Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thankful 13 Half Marathon

The Thankful 13 is the only half marathon I know of in the state of Utah held on Thanksgiving morning.  And what a fun race it is!  I look forward to running on Thanksgiving before eating a big turkey dinner.  It sort of helps justify all the extra calories consumed right?
 I paced this race last year and was privileged to have the opportunity to do so again this year.
I got checked in with the pacing leader and got my pink pacing shirt and 2:20 sign and was getting ready for the race to start and mingling with friends.  
All of a sudden I recognized a face that I had known for years but only through the blogging world.  I had never met this fun lady in real life and so I was stopped instantly in my tracks.  We greeted with smiles and hugs and chatted for a little bit.  Her name is Jenny and I have read her blog for probably 6 years now.  What a fun surprise to meet her and her daughters.  Her oldest daughter was running today and Jenny was there to support her.  Fun!
Mingling with Run Away Friends is always a great time!
So many friendships have been formed through the years in this little running family.

We got lined up for a pacer group photo and I was so delighted to get to have a partner to pace with me.  It's very rare I get that opportunity.  Her name is Jessica Bird and she was the sweetest little lady to run with.  
We listened to the National Anthem as the military held the flags,
And then we got lined up and ready to run this race!
This race has grown bigger each year and there were certainly a lot of people running today.  I'm guessing a lot of them had the same thoughts about running off the turkey dinner before eating it.  Well, and the fact that running races is just pure fun.
A couple weeks before the race we could submit to the RD a list of 13 things we were thankful for.  He posted signs all along the course of some of those things submitted.  I was quite surprised to see one of mine out there.  Of course a stop for a picture was necessary.
Jessica, my pacing partner is pregnant and wasn't feeling very well, but still did awesome pacing.  She would be announcing to some other family members running today her big surprise!  Congratulations cute little lady!!
It's sort of a rarity to have people hang out with you for an entire race.  They oftentimes use your pacing sign as a goal to either stay ahead of that time or are a little bit challenged to keep up.  Although there were people all over this course today, Jessica and I had 2 people hang with us the whole time and what a party we had.  There was much chatting, laughing and fun conversations going on.  
We paced the 2:20 spot and came in a little bit early at 2:19:07.  Good times indeed!  I love this pacing job!
The medal on the left is called a trilogy medal and was earned for running 3 races with this Runtastic Events group.  The medal on the right is for running the Thankful 13 today.
I love this event and will probably run it each year.
The after race treats were so delicious:
pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, and hot chocolate.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween and The Burn Half Marathon

Halloween came and went without any challenges for me this year.  You see, I'm sort of a candy/chocolate/cookie/cake aholic and Halloween can be very tricky for me with eating waaaaay too much junk.  Well, this year I decided to hand out coupons for little mini frosty's at Wendy's.  VOILA!  Problem solved.  I had no candy here to tempt me before, during, or after the trick or treaters came.

Mark and I also went on a double date with our new friends Cory and Colette Nielson.  We went to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack, which I had never been to before and had a delightful time.  The food was delicious and the company was so fun.  We then headed up to Salt Lake to Trader Joe's to do a little shopping.  It was fun to wander the store having them tell us what was good.  I bought a lot of cool items and look forward to tasting and feeding my family some new things.  We ended the evening by coming back to our house and visiting Kali and Wade and the grand kids who were here in their Halloween costumes.  Miles was Batman and Harper was Tinkerbell.  We held little baby Graham who is still just so sweet and little, just a tender package from heaven. 
  
The next morning was November 1st and a half marathon way out West in Butterfield Canyon I had signed up for.  I thought it was a timely event for those wanting to burn off extra Halloween candy eaten.  This was actually a 10K of complete uphill action for a gain of a little more than 2700 feet.  The RD would then have vehicles to transport those who wanted a ride back down the mountain to the starting area. OR, for those wanting to make it a true half marathon they could turn around and run back down the hill.  Who wouldn't want to do just that?  Running down hill is the reward for all the climbing!  A complete thrill!!

