Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Herriman Oquirrh Mountain (Half) Marathon

The Herriman Oquirrh Mountain Marathon was run on a beautiful Saturday morning in June. It was a small field of competitors, 57 total for the half marathon.

The communication for this race was sparse. So sparse in fact that I started to think I was never going to get an email. Lucky for us the website was packed full of information. Packet pick up was held at Run Gr8 and manned by their staff. It was quick, easy, and efficient. As usual the guys and girls at the store were super helpful! They even ran a water station at the race. Loved that they gave us a coupon for the store, it will come in handy.

The race director was quite an enthusiastic fellow at 6 in the morning. Because there was such a small field only two buses were required. Unfortunately, the second bus was delayed due to transporting racers for another race. Once we were able to leave, we took the 20 minute bus ride up Butterfield Canyon. That was a pretty scary ride in a bus! That alone might prevent me from running this race in the future.

This was a nice course. Downhill Butterfield Canyon was a little brutal in spots, I am not sure what would have hurt more, just running it or holding yourself back so you didn’t burn out before mile 13. I was pretty sore for a couple of days after, sorer than after my marathon. I really liked that we got to run through a neighborhood and there was very little traffic to deal with. The hardest part by far was the distance between the last water station (mile 7 or 8, my run tracker was off due to the GPS signal up the canyon), and the water station at 11. They really needed to put another station in there somewhere. With that said, I did receive OUTSTANDING customer service from the race director. He was in a van constantly driving the course checking on runners and making sure everything was okay. As he drove by me I used the universal signal for drink and less than three minutes later he drove by with a drink for me!

The medal really was nothing to brag about. It was small but not a bad design. The after race support was about the same, nothing to brag about but not bad. We had water and food and really what more do you need? Yeah I love races that offer a little extra but it seems like this race is well on its way to establishing a name for itself. We give it three shoes!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Couch to 5k

Found this one on Pinterest and have had a lot of requests for a 5k training program. Give this one a shot and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ogden Marathon 2013

Congratulations to the Ogden Marathon for putting on a fantastic race! From sign up to the after race options, it was a wonderful experience.

After putting in a small amount of money to get into the lottery, which frankly was done on a whim because I NEVER thought that we would actually get picked, the communication was excellent. They even emailed us to let us know it might be hotter than expected and to come prepared. Weekly updates were sent when the race got closer to ensure everyone was set to go.

The race expo was pretty good with lots of different options and great sales. There was no line at all for packet pick up! It was crazy fast.

The day of my first marathon it was raining cats and dogs! And not just for a minute or an hour, but the entire time from getting on the bus until we crossed that finish line. Don’t be fooled, the rain did not hamper the efforts of the race director, staff, or volunteers. The buses were on time, the race started on time, and the support along the route was amazing. After the race, we even got to vote for the best aid station. The volunteers really did a great job with the aid stations and it kept me going to see what was available at the next stop.

If there is a place to improve it’s after the race. The food after the race was limited and unimpressive. The same can be said for the medal. While it is my favorite, because it’s my only full marathon medal, it wasn’t pretty or big. It’s just so-so. And as I have said numerous times, it’s all about the bling!

I was overall very happy with this race and how easy they made it. Here’s to another 4 shoe race! Nice job Ogden Marathon!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Father's Example

How do most men celebrate their 60th birthday? Do they go out for a nice dinner, maybe go to the movies, or have a family party? My Dad decided for his 60th birthday he would run a 100 mile ultra race. While this may seem extreme for some, for my Dad that is simply par for the course. 7 years ago my Dad decided to start running – he was 53 years old. He trained and ran his first marathon in 2006. Since then he has run 59 marathons, 55 ultras of which 16 were 100 milers, and countless other half marathons and smaller races. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the Ironman’s and other triathlons he has finished. He is definitely a running addict and runs to the extreme, but by developing his hobby of running he has encouraged, motived, and coached 3 of his kids to follow in his footsteps (just maybe a little less extreme).
Because of my Dad’s example I began running 2 years ago and he has now coached me through 2 of my 5 half marathons and is helping me prep for my first full marathon this September. My older sister has run numerous marathons, half marathons, and several ultras, and this past May completed her first half Ironman. My brother completed his first full marathon this past March and has also run several half marathons.
My Dad’s drive in his running has not only motivated me to run but to have drive and passion in everything in life. If something is worth doing then it is worth working hard for – something that applies to every aspect of our lives. My Dad has shown me that while something is hard, it is possible – and being and old guy doesn’t hold you back. I love my Dad and appreciate the example that he has shown me in everything he does – his running is just a great display of the drive, spirit, and passion he has for life! I love you Dad!
Jen Johnson

Friday, June 14, 2013

Utah Valley Half Marathon 2013

Before the even the race team was great about posting updates via email etc. When I arrived to pick up my packet it was very organized. Took less than 5 minutes. They had some great venues and booths set up to purchase things or find out about different running products. They had music playing, they made it so fun!

The day of the race. I arrived around 3:50am they had several buses lined up and ready to roll. My friend and I were able to climb right on a bus without any line. At the top they had several fire-pits burning, as it was cold but not freezing (luckily). We huddled by they fire we had about 2 hours before race time. We met other runners, stretched. They had several porta potties at the top. We were able to use them twice with minimal wait time (this is important ).

The race started promptly at 6am. The course starts in the Provo Canyon and winds down the road. They had the left side of the road closed from traffic which was very nice. The scenery was breathtaking. The first part of the race is a nice down hill, as you approach mile 3 you are climbing on a pretty nice hill. Nothing so big that it would slow you down much. At about mile 7 you are now out of the Canyon an on Provo City Streets. The nice thing is you continue on the left side of the road, the race is west facing so the sun is not in your face at all and we were in the shade 90% of the run.

Just before 8am it was getting warmer. I was happy to see a couple misters available to run through. Towards the end of my run, the 10k started to run with us and the 5k runners as well. The funny thing is this pushed me to run faster as they had a new energy and excitement they brought to the run . I heard later they had about 8,000 runners total for this race including the full, half, 10k and 5k. For as many people as they had, it never felt extremely crowded to me. This surprised me.

The Finish was a nice downhill, nothing to steep just a gradual downhill. At the finish, the streets were lined up with rows and rows of people. I felt like I was in a parade. I enjoyed it and it got me pumped up. After crossing they had a fun PR bell that finishers got to ring if they reached their PR's. I loved this idea! I got to ring the bell!

They had photographers right off to the side taking pictures. Several vendors were lined up giving out after race recovery drinks and snacks. Among them were Jamba Juice, Cinnabon and Creamies. They had several porta potties at the end of the race to use. Bounce houses for kids available and bag pickup was very organized and easy to find. They had several massage tables available. I didn't take advantage as there was a long line.

We boarded a bus immediately, no waiting, to ride back to our car at university mall. The ride took about 5 min. It was fun to speak to other runners.

My ONLY complaint is there was not ONE porta potty the entire race route. Not one. I thought this was odd, although it helped my PR I just couldn't believe that they purposefully did not place any for the entire route of the race. The next day we did receive an apology email from the race directors expressing how extremely sorry they were for the mix-up that the company who provides the honey buckets had messed up and did not place them on the route. Feeling grateful that I did not run the full without any potty's I gracious accept their apology. Mistakes happen.

Overall I will definitely do this race again, I may even run their full marathon one day. It was a beautiful run, gradual downhill made for great recovery and I PR'd! I give this race 4 shoes!