Sunday, April 18, 2010

2010 Salt Lake City Half Marathon Report

I'm almost able to go down the stairs without wincing, I'm walking a little faster than the average snail and I can say that I completed the 2010 Salt Lake City Half Marathon.

I was carpooling with my sister and some of her friends to the starting. I shocked the family the night before when 9:00 pm came and I told them all I was heading for bed. I read for a little while and forced myself to sleep. Although it was not a deep sleep, I did feel somewhat rested when the alarm clock went off at 3:15 am. I got showered, ate a breakfast that consisted of a couple fried eggs and some sliced turkey rolled into a tortilla. Normally, I wouldn't be eating this heavy, but I figured I had almost 4 hours until the start of the race. I'd be getting a little hungry before the race began if I ate really light.

First item of business, port a potties. I found a set that were in a more secluded location so the lines are so long. I watched as the time ticked closer and closer to the 7:00 am start time. There were some fast ladies in front of me so I was able to get in, get done and up to the start before the gun went off. I merged in from the side rather than working my way from the back of the pack which allowed me to avoid many of the really slow starters. It only took 2 minutes for me to get to the starting line after the gun went off.

I wore the new shorts I picked up the day before at the Expo. The problem I did run into was that the fabric was a little too slick for my magnetic ipod to stay in place. I shoved it into a side pocket just before the start. The first 1/4 mile was slow for me and probably would have looked rather comical to the spectators. The added weight to my shorts put the weight off balance and my shorts were inching down with each step. I knew I had to adjust the drawstring, but I refused to stop. I was running and redoing the drawstring at the same time. My first mile on a slight downhill was 8:13. My breakdown went like this.

1: 8:13
2: 7:36
3: 7:19
4: 7:23
5: 7:44

At miles 2-5 I am feeling really good. My energy is high and I'm just in a good groove. I glance at my time and start to envision my finishing under 1:40. That's an exciting thought.

I brought two gels, but I didn't want to break into one too soon. This train of thought got me into trouble later as I waited too long to take my first gel.  Between mile 4 and 5 is when the marathon and half split. The half loops back on itself on the opposite side of the road and runs directly into the sun for a 1/2 mile.
The first few miles there are some older homes and shops, but pretty soon it is just road and more road.
The course starts some rolling hills at this point. Looking back, I should have had my first gel right before the aid station at mile 5.5, but I waited.

6: 7:45
7: 7:37
8: 7:50
9: 7:51
10: 8:44

I took my gel between 9 and 10. I slowed down enough to take it and ended up walking a little way because it spilled all over my hand. So I running and licking my hand and my time tanked. I really didn't get the momentum back after this point and there were some bigger hills coming up.

11: 8:04
12: 9:15
13: 8:02
.1: 6:43

At the end of mile 11 the course climbs 300 feet in less than a 1/4 mile. I know that this point the 1:40 time is out of reach, but maybe I can still pull off a PR. I'm working to keep pace with the others around me. I know that the course heads downhill that last mile and I'm wondering if I have enough energy to get finished. I usually have a burst of energy coming into the finish, but it just wasn't there. I rolled into the finish line at 1:43:50 which is 17 seconds slower than my PR. I got through the food line and wandered around waiting to cool down a little. In retrospect, I should have headed right for the bag pickup because by the time I got around to it, I waited an hour and missed seeing my sisters kids run the kids fun run.

My friend Supercords who ran the full made it at just the perfect moment. He looked like he had been run over by a truck. I saw the line behind me and I was 5 minutes from the front so I waved him over and had him get his bag too. Salt Lake would make this process ten times smoother if they would triple the size of the bag area and then let 10-15 runners go into the area at a time (which they finally did allow 5-6) and get their own bag and have the volunteers there to assist.

Lessons learned: Stop being stingy on the gels. Make sure the pants are cinched up tight to start. Get in the bag pickup line early. Run more hills.

Ending stats:
64/274 in my age group
449/4621 overall


  1. Wow! Great race! I ran a half-marathon yesterday as well, my first. I had some of the same issues you did (porta potties, gu). I had considered wearing shorts with a drawstring, glad now that I didn't : )

  2. What a crappy time for a big hill!!!

    Either way, congrats on the finish. I'm glad you didn't completely loose your pants - that would have been bad. very bad.

  3. I guess I looked the way I felt then. Good job on almost getting a PR. My only advice is to get a little iPod shuffle you can clip to your shorts. It will be worth it in the long run. (pun intended)

  4. 樂觀進取,勇往直前,持之以恒,是克服困難的妙方。......................................................

  5. Wow - 3am? Who showers before races? Not me. I prefer to be smelly and then add to that.

    Nice finish. One day I'll make it below 2 hours and that I will feel like I'm part of an elite group of runners. :)