I am glad I did this race. I am also glad that I won the entry in a Facebook raffle instead of actually paying for it.
This evening race starts at the Great Saltair music venue and goes on an out/back path eastward on the frontage road. I did a 1.25 mile warmup, which included running out the shore of the Great Salt Lake, which I never visited in my 4 years living in Utah. After getting significant negative splits on the last 3 big races I've done (2 marathons and one half), I decided to go out harder than I usually do. I ran alot of the race tied for first with another fellow. He brought all his water and fuel attached to him with fancy runner clothing, which probably was a good idea since the first aid station had a pack of 8oz water bottles on it that still hadn't been opened. I decided not to take the time to rip open the pack to get to the water. Considering that temperatures were pretty low, I wasn't too worried, as I'm not a big perspirator. Got an 8oz water bottle at the second aid station, which had the bottles out for an easy grab, but was not manned. Actually, the only manned aid station was the very last one I passed on the way back. The halfway point was established by a parked SUV. I was a little grumpy/relieved when I saw that I was only at 6.1 miles on my garmin when looping around the car. I wasn't too surprised, as the race didn't seem to have much organization to it, but it did make the course almost a mile short. The fellow I was racing against actually turned around in front of the SUV instead of going around, so I had to catch up to him again. Around mile 7 I made a move and kept the lead for the rest of the race. It was nice to be received at the finish line by Cheyenne and Grandma, some of my favorite people. Got my award, half a cup of hot chocolate, and then got out.
Although I enjoyed the race, I suspect that others did not. It was very dark by the time I got back, and since I was running hard I did not have a chance to get cold. Slower runners/walkers were out there for up to 3.5 hours in cool windy conditions, and in the dark. The race's website described the course as having light-up arches to mark each mile, and also said the aid stations would include water, gatorade, salty snacks, sweet snacks, and energy gels. For the race organizers, apparently this translates to just having 8oz water bottles and little trick-or-treat type candies. Again, I had a great time, but I hope that everyone else did too.
I was happy to have averaged a 6:55/mi pace over 12.2 miles. I think I could've kept an average pace below 7:00/mi for the rest of a half marathon. I'm glad I got in another good personal benchmark like this before winter hits. Not signed up for anything until the SLC marathon next year.