May 8, 2011

Provo City Half Marathon

Off the start at the Provo City Half Marathon. I'm in the orange singlet... Andrea is in the black shirt and blue/green shorts.

Yesterday we ran the Provo City Half Marathon... long story short, we both raced really well and came away with huge PRs. Andrea ran amazing, taking first place in the women's race (and incredibly 7th place overall) in 1:21:43. I had a very nice race as well, finishing in second place with a 1:10:52. In my opinion these are pretty good performances at 4500 feet of elevation.

Here's our race recaps, followed by the pictures:

Andrea: I have had my mind set on the Provo City Half Marathon since the beginning of this year. I really liked the looks of the course because it was a fair course at altitude. So many races here in Utah have large elevation drops to account for the altitude, but I was just looking for a relatively flat unaided course. My training has focused on the half marathon distance for this race (and the Utah Valley Half coming up in another month).

That said, I am very excited about my performance. I won the race!! But more important than that, I have improved significantly in the last few months and I exceeded my goal race time by over two minutes. It is a great feeling to know how hard I have trained this winter/spring and how much it has helped. Honestly, I owe about half of the credit to Jake because he has run about 70% of my mileage with me and been a great resource (I'm starting to call him Coach).

About the race: My plan was to run 6:20 miles for the first few miles, then try to negative split from there on out based on how I was feeling. As soon as the race began, I settled into a pace that felt relatively easy - 6:00 for the first mile. Another girl (Kassi Harmon) was right there with me, and I made the decision to just go for it. Try to maintain her pace . About 5 of us ran in a pack for about 4 miles. 6:16, 6:06, 6:13. People started dropping off one by one, until I was running alone. I was determined not to drop off the pace at this point because I couldn't handle the idea of going out too fast. I was feeling pretty good. Miles 5-11 were pretty uneventful (6:12, 6:08, 24:33 (4 miles around 6:08), 6:09)...I was disappointed that there were no mile markers throughout the entire bike path. There were definitely times when I was unsure if I was even going in the right direction. But I made it through. Back on the road, I almost got run over by a truck because he refused to stop despite the 5 volunteers with stop signs and me running in front of him. That adrenaline rush helped me through to mile 12 (6:19). I was really feeling the fatigue here, and it was hard to push through with no other runners in sight. The bridge at about 12.5 miles didn't help - it was much harder on the way back! I pushed through to the end (with Jake right there cheering me on) and was so happy to see my time and be done! The last 1.1 miles was around 7:00 pace, so WAY off my other splits [EDIT: Turns out the course was about 0.05 mi long, so that last stretch was actually ~6:40 pace]. But I am still proud of the way I raced. I went for it, and although I blew up a little at the end I still ran much faster than I thought.

Then I heard that Jake ran under 1:11! He is so fast, and I am so proud of him :o)

Jake: I came into this one feeling better than I have for any of the previous races this year, and really felt that I had a chance to not only set a big PR (previous best was 1:12:28, at sea level), but get under 1:11. I figured if I could do that, then shooting for a sub 2:30 at the Utah Valley Marathon in 5 weeks is very realistic. My workouts have been going great recently, despite the fact that I still haven't dropped my mileage below that magic 100 mile per week threshold (even this week, with the race). Off the start, several guys took it out pretty quick (their first mile was ~5:05) while I hung back and came through the first mile in 5:17. My plan was to run 5:25-30 / mile, so I was a little quicker but not too quick. I was running relaxed and between miles 2-4 I caught 4 guys and moved into second place. The guy out front (Teren Jameson, 2:16 marathoner) was way out ahead and out of reach. I knew that that point I was running a time trial for second place.

I hit the 6 mile mark in 32:55 (5:29 pace), and then there was a 4 mile stretch along the bike path with no mile markers. This was unfortunate as I didn't have a great sense of my pace. When I came off the bike path and back on to the roads, I made a wrong turn and had to double back a bit (it probably only cost me 5 seconds). Finally I hit the 10 mile mark in 54:34 (which meant I had been hitting 5:25s for the past 4 miles) and that was encouraging. I hadn't fallen off the pace... I had actually picked it up! Now it was go time... my next 2 miles were 5:16 and 5:21... doing the math in my head, I figured I should be under 1:11.

On the last mile we came over a good sized bridge and that hill really sucked the life out of my legs. I felt like I was walking at that point, so it was a surprise to find out that my last mile was ~5:15, and overall my last 5K was 16:18. Another big negative split race for me. I came through the line in 1:10:52 (Teren had won the race in 1:09:44), grabbed a drink of water, and started running backwards along the last mile so I could run along with and cheer on Andrea for her last stretch of the race. I only made it a few minutes, and already there she was coming over the bridge with no other girls in sight! I was ecstatic and ran along on the sidewalk as she brought it home! I almost couldn't believe how fast she ran... its been so awesome and motivating for me to watch Andrea's transformation into such a high-level runner. I've known she was immensely talented since I've known her, and believed she was capable of these kinds of things... but believing something and actually doing something are completely different things... and her dedication and hard work are really paying off. I really think these kinds of performances are just the beginning for both of us.

Now we have 3 big weeks of training, which we'll cap with a tuneup race over Memorial Day weekend (10K). After that, its the Utah Valley Marathon (me) and half-marathon (Andrea) on June 11th.

Start of the race

A little past halfway

Andrea in the lead and still managing to smile for the camera!

At the finish... relieved to be done and under 1:11

Andrea bringing it home for the win!

Top 3 females... not shabby competition... Kassi (left) is a former NCAA champion, and Michelle (right) will hopefully qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials in a few weeks

Top 3 males

In addition to some serious cash, Andrea also won this great watch!

The course map and elevation profile. It was a fair course but had a few climbs. This would be a pretty fast course at sea level... at 4500 feet its a little bit slower.

Mt Timpanogos towering over Utah Valley. We're hoping to get back down there to ski this one in the next couple weeks.

After the race we decided against skiing... I know, sacrilegious, but we didn't feel like driving up the canyons, and it was finally hot outside... so we took the bikes for a spin

Riding the Bonneville Shoreline Trail

Its starting to turn towards spring in the foothills

This trail is right behind where I work

On Sunday we skinned up a high point at Alta...

...and saw the next storm rolling in... we're expected to get 14-24 inches of snow in the next 2 days...

... so we skied down and called it a day... hopefully spring's next appearance will be for more than 2 days!

All the pictures from the weekend.

Full Results from the race.


  1. Ok, I've been stalking your blog for months now, but I have to tell you that my boyfriend and I were wondering at the beginning what you'd do after the race: bike or ski! You two are amazing! I mean, we thought we were pretty tough, but you two put us to shame :)

  2. Haha thanks! Andrea deserves a lot of credit for putting up with my inability to ever take a break! :-)

  3. You had Jake and I laughing for about 10 minutes last night with that comment! Sometimes I think we might be a LITTLE over the top with the exercise, but we honestly can't think of anything else to do! I would gladly welcome suggestions :o)