I met up with a group of running friends and had fun visiting with them at the starting line area.  We are definitely a crazy bunch of runners. 
My friend Josh is the king of Selfies and makes them part of his pre-race ritual.  Well, he actually makes them part of his whole race experience.  He is a nut!
 This was definitely a smaller race since this was its first year.  It was actually called an underground race and we didn't find out the location until 48 hours before it happened.  It was all pretty hush-hush so that the RD didn't have to get permits and could keep the costs way low.  He later told me that he is planning to turn this into a full blown event next year.  I think it's a great idea!  The race started at 9:00 am and we were off.  I ran the race with my friend Cory and we would switch off each mile with who was in charge of walking or running.  We tried to run as much of it as we could but wow was that tough!  There were some pretty steep areas that absolutely could only be walked.  The weather was absolutely perfect for a race morning and the scenery was incredible.  

As we were nearing the top we ended up running alongside a really motivated, cute little 12 year old boy named Alec.  ( He pronounced it Ollick) and he told us his story of how he became a runner and how many siblings he had.  He talked about school and family life and we praised him and hung with him for quite awhile.  He was a great kid who kept us smiling.  
 At one hour and 29 minutes we reached the top of this beastly mountain.  It really was quite an adventure getting to the top, but it was so beautiful.  I forgot to take a photo at the summit.  Shoot!  This photo of a few of us at the top was taken by the RD.  Just notice where I happen to be hanging out.  I'll give you a hint.  I like my race goodies!  I'm over there enjoying them, or pondering what to enjoy.  Regardless, I don't skip race treats.  That's definitely one of the perks of races for me. 
 Coming back down the mountain was casual, beautiful, easy, quiet, serene, and rewarding after the tough climb.  I will never tire of running half marathons.  They are my favorite race distance. 
(I still love me a great ultra trail run though)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Protein Energy Bites

Protein Energy Bites

My blog isn't a food blog, by any means, but when you are fortunate enough to have a friend share an awesome recipe then I feel like the rest of the world needs to benefit too.  So I will share too.  
(ok maybe not the whole world but those who may be interested who read this blog can benefit)
Mark and I recently went hiking with these cute people, the Nielsons, and we talked about so many fun things as we hiked along Little Cottonwood Canyon, getting lost, laughing, bonding, and just having a great time together.  We also talked about good health and nutrition and Colette shared a recipe with me called energy bites. It was exactly what I had been looking for.

I recently purchased a couple boxes of Good2Go bars which have a few of the same ingredients as the recipe Colette shared and so I was excited to get to try out my own homemade yummy-ness, without having to spend 3.00 a bar.

Ok, before you get too excited about trying the following recipe I need to preface with the fact that I am terrible at following recipes exactly.  The one Colette shared was very delightful but I just wanted to tweak mine with a little wider variety of ingredients.  I also am a peanut butter and honey addict so I wanted to adjust some of those amounts as well.  I also wanted to add almond butter with the peanut butter.  I also used crunchy peanut butter.  I also have chocolate peanut butter and so I added some of that as well.  See?  I've already changed and tweaked my own recipe.

So this is the recipe but the finished product isn't this exactly.   
 After mixing it all up this is what it looked like to go into the fridge for its 30 minutes of cooling.
 It actually probably got more like 60 minutes of fridge time because I was a busy gal getting ready for some trail running/hiking time in the morning.  I plan to take some of these yummy balls with me.
Aaaaaaand.....................here is what the final product looks like.  They are super duper delicious and I don't even care how many calories are in them.  I should, but I know they are healthy and made with love from my own hands.
Enjoy!!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Corner Canyon 50K

October 18, 2014
Corner Canyon 50K

This is an amazing race that assists a different person/family each year with their fight against cancer.
Troy Robertson, and Johnny Runner are the RD's and they do an absolutely fantastic job in the whole aspect of this run.  The trails are marked well.  The aid stations are well stocked.  The meal afterwards is quite delicious.  It's just a well put together race.

This is the 3rd year it has been put on and I have run all three years now. 
My times for all 3 years are:
1st year: 9 hours 46 minutes 17 seconds
2nd year: 9 hours 21 minutes 17 seconds 
3rd year: 6 hours 58 minutes 6 seconds

After running last year I had decided I was swearing off this race because of the difficulty of it.  But if you are a runner than you understand the mentality of repeating races that you just feel like you need to conquer and improve upon.

I picked up my packet on Friday evening and got to bed by around 10:00 pm and up at 4:15 am.

