This was the inaugural running of the State Capitol ½ Marathon here in Salt Lake City, so I had no past experience in this race to draw on, so it was going to be an adventure! What I did know was that it was going to be a small race (about 250-300 runners) and that about 1/6th of the course was going to be on trails.
Liz and Marilyn picked me up from my house at 6:00am and we headed to the start which was at Olympus Hills Mall. There we met up with Stella and her nephew Mike (who was running his 1st ½ Marathon). The weather was perfect for running. A little chilly at the start, so we sat in the car until it was time to hit the “Honey Bucket” one last time and line up to start.
Before we started, there were volunteers handing out American flags if you wanted to run with one. I took one of course! My thought was that if I could run 26.2 miles with a blow up guitar, I could run 13.1 with an American flag! The race director was also giving instructions, most of which I could not hear, but what I did hear was that the course was challenging and that you should add 20 minutes to your best ½ marathon time. Hmm, I wanted to go easy on this race as I am running the Casper Marathon only 6 days later, so I thought a 2:30 would do just fine on this course.
The race began with us running about 1.5 miles down Wasatch Boulevard. We then crossed over 1-80 on this bridge which landed us on the trailhead of the paved trail system to Foothill Boulevard. As we crossed the bridge, I thought I was getting light-headed. That was until I realized that it wasn’t me, it was the bridge! It was moving with the weight of the runners bouncing up and down on it! The guy next to me said he thought he was having a stroke for a second!
The paved trail was pretty hilly. I mixed it up a little timing wise. While I was doing 3:1’s, I took advantage of the downhill sections when they when they came, running through walk breaks when they occurred on a downhill section (I knew I would make them up later). At the 3 or 4th water stop, I saw Teri out there handing out water (great job Teri and thanks)! She told me that Jim was at the bottom of the trail waiting to run a few miles with me. Cool! I was pretty much running alone and my iPod lasted about 30 second in my ears before I couldn’t take it (I can rarely run with music). I saw Jim at the bottom of the Pioneer Trail State Park. We started up the hardest part of the course. This section was very reminiscent of the Antelope Island 25K. It was very hilly and rocky and sometimes we were running in gravel (not a fan). I walked/hiked a lot of this part. We passed the “Native American Village” where I had to stop for a photo next to the tee pees! When the trail evened out and was not so rocky, we had a blast! I love running on the trails! It was there that we connected to the Bonneville Shoreline Trial, running past the University of Utah, Red Butte and the JCC.
I waited a while for Stella, Mike (Congrats!!), Liz, and Marilyn to finish, then we all got the shuttle bus back to the start. From there we went for Brunch. There is nothing yummier (or more deserved) after a race than Café Rio (plug- hee hee), but we settled for yummy BBQ bacon cheeseburgers! It was a really fun day!