Utah Pt. 2 – The Hobble Creek Half Marathon

Need to catch up on Part 1 of our adventures in Utah? Find it here.

Arches National Park | 2 Generations RunningAfter spending a few days having a blast exploring Arches and Moab, my mom and I woke up early on Friday for a quick 3-mile shakeout run. We happened to come across a paved bike trail – perfect for running in an area we didn’t know that well! Of course, that didn’t stop us from getting slightly lost.

2 Generations RunningThe run ended with iced coffee from one of the many cute cafes that line the Main Street of Moab.

Fueled by CoffeeOnce we were cleaned up and properly caffeinated, we made the drive north towards Provo where we had rented an Airbnb close to the race start. The place ended up being quite cute and the hostess was so friendly! We would definitely do Airbnb again to cut down a bit on hotel costs traveling to races.

The drive was a long one, so we spent most of Friday relaxing after we picked up our bibs. There really wasn’t an expo for this race (the race was capped at 1,000 runners, so definitely on the smaller side). The pick-up was at a running store, so they had some stuff to check out, but nothing too new or exciting. We laid out our running gear when we got back and called it an early night.

At the crack of 4 am, we were up and at ’em! 🙂 This race was a point-to-point course with a shuttle ride up the canyon road and the organizers had stressed that everyone had to catch the buses between 5:30 and 5:45. If you missed the shuttle, you weren’t running the race! Luckily, we made it there in plenty of time to spare. The ride up the canyon took a surprisingly long time and my mom jokingly asked if I was sure we hadn’t accidentally signed up for a marathon. 😉 I have to say, I got a little nervous too there for a sec!

We finally arrived at the drop-off point, and one of the organizers hopped on the bus to warn everyone about hunters driving on the road and not to pee in the woods because rangers were watching. Ummmm, what?! Things were off to an interesting start. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any porta-potties at the drop-off, and we ended up having to walk up the road probably another 20 minutes or so before getting to the start area. My mom and I were slightly desperate by the time we got there!

0140f9f25dac5a861f1b32eace53c91af8a4521ba6(When you pretend to look happy, but are actually freezing to death.)

Hobble Creek Half Marathon Race RecapAfter a short warm-up, we arranged ourselves behind the starting line (drawn in chalk on the ground – yeah, it was that small a race!). A couple more quick announcements and we were off! My goals going into the race were pretty loose. A big part of me was hoping that I would be able to use the elevation profile to my advantage to score a new half marathon PR (my best time was 1:45 back in February at the Augusta Half). However, I also knew my training leading up to that race had been much more consistent and had included a lot more long runs at 8 min/mile pace. I figured I would start out in the mid 8’s and try to slowly bring that time down to sub 8-minute miles in the later miles of the race. If a PR happened, then awesome, but I wouldn’t be crushed if it didn’t because I hadn’t really put in the work for it.

Only a few miles into the race, I realized I was going to have to stop at one of the water stations to use a porta-potty again. Damn, that hasn’t happened to me at a race in ages! I knew that stopping would unfortunately add a couple minutes to my time that I would have to try to make up, but I also wasn’t about to run 13.1 miles feeling like I was going to pee my pants. 😉

Mile 1: 8:43, Mile 2: 8:37, Mile 3: 8:25, Mile 4: 8:55 (my porta-potty mile)

While I had been pretty cold before the race, once I was running, it really did feel perfect. It was early enough that the road was mostly shaded and we were running with Hobble Creek gurgling along next to us on the left. It was really scenic and SO nice to be running a race where I didn’t feel like I was melting into a pool of sweat.

Hobble Creek Half Marathon Race ReviewMost of the first 6 miles looked just like this.

Mile 5: 8:12, Mile 6: 8:02, Mile 7: 8:02, Mile 8: 8:03

It was around Mile 5/6 that I realized I would have to start hitting some sub 8-minute/miles if I was going to have any chance of a PR, so I started picking up the pace. Whenever I felt like I was getting in the groove of the faster speed though, it seemed like we would hit a small uphill and my pace would slow again. I felt like I was putting in the effort, but no matter how hard I tried, my GPS just kept chirping 8:00/mile – no faster.

Mile 9: 8:17, Mile 10: 8:21, Mile 11: 8:22, Mile 12: 8:40, Mile 13: 8:24

Around Mile 9, I think I accepted that a PR was clearly not going to happen for me. I still wanted to push the effort though and continued to work hard (apart from Mile 12, which I was clearly slacking on.) At this point, we were on a bike path, which was quite pretty but also sunny. It was around these miles where I was wishing they had a couple more water stations.

