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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Utah Valley Half Marathon!

Well after two disappointing DNF's I needed to do two things: 1) Figure out what is going on with these dizzy spell and why I am having them when I run; and 2) Finish a gosh darned race! Luckily, I work for a great company (1-800 Contacts) that has a GREAT health and wellness program and as a part of that program covers out entry fee to the Utah Valley Marathon, (half marathon or 10k).

I had originally signed up for the marathon. I have done the marathon the last five years and did not want to miss this year. With Revel Rockies Marathon in Denver the next day, I thought this would make a great double, but with my last two races ending in DNF's, I decided to move down to the half marathon at Utah Valley and was glad I did.

I have only run the half here once in 2010 and was pretty excited to do it again. I was also looking forward to seeing my friend and co-worker Cheralynn Dansie finish her first half marathon. We put together a little running group at work and I have been helping her train for the past few months, so by doing the half, I could see her finish.

The festivities actually began on Thursday night as a few of us got together for a pasta dinner at the Olive Garden. The race was on Saturday, but with a 2:15am wake up call on Saturday morning, we didn't want to go out on Friday.

Part of our 1-800 Contacts run group loading on pre-race carbs!

Saturday the alarm went off at 2;15am and I got dressed and met Cheralynn at our office at 3:15am for the 30 minute drive to Provo. This was Cher's first half and I didn't want her to be nervous about where to go and what to do race morning and we live close to each other, so it was perfect.

We made a plan to meet the other ladies from our running group at the bus by 4:00am, just in time to get the 4:15am bus to the start. Everyone was on time and we got on these nice coaches up Provo Canyon.

Me, Ashleigh, Deborah, Cheralynn and Rachael getting ready to board the bus to the start!

Cheralynn and I on the bus!

When we got to the start, it was pretty warm. We parked ourselves in front of one of the fire barrels that was full of cardboard. Once lit it burned quickly and that was it. No more fire. Luckily, we didn't really need it. We all just sat together talking and waiting to see the rest of the 1-800 Contacts team show up.

Selfie at the start!

Selfie with the girls! 

At 5:45am, I organized a team photo at the start (because that's what I do) and was happy to see so many 1-800 Contacts folks show up!

Some of our 1-800 Contacts half marathon runners!

Getting ready to start!

So great to see my friend Meridith racing again after her courageous fight with breast cancer! She is gorgeous inside and out! 

Promptly at 6:00am, the gun went off and so were we! The plan was for me to go easy. I didn't know if the dizziness would rear it's ugly head and I was doing a marathon in Denver the next day, so pushing it was not in my best interest, but I was feeling good and my own competition got the best of me I NEEDED a good race!

About 3 miles in I felt warmed up and I pushed the pace, not super fast, but not easy either. I was running well under BQ pace and just held it there while I still felt good.

I love the beauty of this course!

Bridal Veil Falls 

We left the canyon around mile 8 and it started getting warm. I could not believe how humid it was. While the rain took me out in Ogden, I was praying for a few sprinkles those last few miles. I started overheating, so I slowed down. I did not want to get dizzy!

In the last 2 miles there was a mister set up. It was like a gift from heaven! I ran through it and felt 100% better! It cooled me off just enough to get to the finish in 1:50:36, which was good enough for 3rd place in my age group!

After I finished, I headed back up the course to find Cheralynn and Rachel. It was really cool to see Deborah and Ashleigh come in too!

Deborah looking strong!

Ashleigh looking happy!

Right around the 25 mile marker I saw Cheralynn and Rachel! They were looking awesome! Cher was tired, but still smiling and they were keeping a very steady pace.

Go ladies go!

I ran with them all the way to the finish chute then peeled off before the timing mats (I didn't want to mess up my result by going over it twice).

Just before the finish!

It was so AWESOME to see Cheralynn achieve her goal! She put in the work and made it happen. I was super proud of her!! It was great to see her husband and daughter there for her too! 

Congratulations Cheralynn!!!

Finish pic!

Maniac sighting at the finish!

After the race, we went over to the 1-800 Contacts tent, where they had water, snacks and free massages for all their associates! It was awesome!

Me, Cheralynn, Deborah and Ashleigh celebrating at the 1-800 Contacts tent!

I hung out there until the awards ceremony, then had to get home, showered, packed and head to the airport for my marathon the next day!

Smiling on the podium!

In front of the 1-800 Contacts tent with my age group award!

I am so lucky to work at a company that cares so much about our heath and encourages us to live an active lifestyle! Thanks to 1-800 Contacts for sponsoring us and a special thanks to Katelyn Vidmar on our wellness team for leading this endeavor and embracing the idea of a running club!

We are not stopping here. All of our group want to keep running, so we are going to do just that!

I do need to give a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to my friend and fellow Marathon Maniac John Bozung! John completed his 400th Marathon that day! I was sad to miss him come in due to having to catch my flight, but John, YOU ARE AWESOME my friend! CONGRATULATIONS! I will be there for #500!

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