Posts Tagged ‘utah’

Wait. What was my time?!

Date: July 29, 2017

Distance: 13.1 miles

Time: 2:02:32

I must say, I am really enjoying running races without regard to which state they are in.

In the case of today’s race, the Timpanogos Half Marathon, I decided to run it because it happened to be scheduled the weekend my full marathon training plan had me running a 13-mile training run. When I noticed my plan included a 13-miler this weekend, I searched for local races to see if there happened to be a half marathon scheduled nearby. Sure enough, there was.

I was also intrigued by the downhill course. I LOVE running downhill races. In addition, the race website promised a well-supported, scenic race so I overlooked the 6:00 a.m. start time and signed up.

I ended up absolutely loving this course. And, even though my training runs have been much slower–more like 11 or 12 minutes per mile pace–I was astounded that I averaged a 9:20 minute mile pace for the entire race. Starting off, I suspected that a 2:30 finish time would most likely be within reach than realized about halfway in, after I passed the 2:10 pacer, that this could end up being one of my faster times. In fact, I think this ended up being my second fastest time ever. Such a shock to me, particularly since I was in the emergency room at my local hospital with a blood clot in my lung only seven months ago. I’m truly surprised and happy.

If you are considering running this race, here’s what I would say in summary:

Packet pick up was well organized and the packets included standard fare. It did, however, take me three hours to drive to the packet pick up location and back. I joked today that it took me more time to pick up the race packet than it did to run the actual race.

The race shirts were a tad on the small side, but the medium I ordered is wearable–and a great fabric and design.

The medals were awesome, if you are into big, shiny bling. These delivered.

The event itself was very well organized. I felt as though the aid stations were spaced perfectly apart and well staffed. Water and Power Ade were offered at each stop. A couple of the stops–including the start–also offered Gu.

The shuttles to the start were great. It did kind of suck, however, to have to get to the starting line so early. I took one of the earlier shuttles (as they encouraged people to do), and ended up waiting for an hour-and-a-half before the race began. The early start and need to drive almost 45 minutes to the shuttle pick up meant that I got a grand total of three hours of sleep the night before the race.

I loved that they not only offered a bag drop, but they also had a clothing drop at mile one and mile three. The sweatshirt I wore during the first mile of the race was not, however, at the finish line as promised when I checked. Good thing I considered it to be a throwaway one anyway.

The course was the BEST. The majority of the race is downhill on a paved, scenic canyon road. As the course nears the finish at the local high school, it mostly uses well-designed, paved running/biking trails. The course was indeed scenic.

The finish line was great. Runners finished the race by completing a lap on the high school track, then making their way through the medal and food line. Food was plentiful and the volunteers were friendly and helpful.

A very nice feature of this race was that it encouraged participants to honor loved ones who had cancer because it was sponsored, in part, by the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Bibs offered at the start allowed people to write names of people who had either passed away from cancer, or whose treatment was successful. The words read, “In memory of” or “In celebration of” and, as always, I think races are a nice way to honor those we love.

I’ve certainly lost close friends and family to cancer and my aunt happens to be going through chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer right now. She was certainly in my thoughts as I raced today and I made sure to wear a pink “strength” bracelet in her honor.

In summary, I highly recommend this race to anyone who loves a good downhill race. It would not be hard to talk me into this one again, that’s for sure.

Lake Catherine via Alta

Date: July 13, 2017 5lake

Distance: About 3 miles total (out and back)

Last July, I hiked to Lakes Mary, Martha, and Catherine via Big Cottonwood Canyon. This year, I got to join a group hiking to Lake Catherine via Little Cottonwood Canyon (Alta Ski Resort).

This is a great, short hike with amazing views. Just remember to bring insect repellent. We aren’t used to having too much of a bug problem down in the valley, but get up into the higher elevations where it’s cooler, and the mosquitoes will be quite annoying.

This hike makes me want to go to the top of sunset peak. I imagine the view from there is amazing…

Park City Trail Series 10K

Date: July 8, 2017

GarminConnect_20170709-182235Distance: 10K (6.2 miles)

Time: 1:15:33

What a great race! I loved this second race of the four-race Park City Trail Series and already can’t wait for the 15K next month.

The weather was perfect, I got to run with my daughter and one of our dogs, and we had a really great time.

I don’t do a lot of trail running, but I am really enjoying it. It feels more “fun” than a road race even though I have to really watch my footing (or perhaps because of that). The course included two main elevation gains and drops, and the last mile-and-a-half was the fastest part of the course–which I loved. I was also reminded of the increased technical skills needed–I saw two people fall during the course and a woman had to visit the medical tent at the end of the race due to a huge gash on her forehead. Yikes.

