2013 Utah Valley Half Marathon Race Report

Cliff's Notes Version:
3rd place age group.
12th overall woman.

It only took me a month and a half (oops), but here is the race report from June:

This race has a special place in my heart because it runs through one of my favorite canyons, and it's a canyon I've driven through, ran through, ridden bikes through, rafted through, and walked through hundreds if not thousands of times.

I've had a goal to "place" in my age group in this race for a while now.

I also knew that was a goal and a half because there always some really fast runners that come to run it, and thousands of them.

I worked my butt off and waited until I was certain I could keep my goal pace of 6:55 throughout the race before I signed up for it.
 I literally waited until the last minute, signing up on the last night you could. But I'd been training as well as I could as a mom, (kids come first, you know? and running with the stroller is more like stop go stop go stop go stop go). But I had pushed around that double stroller like nobody's business, and ran when I loved it and ran when I wanted nothing more than to sit and stuff my face with brownies and a good book,
and was pretty sure I could run a sub 1:30.
My PR for a half was 1:41, but I ran the first half of one of my marathons in 1:31, so that's the time I really wanted to beat because I knew I could do it.

And then...




The day after signing up for the race, which was less than one week before the race, I caught the puke your guts out stomach flu.
It. Was. Awful. Achy. No. Good. Very. Bad. And it kicked my butt.

Monday I thought there was a 5% chance I'd actually run the race. I could barely walk down the stairs and couldn't even think about walking to the mail box.

Tuesday, miraculously, I felt a lot better. Achy and dehydrated, but no puking and I could tell I was almost over the bug. I ate protein bars like candy and figured I'd test my legs on Wednesday and if I could still get two decent runs in before the race then I'd still run it.

Wednesday I felt dehydrated and sluggish but longing to run.
I decided to try a short (around 4 miles), but fast run to see if I still had any speed in me at that point, and to try to get an estimate of what my pace could be if I decided to race.
Dev dropped me off on a canyon trail and the first quarter mile was hard, and I felt slow. And at that point I decided to not look at my gps after all and to just run for fun.
I took in the sound of the river and the smells of the mountain and just ran my heart out.
And then, about two miles into it I took a teeeency glance at my gps and realized I was on course to PR MY 5K TIME!
WHAT?!! Shut. Up.
I slightly freaked out with excitement mid-run realizing how fast I was going and decided that heck yes I was going to pr during a training. Take that stomach flu and eat it! My goal was to someday run a 5k under 20 minutes and I ended up running that distance in 19:50, get this, including stopping at a stoplight for about 30 seconds. I was so excited I was practically jumping in the air when Dev picked me up. Even if the race on Saturday didn't go as planned I was so excited for this racing season because my hard work was paying off! I couldn't believe I had just run a 5k that fast, and when I'd been wanting to do that for yeeeeaaaarrrrssssssssss, it felt amazing!

Then came Thursday. My plan was to run a regular old 6 miler. Not fast, not slow. Just a get 'er done, get the legs moving run. Well, the first four miles I felt so slow. Like last hour of the day before Dev comes home from work slow. Then suddenly the last two miles I felt like I could fly and run forever. I stopped at 6, but after that run I had no idea what was going to happen on race day. I still felt a little dehydrated and weak, so I took Friday as a rest day.

Friday we went to pick up my packet and Ell had so much fun running around everywhere. It's in her blood. Haha! 

The morning of the race we had to get the whole family up waytoofreakingearly.
Because of its starting position in the canyon you had to get to the starting line by bus, and the last bus left at 4:30. Ellee is very much a Momma's girl first thing in the morning and so Dev opted to drive around with the kids while they waited rather than risk waking up with Ellee missing (aka screaming for) me. The bus ride up was as good as a bus ride through a canyon can be. They charter nice buses with plenty of leg room, which is a giant leap up from the school buses that some races use.

Once at the drop off zone, I got off the bus and walked the 1/2 mile or so to the starting line to see what it looked like, then visited the porta potties. There were a lot of porta potties, but with the thousands of runners with the same idea, it still took about 20 - 25 minutes of waiting in line to get to one.
(And on a side note, there was a big mishap with the porta potties. Apparently the company who provided them for some reason didn't put them along the course, even though the race directors had just driven the course with them a few days prior showing them exactly where to put them. Fortunately I didn't need to use the bathroom during the race, but you can imagine the fiasco that ensued for some people! I've never heard of this happening at a race before, and I'm sure the race directors will ensure it doesn't happen again.)

