Oh boy. Lots to report in the last few weeks.
First things first. I ran a half marathon! It was really satisfying, but mostly really hard. I could really tell that training long runs on trails helped me A TON in the first five miles. I was averaging a minute below my mile time and hardly felt tired or winded at all. The next five miles were a little harder, I definitely felt like I was working, but I was still comfortable. The last three miles were pure hell. Part of it is the way the course is set up. The first ten miles are along the Colorado River with beautiful red rock canyon walls on either side of you. This section is gently sloping downhill (you’re following the river downstream) and there’s only one real hill to speak of (at mile 9). The race planners were kind enough to put a Japanese drum group at the top of the hill to distract you from the pain of running uphill. However, right at mile 10 you break out of the canyon and onto the main highway through Moab. This part is barely uphill, but you’re running on the tilted shoulder of the highway with cars, 18-wheelers, and Jeeps flying by not 10 feet away. This part was so demoralizing. All I wanted was to be done with the race (I was running farther than I ever trained at that point) and instead hundreds of people were ogling us while they drove by. The last three miles were really hard. But the finish finally came, and I crossed the line in 2 hours and 12 minutes. My unofficial goal was to be under 2:15 (this based on absolutely nothing because I didn’t train for time AT ALL), so I was pleased with the result. After the race we sat around in the sun, drank chocolate milk and ate oranges, and tried to stretch a little. Here are some photos from the day:
The half marathon was pretty fun, overall, minus the pain during the last 3 miles (from my blister and from my lack of sufficient training on long runs). The course was beautiful, the weather was great, and it felt like such a huge accomplishment. Seriously, I’ve been talking about running a half marathon since 2009, so it’s nice to finally cross that off the list.
Let’s see…what other good things can I talk about before I have to talk about THE HUGE BAD THING?
Wednesday was Kyle’s birthday. It was pretty great. We both had the day off, and decided to go for a nice, long (slow) trail run. I swear Kyle could run twice as far as I run when we go running together, but he’s nice and waits for me when I’m moving at the pace of a turtle. Anyway, we headed out to the Lunch Loops, an area right on the outskirts of Grand Junction that has amazing endless trails. We’ve done a lot of running there in the past, but we almost always do the same 3-7 mile runs on the same two loops. Kyle wanted to show me a whole different part of the area. The first three miles were STRAIGHT uphill. As in, I ran maybe half of it and walked (dragged myself) up the rest. But the view from the top was incredible. If you know Grand Junction well, this will mean something to you. If not, just know that you had an incredible view of every major landform within 100 miles in any direction – the Uncompahgre Plateau, the West Elks, the Mesa, the Bookcliffs, the Monument. So cool. So many different kinds of geology. So pretty!
And here are a few other scenes from Kyle’s birthday run and other runs we’ve done at the Lunch Loops.
This place has become our playground. We take the dogs out here a couple times a week, we did most of our half marathon training here, we ride mountain bikes here occasionally (Kyle more than me, because the trails are super technical and I get scared. And scarred.) This is one of the greatest parts of Grand Junction and is something I’m absolutely going to miss. I mentioned some bad news. It’s not terrible, but it’s not great. I don’t have the energy to go into it all now, but I’ll update again soon with our life plans. They’ve changed.