I must also give a shout out to The North Face. They are a sponsor of the series and have IMG_20170709_183820-1been very generous with their give-aways. After the 5K race, I was lucky enough to win a drawing for one of their backpacks. This race, they were giving out free dog collars to all of the dogs who ran the race. Awesome.

The aid stations were very dog-friendly as well–with bowls of water for the pups who were running.

Thank you to Salt Lake Running Company for always putting on such great events. I’m grateful to live in such a great place for outdoor activities and people who encourage others to get outside and be active in our beautiful state. There are lots of ways here to #havemorefun

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Park City Trail Series 5K

Date: June 10, 2017

Distance: 5K (3.1 miles)

Time: 34:50GarminConnect

My daughter asked me awhile back about doing this race series and of course I agreed. She thought it would be fun because it’s dog friendly; I thought it would be fun because it means I get to hang out with her.

Today was a beautiful day for a race. The race announcer said there were over 500 participants, and we also saw lots of dogs. As far as I’m concerned, this was a perfect way to start a day: sunshine, mountains, running, and getting to hang out with one of my kids and one of my dogs. Loved it.

I also wore my “Stop the Clot” gear for the first time. Recently, I ordered a shirt and a hat from a fellow runner and blood clot survivor. He is doing such good work to spread awareness of clots and I’m gaining a whole new network of supporters. There are lots of us who have survived DVTs or PEs and it’s pretty inspiring. Not everyone is so lucky.

Next month: the 10K!!

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#StopTheClot

 

Back on the horse. SLC Half Marathon

Date: April 22, 2017

Behind Utah Capitol Building as we neared Memory Grove.

Location: Salt Lake City, UT

Time: 2:22:04

Distance: 13.1 (13.35)

I think this was the fifth time I’ve run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon, but this year, the course was completely different–for the better! The race has always started at the University of Utah and ended up downtown but taking the beginning of the course towards the capitol and down Memory Grove was a great change. The change resulted in a more scenic, more downhill course overall.

The best part? My daughter, Kaitie, ran with me and she did amazing. I was so happy to have her company at the start and at the finish.

#resist

After days of rain, we were lucky that we had a beautiful, clear day for the race. It was cold, however, and we were glad we wore long running tights, long-sleeved shirts, and covered our ears. As a nod to Science March Day, I added my #resist button to my headband. Other racers were in solidarity and I saw a race shirt that said, “Racing for science.”

I wasn’t sure how I would do since this was the first race I have done since I was forced to walk the January race in Hawaii. My training runs have been slow and I’ve really taken it easy following my blood clot diagnosis in December. Also, while I had gotten in my longer-mileage runs, I hadn’t been so diligent in getting all of my shorter runs in. I was happily surprised, then, to have finished as fast as I did. And, I felt good! At about mile 5, I could feel the spot in my right lung that signaled the location of my blood clot in December, but it was more of a dull ache and nothing else. After a few minutes, the nagging sensation went away and at no point did I feel short of breath or concerned. I now have renewed hope that I’m back on track as far as my ability to keep running goes, and I’m even more motivated to continue my workouts.

Guess I’ll keep signing up for races, keep going to Bikram Yoga, and keep taking my dogs to the dog park.

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Best sign? “Run as if United wants your seat.”

Cold start!

shirt & medal–luggage tag!

Finish at old courthouse downtown.

Great day for a race!

2016 Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay

Date: June 18 & 19, 2016

Distance: 188.4 miles

Location: Logan to Midway, Utah

Team of 12, then 11  

Time: 31-ish?

After taking a year off, I returned to Ragnar and got to run with the Westminster havemorefun“Staggering Parsons” again. This was my sixth time running the Wasatch Back, and–as always–had a blast. The team included two people who weren’t directly affiliated with Westminster, but who were friends of team members. The rest, however, included the Provost, professors, staff members, and a graduate of the college. I was especially happy to run with another aviation colleague–until Avon Pass took him out mid-race. That was a bummer and I hope he’ll be back next year.

I was assigned to be runner #2. A position I hadn’t ever run. It was slated to offer the second-highest mileage, until two others in my van picked up extra legs to cover for our injured teammate. They ended up putting in over 20 miles each, with their added legs, but didn’t seem to be phased at all.roster

My first leg was an 8.6-miler that started at 6:30 a.m. on Friday morning. This leg took me through Hyrum, Utah and meandered slightly uphill. I took it easy and finished in an hour-and-a-half.

