Race Morning

I awoke the morning of the race (I call it a race, but I think of it and treat it as just another run) cozy between two down comforters. The temperature was to be 29 overnight and there was no reason for it to be anything but that in the camper. An alarm was set, but that’s not what woke me. The dogs danced around the linoleum floor, antsy to get outside. And pre-race music was already cranked up and making its way across the river.

Well holy moly me oh my

You’re the apple of my eye

Girl I’ve never loved one like you

Man o man you’re my best friend

I scream it to the nothingness

There ain’t nothing that I need  (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Home)

We were camped just past Dewey Bridge, which is where The Other Half half-marathon starts. Most runners were in town, at the other end of the canyon, and awoke much earlier than I to take a shuttle bus to the start of the run. Camping near the start eliminates that. Plus, for me, this weekend is just as much about the camping as it is about the race.


The moon rose full the night before as we sat around the campfire, playing the drum and taking turns with the light-up hula hoop. These are not our typical campfire activities, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbut that’s what transpired this time.

The moon was still full and bright this fall morning, desaturating the desert into a black-and-white eeriness as it made its way to the opposite horizon.

The two main tasks of the morning were dressing for the run and fueling up early enough that I wouldn’t feel full while running. I scrambled into running tights, a thin, long-sleeved top, and my breathable running vest with its five pockets. Into the pockets went my camera, tissues for wiping my OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnose and eyes at the finish and for brushing away the salt that would accumulate on my skin, Chapstick (I’m addicted, and go nowhere without it) and a pack of Clif Shot Bloks—delicious, chewable electrolyte calorie cubes.  My swirly pink hippie bandana would keep my head warm. I would start the race with gloves and then slip them into the back pocket of my vest as it warmed up.

Breakfast consisted of a banana, a smashed peanut butter and honey sandwich, and a Diet Coke. Many runners drink their typical caffeine before a race, mine just happens to be a cold Diet Coke—even when it’s 29 degrees—instead of a steaming cup of coffee. I brought along a hard-boiled egg for breakfast, too, but it spent some time in the afternoon sun yesterday. I decided to forego it.

The sun popped above the ridge to the east, instantly lighting up the world, the color that was missing in the moonlight gradually returning. Seconds later, the Beatles’ magic filled the air, accompanied by us and everyone else in the area who was awake and getting pumped up for the run.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Little darling

The smiles returning to the faces

Little darling

It seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun, and I say

It’s all right                              (The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy running friend, Rochelle, and I took a few pre-race pictures and visited the outhouse one last time. There were port-a-potties across the river, at the start, but each had a line of runners waiting to use them. Being camped on the side of the river opposite the start meant having our own (nearly) private bathroom.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Keeping with tradition, the Moab Taiko Dan drummers summoned The Other Half runners to the start. The steady beat echoed around the canyon walls, augmenting the pre-race energy. My friend Jim started his hike to the rim above Dewey Bridge, where he wanted to take a few pictures. Rochelle and I took an easy jog across the bridge and said our good-byes. She wanted to start near the front. I made my way toward the back of the crowd. Last year, I went out fast (for me) and ran the first six miles hard, only to get a painful cramp of the piriformis muscle that lasted the rest of the race, forced me to walk up the hills, and bothered me for several months afterward.

My goal today was to start out slowly, to run every bit of the way, and to just enjoy the experience.

Runners hopped up and down, emitting nervous energy, trying to stay warm. I did the same, glad to have my gloves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis guy, who would be chasing a Blue Moon the entire race, and his girlfriend, were near me at the start. I asked if I could take his picture and he replied with, “Yeah, but just so you know, patent pending.” She yelled out several times, “You are all winners!” When the gun went off, he hollered, “Let’s go on a beer run!”

This is Jim Forbes' photo taken from the ridge above Dewey Bridge. I'm in the lower right--black tights, pink vest--near the guy who's running in the wrong direction.

This is Jim Forbes’ photo taken from the ridge above Dewey Bridge. I’m in the lower right–black tights, pink vest–near the guy who’s running in the wrong direction.

A beautiful place on Earth, the full moon, camping with friends, a chilly but sunny morning, and the magic of over a thousand runners setting off on the same goal.

I started the race with a smile.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rochee
    Oct 25, 2013 @ 20:17:26

    Randee-this was an awesome time again this year and i am looking forward to next year too! Loved this post!


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