Saturday, March 15, 2014

Canyonlands Half Marathon

Yesterday: rode my bike to work in about 30 min, keeping it moderately easy --- used really low gears to climb the hills, kept my HR from getting too high, and didn't work my legs much. Usually if I work it harder it takes 22-24 minutes, so I did take it easy.


I left work early yesterday and Sarah, Erica and I drove to Moab (about 4 hr), arriving in time for dinner. After a relaxing dinner at the Moab Brewery, we checked into our hotel… that was a bit ugly. Sarah had reserved a room with two queen beds. The price was $79 per night for 1 person with a 2-night minimum (because of race weekend - all the hotels in town do this - and we could only stay one night!), because at the time she'd reserved it she didn't know she'd have me and Erica along with her. When the desk clerk realized 3 were staying, she jacked the price up to $109 per night, costing each of us $20 extra. She was fairly rude in her mannerisms, too. We were pretty annoyed, and even more so when we discovered the ice machine was broken, because we wanted the ice for my foot and Erica's ankle (which has been bothering her a bit). Needless to say, we will not be staying at The Virginian again… cannot recommend it at all. I will say that at least it was clean and comfortable and quiet.

This morning the race start was not until 10 am, so we got to sleep fairly late for a race morning! We were out of the hotel by 7:30 and then got on the bus to the race start. Because of the remote location, they bus everyone in, and you have to hang out for an hour and a half before the race. However, it's beautiful, and though it was chilly it wasn't cold until maybe 30-45 min before the race when the wind picked up.

I knew I was not in shape to race this, but it sure was fun to do it as a long day. I figured I'd be happy if I walked under 6:30/km and had a good recovery. My coach is particularly interested in how well I can recover from this week, and especially this race.

Back to the race… because of the wind, though it was 50F (10C), I opted for tights and a long-sleeved shirt. I think I'd have been happier in shorts and a T-shirt, in retrospect. By mile 3, the sun came out, and the wind calmed a bit, and I was downright hot. I worried that I wouldn't make it to the finish in one piece, but within 2 miles, the weather changed to partly cloudy and strong, gusty winds. VERY strong winds. The weather said it was a steady 25 mph (40 kph) with much stronger gusts. The wind was a headwind on and off until mile 11, with gusts so strong I could barely WALK never mind racewalk at some points. Add in some larger rolling hills, and it made for some slow miles and tired me out a bit. Starting at mile 11, we left the canyon and the wind was thankfully at our backs for a while, but the damage had been done and I was slower at the end. No matter, as I wasn't actually trying to race, just go the distance for the first time in a long time.

Mile splits:
1 - 9:44 (BIG downhill!), 2 - 10:02 (still downhill), 3 - 9:56 (still downhill), 4 - 10:23 (flatter, hotter), 5+6 - 20:39 (rolling hills), 7 - 10:25 (windy, slight uphill) 8 - 10:53 (larger uphill, windy), 9 - 10:30 (rolling hills, windy), 10 - 10:38 (rolling hills, windy), 11 - 11:04 (flat, tired legs), 12 + 13 + 0.1 - 22:06.

Total time: 2:16:16 for 6:27/km with ave HR 150.

Garmin data here.

Pre- and post-race photos at left.

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