Yosemite Half Marathon Race Recap
You guys, I had such an amazing weekend in Yosemite! I am so glad that my husband and parents all agreed to sign up when I asked them back in December after seeing an advertisement for Vacation Races Yosemite Half Marathon on my Facebook newsfeed. This was my eleventh half marathon, but – way more exciting – this was Adrian’s first half marathon! (He says it’s also his last…I’m hoping that changes in the future, but he said he’d be up for some 5 and 10k’s, so I’m not about to complain.) I’m jumping the gun though, let’s go back to Friday.
I took the day off from work so that we could leave on Friday morning since we live about 5 hours away. We arrived in Oakhurst – the town just south of Yosemite National Park right next to Bass Lake – around 3pm, met up with my parents at our hotel, dropped off our bags, and headed over to the race packet pick-up to grab our bibs.
We seemed to hit rush hour at the pre-race expo, but it the volunteers were well organized and moved the line along quickly. After grabbing our bibs, we got to pick out our race shirt – they had 3 colors to choose from (women could choose from blue, mint, or gray), which I loved. I’m usually a gray girl through and through, but I couldn’t turn down the mint.
There were a handful of great vendors, this was a race expo that understood quality over quantity. I was excited to grab some Evolve Protein Shakes – I’ve been wanting to try them for a while – while the guys grabbed some Kicking Horse Coffee.
I was also psyched about my race number because our anniversary is September 29th! I also bought an awesome John Muir shirt by Meridian that I couldn’t wait to wear the next day when we visited Yosemite Valley.
Then it was off to grab an early pasta dinner around 4:45 since we all knew we wanted to get to bed early. We were lucky we went when we did because I think there was only one Italian restaurant in town and by the time we let there was a line out the door and we heard they were no longer taking reservations. Then, it was back to the room to get ready for race day by laying out our gear and hydrating like it was our jobs.
My alarm went off at 3:30am (Ouch! Those dark mornings always makes me question my sanity…) because we had to go catch the shuttles at 4:30. The shuttles were the only part of the race where Vacation Races still needs to get some organizational details figured out (this is only their second year running the Yosemite race) because the line up of cars to the parking lot was unreal and the shuttle had to stop for over 20 minutes to let others pass since the road was so narrow. I actually ended up getting car sick on the ride up the mountain…not a fun day to start race day, but I was thankful for the bathroom at the back of the charter bus.
The race start was FREEZING! We basically stood in a huddle (again questioning our sanity) for about 45 minutes until we regretfully put our jackets into the drop bags before the National Anthem began. Thankfully, the drop bag system was all very easy and organized.
The first 5 miles of the race were on a fire trail that relatively flat with gently rolling ups and downs.
Mile 1 – 8:44 This mile went by in an adrenaline fueled frozen blur.
Mile 2 – 8:55 Wondering if I could die of hypothermia while running. I honestly can’t think of a time I’ve ever been this miserably cold in my life (and only wearing a t-shirt, shorts, and gloves to fight off the cold).
Mile 3 – 10:27 Finally warming up, had to stop at the first port-a-potty since I had to go pee from the start, but couldn’t convince myself to do it until my hands were defrosted. I also dropped my gloves in the on course clothing drop containers (such a great idea, I should have kept a jacket on until then too).
Mile 4 – 7:44
Mile 5 – 7:55 Off the trail and onto the road. Miles 5-9 were all downhill.
Mile 6 – 7:59
Mile 7 – 8:26
Mile 8 – 7:46
Mile 9 – 7:23 Letting my legs free cycle down the hills. Maybe letting myself go a bit too much (I would feel it later), but it seemed like it would be more painful to slow down than let myself just go for it.
Mile 10 – 7:35 This is when the downhill ended and then 3 miles of mental torture started. Only my high school cross-country teammates will understand this, but running around Bass Lake gave me flashbacks to our mile time trails at Lake Mary in Mammoth (year after year this was never a good day for me).
Mile 11 – 8:48 Just trying to hold on doing the mental tallies of getting a PR vs. running a sub-2 hour half.
Mile 12 – 9:32 Feeling like those dreams where you try to run and can’t move. Similar to running in quicksand.
Mile 13 – 9:16
Final .1 – 7:50 pace
Official time 1:50:38. So bummed! Two seconds off my PR of 1:50:36 that I ran in May. Now my third half marathon that I’ve ran a 1:50:xx. I want that 1:49 so badly, I guess that means it’s time to start putting in the legwork (literally).
About 7 minutes later, this guy came through! He finished in 1:57, so freaking proud of him!
My mom and Randy, my stepdad, weren’t far behind. Adrian and I decided to take advantage of this race ending at a lake by taking an ice bath.
Adrian took the whole “bath” thing a little more seriously…
We all couldn’t stop talking about these race medals. They are spectacular and El Capitan and Half Dome are etched into the back.
Once we got back to the hotel we enjoyed what we had decided was a mandatory jacuzzi session before stuffing ourselves with Mexican food and heading into Yosemite National Park to see the views the park is famous for.
Have you ever been to Yosemite?
Has anyone done a different Vacation Races race at another park?