Friday, November 28, 2014

Thankful Half 2014 Review

My second year pacing the Thankful 13 was a blast! Not only did I get to run with some great people, the weather was perfect and I broke through a huge mental barrier. 

The first part of this post is an overall review of the race for those thinking of running this specific half marathon, and the second part is my personal experience pacing this race.

  Thankful 13 2014 Race Review
The Course:. This course is mostly flat with some downhill in the beginning and some uphill at the end. The Thankful 13 website states "There is less than 50 feet elevation change from start to finish.  There is a little hill, downhill at mile 2 and uphill at mile 11,  that is 400 feet long but the rest of the course follows the river and is very gentle." Eight miles of it is on the Jordan River Parkway. There are some pretty views, but you also run through some neighborhood sections. 

Support: There were 6 aid stations located at miles 1.3, 2.6, 5.4, 8.7, 9.5 and 11.8. Each aid station had water and Powerade, and 2 of the aid stations had GU. The volunteers were awesome (it was Thanksgiving morning after all!)

Extras: What more can I say than Mini Thanksgiving Feast at the finish line! There was hot cider, hot chocolate, pumpkin pie, rolls and more! I love the "Thankful" signs they post along the course. Runners are able to submit a list of things they are thankful for in the weeks prior to race day. Race directors print and post some of these "Thankfuls" along the course. Both years one of my "Thankfuls" have been along the course. They did giveaways on their Facebook page before the race and I won a 15lb turkey!!! Winner winner turkey dinner! The race also provided the RYR Pacers.
Here are all the pacers at the starting line, ready to go!

(shirt front)
(shirt back)
I loved the medals this year. They were sleeker than the previous year's cartoonish looking turkey, and I loved the saying on the back of the shirt and medal. 

Runners:  This race has grown a lot in the past 3 years. There was a really fun energy among the runners. I almost feel like there were too many runners for the course. Many sections on the parkway are narrow and we were running shoulder to shoulder. When the front of the pack made their way back, they were having to run on the dirt on the side of the trail to get by the back of the pack. There were also many strollers on the course that contributed to the problem. I think they may need to cap the number of runners, restrict strollers, and/or change the course. 
Weather/Conditions:  Great running weather for November. You really don't know what you'll get in Utah at the end of November, but both years I've run this race the weather has been great. 
Bottom Line: There is no better way to start your Thanksgiving holiday. This race is well organized and plain fun! I'll definitely be doing this one year after year.

My Experience:
I was 7 weeks pregnant when I ran this, and was still sick with a cold. Between the mucus, the nausea and the fear of miscarriage, I wasn't feeling too hot. When my oldest son was 2 years old I was pregnant and went for a run. When I got home I discovered that I was having a miscarriage. My doctor and everyone I talked to assured me that the miscarriage was not because of my run, but I always felt guilty that maybe I had caused it. A few months later I was blessed with another pregnancy: I chose not to run. Making the choice to run through this pregnancy was scary for me. It was and still is always on my mind when I'm running. Luckily my awesome pacing partner Susette and the awesome runners that stuck with us the entire race helped keep my mind off of my worries. I was able to really enjoy this race and felt way better than I ever hoped to feel.

Susette and I at the starting line.
Me with my "I'm thankful for...." sign.
Finish line with Cory and Corey, who started and finished with us. That rarely happens for us pacers. 
After the race I felt so great that Jorge (RYR Pacers) and I ran back to grab my sign. It really was a great day I gained n a lot of confidence that I would be able to run during this pregnancy. 

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