race ever! you were such a blessing to me the entire time and like I keep saying...I really think it was fate that you found me before the race :) I am SO happy it worked out like that. Just feeling your presence was enough to get me through and under 4:20 (barely!) as well! you are amazing and I am so glad that we are friends! LOVE that pic that we are on the same really was meant to be :) I seriously cannot say enough good things about are absolutely fabulous! CONGRATS on your PR. We need to plan another race together so that we can crush our PRs together :) hope to see you soon! oh...and you finished SO strong. like amazingly strong. when you and Sam took off sprinting I was just so jealous! haha! you looked awesome running through the finish line!

  11. I just stumbled across your blog and what a great first post to read on someone's blog!  Congratulations on your PR and on running a sub 4:20 marathon!  You rock!

  12. What a great recap!  You wrote it up very well and congrats again on a great race!

  13. You just might be my good luck charm so planning another race together isn't a bad idea! Thanks for everything Julia! We really do need to get together soon. Good luck at Ragnar!

  14. LOVE your race recap! You did so amazing. I was and still am so excited for you. What an amazing race. And how fun that you ran so much of it with Julia. I didn't realize you hadn't met her before that.

    And I have cried while running so I know exactly what you mean. Way to power through that and the other tough moments.

    Congrats again!!!!

  15. I've been waiting to read your recap!!!! SOOO EXCITING! What an awesome PR!!! Sam is da bomb and so glad he pulled you through the last bit. But seriously? 8:40 pace at the end???? YOU ROCK!! well done and thanks for your work with T4A!! sarah

  16. Hi!
    Dang, a marathon! way to go! and it looks like you had a good time out there;) I need a 'Sam' out there for my own races!

    Happy Friday!

  17. Yeaah! Go A-licious!! I'm getting a team together for Dirty Dash on Sept. 17th... you interested? Let me know. F

  18. Hey! Just wanted to make sure you got my address for the prize I won!!

  19. You did awesome! I am so proud of you. :) Congrats!!!!