Let this race go down in history as our first road race together–just me and him, him and me, running and sweating side by side. How romantic. Let it also be known as my roughest road race in my racing history [in my rookie history of 5 races] to date. Luckily I didn’t get sick and throw up all over the place. And no, I’m not looking for a pity party, I just want to record it all so I can remember/learn from it. Saturday morning [May 5th] began around 4:10am with us slowly crawling out of bed. We quickly ate and put on our running gear. Once I was dressed, I jumped up and down while shaking my head to wake myself up and get excited to run. Bet that’s an interesting mental picture. Z stared blankly with a “you’re crazy baby” look on his face before laughing at me and mumbling about how he wishes he was still sleeping. The race started up Provo canyon, so they had the runners take buses up to the start, with the last bus scheduled to leave at 5:30am. He’s excited, promise.
We got in line to wait for the buses at 5:00am. And it was around 5:18am that I realized I forgot my garmin…too bad I can’t run a race without that cursed, blessed watch. So I immediately began to panic and told Zuriel we had to go back for it. HAD to. He [lovingly] said “Yeah right, you go back, I’ll see you at the finish line”. Ha ha…basically I would be cutting it pretty dang close if I ran back to the car, drove to my grandpa’s house, grabbed my watch, drove back, and searched for parking, all in 12 minutes before the last bus was scheduled to leave for the start line. Honestly truly, I wanted to cry. Then I had the brilliant plan to call my sleeping brother and his 9-month pregnant wife…and then they came to my rescue. In my defense, they were sleeping 10 feet away from my garmin, they were my best [and only] option. I ran out to meet them before the ‘road block’ signs and they handed me my watch. I owe them something real big for that.
Once we got to the start line, the sun started coming up and I waited in line for 30 minutes to take care of business. I had exactly enough time to wait for the bathroom, check my bag into ‘gear check’, jog to the start line, and scream with excitement before the gun went off to start the race. I also had enough time to snap this shot of and quickly cheer for the marathon runners starting their race, I was excited for them. The marathon started at 7:00am with 247 runners and the half-marathon started at 7:15am with 1,103 runners.
Then we were off! The first 9 miles were basically downhill. Which initially can sound ideal, right? Better than the entire race being up hill, that’s for sure. However, I was still healing from shin splints that had started the week before [note: downhill makes the shin splints much worse]. Zuriel on the other hand was ecstatic about the downhill because his injury he received the week before felt better on the downhill–lucky duck. He strained his achilles during a 10-mile run the saturday before race day… Needless to say, our ‘goal time’ for the race was kinda sorta thrown out the window. [this is us super excited to start the race]
We were both going to be happy and satisfied if we both finished the crazy race…it was a little sad, a little romantic, but mostly just sweaty and intense. We started out feeling great, with the beginning miles passing quickly. But, this was the roughest race for me. So mile 1 for me, felt awesome. Naturally I’d feel awesome, it was only the first mile. But hello mile 2, I suddenly feel miserable. Basically Zuriel was [unexpectedly I might add] feeling fantastic and wanting to take advantage of all the downhill action by getting in some fast miles. I was trying, I really was, to keep up and fly down those 9 miles, but my shins just would not let me. I was frustrated. And we had both thought I would be the one pacing us, with Z and his gimp ankle trying to keep up. It was the complete opposite, and I was so glad Z didn’t get impatient but was instead encouraging me the whole way. My lower legs felt like huge weights, but I ran as hard as they’d let me.
On top of the crazy shin splints, my bowels weren’t so happy. A port-a-potty break was mandatory just after mile 8. A mile later, I about stopped again for the bathroom. But then something magical happened, once I saw mile marker 10 ahead, I caught a second wind. All of the sudden, my shin pain literally dissolved, my bowels calmed down, and my mental strength resurfaced. Almost simultaneously, Z looked over at me with this tired look and told me it was getting hard. I smiled back and told him “Well good because I feel awesome. Lets do this, let’s finish hard”. Now it was my turn to return the favor and encourage him the final three miles. Just before mile 12 Zuriel said he didn’t think he could keep it up for the last stretch. I told him to remember why we signed up for the race…that this was more than just a race for us.
We pushed ourselves the final and longest [it always feels that way] mile and TRIED to cross the finish line holding hands, but some guy kept getting in the way. No joke, he and Z were throwing elbows the last ten feet. We walked through the finisher’s shoot, with medals draped, and grabbed some water, bananas, then got in line for the finisher’s breakfast–french toast. We didn’t think our stomachs would be in the mood for french toast after a race, but turns out it was just what we needed. It was delicious.
We waited in line for massages…and it is always worth the wait. My calves must have been doing a lot of compensating for the tightness in my shins because they were so incredibly sore. Thank you masseuse lady for helping me realize just how tight they were. After the post-race fun, we met up with a couple of our friends and Zuriel’s sister for breakfast [his sister and one of our friends had run the 5K]. I know we had just eaten some french toast maybe an hour ago, but it was time for a full breakfast. I hadn’t had Magleby’s before, but they provided the french toast after the race, so we knew if we went for a full breakfast later–they wouldn’t let us down. Egg white spinach omelet, potatoes, and english muffin–yum.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed running this race with my husband by my side the whole way. Except for the last two seconds, crossing the finish line, when he got caught behind mr. competitive elbow thrower. We should buy one of the finish line photos for the visual memory of it.
After Magleby’s breakfast, stretching, foam rolling, and showering, we went to lunch with my brother, his wife, and our good friend Max. It might seem like our meals were unnecessarily close together, and that may be true. I have no comment except that we ate when we were hungry. We also had received coupons in our race bags for a ‘buy one, get one free’ deal, so we couldn’t pass those up now could we.
Running, food, relaxing, food, and now time for relaxing. We couldn’t relax too long before needing to head up to Salt Lake to meet up with friends for a Cinco de Mayo party–it was May 5th afterall.
Since meeting Zuriel, we have celebrated Cinco de Mayo together every year, we could probably call it a tradition now. But being out of town for this holiday for the race, we couldn’t throw our usual party of carne asada fajitas with fresh guac, pico, tortillas, rice, and tres leches. Luckily, our good friends were throwing a party of their own and we got an invite [thanks!]. Complete with pinata and fancy drinks.
It was an enjoyable weekend of hard running, delicious food, and fun times spent with good friends. We were sad to have to go back to work Monday.
How did you celebrate your Cinco de Mayo? Even if you’re not hispanic, when there’s an excuse to celebrate with food and friends, you gotta take it.