Moab Trail Half Marathon

RACE4This past weekend, was the race I had been training for all summer. My first half marathon in beautiful Moab, Utah. My mom also came to visit which was a lot of fun to have her here for my race. On Friday morning Matt and I took some quick turns at Keystone for Opening Day and then loaded up the car and took off for Utah.

The drive out there is always beautiful and exciting seeing the landscape change from mountains to desert. After picking up our race packets, we arrived to our favorite campground on Potash Rd, where our roommates had set up camp from the night before. The fire was already going and a few other friends came to camp with us throughout the night.

The temperature dropped down to around 30 degrees in the early morning and I was glad for my Marmot sleeping bag. At 6am we all stumbled out of our tents for some breakfast and coffee and headed for the race around 7:30am. The race was split into five waves. Matt was in the 2nd, I was in the 3rd and my friend Rhemy was in the 5th. Everything seemed so rushed, until the race started and then it was just about running at the right pace.

My wave was the biggest wave in the race, with marathoners and half marathoners in each wave. At first it was a big traffic jam. The trail was wide, so you could pass but it was tough. I kind of wish I started in the 2nd wave, because I passed a lot of people in the 3rd even though I wasn’t running above my normal average pace. The first few miles were on a jeep road which was sandy at some points and rocky at others. I felt like my training was key for this, there was a lot of jumping up and over rocks and being quick on your feet to pass people.

The first 4 miles were a slow climb to a ridge above the canyon. Because I live and train at 9000ft, I actually enjoyed the uphills because I could run them and pass people. As always, the downhills were fun too, but you had to watch your feet carefully because there was a lot going on, on the trail.

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Looking down from the top of the canyon around mile 4.

The next couple of miles was through an awesome desert meadow with beautiful views all around. I really wanted to take more photos but I was feeling great running at my perfect pace and so I didn’t want to stop for too long. The first aid station was at 5.6 miles and was run by some jeep guys and they cracked me up coming into it, I grabbed a piece of banana, unwrapped a honey stinger waffle and took off up the hill to Hunter Canyon Trail.

This trail was probably the coolest part of the race, It was around on a canyon rim, there was a lot of jumping over things, and tight squeezes between rocks. This was pretty much a no passing zone, with the only side to pass on being the rim with a long drop below. I was cruising through this part for a little over a mile, until the bottleneck at this one spot in the canyon where you had to jump down about 5 feet. You couldn’t run this part, so everyone had to slow down and wait around 10 minutes. It was kind of a bummer to stop for so long, but I ate a honey stinger, drank some water and soon was on my way.

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The bottleneck.

Just after the nest aid station at mile 9.7, the marathon and half marathon split ways. I proceeded to the right and up the switchbacks on Kane Creek Road. This was a giant hill climb with cars and dirtbikes on the road. I walked most of it, tried to run as much as I could, and then when I hit the downhill I took off. I thought running down the road sucked, until I hit the next section.

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You can just make out Kane Creek rd, climbing the canyon. I ran up that!

Somewhere around mile 11, we had to literally run through Kane Creek. Normally, this creek doesn’t have that much water in. Last year was a big snow year so there was a lot of water in it! Most of the time the water was around my ankles or lower, but one section was up to my waist! There was no way around, you had to run through the creek for about a mile until you finally went up the hill back to Kane Creek Road. My feet were completely water logged and it felt like I was running with bricks on my feet. Not to mention my legs felt like two icicles from the freezing cold water.

After running on Kane Creek Road for around a mile or so, I could see the finish line but the course took a sharp left back down to the creek which I had to cross two more times before the finish. I was so relieved to get to the finish line and I almost made my goal of 2:30. I came in at 2:43 and placed 99th out of 450 women. 32nd in my age/gender category and 247th overall.

I am really proud of myself and I am so happy with my time and with the race overall. I felt amazing and enjoyed running in beautiful Moab. Now the snow is finally here in Summit County, and running season is over, but snowboarding season is here!!

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Matt finishing his marathon!

Ps. After I finally finish editing photos from our other adventures in Moab, I will post them on a new page! Stay tuned..