Thursday, May 6, 2010

Running Through the Tulips

Following the Salt Lake City Marathon, I had two major events going on. The first was the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon and the second was a trip to Dallas.

Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon
There is a charitable organization called the Thanksgiving Point Institute that was holding their first annual half-marathon. They have a variety of venues that include a museum of ancient life, golf course, farm country, shops, fine dining and a 55 acre gardens area. Even better is that the starting location was only 10 minutes from my house.

Decisions, Decisions - Go for the PR or be able to walk the following week.
The race was on Saturday. We were leaving for Texas the following morning. It was like the devil and the angel on my shoulders. The devil was like "GO FOR IT...TAKE IT ON AND BEAT THE PR" while the Angel was like "Remember you have a 12 hour drive the next day, do you really want to be driving and trying to stretch out those muscles?" It was an ongoing battle for most of the week. Ultimately, I opted to leave the Garmin at home and just run slower than normal.

The Course
Each year at this time, the Thanksgiving Point gardens host a tulip festival with over 250,000 tulips blooming over the 55 acres. The race started at the central location for Thanksgiving Point and within 3/4 mile onto the golf course and then into the garden area and then onto a paved river trail. This encompassed the first eight miles and with the remaining 5 on the road.

Overall, the race was nice. The course was definitely more scenic and interesting than Salt Lake, but next year my advice is that they reverse the course so that the first 5 miles are on the road and then it can end after the gardens.

Why? Because the crowd of runners had not dispersed enough before we hit the golf course and were running on the cart lanes. We were crammed onto a tight little road. I ended up jumping onto the golf course to pass those who decided that the 8-9 minute/mile corral was for people walking the course. Yes, I was running it slower, but not dead slow. I actually felt like I could power walk faster than the group was going. After the two mile mark, the crowd had thinned enough that I could breathe.

The course through the golf course had rolling hills and then through the gardens there is a winding ascent followed by the winding descent. My sister and her husband were running it. She was going extra slow because of knee problems and they actually stopped and took a photo of themselves along the course.

At the end of the race, I walked around and waited for my sister and her husband then I waited in line for the physical therapists to see if maybe they had some advice on my ankle issues–they did and it's feeling much better. After that, I got in line for the massage. There were only two massage therapists and they were giving each person about 15 minutes. I was last in line and they finished up as the race organizers were tearing down.

Post Race
The most rewarding part of the race was that they gave everyone who ran and their family an all-day pass to their venues. My wife has always wanted to go see the Tulip Festival so we loaded the kids later that day and I put in a good couple miles of walking off the race.

The following morning, we loaded up the kids and headed for Texas.

5 comments:

  1. I agree about reversing the course (not that I've run it or anything... but why would you save the ugly/boring stuff for the end?). I'll tackle it next year!

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  2. Nice race report. I'll make sure and include it in the next club email.

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