Saturday, February 25, 2023

Revolution Run Half Marathon race report

I started my 50 states half marathon project a long time ago. I used to make lists of races I wanted to run in my remaining states, and plot out ways to maximize my travel -- especially if I could tie it to a work event and get the airfare paid for. 

One of my long-time dream races was the Revolution Run, which was usually run on New Year's Day. Why this race? Well, it's in Utah... but more importantly, it's an INDOOR half marathon. The race is held on the running track at the Utah Olympic Oval, a 4-lane, 442-meter track around the speedskating track and open skate ice sheets. Best of all, it's always 63-65 degrees in there. Perfect running conditions. Insane, right?

In 2022, because January 1 was a Sunday, the race was held on December 31 -- which just happens to be my birthday. So it seemed ideal to spend a weekend in Salt Lake City, run my first (and last?) indoor half marathon, and celebrate my birthday by picking up a new state. 

We flew from Seattle on the afternoon of December 30, arriving in SLC after dark. Overnight we got a lot of snow, which made us happy that I'd decided to use Lyft for all of our travel, but worried we wouldn't be able to get to the Oval. Silly me -- SLC gets snow all the time, so they are prepared for it, and we had no trouble getting to the Oval in plenty of time for the race. 

We walked in and -- though I guess I knew how big the space was -- I was AMAZED at how big the space was. I'm not sure these pictures do it justice. Here's the widest part of the track, along the "main straightaway". 

Here's one of the short sides of the oval, and you can see one of the two "ice sheets" -- the one that hockey games are played on. Just out of sight on the left edge are grandstands, which were occupied during much of our race by families cheering on hockey games. 

We picked up our shirts and bibs and timing chips, and were also given hand-held clickers so we could keep track of our own laps. The timing chips would also register each time we crossed the line, but this way we could always know how far we had gone. Well, sortof -- I kept forgetting to click my laps at first, and later on Wil forgot to click his, so we were often off by a lap or two. Because of the length of the course, we ran 49 laps to get our 13.1(+) miles.

The event hosts multiple distances -- a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, and a "as far as you can go in the 4 hours" event. So there was a good-sized crowd when we started. 

This sign, on the back stretch, made me laugh every time. Runners must yield to Zamboni! Note that the Zamboni stayed on the infield during our event, so we never had to wait for it to pass. 

It wasn't too long before the 5K and 10K runners all finished their events. And we just kept going around and around. There were some entertainments to distract us -- a group of very fast short-track speedskaters were working out on one of the inner ice sheets; it was amazing to see them work together and just get faster and faster. And on the other ice sheet we could glimpse hockey games. 

At the 2 hour mark we were turned around so that we could run in the other direction -- better on our hips, you see. And that's about when the speedskaters showed up to practice on the big oval. Watching them whoosh past at incredible speeds was so cool. We weren't the only people who stopped to watch them!

I'm not going to lie, this race was boring and I was SO HAPPY when the race director called out that we were on our last lap. (I hadn't dared hope!) So we hustled around and crossed the finish line for the final time. 

I should point out that the race was nicely organized -- the timing was fine, the medals were nice, and the snack food at the one water stop was plentiful. Nothing to complain about at all! And it was fun, and weird, to run around and around and around indoors while the snow fell steadily outside. 

After the race we went to the Vertical Diner, a vegan restaurant, where we had incredibly good food and beer. A perfect way to celebrate my birthday and a job well done!

Revolution Run Half Marathon (really 13.23 miles)

3:29:45 (ouch!)

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