We’re spending about 3 weeks in Utah this year. That’s kind of a long time for us, but we have lots of things we need to do. The first was to run a race. Like last year, my family was heavily involved in the Utah Valley race series. My dad ran the half (his first) as did two of my sisters and a brother-in-law, and a brother and sister ran the full marathon as well. Simon and Oliver ran the kids 1K, and Micah and I ran the 10K.
The 10K finished first, so I’ll start with that. It was perfect weather. Cool and clear, and not windy in our part of the course. My brother’s brand new fiancee was kind enough to take our children from us at the start line and meet us at the finish line. (Thanks Amber!) She also took some pictures of us as we started out. The course was pretty flat, and though we started out slow to let my body warm up, by halfway through mile 2 I was feeling pretty good. We ran the last 4+ miles at a sub-8:00 minute pace and I felt really great. I came in as the 13th woman, Micah was the 22nd man. It wasn’t a huge field for a 10K, but we feel good about our performance nonetheless.
We finished our race just a little bit before my dad was hoping to finish the half-marathon. (The 10K started an hour after the half and full marathons.) He’d had some ankle troubles the past two weeks and was a little anxious about being able to run, but run he did and came in with an extremely respectable time of 2:08, despite the ankle acting up the last 3 miles. It was clear that he was in pain as he crossed the line, but he not only finished, he beat his two daughters and son-in-law by a long shot. Jess came in at about 2:25 and Sarah and Paul crossed at 2:36. Both of my sisters ran PRs (personal records) and were really happy with how they’d done.
After that we waited a while for Isaac and Abby to finish the marathon. Isaac had a goal of running a sub-4:00, so we started looking for him about 15 minutes before that. We waited and cheered and cheered and waited and then Isaac came cruising past us like he was being chased by a pack of rabid dogs or something. He thought he was a little close to his goal time for comfort, but ended up beating it by a solid 2 minutes, coming in at 3:58 and beating last year’s time by more than half an hour.
We weren’t sure what to expect from Abby. Isaac had passed her at mile 5 and she said her stomach wasn’t feeling well and she wasn’t sure she’d be able to finish. We hadn’t seen her at the finish line yet, so we kept our eyes on the finish line chute and our fingers crossed that she wasn’t vomiting in some porta-potty somewhere. She wasn’t. She looked strong as she crossed the finish line, beating her previous marathon time by 18 minutes.
Things were going well for the family so far, but we still had the best race to come: the Kids 1K. Simon and Oliver were pretty excited about it, but Simon was super tired from our busy week. As we walked back and forth from the finish line chute to the finish line exit meeting people as they finished the races, he kept telling us that the more we walked the more tired he would be. So we were expecting a lot of walk-running for the race. And we were pretty sure Oliver would lose interest and want to be carried along the course. Micah accompanied Simon and I ran with Oliver.
But they defied our expectations. Both of them were super serious about this race. Simon weaved in and out of all the strollers and smaller kids and their adults, and was so focused on speed that he turned too soon and missed the finish line chute. We lost him for minute or so, but eventually found him. By the time we had, he’d crossed the finish line 3-4 times, or, as he said, he “won the race three or four times.” Oliver, bless his little heart, ran the whole thing. And he only fell down once. Sometimes he looked like he might be slowing down, but then he’d surge and get back on track. He totally had his game face on as we approached the finish line. And he got a chocolate creamy as a reward, which would have been awesome had he not been so distracted by the chocolate milk that he let the creamy melt and drip all down his hands. In true Oliver fashion, he spent a good portion of the day covered in sticky-sweet chocolate.
So there you have it. The Utah Valley Race series 2012! We were all pretty wiped out. Some of us have been limping, some of us have been sore, and some of us just totally crashed on great-grandpa’s couch during our post-race picnic.