Sunday, August 21, 2011

South Valley Half Marathon Review 2011

My legs were feeling pretty good on Saturday after having completed the Triple Crown of running earlier in the week: a hill workout, a speed workout, and a tempo run. The last time I did all those in one week was probably, um, never. I had a feeling the South Valley Half Marathon was going to be a good race.

You'll never believe who sat in front of me on the bus ride to the starting line: Yanni! Yep, that stunning piano player with the flowing, black hair sat right in front of me. Or maybe it was his twin. Whoever it was, they could win a Yanni-Look-Alike-Contest.

My bus arrived at the starting line about an hour before the race. Here is the procedure:
1) Get off the bus.
2) Immediately go get in a line for the port-o-potty.
3) It doesn't matter that you don't need to go to the bathroom. By the time you've waited your turn and actually get to the front, your bladder will be on the verge of bursting.
4) Panic that the race might start before you even get to the front of the line.

As I was serving my time waiting in line we watched the sun slowly creep to the horizon.

I broke one of the Unwritten Rules Of Running: NEVER race in the shirt you were given for that race at packet pickup the night before. It makes you look like a newbie. Well, that's dumb. I'm going to wear whatever shirt I want. Plus, I really liked their shirt with the logo "Only Half Crazy".

As we were standing at the starting line I decided I was actually going to race. I was going to go big and see how much I could push myself. Most of the time I slow down a little and just have fun. You know.... just enjoy the experience. I haven't actually "raced" a race for almost a year so I decided I'd give it a whirl. I set my goal: finish Under Two Hours.

A few minutes after the race started we saw an amazing sunrise. The hazy sky really made the light erupt and it looked like the mountains in the distance were on fire.

The sunrise looked irresistibly cool. I couldn't help myself from stopping to take pictures. This makes the plan to "race" a little more difficult when you're constantly stopping to take pictures. I took nearly 50 pictures while I was supposed to be "racing".

There were tons of sunflowers along the road and I knew I'd kick myself if I passed up that photo opportunity.

At mile five I saw something unfortunate: Yanni on the side of the road barfing his guts out. I promise. I have a witness! His name is Jeff. Jeff found me earlier in the day and came up and said he liked my blog. Jeff and I ran for a while and were joined by another guy who said he liked my blog and we swapped marathon stories. Good times were had by all.

I was shocked pleasantly surprised that I was still running at a good clip as we got into the race. I ran this pace a few days earlier for three miles and wanted to die. Then, just to keep my confidence in check, I was introduced to Heartbreak Hill.

Here is an elevation chart from my watch. Toward the top of that hill I almost cried Uncle.

My body has some warning signs when I am pushing too hard: my arms start getting tingly and my back gets really tight. Those started happening in the last 4 miles and I was getting tired. My left calf started to cramp up but I was still able to keep pushing. I knew I'd have to work in those last few miles if I was going to meet my goal.

The last half mile was the hardest but when I saw the finish line I gave one last kick to get me across, and.....I barely achieved my goal of finishing under two hours!

My mile splits were: 8:24, 8:30, 8:57, 9:07, 9:20, (welcome to Heartbreak Hill) 9:41, 9:39, 9:49, 8:35, 8:55, 8:34, 9:11, & 8:56. I couldn't have been tireder happier! I was surprised to see Yanni come in not too far behind me despite his Mile 5 Vomit!

Jeff and I talked after the race and he did great. Bonus points to Jeff for immediately popping his thumb up for a picture. I always go with the Hitchhiker Thumb in pictures too (unless I'm jumping).

What was really awesome is that my mom was able to come to the finish line. The race was close to her house and it was great to see her. I warned her to not get too close because I was covered in approximately seven gallons of sweat. But she didn't listen.

I had lots of fun at the South Valley Half Marathon. It felt good to really push myself and achieve the goal I had set. My legs are sore after running hard. Try telling my calves that I am "Only Half Crazy."

"Running has taken me in, and continues to comfort, heal and challenge me in all kinds of magical ways. I am not a 'good runner' because I am me. I am a good 'me' because I am a runner."
~ Kristin Armstrong, Author and runner


  1. LOVE the t-shirt and the medal! Amazing photos, as usual. I love the ones of the sunrise. It's so beautiful to run at that time. What's even more beautiful are all the mountains that you are lucky enough to have as a part of your backdrop! Congrats on finishing in under tow hours! Impressive, especially with the amount of photos you took!

    And seriously, your mom looks SO young. No wonder you don't look your age! Way to get awesome genes :)

  2. Congratulations on another half marathon. You are the race king this year. This race course is one of our favorite training runs so we know all about Heartbreak Hill. Killer! We did a hilly 15 miler yesterday but at the end was---are you ready---a 7-11 AND a Hostess store! I thought of you and went in and got a Slurpee. Best idea ever! Great job, Cory!

  3. Great job getting under 2 hours!

    Love that quote at the end...think I'm going to use that.

    AND...I've often wondered why it's so bad to wear the shirt for the race you are running. Thanks for yet another reminder that other people's opinions do not matter! Love your blog and you are awesome!

  4. You wore your race shirt on the day of the RACE!!!!! I am SOOOOO angry with you Son!! We have had this discussion on countless occasions and decided that it was unacceptable. You and I are going to have a chat the next time we see each other. You are busted!!!

  5. Nice post and great race.

    Your Mother is quite gorgeous!

  6. Congrats on a great race! You took some beautiful pictures along the way too, I'm so impressed!

  7. Freaking awesome cory! Love the pictures, love that your Mom was there, and love that you met your goal. Good for you!

    It was good to see you for a bit on Friday!

  8. Great job!!! As always, fun post and great pics. Congrats on the sub 2! :) You are going to meet up with us in Pocatello, right??

  9. Awesome job!! I love all of the photos you take on your runs. How do you manage to not drop your camera??

  10. Cory - I could wait to read your blog. I was thinking about you when I passed daffodils that were 6" in diameter the problem was we were climbing this insane hill and it was harder to get off the bike then to just admire them. but all I wanna do is drive back to bryce and take a picture of them - me kicking my self for just not getting off the bike. :) good job on the race and awesome time.

  11. How the heck did i miss you? That's me in the third picture with the black tank top and ponytail. My friend is the girl in the 4th picture with the pink compression socks. That hill just about killed me and the heat didn't help either. Definitely was not a PR race for me. Can you believe they originally planned on starting at 8?
    Way to go on the sub 2!!!

  12. Wahooo!!!! Nice job reaching your goal! Hey- you had plenty of seconds left to spare :). Your pictures are awesome, as usual. It was fun to see one of you and your Mom!

  13. The triple crown of running - I like that!

    Awesome that you saw Yanni or a guy that looked like Yanni, lol Bummer about him barfing his guts out!

    That is funny that you wore the race shirt for the race you are running, I definitely don't like to see that, haha I like to rep a race that I did before, and usually I have a race tshirt that I like to wear to races.

    Great pics as usual! Sounds like the race went great, that hill looks insane! At least it was totally downhill after that to the finish line. I've said it before on your blog, but you guys in Utah have some serious downhill races, in CA all we get are flat or uphill races it seems like. haha

  14. Did Yanni have his pants up past his belly-button?! Funny we ran into you! And fun to find your blog. I actually saw you taking those sunflower pictures, and I'm in the one with the big-rising sun! Can I have a copy?!

    I think I'll peruse the rest of your posts when I get a chance. I think I've been bitten by the running bug...

  15. I love that quote at the end. I'm going to have to put that on my shirt for this year's St. George.

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