Sunday, August 28, 2011

South Valley Half Marathon Report

It's been a busy week filled with a quick three day trip to Vegas to remember and celebrate the life of my wife's grandfather who finally finished tasting everything on the menu at Blueberry Hill Diner. After the funeral, it was get kids back home to start school and get caught up with work. As a result of all this business, my post about the South Valley Half Marathon got lost in the shuffle. Here is my belated post about this race. 

Me, Whitney and Candice
I didn't know much about the race other than the links I saw on various blogs. I was asked to pace the 1:55 group. Whitney was planning on sticking with me in her efforts to finish under 2 hours. I invited Candice to join our pacing group and she agreed to pace the 2:15 group. Candice and I met briefly as she went running by me at the Timpanogos Half Marathon a few weeks back. It was great to meet her and visit a little.

We met early to pick up our bibs and signs. The race had put together a clever retro looking logo which they put on their medals and t-shirts. The bus ride up to the starting line was uneventful and I spent the time dozing. Our bus driver was kind enough to point out a few of the aid stations along the way and to remind us that anything we left on the bus was hers

One of the first things I noticed when I got to the starting line was the lack of bathroom facilities available. The lines were long and not moving very quick. Whitney was a few minutes behind me in the never ending line. The race was chip timed for the finish which meant that everyone's time started when the gun went off. 

Here's what the race website said about the course.

That's picturesque, right?
"This scenic, down-hill course begins up beautiful Rose Canyon in Herriman.  Athletes will enjoy a gradual decent though wooded foothills.  A spectacular view of the Wasatch Mountains promises to inspire every runner.  You will experience a fun-filled, well-supported course though the South Valley."

Doesn't that sound fabulous? I think they were talking about another race or maybe it was a race template where they just added some adjectives, nouns and locations. The start area was in a wooded area that was nice, but that's where it ended. The one thing I remember is the endless road, the 4 miles of uphill climb and the never ending view of cheat-grass.

Cool Retro Look
As a pacer, our my goal is staying on pace. I spend a lot of time looking at my watch, calculating where I should be and checking it in relation to the mile markers. The first couple of miles went by and I'm right on pace. I was told there was a climb so to be a few minutes a head of pace to compensate for the hill slow down. After mile 2, I start noticing that the mile markers are off. As time went on, I noticed that my watch and mile markers were almost 1/4 mile off. 

At mile 4, the climb began. The climb was gradual enough to start that I was only about 15 seconds slower per mile, but from mile 6-7 the climb was steep and tough.

Mile marker 11 and 12 come along and I'm on target and even a little bit in front. At mile 12, the organisers must have realised that they were off so they attempted to make up the difference from mile 12 to the finish. I crossed the finish line in 1:57. The other pacers that came through had the same results I did. A few of the race people were talking about our finish times and we mentioned to them that the course was marked incorrectly and ended up longer than 13.1. The nodded their heads like this comment was nothing new. 

I'm going to pass on this race next year.  

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