But finally, I was rounding the bend onto the road that wrapped around into the finish. There were actually spectators at this spot cheering, which felt awesome after such a quiet race. I saw the clock as I crossed the finish, which read 1:50. By my GPS watch, I finished just under in 1:49:54. About 4 minutes slower than my PR, but still a decent time. I was a little bummed though because I just missed out on receiving one of the special “Elite Top 100” medals they had for the first 100 male and female finishers. I still got a flower though, which I thought was kind of different and cool.

018cb4caa3a3c0093117b410a1e1fd520066748d09After chugging some water and sitting down for a few minutes, I started waiting for my mom to come across the finish. I knew she wasn’t planning on racing it hard, but I started to get more and more nervous as the time on the clock got later. Was this race going to be her turn to get transported by ambulance? I was probably being really irrational, but I really got panicked as the time ticked past 2:15. I knew she had been experiencing some hamstring issues, so my mind immediately jumped to her being injured and unable to finish the race.

I waited another 15 minutes and finally called her, remembering how she could easily answer her phone while running. Just as she answered, I actually spotted her coming into the last 1/2 mile. Hobbling slightly. She did not sound good on the phone, and we hung up quickly. Finally she crossed the finish line and filled me in on her race.

She told me how her hamstring started acting up after the first few miles of downhill running, and how by Mile 6, she was so in so much pain she had to walk. She had been mostly walking since then, not wanting to risk any further damage to the muscle. Hobble Creek Half Marathon was unfortunately a bit too aptly named for her.

So not one of the best for either of us, but we made the most of the day, hanging out at the finish for a bit before heading out to a nearby cafe for a bigger breakfast. We had plenty of time to discuss and analyze the race and came to a couple of conclusions.

  1. It was probably the drastic downhills that set off her hamstring, which was already bothering my mom a bit. She had thought it had been feeling better in the days before, but 13 miles of hard downhill running, was probably a bit too much.
  2. When you’re trying to run at least 50 marathons/half marathons, you’re going to have some bad races. Period. Life happens, training isn’t always perfect, and it is what it is.
  3. That said, my mom and I race pretty frequently. We did the RW Classic Half back in July, a bunch of 5ks before that, and then of course, there was the Delaware Marathon in May. If we want to run better quality races, it would probably be wise for both of us to back off a bit and pick only a few races to really target. This is what the elites do, and while I’m not looking to run a 2:40 marathon just yet, I do think it makes a lot of sense. Of course, I’m now signed up to run Baystate in October, but I promise I won’t do any races before then!!

Hobble Creek Half marathon Race Review

So overall thoughts: The Hobble Creek Half is a good, small race. I probably wouldn’t run it again, and I know there are some more popular half marathons in Utah with more bells and whistles, but it’s worth checking out if you are local to the Mapleton/Springville/Provo area. Also, I think it’s worth noting that they ran into issues with their timing equipment and ended up only being able to provide gun times for the racers, no chip times. Not a huge deal for us since we didn’t hit those PRs, but I’m guessing this was pretty frustrating for some other runners. But all in all, it was a really fun way to cap off our Utah vacation and to cross off State #12. Only 38 to go! 😉


UTAH! Pt. 1

Hey there everyone!

After an awesome week, my mom and I are finally back on the East Coast. We had a blast exploring Utah, hitting up Moab and Arches National Park before heading back north to the Provo area to run the Hobble Creek Half for our 16th half marathon and 12th state. A race recap will be comin’ your way shortly, but in the meantime here are a bunch of pics from our trip.

Arches National Park – 

This place was so cool. It seriously felt like another planet!

Arches National Park

Selfie with the Balancing Rock!

Arches National Park | 2 Generations Running

Arches National Park

Photo Aug 21, 10 55 58 AM

And of course, we made the hike to Delicate Arch! I totally understand the hype about it now. 🙂 My mom just about had a heart attack  watching all the tourists running around near the edge of the drop-off though.

Delicate Arch

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

One night, we planned to do a tour cruise on the Colorado River. Sadly, a thunderstorm was moving into the area and we had to head back after only 5 minutes on the water. Looks a little scary, huh? We were totally bummed to miss it, especially since we were leaving Moab the next day.

Moab | 2 Generations Running

But then, we caught this view of the sunset in the opposite direction. 🙂

Colorado River

It was an awesome trip, but it definitely feels good to be home.

Have you ever been to Moab or Arches National Park? What was your favorite part?


An Injury Scare

Hey all!

Happy Monday – hope you all enjoyed the weekend! Can you believe today is the first day of August?! Where the heck has the summer gone? I also have so much to fill you in on. Work is always so hectic during the week that I just don’t have the energy/time to blog at night and then I fall behind on updating you all!

