Monday, June 16, 2008

Bear Lake Half Marathon

Last week didn't end up being very productive.  After I ran with Jody on Tuesday, I didn't run again until Thursday with Janzen for 2 miles and then another mile with Logan in the stroller.  (He was pretty jealous that Janz went running with me and begged to go when we got home!) I just didn't feel like running.  I was having a rough middle of the week and was so tired and just didn't want to do anything.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.  I was just blah.  I kept thinking it was o.k. since I had the half coming up on Saturday, but then I'd get worried about being able to do it.  It was kind of a last minute decision to run the Bear Lake half marathon.  I had to call them since online registration was closed and it looked like they were full.  But they had some cancellations and were able to fit me in.  I didn't start getting the jitters until the night before, so that was good.  

Janz and I got up at 4:30 and were out the door by 5:00 a.m.  I ate a bagel for the first time before a race that Holly brought me over to carb load on.  It was good!  I decided to wear my camel bak during the race since I wear it on training runs and wouldn't have to waste time at the drinking stations.  This is the first race that Janzen has taken me to and I was glad for his company.  It was calming.  The drive up was beautiful.  Logan canyon was gorgeous.  Because of the cooler temperatures and the all the rain, everything was green and there was still snow once we got higher up.  It was fun reminiscing as we drove up.  We spent a lot of our dating time and early married years in that canyon fishing.  He drove me up there early one morning and made me breakfast in the canyon and then took me to Bear Lake for the first time.  The drive there and back was as much fun as the run itself.  I was a little worried about the temperatures.  It was 32 degrees right before we descended into the Bear Lake Valley, but quickly warmed up to about 53 as we got into the sun.

I picked up my packet, hit the bathrooms, and then we waited in the car for about a half hour since they changed the bus times.  I pinned my number on my shirt.  I kissed Janzen goodbye and got on the bus.  Then I waited for about another half hour for them to go.  While waiting I sat and listened to other runners talk about their past experiences and it was fun to hear people talk about their Salt Lake experience with the wind.  There were several who had run Ogden and some were talking about their past Bear Lake experience.  I am a people watcher and I love the bus rides up and just watching and listening to people.  I sat next to a cute couple who had run the Ogden half and couldn't help but think, "if only I had started this running thing before I had kids."

We were really late in getting started.  I don't know what the problem was.  However, once we got to the starting line they were ready to roll.  Just one problem.  As we got off the busses and started to look for the porta potties, there were none to be found.  A whole slew of guys just walked up the hill relieved themselves in a big line across the horizon.  Now don't get me wrong, I love being a girl.  I love all the perks that go with it.  I love letting my guy baby me and open jars and lift heavy things for me.  But in this desperate (no exaggerations here!) moment, I wished I was a guy.  It's just not fair.  We (several other desperate gals) found the race volunteers and asked where the bathrooms were.  We were told politely that they were one mile behind and in front of us.  UNBELIEVABLE!  I was not happy.   Then at the starting line there was some explanation going on about starting your watches and the timing chips not working.  We overheard at the packet pick up line that their computer equipment didn't arrive on time so I don't think the timing chip I was given even worked.  There was no pad to cross at the start and none at the finish either.  No big clock to see your time and a volunteer writing down the numbers of who came in.  I started my Garmin and took off.  I started in the middle of the pack and was moving along o.k. but needed that porta potty.  I saw it coming and of course there was a line.  What was I expecting?  There was no going another 2 miles until the next one so I stopped.  And waited.  And waited.  It was driving me crazy!  There were 3 girls ahead of me and with every girl going in and coming out I debated just going on, but knew that would be crazy!  So I waited and watched as every single runner passed us by.  Yep, every one.  Even the walking grandmas.  (I'm not being rude, it was written on their shirts!)  So after I made my lightning fast stop, I was headed out again, only this time at the very back of the pack with 5 or 6 minutes to make up.  I mean really!  How was I ever going to do that?  After I passed the walkers I played a game the rest of the race.  It was called, "Get the girl in the (insert color here) shorts/shirt".  I was pushing it the whole race and still felt good.  I kept doing a mental inventory that I need to NEVER do again.  It was all about "where do I hurt?" and then the list began: my calves and ankles are tight, my hip flexors are tight, my right foot hurts, my lungs are on fire, my shoulders are tight.  I tried to relax everything and knew that the calves and ankles would work themselves out by mile 5.  I tried longer strides to stretch out the hip flexors and would periodically roll my shoulders.  The foot pain disappeared as mysteriously as it came.

