The Lake Powell Half

Nov 1, 2014

It didn't take me long after running the Hobbler Half up in Utah to decide I wanted to give running a half marathon another go. My first experience was a good one, but now knowing what to expect, I was ready to try again. And it just so happened that my second counselor in the Primary was itching to run one as well. We saw ads for the Lake Powell Half and started to um and ah about it. Then one day Nicole texted me to say she had signed up... she was in! I quickly followed suit and was officially in training for my second half.

Nicole's sister in law was signed up for the same race, so the three of us planned to ride up together. Then, with just a few weeks to go before the big day, Nicole and I convinced a new friend from our ward to join in the fun, so we ended up going as a group of four... my first ever girls weekend away and it was an absolute blast.

We left the valley around 10am the Friday before the race. The drive to Page was beautiful... leaves changing colour in Flagstaff, beautiful orange rock against a blue sky as we drove across the Reservation. Not to mention lots of girl talk and laughing. We arrived in Page about mid-afternoon and immediately picked up our registration packets. I was excited to see that the race shirts this time around were super cute... the Hobbler Half shirts left much to be desired! The race expo was nothing to get excited about, so we skipped out of there pretty fast and headed to our hotel.

We stayed at the Lake Powell resort. After checking in, we headed to our room and hung out talking for a bit. Eventually we decided we were ready for dinner and headed to one of the resort restaurants that was offering a special pasta meal for racers. Upon scanning the menu we all opted out of the pasta and ordered fancy meals instead. My olive oil roasted salmon with risotto style black barley, sweet pea emulsion, lemon creme fraiche and oven dried tomatoes was divine. Not the typical carb-loading, pre-race meal, but I ate lots of bread rolls to make up for that. I don't regret my choice one bit! And the view during dinner was stunning... we sat right up against the windows where we had a fantastic view of the lake as the sun set.

After dinner, we walked the grounds a bit then prepped our running gear for the next morning. We chatted some more in our room and at 9:30 decided we were ready to attempt sleep. And I do mean "attempt". My eyes were closed from 9:30 until 4 the next morning, but I woke up feeling like I hadn't slept a wink. Apparently none of us actually slept.

4am- the alarms started going off. We got up, got dressed and ate. At 4:45 we boarded the shuttle from our hotel to the starting line. We sat in the dark at the starting line for a looooong time. The music was obnoxious (at that time in the morning! Any other time, I'm sure we would have loved it), the air was very chilly and the nerves were getting to me! Eventually, 6:30 rolled around that it was race time.

Pamela (Nicole's sister in law) and Dani (our new friend from church), took off when the gun sounded. They are both faster runners than Nicole and I. Nicole and I did the first half of the race together. We were going strong until we hit the two mile trail run portion of the race. That slowed us considerably, but we survived, despite our great hatred of trail running. Ü Then we reached my nemesis... the Glen Canyon Dam bridge. I hate, hate, hate bridges and had NO idea this race included running across one. In all honesty, I would not have signed up for it had I known about the bridge in advance. It was a huge stress for me the night before the race and the first portion of the race... I was absolutely dreading it. When we got to the bridge, I had every intention of sticking with Nicole and talking our way across it. And then I overheard this 9 year old who was running the race with his mom talk about collapsing bridges. I freaked out and took off without even thinking about it. Nicole snapped a picture of me tearing across the bridge, ponytail flying. After the race, I checked my Garmin stats and found that as I crossed the bridge, I was maintaining a 6:37 mile pace. If only I could run at that for more than the length of one bridge!!

After the bridge we hit the uphill portion of the race. I knew this part would be physically difficult as I had been struggling with some Achilles pain that was definitely aggravated  by uphill running. But before I left for the race, Bruce had given me a blessing and promised me that my body would work as I did this race. And guess what! It did. I was absolutely blessed with strength far beyond my own throughout the entire race. I did hit a major mental wall around mile 8, at which point I ended up putting some distance between Nicole and I because I just mentally could not run. I walked and struggled for about half a mile but I knew I wanted to finish strong. Luckily, I happened upon the 2:30 pace runner and started chatting with her and another girl who was running with her. They were just what I needed to break through that mental block. The random conversation kept me going and before I knew it, the race was about to come to an end. As the finish line came into view, I realized that I had the chance to beat my previous half marathon time by 10 full minutes. I kicked it into high gear and ended up crossing the finish line at 2:28:10. I had cut a full 10 minutes and 45 seconds off my time from just 3 months earlier. I was ecstatic!

Everyone else had come in before me... Pamela and Dani were just after the 2 hour mark and Nicole ran in about 5 minutes ahead of me. We hung out at the finish line admiring the amazing medals we had received and guzzling chocolate milk. Then we made our way back to the hotel, but not before Nicole and I had our picture taken with "the cowbell guy". This guy stood on the sidelines cheering for the runners and ringing a cowbell at various places along the route. Every time we ran by him, I couldn't help but smile and feel motivated, so of course we needed a picture with him.

We spent a little time in the hot tub, showered, packed up our room and checked out. We grabbed burgers at the floating restaurant at the marina then headed home so Dani, Nicole and I could all make it to our ward Trunk or Treat. It was a super fast trip, but oh it was a fun one! I will absolutely be doing the Lake Powell Half (and hopefully some other Vacation Races runs) again in the future. It was a very well done race and I had so much fun running it. 

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