Friday, July 01, 2011

AF Canyon Half Marathon Race Recap

In the world of running, there are races, and then there are RACES!  And among the RACES!, there's one called THE BEST RACE EVER!  There's only room for one race in that BEST RACE EVER! classification, and the AF Canyon Half Marathon (and 5k) is it.  IT, I tell ya, IT!

So what makes this AF Canyon Half Marathon (and 5k) THE BEST RACE EVER?  Eee gads, there are thousands of reasons, lemme give you some of those reasons.

1) The Cause.  All of the proceeds from the AF Canyon Half Marathon (and 5k) go to help a local someone who cannot pay for cancer treatment.  I believe the official amount of cash raised was around $55,000.  That's a lot of dough for one little race on its inaugural year.  I cannot wait to see what happens next year.

Speaking of this cancer cause, it brought a feeling of togetherness.  I know this sounds cheesy, but it's true.  And I like cheese anyways.  The folks from American Fork Hospital and Select Med set up stickers that said "In honor of...." and you could list the names of loved ones (presumably who've had or have cancer.)  They also had cancer-representing ribbons in all of the established colors (pink for breast, sky blue for prostate, teal for ovarian, etc.)  Sadly, I looked at that display of ribbons and knew someone who has had each of those cancers.  I decided to choose ribbons for the two people I know that are dealing with cancer now – colon cancer's dark blue for Camie, and bright orange for Emily and leukemia.  Emily is the daughter of some friends of mine who has been fighting leukemia since the fall of 1998.

The sticker and ribbon flair set the mood for helping others.  But the predominant mood setter was a little speech given by Fat Cyclist, just before the race started.  Through his blog Fatty has managed to raise millions of cancer-fighting dollars.  Millions!  And that's real Millions not like Dr Evil's phony millions.

Fatty has some serious experience with cancer.  You can read his speech here.  You can also read his race report here.  And if you decide to read his race report, make sure you check out the very last photo of the Hammer Runner's legs.  Wow!  Even if you decide not to read his race report, it might be worth your effort to just click on over to this link and look at the Hammer Runner's legs.  (I have a total girl crush on the Hammer Runner and her legs.)

2) The Course.  I dare say that this course, the AF Canyon Marathon (and 5k) course, is the finest around.  It's beautiful, it's fast, it's quick, and it's speedy.  Did you catch that this course is fast?  So fast is this course, that I'm making plans for a serious P.R.  Like, I wanna 1:25.  I said that all the way down to the finish... I said, "Give.  Me.  1:25.  I wanna 1:25!  DROP DOWN AND GIVE ME ONE TWENTY FIVE!!!"  I say "down to the finish" and "DROP DOWN" because it's all downhill.  Actually, I lied.  There are three little bumps along the way.  So, aside from the three little bumps it's all downhill.

My official time this year was 1:32:30, but I want faster.  FASTER, I tell ya!  Faster.  But, then again, I always want faster.  I told my neighbor Stu that I wanted a 1:25, and he replied with a "Well that should be easy.  All you gotta do is run faster."  IT'S TRUE!  He is so very wise.

Now that we've covered the quickness of this course, let's talk about the beauty.  Have you visited this American Fork Canyon?  It's beautiful.  It truly is.  Words will not do it justice, so if you live in the vicinity of this American Fork Canyon, pack yourself a picnic and take a field trip.  It will be time well spent.  And then perhaps I can hold a little "Why I love American Fork Canyon" essay contest.  Saaaaay.  That's not a bad idea... anyone care to play?

Also, the river is raging.  Like whitewater raging.  As I ran down that canyon, I thought about how fun it would be to find a raft and float it.  I like rivers.  Spouse calls me the Riverologist because I love to look at maps of rivers – you know, to see where they come from and where they go.  Rivers have an unspoken story.  Looking at a map of a river tells a story without sentences, kinda like poetry.

3) The Party.  The party element of the AF Canyon Marathon was... well... the perfect party.  It started with a slumber party with Rachel (and by the way, we didn't sleep out on the tramp like we were twelve.  We're in our 30s now and have 30-year-old-ish backs, so a sleep-out on the tramp will not fare well the night before a big race.)  Then there was the bus ride with friends and almost all of my neighborhood.  Then there was the over-the-top-organization of the race.  Then there was the flood of smiling volunteers.  Then there was Spouse and my Yahoos, complete with bed head, cheering me into the finish (a stones-throw from our front door.)  And then there was the food, music, and friends.  It was the best party I've been to in a while.  It also helped that my friend Danielle won overall Female with a 1:21.

4) The Shirt.  Remember how I said that "a woman has needs.  And one of those needs is a woman's sized shirt"?  Well, the accompanying shirt to the AF Canyon Half Marathon did not disappoint.  I have already worn it twice.  It's way cute.  The dude shirt is not way cute though.  It's way macho.  Just as it should be.

The AF Canyon Marathon (and 5k) is my new favorite run.  It is, indeed, THE BEST RACE EVER!*  It will be what I'm doing at the end of June every year, for as long as I can run.  Care to join me?

1 comment:

jerritt said...

I ran this half in honor of my husband who is a cancer survivor. It was awesome. And gorgeous. And the shirt IS the bomb!