My second leg, which started around 6:30 p.m. went through a residential area in Morgan, Utah. It was only 4.2 miles, but it was by far my most difficult. The 300+ foot elevation gain, coupled with 90-degree heat, made for a not-fun run. Thankfully, lots of kids were poised in their front yards, ready to spray down passing runners with garden hoses and Super Soakers. This short run took me a slow, 50 minutes to finish.

The final leg I ran in Coalville, was a 5-miler that started at 4:15 a.m. on Saturday morning. I don’t like having to run in the dark, but I was rewarded with a beautiful sunrise as I finished this leg less than an hour later. Had I been able to keep up with the chatty woman I ran with for the first two miles, I would have finished much faster. Alas, I had to hold back.

I’m already looking forward to next year and hope we can put together an all-out Westminster team, complete with Westminster running gear, vans, and swag. I’ll work on that…

Thanks, team, for another great Wasatch Back weekend!

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Key memories: HOT, unclear turnoffs, less-than-stellar finish area, breakfast burritos, best three-hour sleep in the van ever, and fun buffs.

Instagram: #staggeringparsons

Maybe shouldn’t have done that.

Date: April 5, 2014

Distance: 10 miles

Time: 1:39:24

Today I ran the Emigration Canyon Ten-Miler, despite my better judgement.

No medals in a ten-miler, but you still get a shirt.

On Thursday, I woke up with a sore throat and extreme exhaustion, which prompted me to call in sick yesterday when I also woke up with a headache. I rested most of the day and was feeling better, but still wasn’t great by evening. In contemplating whether or not to run the race, I told myself, “I’ll only run if I wake up feeling good AND it’s not raining.” (Honestly, I was thinking I would most likely put in a few miles on the treadmill at the gym).

Surprisingly, I woke up at 5:00 without my alarm, and the updated weather forecast predicted no rain until 10:00. I was also feeling decent–no sore throat, just a bit of nasal and chest congestion–so I got up, made coffee, and ate. Still felt pretty okay, so I took some cold medicine and headed out the door by 6:15.

This race finishes at “This is the Place Heritage Park,” so runners were encouraged to park in the lot there and ride buses to the top of Emigration Canyon to the start. Good plan, so after the race, it’s easy to simply jump in your car and drive home.

The problem with that plan (Race Directors, are you listening?), was the way too early bus departure. We all got up to the start by 6:45 and the race didn’t begin until 8:00. Dang it! It was cold up there and we all had to stand around for over an hour jumping in place, pacing around, or anxiously jogging around in order to stay warm. If my cold turns into pneumonia, I’m not blaming it on the race–I’m blaming it on the fact that I had to stand around in the cold for an hour before I could even get started.

I really had no high hopes on my performance for this race. I really was running more out of guilt rather than anything else because I had broken all training rules and hadn’t run at all since my half marathon two weeks ago. With my next race only two weeks out, I felt as though I needed to get some mileage in. In fact, my normal training schedule would have me run 10-11 miles this weekend anyway and I’ve been completing most of my long runs down Emigration Canyon anyway. The timing and location of this race couldn’t have been more perfect.

The Race

The race began at Little Dell Reservoir  so that means there’s a two-mile uphill climb right at the beginning of the race until the top of the canyon where the course winds downhill the whole rest of the way. I started off very slowly–alternating between walking and jogging during those first two miles. I’ve run this course dozens of times and knew how bad that first part is. Get past those first two miles, though, and the downhill makes it all worth it.

I forgot to wear my Garmin today, so I had no idea how I was pacing and had to rely on the race markers along the side of the road to inform me of my mileage. Every-once-in-a-while, it’s nice to run “naked”–as they say in running circles–meaning without technology. (I wasn’t completely naked, however, because I did remember to bring my iPod).

The nice part about running without tracking technology is you aren’t continually glancing at your watch the entire time and, most enjoyably, you are able to set a pace that isn’t dictated by your watch, but is based on how you feel. That was nice today. Even with the all-downhill course, I took a few walking breaks when I felt like it and then, when I was running, simply ran at a pace that felt right. It wasn’t until I crossed the finish line that I realized I had run an average 10-minute mile the whole race–even with the miserably slow first two miles. Wow. Sure wasn’t expecting that.

Looking Ahead

After the race, I headed home and enjoyed a hot shower followed by an hour-long power nap. Not a bad way to start the weekend and get some much-needed miles in before the Albuquerque Half in two weeks. Just hope I manage to get some shorter training runs and a few yoga classes in there before then as well.