After the loo I headed for the fires that were around to try and warm up because it was faaareeeeezaaheeeng. There was a crisp wind coming down the canyon off the reservoir above and even with my jacket I was cold. On my way to the fires I ran into one of my good friends and her husband and so I stayed and talked with them until the race started. I'm so glad I ran into them because and I hadn't seen them in a long time so it was fun to catch up and it calmed my nerves. They also had an extra blanket, so that was nice!
About 15 minutes before the race was to start I went to check my gps and get it started on finding a satellite (sometimes it takes a few minutes in the canyon).
Dun dun dun again....
My watch was dead. Well, not entire dead I suppose. It would still give me the correct day and time, but when I went to turn on the gps the flashing little battery told me I was out of luck.
I panicked! How could this be? I had just charged it the night before... and then I remembered I didn't really remember taking it off the charger. So I'm guessing in my sleep deprived post stomach flu state of mind I probably took it off the charger before it was done, or accidentally turned on the gps, or something. I guess it really doesn't matter how it happened, but the fact was I was not going to have a pacing guide for the race. There were race pacers, but the fastest pacer was 1:35 so I just knew if I got passed by that guy I was going too slow.
At this point I decided to just have fun with the race and enjoy the beauty of the canyon. I wouldn't be able to push myself to keep a pace and that was frustrating but probably a blessing since I was still recovering from the flu.

A few minutes for the race started I (reluctantly) took my hoodie off and put into my bag, tossed it into the bag truck right before the gun went off for the wheel chair athletes, and then found a place at the starting line.
I positioned myself about 10 feet back from the start. Far enough back to let the sprinters go, but far enough forward to avoid a cattle trap. I was still feeling a bit frustrated about my dead watch when looked behind me and saw the thousands of other crazy people ready to run and it cheered me up. We were all just there to run, and there is a certain camaraderie about it.
The gun went off and it was time to run.

I carried a little half sized water bottle with me for the first few miles to help keep myself hydrated without having to stop at the aid stations and it worked well. I run with a full size water bottle a lot, so it didn't bother me. I also carried black cherry shot bloks.

The first 3 miles my legs felt like lead, but I was enjoying the pretty scenery. After that the air seemed to warm up a bit, along with my legs, and I felt a rhythm kick in.
It was an odd feeling not knowing how I was doing. I knew the 1:35 pacer hadn't passed me, but I didn't want to pull a muscle turning around to try and see how far back he was. And so I just ran and ran.
And ran and ran. Up the big hill by the gorgeous waterfall, through the beautiful curves of the mountain, down with the view of the river...
Dev and the kids would be parked every 4 miles or so and I tell you what, there is nothing like the feeling of your kids cheering you on!
I hadn't done enough hill work during my training and I could feel it during the race.

Once out of the canyon there was still four or so miles to go, but there were a lot of spectators and I felt my pace pick up a bit. After about a mile I ran into my sister in law, Heather, who had come out WAYFREAKINGEARLY to cheer me on. It gave me such a boost to high five her and see my niece! (And on a side note, I swear this race has the best volunteers out helping!! Thank you volunteers!)

I could feel my body getting a tired and thirsty and my form slipping, but at that point I was not going to drop my pace. I hadn't overly pushed myself up to this point, but I was determined to finish as hard as I could. I could see a few girls in front of me and I was determined to pass them.

You can see my form slipping a bit in this picture, just landing a bit too hard with my stride looking more elephant than gazelle. A few meters past where this picture was taken there was a huge bump in the road and I landed on it funny and hard and I remember thinking to myself, "Gee, I hope that didn't just mess anything up." But I ignored it and kept on. Later I would find out I fractured my heel. Darn. It.

With one mile left I was able to pass the two girls I had wanted to and pulled into a sprint to try and keep my lead. Later I found out those girls were in my age group, so I'm glad I passed them when I did!

Yay! The finish line (and its glorious food) was in sight!

But sometimes I swear that last sprint to the end just goes on forever...

I was able to quickly find Dev and the kids and Ellee jumped to me completely melting my heart.

Heather took a pic of our fam, but with three tired and excited kiddos, this was the best one. Ha!

I wasn't sure what my official time or place was yet. They were having technical difficulties with their printers or something, but while we waited I ran into my cousin Luke. I hadn't seen him in ages and we were best buds growing up, so it was so nice to catch up and get a hug.

My sis, Heather and her beautiful daughter. Can you tell her daughter and Ellee are cousins much?

And of course a pic of the bomb detecting robot. An ever so sobering reminder. There was a strong military and police presence, and I was grateful to see it. But it was also nice to see the strength in the community as everyone went on even stronger and closer than before.
Faith over fear.

After over an hour of waiting we finally got the results and my time was 1:33.
While I didn't reach my goal of a sub 1:30, I was happy with how I ran considering the flu and the gps problem.
I was very excited to find out that I had taken 3rd place out of the 251 girls in my age group.
I came in 12th overall out of 1245 women, and that just made my day!


  1. Uh, this whole post made me tear up! hahaha You were so close to hitting that goal, that is so awesome. And holy toledo you are so fast, I am like a turtle compared to you! hahahaha You look so cute in your green, I feel like you needed some Tinkerbell Wings on you!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! And you are so incredibly fast! like holy crap fast! what is your training routine???

  3. You are so incredible!! Thanks for writing the whole story out -- I LOVED reading it!! Plus! You said "loo" hahahahaha! Made my day :)

  4. Just wondering how to find you on instagram. I know you are on there somewhere, but I wasn't sure what your name was on it

    1. Hi Julie! On instagram I am johnson_bridget. :)
      I've definitely been better about the gram than the blog lately. Oops. Haha.

    2. Yeah. I think everyone is! You motivate me to run!! =]


Thanks for saying hi! :)