I woke precisely at 3:24 (okay, really my alarm was set for 3:20, I only hit snooze twice) so I could meet my friend at 4:10, drive an hour and ten minutes to pick up our other friend at 5:20, to make it onto the buses for the Parowan Yankee Meadow Half Marathon at 5:45. Whew! Some mornings I feel as though I’ve lived a whole other life before the sun even comes up, but what a beautiful sunrise it was!
The race begins at the Yankee Meadow Reservoir just outside of Parowan, Utah. The course takes runners down the “First Left Hand Road” on Scenic Byway 143, and winds about 3 miles through Parowan neighborhoods before it ends at the Iron County Fairgrounds. I knew that this was a very fast course. The elevation charts and race recaps said that it would be a speedy race and they weren’t exaggerating one bit. It has so much downhill it hurt, my back, my left quad, and my poor toe all suffered. Especially the toe, which was rubbed raw, blistered, and will soon be nail-less. I love earning those runner wounds as a badge of honor. We flew, like zoomed, down the course. I clocked a 5:54 mile at mile 5, I don’t remember ever breaking a six minute mile. Ever. The speed was great, it gave me a lot of hope for the St. George Marathon and it was exciting to see my body be able to run fast. But all the pounding meant my legs were getting pretty burned out. Thankfully, that’s when I caught up with a friend.
Justin is a great local runner, in just a few years time he’s gone from being a beginner to an advanced runner. He’s present at most of the races in town and even paces some of them. He’s the kind of runner who’s always there with encouragement and advice. I caught up with him at mile eight and I think I said, “Help me.” I was out of gas, struggling, and hurting. He ran with me, talked to me, encouraged me, and helped me get my nerve back to finish strong. My last mile was the slowest (7:20), but I don’t think I would have been able to stay in the seven minute range without his help. It made me think of this quote by George Eliot,
I see runners live up to this standard all the time. We give away extra fuel and hair ties, we pick up dropped sunglasses and try to find the owner, we give away Kleenex for those untimely…runny noses, we help dust each other off, we cheer each other on, we do what we can to make a run or a race less difficult. It is the runner code.
When others are willing to help you, sometimes a race can become extra special. Today was one of those days.
Overall the course was very well supported and organized. The race director was a lovely woman who came onto all the buses wished us all good luck and was at the awards ceremony handing out plaques, local raw honey, and hugs. I can’t wait to run it again next year…when my toe is finally better.
How Have other runners Helped you on a Run or a Race?
What’s the Best Prize you’ve Ever Won?
How do you heal blistered toes?