Bryce Canyon 2011: The Year Of The Jump
Keeping with last year's tradition, we drove to Bryce Canyon with our friends Darin & Shelly Thomas. We got stuck in long road construction and I got the boredom munchies. I went though some cookies like they were going out of style. We also had more than enough time to pull out the camera for a self-portrait. Bonus points to Shelly for joining me in a Do-I-Have-Any-Broccoli-In-My-Teeth smile.
We picked up our packets in Cannonville where the race finishes. I saw this cool flag near the finish line after we picked up packets:
We stayed at the Best Western which is PERFECT because you walk out the front door and you are practically at the starting line. Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long outside for the race to start because it was COLD. We could see our breath and my fingers felt like popsicles. From this picture, it looks like my face had been frozen ever since our drive to Bryce Canyon the day before.
As I mentioned a few days ago, I planned to run the race with Mel and not overdo it so I didn't punish my legs too much before the Deseret News Marathon coming up in eight days. One of my favorite parts is the first few miles of the race where you are on top of the canyon and can see to the bottom where you'll be in just a few short miles.
Along the way we met up with our friend Braydon. I ran up ahead so I could get a jumping picture of them as they came down the road:
And then I got a brilliant idea: Set the camera on a cone in the road and start the self-timer. A jumping picture with all three of us would be sweet! Unfortunately my plan turned out to be a miserable failure because we jumped too early. In the picture we caught exactly zero inches of air. You might as well have told the kitchen table to jump. Our awesome jumping picture turned into this:
Forunately I think race photographers got good pictures of a few of my jumps. The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon has some unique mile markers:
Mel, Braydon and I ran together for eight or nine miles and Mel was still feeling good so she went farther ahead and my goal became Help Braydon Get A PR. He was keeping a steady pace but I just tried to give encouragement and keep him going. I loved seeing the runners weave through the canyon like ants.
I was so thankful I wasn't pushing too hard. I didn't have any crazy leg cramps. I didn't have any chunky burps. I didn't feel like my skin was melting off my bones. I didn't want to curl into fetal position on the side of the road and start crying. I was enjoying the experience and having fun!
We were in the home stretch with only a few miles to go and I knew Braydon was within striking distance of getting his half marathon personal record. He kept pushing and I hoped we would be able to make it.
Remember the bright idea to try a self-timer during the race? And remember how I was just taking it easy and having fun? Well, I decided I'd see how many jumping pictures I could get along the way. You'll notice that these are all at different locations. Unfortunately they are all in the Lift-Off phase instead of Mid-Flight, but I guess you can't be too picky when using the self-timer during a race.
Braydon and I made the final turn for the finish line and he was moving good. It was awesome to reach the point when we knew he would make it. We crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 42 minutes and Braydon got a new PR!
I had so much fun and unlike last year I actually felt good. I didn't feel sore or have the desire to use a wheelchair to get back to the car. I enjoyed being part of helping someone reach their goal. It was nice to see so many friends at the finish line:
No matter how fast I finish a race, I always feel that sense of accomplishment when I reach the finish line. The finish line was especially enjoyable this time without the feeling that my legs had just gone through a meat grinder. 8 more days until the Deseret News Marathon!
"Experience has taught me how important it is to just keep going, focusing on running fast and relaxed. Eventually pain passes and the flow returns. It's part of racing."
~ Frank Shorter