Utah Valley Half Marathon Race Recap

One week ago, Major Hubs and I were literally and figuratively, on top of the world in Provo, Utah! After a day spent exploring beautiful Sundance Resort, it was time to focus on the task at hand …running 13.1 miles through the beautiful canyons of Provo. FindingFabulousatFifty.png

Expo:

As I mentioned in last week’s Weekly Wrap, I met up with some of the other bloggers at the expo for packet pickup and dinner. The expo was small by RnR standards, yet fairly big in comparison to the small local half marathons I’ve run in the past. Resized_20170609_151200

Packet pick-up was a breeze and while I do love my race bling, I must admit that I was just a little giddy over the super cool bib in the shape of a mountain range! I really doesn’t take much to make me smile.20170611_201910

In addition to the functional drawstring tote bag and in place of a traditional race shirt, we received this lightweight 10th anniversary wind breaker. It comes with its own little zippered carrying pouch, reflective stripes and ….wait for it …..thumb holes! I know right?? Who doesn’t love anything with thumb holes??

Race Morning:

20170610_042407Our 3 a.m. wake-up came brutally early. This was a point to point race beginning in the canyon of Provo, just south of Sundance Resort , and ending in the city of Provo. The buses began shuttling runners at 3:30 am with the last bus leaving at 4:30. We all decided to meet in the lobby of the hotel at 3:45 with the intention of catching a bus around 4.  We arrived at the starting line around 4:30 to much cooler temps, a big bright full moon and the smell of wood burning fire pits.

We all filed off the bus and proceeded to “follow the light” like a bunch of walking zombies.

After a short stroll down to the starting area, we huddled around one of 40 to 50 fire pits to keep warm. After a short while, the smoke became too much to bear so we walked away from the fire pits and found a place to hunker down against the concrete wall to try to keep warm. 20170610_043442The hour and a half wait at the starting area was, in my opinion, the worst part of this race. However, due to sheer logistics, it was necessary.  A little fuel, some water and one last trip to porta-potties and it was time to line up.

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The starting line ….those beautiful mountains await us!

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Major Hubs repping the great state of Mississippi ….we look asleep!

The Course:

While this race’s claim to fame is its “downhill” course, don’t be fooled. There are a few long gradual climbs, which the hill runner in me actually welcomed. While others around me were walking those few uphills, I charged them like nobody’s business. The sights around me were utterly spectacular and I simply wanted to take my time and soak it up….. so, I stopped for pictures along the way. Apparently more than I even realized. That may have cost me a tad more time than I had estimated, but who cares when you have views like this all around you!20170610_06284820170610_06435920170610_064911Screenshot_20170610-142451Screenshot_20170610-142326results53c430d2eb6645b7ba9b39565cf5-896c-4ebf-ac90-eb5153654adc

My Performance:

Not stellar, to say the least. Aside from my numerous photo ops, I had another little “delay” as well. (more on that in a moment) First of all, I went into training for this race with a lingering injury that had not completely healed. And as I neared the end of my training, I began to feel more aches and pains in the ankle. Therefore, I backed off and “coasted” in to Utah. My goal was simply to cross the finish line without further damage to this 50-year-old “cranky” ankle. In addition, I really wanted to focus on the scenery and just enjoy the blessing of running. I accomplished both and for that I’m truly grateful!

However, with that being said, every runner secretly has some time in mind when they toe a starting line …and mine was that I would have liked to finish around 2:30. I felt that was feasible considering my lack-luster training, slowing down my pace, taking pictures and the gravity of the downhills. I underestimated everything.  The downhills felt fine while I running them, but ohhhh,  you could feel them when you hit those 6 miles of flat! As I mentioned earlier, there are hills everywhere I live. It’s impossible to run even a mile without encountering a hill. I’m used to them. I do not run well on flat courses. You push up the hill and fly down the other side …it works all the different muscles in your legs rather than the same muscle group getting beat up mile after mile. So, those 6 miles of flat felt even harder than normal …just plain torture.

Then there was the other little “delay” I mentioned. Yes, in true “LadyBird” style, I broke the cardinal rule of running. I tried something different on race day. You’d think I would have learned my lesson by now. Guess I just love “flying by the seat of my pants” ….and this time it was the seat of my pants that was affected! Well, almost. While standing around the fire pits before race time, I ate my usual pre-race banana but still felt I needed a little something extra. So I ate one of the Health Warrior bars that I recently purchased. I’m not sure if it was the fiber or all the downhill running, but by mile 2, my GI tract was not happy. I kept going, smiling, soaking it all up. As I approached mile 4, I seriously contemplated getting in the potty line but thought ….”it’ll pass”.  Kudos to the race director for having porta-potties every 2 miles! I pressed on, the whole while kicking myself for not having stopped.  Wendy, all I could think about at this point were all of your potty shenanigans posts! It kept me focused, humored and humbled! At mile 6, the GI tract won and I took on the longest porta-potty line I’ve ever seen mid race. Seriously, I know I lost at least 5 minutes there.  At that point, I knew my 2:30 goal had literally just gone “down the toilet”.  And little did I know that only a mile down the road, we’d be out of the canyon and the real work would begin.

Once out of the canyon, the temps were a tad warmer, less shady areas and a long stretch of flat miles lay ahead. I started my 3:1 run/walk intervals at this point. The crowd support picked up, they had popsicles at one station and a couple of water sprinklers along the way. A little before mile 10, a couple of the elite full marathoners came gliding past me and I knew they’d reach the finish line before I reached the next mile marker! They are so amazing to watch…. they can make a 5 minute mile look like a walk to your mailbox! I pressed on until I could see the arch of the finish line ahead. I stopped the intervals and thought I could just jog it out. Dang, that finish line was deceptive! It seemed to take forever and I did have to take a couple of walk breaks before finally reaching that elusive finish line in 2:37:11 9f10ba2a-8da8-400b-bef7-080b385e9f5c

The only thing more gratifying than the accomplishment of crossing a finish line is seeing my sweet hubby waiting just on the other side….always with a hug, a kiss and a “good job, my love”. He really is my biggest fan!