About half way through I could see Janzen parked up ahead off the side of the road and it boosted me.  I took the shirt off that was tied around my waist and got ready to hand it off.  I stopped and gave him a quick kiss, he told me how proud he was of me and I had a little jolt and took off again.  I started my game again and girl with green shorts was finally within reach.  At mile 7 I decided to take a gel.  The station was within reach and so I squeezed it in and looked for water.  No water.  Now what to do?  I had already swallowed it.  I didn't want to drink Powerade on top of it, but what choice did I have?  I drank a little bit of my drink and just hoped I'd be o.k.  It wasn't too long before I could feel it settling in my stomach like a big rock.  The next station had water and I drank it hoping that all the running would slosh it around and it would mix o.k.  I continued with my game and although the gel didn't feel good, I kept going.  I took several little walking breaks and then could push it again.  Girl with gray tights and black running skirt, I never could get you!

Before long, I was back in town and it was just a mile left.  I could see where the finish line was and pushed it more.  I could see Janzen.  I was hurting, but was so excited to be done and feel good overall.  I never saw an official finish line.  I didn't know when to stop running.  I collected my medal, handed in my timing chip and grabbed some bread and an orange and we took off!  I don't know what my "official time" was, but my Garmin said 2:10.  I was happy with that.

It was a pretty flat course with just little rolling hills.  It was along the lake for the most part and was perfect temperature.  It was a beautiful day and the best part was having Janzen there all along the way.  In every sense of the word, he is my partner.  He is my support, my biggest cheerleader, and my best friend.  I am so grateful for his sacrifice in my behalf, his encouraging words, his understanding me even when I don't, and his belief in me.  I know I'll never be a world class athlete or even a city class athlete, but I know in his eyes I'll be great.  And that's good enough for me.


JBPacker said...

Bear Lake looks beautiful. What a great run! I had so much fun with you guys yesterday. I am so glad to be back on line (I am a mess, I know).

Doran & Jody said...

Great job Jen!! I actually forgot you were running because my week got way busy. I even think I forgot to breath. Well let's just pretend that I send you an encouraging text!!! Go girl!!!

Michael said...

Sounds like you survived Bear Lake Marathon... they should have a tee-shirt. I can't imagine no porto-potties at the start, no time chip, not official finish line... wow tough go! Congratulations Jen. Another achievement! Your family must be - make that "IS"- very proud.
Now, for the odd request, would you be kind enough to send me a running type picture of yourself? I know this is a strange request because we've never met, but here's the thing. I'm planning a tribute piece to all the people who inspired me to achieve my goal and you- from a distance- inspired me. Your positive comments and encouraging words have meant a lot to me and helped me meet my goal. I would like to acknowledge that spirit, that energy. I realize this is a strange request, but I assure you it's meant with the best intention. I understand if you're not comfortable. In any event, congratulations on Bear Lake... you survived! Michael

anna jo said...

jen, I play that game too. my running coach taught me that trick during my first marathon. it actually helps out a ton! I usually like to throw in the fake finger gun motion as I pick my targets.

also loved the comment about being a city class athlete. that's cute.

anyway, congrats on the bear lake half! even though it sounds poorly organized, you seemed to have fun (minus the porta potty fiasco) the whole way!

The Hoyt's said...

Awesome Jen, way to go.. I am glad you had a great run minus the porta potties.. Sounds like your hubby is quite the keeper...That is great.. The picture of the lake was beautiful. I miss that place.. I miss the rasberry shakes... lol
Congrats girl.. hope to have a chance to run with you some day..

Anonymous said...

Wow. Impressive hobby you have! I like to run too, but never have I done anything near the likes of a marathon. I'm not sure what the "gel" was. And the weather definitely looked friendly...I love that picture of the sun over the water.

qponqwn said...

Jen, you don't know me but I have been 'blurking' on your blog. I am Micheale, a friend of Angi's. I love reading this blog, you are an inspiration! Bear Lake looks awesome, I hope to meet you for real @the top of Utah in September-and you should come down to St. George with us next January for the 1/2 down there. run on!