This race was on the calendar as a possibility but wasn't really on my mind as training for Big Cottonwood Marathon was starting to ramp up. I usually try to run my tough days with James so that I have someone to suffer with and Thursday before this race was penciled in as a tempo run. James and I got together and neither of us felt like running a 5 mile tempo. James said we can run a tempo today or race on Saturday. As we continued to run our usual route, we never started a tempo so that meant we were going to race on Saturday. I wasn't stoked about paying $90+ for a half marathon that is so small, so I found some entries on KSL for much less and we were able to get them transfered into our names on Friday before packet pickup.
I didn't really know what to expect for this race. James and I had talked about going out at about a 6:30-6:40 pace for the first several miles and then see how we felt. We knew that the miles below Donut Falls would be quick so if we felt good, we could push the pace down without too much effort. That was about the extent of the plan, not much thought into it since we had just signed up. More than anything we wanted to test the legs on the downhill use this as a barometer for the full in Sept.
We met up at the bus pickup at about 4:00 AM and sat on the sidewalk waiting for more busses for about an hour. There were so many people waiting and so few busses we thought for sure we would not be starting on time. Got to the start area and had a successful port o potty stop and then walked around and did a short .5 mile warm up. We discussed our original plan and then made our way to the start line. We were right at the front and the race got started almost right on time. Out the shoot we were a bit fast (as usual), but didn't feel like it was a lot of work to keep the fast pace. The first mile flew by at a 6:09. So much for our 6:30-6:40 pace we had discussed, but we knew the course would get a little flatter through Mill D and that our pace would naturally slow as long as we didn't try to push. We were right as our next several miles were 6:26 , 6:35, 6:22, 6:28. This is when the canyon really starts to get steep and we knew that if we felt good we could speed up the pace. Both of us felt good and those first 5 miles went by faster than I was expecting. I don't feel like we really pushed any more than we had previously but the next mile was a 6:11. Then the pace dropped and we maintained it through the finish. Next miles were 5:54, 5:57, 5:56, 5:46, 5:53. We were just about out of the canyon and reached all the 5k people so the road got crowded again. We could see one of the half marathon women just up ahead and neither of us said we would go for her, but we slowly reeled her in. Next mile was a 5:46. Last mile was a tough one for me. I wanted to keep pushing but my legs were feeling heavy and my breathing was labored. We got to the reservoir and only had about .3 miles to go and I had no kick in the end. James got out ahead and ended up chasing down the girl in the final stretch. Last mile was 6:00.
I was stoked to finish in 1:19:19! That was a 2 min + PR for me and was not even thinking that was possible going into the race. I was ready to be happy with something in the 1:23-1:25 range. The race went by so fast and it was nearly effortless mentally until the last .5 miles. We were chatting and enjoying the views the entire race. Most stress free I have ever run a race. It was a really big confidence booster going forward to Big Cottonwood in Sept.