Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cookie Chaser 5k

This was a cute little 5k. It was out in Herriman, so off the beaten path. It started at a park and was easy to find. I was a little worried about that since I don't know the area well. PRO The race is to raise money for a girl scout camp. And as you guessed it there were girl scout cookies involved!

PRO This was a small race but it was still chip timed. The chip was on the bib and not huge so I liked that. This race was kind of fun because there is a 10k, a 5k and a 2k with the 2k about 30 minutes before the other, so you can do the 2k in combination with the 10k or 5k. Then the person who has the lowest combined race time gets a separate prize. They call it the do-si-dos. We were thinking that might be fun for next year. The race also allows strollers and even had a stroller division. I accidentally tried to get my bib from them.

The course itself had some good uphill portions and a lot of turns in the first half. This makes for a slow course but I still got my best time for the year. (It's early in the year, easy to get a best ;) I felt like the course was well marked but a few people ahead of me did get lost and G (husband) thought there should have been a little warning before turns so you could chose your angles better. He didn't have the luxury of having people in front of him to follow.

CON There was not a lot of food at the finish; bananas, apples, cookies (from KFC) and Gatorade. It was enough to get me by. I really needed some protein but that is not something unique to this race since most races aren't good at having protein at the finish.

PRO They had great awards. There were cute wood plaques for the top three in all age groups and in the 5k and 10k the top three also got Girl Scout Cookies. They let you pick the kind of cookies. CON One bummer was that they gave the cookies to the 2K winners first so there were no thin mints by the time they got to the 5k. Motivation to run the 2k next year! The overall finishers also got gift certificates to Run GR8. We stopped in there afterward to use our certificates and it was a nice little store. I got a sweet sports bra that I am excited about.

The day of the race was rainy and dang cold but luckily it was only a light drizzle during the race itself. It did make sitting and waiting for the awards REALLY cold and I admit I got a bit miserable. CON They took a really long time to get the awards started, which was odd since it was chipped timed. If you are doing them by hand I can give you a break but I'm sure the last 5k runner had been done half an hour before the awards started. Another CON with that is we missed our recovery window to get some protein in. We left before the drawing so I dont know if the prizes were good but I was shaking from the cold I couldn't wait any longer! Plus the speakers were having issues and the lady doing the announcing just wasn't quite sure how to keep things moving. I have learned that good announcers are hard to find.

I would do this race again. The course was hard but not break your heart hard and the awards were fun. I love when so many people have the opportunity to get something! Having a fun environment and being for a good cause will bring me back.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

"Chase the Mayor 5K"

This is the 5K that is in conjunction with the Provo City Marathon. It was on May 4th. LAST YEAR (2013), I just didnt get around to blogging about it until now.

I am working on my 5k time this year so I'm currently on the lookout for good fast 5ks. There are a lot of 5Ks but the thing is they can vary in length. I have had people say "a 5k is anything 2.8 miles to 3.2" and while in high school that was fine for me. I was racing the same people all the time and was more worried about my standing on the team. Now that I can race anywhere and against anyone it's nice if I can compare 5ks without a conversion and having to keep track of which ones are long or short. I am working on a personal best and I already have to factor in difficulty of a course, weather conditions, how I am feeling, etc. Can't we all just agree to make a 5k 5 kilometers, 3.1 miles? Or at least get close.

CON As you may have guessed from my rant this race was long. It was 3.2 by my gps. You may be thinking .1 no big deal, but that can be an extra minute to some and in my case an extra about 45 seconds. Part of my annoyance was that I paid 10 dollars more for this race over a couple other options that were available that day because I figured as a bigger more expensive race they would go out of their way to make it accurate.

PRO I did totally love that this race stared at 9am! Not having to get up ridiculously early in the cold is definitely awesome. It started at 3300 N University in Provo and you were suppose to park there and they said there would be shuttles to take you back to your car. CON The marathon and half started earlier and are on the same course so we started in the midst of them. I had to do quite a bit of weaving to get through the slower half marathon finishers. This also meant that the marathon winner finished among a large group of half marathoners so there was no ribbon and he was doing quite a bit of weaving.

There were oranges, Creamies!, water and gatorade. PRO It seemed a little skimpy but then there was Magleby's french toast which was delicious. You just had to be willing to wait in the long line for it, but it moved pretty quickly.

We decided that we should go get the car but I didnt want to miss the awards. In the information they gave us they had said awards would be at 9:40 and it was about then. We asked someone and they said they should have them in the net 20 minutes. That's not a big deal. CON Results often take awhile but an hour later they finally started them and we still needed to get the car. The awards were quite disorganized and they had to ask for medals back after giving them to the wrong person. The speaker they were using was blown so it was hard to hear and they quickly read off names so by the time you go up there the people handing out medals had no idea who you were and what medal belong to you (hence giving them to the wrong person). PRO They did have the winners medals inscribed with your place and age division on the back. That was pretty cool. Plus the ribbon was a different color than the marathon/half finisher medal ribbon.

CON Finally we were ready to go and we couldn't find the shuttle so we had to jog the 3.2 miles back to the car. On the way back we did see a school bus pass us which we thought was the shuttle going to pick people off but we never saw it pass to drop people off so it was faster to jog.


