Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mesa Falls Half-Marathon

The Mesa Falls Half-Marathon was what motivated us to schedule a weekend in Rexburg.

I wasn't as prepared for this race as I was for the Phoenix half-marathon that I ran last March, but this race was worth running, despite my lack of full preparation. The field of runners was less than 200 for the half, and including the marathon, there were still less than 400 people on the course.  I'm not used to running such small races, and it was awesome.

One of my blog readers, Kesa, is from the area, and she told me she would be running and that she would look for me.  She had the advantage, because I had no idea what she looked like, but when a darling dark-haired lady walked toward me at the starting line, waving a shy little wave, I knew that I would get to meet her!

I've only met blog readers a few times, and I get nervous every time. Am I going to disappoint them? Am I the same in the flesh as I am in cyberspace?

I shouldn't have worried. I loved talking with her for a few minutes. I know we would totally be friends if . . . I could get her to move to boiling hot Mesa. Thanks for talking with me, Kesa! Nice to meet you!

The race began with four downhill miles along a dirt path next to the river. It was overcast and cool (about 58 degrees), and I have to say, we never have running conditions that beautiful or that perfect.  I loved every second of those first four miles.

Then, as I turned a corner, a young girl at the aid station handed me a cup of water and said, "Good luck on the hill!"  That hill?  That hill was four miles of  pure agony, people! At this point, I was so grateful Brad had lent me his iPod because Valjean and Javert got me up that hill.  Thank goodness for Les Mis!

Eight miles down, and the course leveled out a little as we ran through acres and acres of wheat, barley, potatoes, and corn.  I may have said this before, but I love Idaho.

Sam was the official Denton family photographer for the race.  Thanks, Sam!
Unlike every race I've run in the past, Ashton didn't close the road to car traffic, so family and friends could follow the runners around by car. Every time I saw the Brubakers' red Acura, I would break stride and come over to squeeze my little kiddos.
Brad dubbed himself, "Grandfather Black Shanks," thanks to the high-tech compression socks that help prevent shin splints.  Looks like they can't prevent silly moments like this one.
Ellie loved watching the race. Heidi said she kept running around saying, "I run too!"
There was nothing that boosted my mood faster than seeing that curly-headed little girl on the sidelines, clapping and cheering for me . . .
. . . unless it was when she ran out to meet me.
I didn't even care about the clock--I just snuggled her down on my sweaty self!

I think this may be Brad's favorite course ever . . .
. . . and his time reflected it.  He actually won first place in his age division, much to his surprise! Way to go, Grandfather Black Shanks!

As for me--well, it was a beautiful race with perfect conditions, that's true.
However, I was a little unhappy with my finish time--that is, until I looked at my phone and it said I had actually run .3 miles FARTHER than the 13.1 required miles.  It must have been all the running out of my way for Ellie hugs.

Totally worth the hugs.
As soon as you stop running, your body reminds you how hard it just worked, and a race of this length leaves you with a few awards that gradually fade away--tingling toes, hurt knees, and SCREAMING quads from all the hills.
Here it is, four days later, and I can still feel my quads complain at the treatment they were subjected to that day.
Yet, here it is, four days later, and I'm already saying, "Let's do it again next year!"  Running is a little like childbirth that way--the reward is what you remember, and the pain is easily and quickly forgotten.

See you next year, Mesa Falls.


  1. hello my old friend! so nice you had the chance to meet a reader!! and so very cool that you ran the race! i wish i was a runner...exercising isn't that big here in paris :)
    now, cafe sitting..that i can do!
    proud of you and you look terrific!

  2. Way to go Jen. It sounds like a great race and I'm so impressed you can do it.

  3. Next year Nathan will run out to meet you, too. It looks to me like you know Ellie is way more important and fun than getting a good time on the race. Such darling kids!

  4. Someday I will run a half-marathon. I don't know when, but sometime.

    Also, Valjean is certainly magical. 24601 all the way.

  5. You're so awesome. Not many grandkids can say their grandma and grandpa run marathons. You inspire many!

  6. Way to go...I am trying to get inspired to run this fall. Ellie is so big. Too cute!

  7. I love that you and Brad seem to have so much fun together! It's my favorite part of being an old married couple--laughing together!

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  9. Jenny--it was so fun to meet you!! You are exactly the same in person as you are on your blog (because you are so real on your blog). You were ahead of me and I kept looking for your red shirt and white hat. It was a fun race and I will be doing it next year too. Brad rocked it!

  10. Oops! My name is Kesa but I didn't fix my log in name before publishing my previous comment.