Tawny’s Race Report:
The Hobblecreek Half is a special race for me because it was my first canyon half marathon and my second half marathon ever. The first time I ran it was in 2013. I ran a 1:24:04. It was the year I was training to break 3 hours for the first time in the marathon. I was told that doubling my time in this half and adding 10 minutes would be about what I could do in the St. George marathon. So I told myself I had to run a 1:24 – which would result in a 2:58 marathon at St. George.
Well…I ran a 2:58 at St. George. After that, I felt like this half was magical.
It’s been months and months of training and feeling like I haven’t been able to show what I’ve worked for in my training. I had a couple goals for the race- one of them was to be top three and the other was to PR. I knew I would have to work for both.
Since Dustin was racing too, we both arrived to the buses at 5:40 and jumped on. Earlier in the morning I had a gluten free and dairy free pumpkin waffle and then 20 minutes before I sipped on some Maurten 320. We hit the bathrooms right when we got off the bus. I warmed up for a mile, did my leg swings, and I was ready to go. I could feel it was going to be a good day. I had a decent taper and the weather was perfect.
There were a ton of the Runner’s Corner team there. It was fun to see all the girls. There were some very fast girls lining up at the start. I wasn’t sure how I would place, so I just told myself- it doesn’t matter at this point. Just run your race and shoot for a PR. That helped me relax a little bit.
The race started a little late. The timing system was late getting set up, but before we knew it, we were off. The first mile is very downhill compared to the rest of the race. I watched as several runners took off. I noticed I was 5th girl after the first quarter mile. I knew what pace I wanted to hit, so I didn’t worry and did my thing. I wanted a 5:40 first mile and I hit 5:42. This brought me up to the 4th place girl. I’ll call her Six-pack (she looked tough). We seemed to be wanting the same pace and it felt good to run with someone side by side.
We were both really focused on the race and doing our best, but every once in awhile a few words were exchanged. “Pace is a little hot”, “Let’s keep it relaxed”, “Plenty of race to go”, “So hard to hold back” “I can see the next girl”. I could tell Six-pack was a little antsy and wanted to go, but we continued to work together as we passed the first aid station and into the next several miles. The first 10k of this race is really nice and aided. I wanted to hit the next 5 miles around 5:50 pace and I went 5:49, 5:45, 5:39, 5:54, 5:43. The 5:39 scared us a bit and we both backed off for the next mile. I came through the 10k at 35:44, a new aided 10k PR.
Shortly after 10k I remember to take my Maurten Gel. I also saw a water stop up ahead and I always really like to take it with a little sip. So I ate it as fast as I could just before the water and grabbed a sip. Then I took a run gum shortly after.
Mile 7 has a decent hill. I remember it being bigger and I was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t feel so bad. I knew it was a good day after I felt like that. My goal was 5:55 for this mile and I hit a 5:56. After climbing up the hill I had gapped Six-pack a little bit, but my breathing was pretty heavy. I eased off a bit to get my breathing relaxed again, and soon she was back with me. We could see the next girl up ahead. We were closing in, but not by much. It was still a big gap.
When we hit mile 8 and Six-pack made a decisive move. It was strong and obvious. She was ready to go. I knew I wasn’t ready yet- so I let her go. She didn’t get much farther in front of me as we headed into the rolling part of the course. It winds and rolls up and down. It’s beautiful and hard to see where the other runners are around you. I expected her to gap me more, but by the end of mile 9 she came back to me. (5:51 and 5:54 for 8 and 9). It’s like her energy had run out because when she came back to me, she just fell behind. She never came back. (I heard she was sick at mile 11).
So then it was just me and then I could see Amber and Golden up ahead. They were looking solid, but I could feel them getting closer. Part of me was antsy to close the gap, but I kept telling myself – “don’t try to go to them, just let them come to you”. I stayed as relaxed as possible. I knew there was a nice big hill ahead and I needed to focus on that. Mile 10 and 11 were 5:52 and 5:54. I was surprised my splits weren’t slowing more with the rollers and less drop. It kept me fired up and I knew a PR was going to happen. I think I started doing math in my head with 4 miles to go, but it’s never that accurate when I’m running as hard as I can go.
Mile 12 (6:10) is a flat mile on an asphalt trail in the sun. It’s a mentally challenging mile as there is no aid and no scenery. Just before mile 12, I was just a couple meters behind the next girl. I dug deep and tried to really make this mile count. I wasn’t sure if she would go with me when I passed. I said good job and continued on. She didn’t seem to respond. I was now in third place with just over a mile to go. It hurt, but it also felt better than any half marathon I’ve run before.
Heading into the last mile, I just gave it all, counting down each .1 I had to left. .5 to go, .4 to go. I looked at my watch and realized that I would be under 1:17 and I was pretty excited. I kicked hard because I had a guy on my shoulder and finished with 1:16:38. (5:52 last mile)
I must have given it more than I thought, because my legs buckled a little bit after I finished. So I sat on the grass for a second. My stomach held up great this time. No throwing up at the finish. I was so excited! Finally a good race!
Jen had texted me the night before this race. She said just think – “Strong. Light. Free.” – well that became my race mantra. So when things got tough throughout the race, 6 or 7 times I used that phrase- Strong, Light, Free!
Dustin’s race report:
Probably my new favorite half marathon…Not sure if it is because it felt really good, or because I liked the course and the terrain, but I think it probably has something to do with both.