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Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Timp Trail Half Marathon.

Usually when I have a 20 mile run on my schedule, I would just sign up for a marathon, but with only 5 marathons left to my 100th marathon/ultra, I cannot add another marathon to my schedule if I want Arkansas Traveler 100 to be my 100th (which I do).

On Friday, I heard about the Timp Trail Marathon and Half Marathon. The description of the marathon said that if you run a 3:30 marathon, plan on running a 5:00-6:00 hour marathon on this course. I decided a difficult trail half marathon would still give me the time on my feet that a 20 mile road run would (3 hours on the road or trail is still 3 hours).

I rushed online to register, but the online registration had already closed. Thanks to Facebook, I was able to connect with the RD and he allowed me to register at the packet pick up.

I headed out to Orem Friday afternoon to the packet pick up and got registered. I asked the lady who registered me all the vital information (where the start was, what time the race started, etc.)

She told me the race started in Provo Canyon at 6:00am sharp, so I woke up at 4:00am and made sure I found the start without any issues. I hit the restroom, checked in (they wanted to make sure who was on the course) and before we knew it we were off!

All ready to hit the trail!

 The course was challenging from the get go. We started the steep climb up the mountain immediately. I had very little for breakfast as there were only 2 aid stations on the half course and the first one wasn't until mile 6. I did not want to have and unexpected restroom break that comes with eating too much before the race. This was a mistake.

Starting to climb from the start!

Not even a mile in I started to feel dizzy. My eyes were watering and I could hardly see. I started to worry a little. I stepped off the trial to let others pass me and took the only GU I had in my pack. After I took the GU, I felt much better and continued on the trail.

The course was stunning!

Thank goodness for a little flat section!

Feeling good now, I started to feel my legs and was running pretty strong. We climbed a bit more and the views were spectacular. 

I love this time of year when everything is so green.

At mile 6, we hit the first aid station. I stocked up on Swedish Fish and gummy bears and started another climb.

This climb was just the beginning of what was to come!

At mile 8 we hit the marathon and half marathon split. I had been talking to some girls on the trial and as I turned off, they called to me and told me I was going the wrong way. I told them that I was only doing the half. It was then that they told me that the half started at 8:00am! I started 2 hours early, so when I turned off, I was all alone. Oops!

Starting up Dry Creek.

Dry Creek was one of the steepest and longest climbs. It was tough, but beautiful! Being alone was a little scary as if any of you know me, you know that I love trails, but am scared of getting eaten by a mountain lion, bear or coyote. I must have looked like a real kook clapping my hands and talking to myself out loud to scare off critters I never saw! Ha Ha!

These steps were as high as my thigh. They were not the easiest to get up when you are tired!

I am smiling because I think the climbing is over. I am so naive.

At about 8.5 miles I hit the final aid station. I thought the climbing was over until I was informed that I had to still get to the top of the mountain before the course started going downhill. I grabbed some more gummy bears and headed back up the mountain.

The view was amazing!

At about mile 10, the course flattened out and I started heading back down towards the finish. This was probably the most beautiful part of the course to me.

This is one of my favorite views!

I loved all the flowers on both sides of the trail.

Pretty flowers

There was a rainbow over the mountain.

With 2,390 feet of elevation gain in the first 10 miles descending in 3 miles would be fairly steep. While I like downhill running, running downhill on the trail sometimes scares the heck out of me!

At around 10.5 miles I was heading down as I saw another runner (not in the race) coming up the trail. I tried to step off to the side to let him pass and when I did, I slipped and fell. The fall was OK, but my left calf suddenly got a knot in it the size of a baseball and I started to cramp. It hurt so bad I started yelling and the guy thought I was hurt bad when I fell. Luckily the cramp only lasted for a few seconds and the man helped me up and I was on my way.  

Steep downhill on trails scare me!

At mile 12 the trail dumped out onto the trail we came up on. I looked to the right and saw the pink ribbons that marked the trail. The problem was I also saw the pink ribbons on the left! I chose the left and realized after running a half mile, that I had picked wrong. I turned around and headed back up the trail when I started seeing the leaders in the half. When I asked one guy how far into the race they were, he said 5 miles. I knew that if I continued on to much further, I would hit the aid station again, which I new was too far.

I decided to turn around and take an unmarked trial an head back down towards the finish line (which I could see from the trail) as I was already 14 miles in. I headed down the trail and hoped for the best.

Then I saw the trail markers again and knew I was back on track. When I finally finished, I had run over 15 miles. As it turns out, the trail I took was the right trail, but it had not been marked yet as to not confuse the half marathoners. Since I started early, that part of the trail had not been marked yet. I got lucky and they gave me an official time as I was the first person to cross the finish line and it was not chip timed anyway.

This was a wonderful race and I am really glad I found it. If you are looking for a very beautiful, challenging and technical trail race, this is for you.

I loved the t-shirt too!

The medal and t-shirt

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