This is what 5:00 for me looked like.  I was excited, nervous, and ready to take on this challenge.  
I have been working hard for 1 solid year now with rowing and stair climbing at the gym.
I just wanted to see what this body of mine could do with a little more strength under my belt now.
It was so fun to see a few familiar faces at the starting line.  Especially since this would be a fairly small race with only about 50 people running the 50K.
Galen Garrison has been a running friend for awhile and has given me many great tips for ultra running.  He has run a lot of the same ultras I have and has even traveled to Logan with me and Mark for a big race up there.  He's a good guy.
Melanie is one of my running idols.  She works out at the same gym as me and every time she rides the spin bike I admire her beautiful back muscles.  She's an Iron woman and is CRAZY fast!  She went on to win the race today as top female.  Yes!  She's pretty awesome.
Carl Tippets has run this race every year too.  He's just as nice as can be.  I first met him a couple years ago when I swept/cleaned the Red Hot 30K course, in Moab.  He was running with his daughter and was just so patient and kind helping her along with her ultra experience.  What a great dad!
After a few pre-race announcements and instructions the race got underway at 6:00 am.  This early hour meant we would be running in the dark for well over an hour.  I had my headlamp but was a little disappointed that it didn't shine very bright.  I probably should have changed the batteries.  I ran behind a gal whose light was super bright for a good 3+ miles.  I was very grateful for that.  This photo of the Salt Lake Valley was taken around mile 5 as the sky was finally starting to lighten up a little.
Sunrises always make me happy.  I love the thoughts they bring:
 new energy, love, inspiration, strength, joy, happiness, a new day!
I also love that I can see Mount Timpanogos way off in the distance from this angle!

Our first aid station was mile 3.6 for water only.  The next one wouldn't be until mile 9.6 at the top of what is called Peak View.  After enjoying a few goodies there at the second aid station this is the scenery I would be enjoying for quite a fun section of the course.  Lots of fast downhill running for a few miles.  But usually that just means some brutal uphill is coming.
So that is precisely what happened.  Oh well, it's OK.  It's a hill, get over it, right? I was prepared and ready for tackling any hill I came upon today.  Trust me, there were plenty to tackle.   Back to Peak view for aid station stop #3 after this loop section at mile 16.  I refueled and grabbed some goodies for later.

The next aid station was only a couple miles down the trail at Potato Hill but would be used twice in the race at mile 18.5 and then again at mile 27.5.  I refilled my water pack and carried on.  Not wasting time at aid stations is something I've learned to try and be better at if I'm hurrying.  Get in and get out pronto!!
After enjoying 22 miles of this beautiful place to run and showing a sign of my feelings about all I've experienced, I knew the worst of what would be happening was getting ready to begin.  I would call this next brutal section the Death March!!!
THIS.......
 AND THIS.......
AND THIS IS just a little taste of what was experienced for a solid three miles.  It was not a pretty section and the RD's get a kick out of making it part of the course.  They said Widow Maker is a signature section of their race and they won't plan to ever take it out. (Trust me, I asked them to)  It's always the section for me that makes me question why I do this??

Finally at the top of the hill at the aid station called Maack Hill (named after the RD Johnny Maack Runner who has battled and beat cancer) I refilled my water again and fueled up with some goodies and headed back down this mountain.  Pretty much the rest of the way to the finish line would be some nice, sweet downhills.
This would be my final aid station at about 28.5 miles.  I looked at my watch and saw it read about 6 1/2 hours.  The volunteers there said I had about 3.5 miles left to go.  I wondered if I could break 7 hours?  Would it be possible?  How accurate was their guess at the distance left to cover?
I decided I wouldn't know unless I tried.  I thanked them for their service and headed off down, down, down the trails.  Running downhill always makes me giggle, and I had to do that a few times.

I was in such a hurry to get to the finish line that I probably didn't enjoy much of the scenery of the last few miles but that was alright with the goal I had just decided to attempt.

It was going to be close.  I just kept at it, running with all the energy and speed I could muster up.  I saw the finish line area coming into view with about 6 minutes left and so I put on the full throttle!  I was so happy to cross that finish line with a couple minutes to spare.

What a great race, great day, and great experience!
I should be back again next year! 
Why end a good thing?

Official results:
6:58:06 (not sure how it's so different)
13th place overall of 41
5th woman of 20
 Pretty cute little medal.  I now have three exactly alike :)
Trader Joe's was one of the sponsors and they hooked us up with lots of goodies at the finish line.  I also won a couple prizes, a solar flashlight and a bottle of energy/endurance workout stuff.  Fun!
I am finally exhausted and enjoying some chilling out with my compression socks and a little piano playing for relaxation.