But anyways, the past few weeks I’ve been playing in a coed soccer league with my coworkers. Soccer was my big passion when I was younger, so I was pretty psyched for this league going into it.

Soccer | 2 Generations RunningI have to admit though, it’s been quite the challenge. We were supposed to be in the “just for fun” league, but there weren’t enough teams so we got bumped up into the intermediate league – which might as well be professional compared to the level of our team. 😉 So we’ve been losing each game pretty horribly, but worse than that is just how tough it’s been on my body! I have no problem with all the running, but the sharp turns and sudden movements have been a serious struggle. I’ve gotten so used to running in a straight line at a relatively even pace! In last Monday’s game, I went to kick the ball and I think I turned my foot at a weird angle and suddenly experienced a shooting pain in the top of my foot.

I tried to jog it off, but I was also freaking out that I had injured myself so I subbed out after a minute and spent the next 15 minutes or so on the sidelines icing the top of my foot. It didn’t look crazy swollen or bruised, but it was very tender. I iced and elevated it that night, but it was still bothering me the next day walking to work.

So in typical runner-fashion, I blew it up in my mind and immediately started thinking about stress fractures or tendon strains and made an appointment with the doc to have it looked at. I didn’t run the whole rest of that week and was hyper-aware of any and all twinges on the top of my foot. Luckily, it felt less painful with each passing day and I was able to hop on it without any serious discomfort. I went to the doctor on Friday and they took X-rays, which confirmed – THANK GOD – no stress fracture!! She recommended I dial back the miles for a bit and just continue to ice, elevate, and take plenty of anti-inflammatories. I’m guessing I just strained a muscle in my foot, but thankfully, it does not seem to be too serious.

On Saturday, I decided to test out a short run with the plan to cut it short if I felt any pain. I loosened the laces a little over the spot, which did feel slightly tender when I first pulled my sneaker on. Once I started running though, I felt completely fine. I was on the treadmill and threw in a couple of small hills and short sprints, all with no issues. Yay!

I’m so glad this turned out to be a false alarm. Utah is only 3 weeks away and I am so excited for that trip. I would have been so bummed if I had had to sit that race out.

I think this may be it for my soccer career though! I have had a lot of laughs playing with my coworkers, and while it has been fun, running is my main priority right now. I have a lot of goals when it comes to future half marathons and marathons, and every time I play soccer, it feels like gambling with injury.

Have you ever had a similar experience having to give up an activity you used to love?


Our Next Big Race/State

Happy Almost End of the Week to you all!

As most of you know, my mom and I are trying to run a marathon or half marathon in every state. So far, we have 11 down. I’m psyched to say my mom and I have our next state picked out for this summer!

State #12  – UTAH with the Hobble Creek Half Marathon!!

My mom and I picked this race/state for a few reasons. Most importantly, the timing of it was perfect. My mom and I will be running the Runners World Classic in July (if you want to race this one with me, you can use code RAVE for 10% off the registration fee!), but we didn’t have any big races lined up for August. I will be in Utah for work the week of August 13th, so I looked around for some half marathons in the general area the following week and found Hobble Creek. It sounds absolutely AWESOME –

“The Hobble Creek Half Marathon was started by two elite runners and USATF members in 1994 with a vision to create a course that would be both a record breaker and a great tune-up for the St. George Marathon… The course is beautiful and fast with rolling hills and is a great place to set a PR (Personal Record) or tune up for a fall marathon. The race is known for its fast course, flowers for women, and Elite 100 medals.”

Hobble Creek Half Marathon Elevation ProfileThat’s my kind of elevation profile!!!

We are registered for the race, flights and hotels are booked, so it is definitely happening! Eeek, so excited!

I was so thrilled with my PR in Augusta in February, but that course had a couple of big hills in it that definitely cost me some time. I think Utah might just be my new chance at a half marathon PR. 🙂 My mom is coming out to meet me a few days before the race, so we will also get to do some sight-seeing and make a little vacation out of it.

In the meantime, I’m sticking with my speedwork routine (did 2 x 2 miles at half marathon goal pace today and was ecstatic at how well I handled it!) and just trying to work my long runs back up. I’m not really following any formal plan for these half marathons, but I am trying to incorporate lessons learned from previous training cycles.

Sunny early Runs | 2 Generations RunningSunny early morning runs are my favorite

**Random sidenote – My big toenail on my right foot finally came off today (it got absolutely wrecked in Delaware)!! I will probably have a regular toenail again in about 9 months… Just in time for me to probably be ready to register for another marathon. 😉 I will spare you all the pics because I have a feeling none of you want to see my gross runner’s feet.

Have you ever been to Utah? Any recommendations for places/sights to see? Do you have any racecations coming up this summer?