Sunday, May 07, 2006

Ogden Half Marathon

The first race I've ever run

Yesterday I finished the first race I have ever entered. The Ogden Half Marathon starts in Eden,UT near the Pineview Reservoir and ends 13.1 miles later in downtown Ogden, UT. The route is mostly downhill which makes the race very fast. I was worried that all of that downhill would be difficult on my knees and ankles but turned out just fine. There were only a couple of steeper grades and even those weren't that bad.

I was very anxious about the race the night before and didn't end up with a good rest. We had to be up at 4:30am to catch the buses that take the runners up to the start of the race. Randy Cook and I got on a bus at about 5:00am and arrived at the starting area around 6:00am. It was very cold and we had to wait for over an hour to start. They had a full first aid station there (it's the halfway mark for the full marathon) with fruit, water, and PowerBars. They also had fires going to keep the runners warm. Most of the race runs down the Ogden canyon and they had half of the road closed off for the race. I was surprised at how well organized the event was and how many volunteers they had. Every mile they had first aid stations filled with people screaming out words of encouragement and holding out cups of water, Powerade (I only had water), PowerBars, fruit, and some of that sports GU stuff (I didn't have any of that either).
You can click the above map to see the race results from my Garmin 305. I forgot to turn it off as I passed the finish line so the numbers aren't exact. I pushed my body harder in this race than I've ever pushed it before. I must have been full of adrenalin because I ran for over an hour in zone 4 of my heart rate (80%-90% of max) and 23 minutes in zone 5 (90%-100% of max). I ran the first mile and a half at a very slow pace. This being my first race, I was nervous and didn't know what to expect. I felt very good after that and stepped it up a bit. I mentally divided the race up into 5 mile blocks (that's how far I run each morning) and was surprised how fast it passed and how soon I was at my last 3 miles.

My goal was to finish the race under two hours and after ten miles I changed that goal to be under 1:45. I started to push and decided I could run the last three miles with a heart rate between 160 and 170 bpm. I turned the last corner in Ogden and could see the finish line with only a half mile to go. I was already at 170 and decided there was just a little more I could push. The last block of the race I broke out in a sprint... well, it felt like a sprint but I'm sure it was little more than a fast jog. There were a lot of people screaming as we came in but just as I broke out in my "sprint" some guy on the side screamed out "yeah dude, go for it" and kept screaming it as he ran along the side of the race at my pace. I'm not sure if his intention was to mock me or encourage me but I have to thank him for it because it gave me a rush of adrenaline that kept me running full speed until the end. I could see I wasn't going to make it under 1:45 but I thought if I pushed as hard as I could, I would still make it under 1:50. I ended up crossing at 1:49:59.9. My net time (from the time I crossed the start line to finish was 1:49:09.9. It took me 50 seconds to cross the start line from the race start (there were a lot of people).

When I crossed the finish line there was a sea of people in yellow shirts (volunteers) helping the racers and I was very disoriented because I had to suddenly stop running (there was no room to continue even if I wanted to). Two volunteers came rushing up to me to stop me. The girl volunteer said she needed my timing chip (it was on my left ankle) and the the guy stood there like he was going to catch me when I collapsed. I can't remember a time in my life when I have wanted air in my lungs as much as I wanted it then and for the first time I think I caught a glimpse of what it is like to have asthma. My lungs felt thick and I could not get air in and out no matter how hard I tried. I could only imagine a thick swelling in all of my airways that was slowing everything down. After about 30 seconds of that I recovered and could breathe deep full breaths and finally recovered.

My family was there to watch me cross the finish line despite the delayed start in the race. They were very supportive and it was great to have them there. My oldest boy (6 years old) told me that next year he wanted me to run the "big" race (meaning the full marathon). My good friend Randy Cook who invited me to run the race made sure that at registration I was entered in the "clydesdale" category. That's a special class for people over 200 lbs. He said it would help my race results to be in that class. It turns out he was right. I ended up taking first place in my class. I checked and according to the race stats, I would have taken 10th place had I been in the normal Male 35-39 class. I hope to be in that class next year so I better work on my time.

My first race ended up being a very positive experience and I look forward to having many more!


Brian Cragun said...

Yeah Calvin. Go go go!

Crawford said...

Very excited and proud of you. Excellent time for a first, a second, or any race!

Hope you have a couple of recovery days planned. Talk to you soon.

John Cragun said...

What a wonderful detailed account of the run. It was so desciptive. I felt as though I was invited into your personal life for those few moments. Thank you for sharing your experience. Congratulations. We are so proud of you, as a person, as a father and husband, and as a member of the family. Thanks for all you do. Way to go!!

Dad Cragun

Amy said...

Great marathon post, your report is clear and detailed. The event is great!!!


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