Saturday, April 18, 2015

Salt Lake City Half Marathon 2015

This is a sentimental race for me, because it was my first half marathon, back in 2007. I racewalked that one in ~2:20, full-out, as hard as I could. Obviously my technique has improved, because taking it easy and being undertrained to do a half marathon (racing one anyway), I still was faster than that.

I was nervous that I might not get to do the race at all. Thursday night I took a relaxing hot bath (something I like to do on occasion, since we have a jetted tub), and I don't know what happened - I must have sat in there funny holding my book at a weird angle? - but when I got out of the tub I had the worst muscle spasm of my life. My shoulders and neck, particularly my right shoulder, seized up and were excruciatingly painful. I could barely walk to the bedroom to lie down. Loren brought me ibuprofen and acetaminophen, but it hardly touched the pain. I slept fitfully, and when I woke up Friday I could barely get out of bed. It was time to bring out the big guns. I hate taking narcotics, because they often make me nauseated, but I knew I had to break the pain and tension, so I took a Vicodin and some Aleve and called in sick from work for the morning. Wow, what a difference that made - within a few hours, I felt a lot better and was able to go in to work at noon, albeit stiffly. I was even able to take down the 46 fish tanks JingXia and I had set up and collect the embryos, go to a meeting, and do some other work. By Friday night I was able to sit at the symphony, and this morning when I woke the pain was not bad at all - just some stiffness in my neck, pain if I turned my head too far to the right, and some stiffness and pain in my upper back if I looked down too far. No pain with racewalking though :)!

Since I work at the U, I do enjoy the luxury of parking up there and using a REAL flush toilet before the race. I took advantage of that, stopping in at the lab pre-race, and then walking about 5 min to the race start. The weather was gorgeous (6C; 43F; light wind) and I was so happy I felt good enough to racewalk. Last year, I was too sick with the mystery illness relapse to racewalk, and had to walk it slowly instead, which was very disappointing.

This year was much better. I wasn't fast, but was able to do the hilly (more downhill than up, but still hilly with some significant uphills) course in 2:17 or so. My watch said 2:17:41, but I did stop for about 45 sec to get a photo with Calvin, who was cheering for me between miles 8-9 where the race course passes our street. So I figure it was a 2:17 effort, which is great, since my legs now feel totally fine. A little stiff, yes, but NO weird soreness at all, and I'm hoping to recover quickly and be ready for a nice 8K fartlek on Monday.

Notes from the race: legs felt awesome through 15K, then tired at 16K, and really tired from 18-21K, but not dead. Just really tired. That seems about right given my level of not training :). Haven't been able to do enough long days to be ready to do a half marathon and not be very tired at the end.

Other notes: got the usual comments about "You're walking faster than I can run!", but one guy named Jorge chatted with me and was from Ecuador and so of course he knows all about the famous RWer Jefferson Perez! We enjoyed chatting about Perez for a while, and Jorge said he'd tried RWing but found it too challenging, so he is still a runner. I told him he should try it again :). Around mile 8 there was another lady who said "Go racewalker!" and I was surprised she knew the sport, but clearly she did or she would have said speed walker. I commented to her about that but we didn't have time to talk as she was a spectator, so I don't know how she knows about RWing, but it was fun to have a cheering section.

Got lots of photos, below. Happy to have finished my 9th consecutive SL Half!

Garmin data here. 

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