I wont do this race again. The race being long was the clincher but having to jog back to the car was also a big con. There were good things about this race but not enough to get me back.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Big Cottonwood Canyon Half (Vigor) Pros and Cons

I've been running a lot more races lately and there are ones I like more than others but as I look back I often can't remember why or which ones. Also when I am looking for a race it is often hard to decide which ones to do. There are different things that can make a race worth my time and money but that information is not always obvious from the event website. I am going to try blogging about the races I run and maybe someone else might find it useful as well.

I ran Vigor's Big Cottonwood Canyon Half Marathon yesterday and my mom walked it, May 11. CON I was not stoked about the 4am bus ride and the subsequent 3:30am wake-up. My mom and I stayed in the hotel across from the pickup point (which was also the finish). That made it so we didn't have to add extra time for driving and parking. The buses had all left by 4:20 to drive up the winding road. We did pass two buses that had overheated and broke down. Those people had to get picked up by other buses but that was why they planned such an early bus start, in case of the unexpected.

PRO Once at the top they dropped us at Solitude Ski Resort so we didn't have to stand outside in the cold. There were bathrooms and everyone just just spread out sitting on the floor mostly. PRO About 30 minutes before the start they had us walk half a mile over to the start. You may not think this is a pro but it means that you warm up before the start. This is nice for temperature comfort and important to prevent injury. I always run faster after a good warm-up and a lot of times I dont get a good one in before a race becaus I am not sure where to run and I'm nervous about getting too far away from the start so I end up running tiny circles somewhere and it's just not as effective.

PRO Once we walked down we only had to stand around for a few minutes before they started right on time. CON A 6am race start makes no sense to me since it's not summer yet so there is no need to try and avoid the heat, plus people run better later, well I run better later (probably due to being awake and all). It was getting light when we started so I didnt have any trouble seeing and didnt need a light.

PRO This is one of the most beautiful races I have done. I love Big Cottonwood Canyon and it provided a fantastic backdrop all the way down. It is definitely an all down hill course with 3000ft drop from the start to finish. There may be moment when you go up momentarily but nothing that I would call a hill. PRO This made for an awesome PR. I beat my best time from Bryce Canyon Half last year by 6.5 minutes! I was ecstatic and all smiles at the finish. I'm pretty sure I even did a dance.

PRO There was bananas, oranges, water (the usual), Creamies (YUM!), and Jimmy Johns. There may have been more that I am not remembering. Plus there was massages that I didnt have to wait hours for.

This was a smaller big race. There were only about 500 runners (308 finished the half). PRO I got first in my age group so I got a winners medal that was Gold with a blue ribbon which was awesome that it is distinctly different from my finishers medal. CON I was disappointed that they were just handing the winners medals out at a table. They didn't make announcements or have you come up on a podium or something. It was a little anticlimactic.

Other things you might want to know:
They had chip timing with a chip on your shoe (I tend to prefer those ones). If you wear a gps watch, which I do, they are pretty much always off when you run in the canyon. There is just not great signal up there.

There was only water and an electrolyte drink at the support stops but I usually bring my own gels so that doesn't bother me.

There was a clothing drop at the start and I got my stuff all back.

There were stairs at about mile 11, I think. They tell you to hold the handrail and make sure you do! It was a little scary but kind of a hilarious moment in the race. My boyfriend loved it and laughed about it all day.

CON Also my mom did get lost and missed the finish line. You follow a little path for a while once you come out of the canyon but then right at the end you cut off of it and go into a parking lot and to the finish. She missed that and it added a few minutes to her time. We heard that that happened to a few other people but I felt the race was well marked with mile markers the while time.

CON And a day later I am soooo soooo sore! Down hill takes it's toll on your quads and mine are screaming today. Any up or down motions are super hard and stairs are not my friend. If you are not sore after this race you must be related to superman.

I would totally do this race again. I thought the organizers did a great job and I enjoyed the experience. Next year I am thinking I'll try the 5K.

Sorry if this was too comprehensive...

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gratitude: Day 19

I am grateful for my sister.

Emma and I are 8 years apart so we've always been in very different stages of life. She was a baby and I was playing with dolls, she started playing with dolls when I started to get really interested in hanging-out with friends, she started playing with friends when I was off dating and in college, you get the point. We were too far apart to ever fight but we weren't as close because of that as well. When Mason left on his mission and Emma and I became the only two kids, we got to spend a lot more time together.  We went on some fun vacations, started talking more and got to know each other better. She is probably my favorite travel buddy. We've had fun going to plays in New York and to the MET and the sacred grove, to Disneyland and six flags, the beach, BNP Paribas tennis tournament, sleepovers in utah and more. When that horrible year of 2011 happened she was the only person who really understood how I felt. We became best friends and it was so good to know I had someone who was experiencing the same things I was. When life was hard or frustrating it was good to be to be there for her and to have her there to talk to. I love being able to watch tv shows and movies together. We both love Disney and are little kids at heart. We could watch Emperors New Groove and Meet the Robinsons on repeat and then quote both movies to each other after and still want to watch them again. Thanks Emma for being your creative little self and for always being such a loving cute little/big sister. I love you so much and I am glad that we have become close over the years! Feel free to come crash at my house anytime. I love you, Sue!