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Photo creds to Mary Beth!

Post Race:

We grabbed some chocolate milk and quickly met up with the other ladies for some post race photos and to compare race experiences. There was plenty of refreshments and fruit although I didn’t see any real food myself. No beer ….after all, we were in Provo, Utah you know!

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MaryBeth, Marcia, Holly, myself, Zenaida

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Photo creds to Holly’s precious “college boy” …..we enjoyed having him around and put him to work a time or two!

Overall, this was a fantastic race. Very well-organized with lots of little details thought out. While it may have been my slowest half marathon, it was, by far, the most beautiful and enjoyable. Isn’t that what really matters? The blessing is truly in the journey folks and in the friendships we make along the way. Sure, we all want PR’s and fast finishes; but if we lose sight of the gift that running is and forget to take the time to look around every now and then, we’ll miss out on the beauty of running …the beauty of life!

Run Happy my Friends!

Finding “Fabulous” at Fifty, one mile at a time.

I’m linking up with RachelMeranda and Lacey for the Friday Five 2.0 link up. FriFive2

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26 thoughts on “Utah Valley Half Marathon Race Recap

  1. The course looked beautiful and worth all 13.1 miles. Sorry about the potty stop! That’s the worst. Just loved your race photos and you looked great! That wait at the start line did not look like fun especially in the cool weather.

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    • Thanks girl! Any hour and a half wait at a staring line is no fun …but then I suppose you’ve done that a time or two with Boston, right??? I had a friend that ran NYC marathon and said they were so exhausted from “shivering” at the start line that it killed their race performance…..something I really don’t have to worry about since I’m just your average slow runner.

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  2. Ha! Glad I laid the groundwork for you! I figure, sh** happens, may as well talk about it. Sounds like the altitude messed with a few runners’ GI tracts.

    Seriously tho, I wish I could have joined you for this one. It looks like it was a fun weekend and a lovely race!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh yes, altitude is a major player here. Your body diverts so much energy to oxygen synthesis there’s little left for other things aka digestion, speed, etc. You know I love Health Warrior Bars (just ordered more since somebody who shall remain nameless ate my entire box except 2) but haven’t had them pre-race. All that said, it was a wonderful race and even more wonderful to meet you!

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    • That makes me feel much better! I had already tried the bars before leaving for Utah and loved them. Didn’t notice that they “got things moving” but hadn’t had one pre-race either …not knowing that altitude could affect the GI, I had to blame something! 😁 I’ve been munching on the bars since returning home without any issues. I’ll be ordering more …they are the perfect size!

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  4. I didn’t know about the altitude & GI, but we’d been there long enough to acclimate somewhat plus Bryce was 8000 feet. I did have a slightly different race breakfast too, as my normal is overnight oats & while I actually had the makings with me, I knew the logistics of it were going to be too difficult. Luckily mine worked for me.

    Those potty lines were definitely the longest ones I’ve seen in a race!

    We learn something from every race, eh?

    I’m sorry I didn’t hear from you gals & didn’t meet up with you afterwards. Although it took me quite some time to hook back up with my own hubby — for the first time, he completely missed me! Oh well.

    You got some great pics! I took some too (run/walk is so great for that) but yours definitely came out nicer.

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  5. Oh I’m so sorry to hear that you had GI issues during the race – been there, done that and it’s not fun at all! I love that you still pressed on and finish the race strong. Love all of your photos!

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  6. The pictures are amazing! The crisp air turning to heat would make me sad lol If you run enough races a few of them are bound to throw some unexpected challenges at you for sure. The GI issue has got me a few times during a race!
    That is interesting that the flat was the hardest for you. I’ve never heard anyone say they missed hills lol
    It is funny how a time can make you feel. I’ve had a few finishes slower and there is always a moment where it throws you a little. I usually feel fine with it a few days later lol
    Waiting around that long to start seems tough!It looks like it was quite a big crowd.
    I am glad you got to experience the race and meet some new friends 🙂 It is so nice your hubby runs and could be there as well!
    Congrats on a job well done.

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    • Thank you Karen! I believe there were about 1900 participants in the half marathon alone.

      Yes, I know it sounds crazy but I really prefer some hills over pancake flat courses. My best half time was on a very hilly course! 🤔

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  7. Darlene says:

    Looks like a beautiful course. I don’t think your time was slow at all esp with that potty stop and taking photos (which I love).

    But sometimes time isn’t a goal in a race. If that was the only reason we ran, we would have stopped along time ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds like I really missed out! I was just in awe of all the beautiful pictures and your right you simply must stop and take photos! You may not have had the race you wanted, but you accomplished a lot with all you and that ankle have been through!
    Glad you had a good time and glad the hubs was able to join you!

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  9. Awww, I just loved reading your recap. Congrats on making it to the porta potty in time – that sounds like one of my many stories as well. Your approach was similar to my husband’s and my approach to running the Big Sur Marathon many years ago. We decided in advance to enjoy ourselves and stop whenever we wanted to for a picture. We had such fun and it sure looks like you did, too!

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  10. MB Jackson says:

    It was a great time and that is all that counts! No one spent more time on the toilet than you know who- but hey, I will never forget Utah! I am so glad I got to meet your pretty face in person!

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