The prettiest course I have ever run, even better than the Grand Teton Half that ends at Teton Village north of Jackson, Wyoming. It was also a PR for me, which is something I've been unable to get to since my Huntsville disaster in 2015.
The day before the race I took my family to Arches National Park to enjoy the scenery. I probably hiked a little too much and stood out in the heat too much as well. We also went to a local diner that only seems to sell deep fried food. I had a veggie burger there and mostly had bagels for the rest of the day.
I woke up with an uncomfortable stomach and lots of nerves, and the race wasn't going to start until 10am. The starting line was so cold. I opted to bring a hoodie, but no sweatpants (which is half-nice since I forgot to grab my gear bag afterwards), and I was still freezing. I did a half mile warmup about 40 minutes before the start and drank my last sample of UCAN. I stood close to the front with the 1:30 pacer, and the clan formed around him. He told me that in the first mile (the biggest downhill in the race) he would try to run in 6:40. Five minutes after the race started, the pacer and his clan already had 20 to 30 seconds on me. I felt like they were going too fast, and confirmed that when I finished the first mile in exactly 6:40. About halfway through the first mile we ran into the first sunlight from over the cliffs, and the temperature difference was immediately noticeable. I knew that hydration would be very important in this race. With the exception of the first aid station, I grabbed a water at each station, drank half, and poured half on my head. I figured this would work very well in the super dry weather of Moab, and it turned out to be the case. For the first 3 miles I got passed by a few people and passed nobody. I stayed calm and stuck to my personal goal of keeping under 7:10/mi. From miles 6.5-8.5 I took a raspberry clif gel. During the second half of the race I passed 20-30 people; most of those were in the last 4 miles. With 2 miles to go, I felt really good and I was fairly confident I would be able to PR and also catch a few more people I could see. My last two miles were both under 7. I really tried hard to muster a kick at the end, but I didn't really feel much faster during the last bit.
I think the big change that made this race better was increasing my easy miles. Around Christmas time-ish last year, I tried to really up my weekly mileage and took a few weeks off of workouts, except long runs. After maintaining around 60 miles/week, I slowly started adding some small workouts. It seems to have worked well so far. Looking forward to the Salt Lake City full next month!
I recorded the race as 13.17, which seems consistent with some other race reports on FRB from previous years. Anyways, here are the splits:
|13.11 (or .17?)