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Trick or Trot 10K 2015 [Race Report]

Saturday I ran a 10K… for some reason it feels like every single race this year has just snuck up on me. “Oh, an email telling me I have a packet pickup tomorrow. Okay, I’ll do that.”

Well, maybe this one wasn’t THAT sneaky because I did prepare for it some. Not like I was training for a 10K specifically in my running, but I was semi-prepared to run in costume. My friend runs the online shop Pixie Power and designs cute shirts; when she announced a Halloween one several months back I bought it with this race in mind. I would like to have multiple races to wear it in, but the only other races I can find are right on Halloween morning and we will need to be spending as much time carving pumpkins that day as possible. Family time trumps multiple races.

So… costume. I wore the tank, some black shorts and these cool skeleton arm warmers I found on Amazon. Or… warm skeleton arm warmers. It was a little too warm for them, but I was committed to my look!

This pic was taken after the race when I was back at home.
This pic was taken after the race when I was back at home.

My kid woke up early that day… about 30 minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off. And she wouldn’t go back to sleep. So I was spending a lot of my morning in my pajamas trying to engage in “quiet play” with her for about an hour and a half,  since it was early. My husband came downstairs about 15 minutes before I needed to leave for the race. I quickly ran upstairs, got dressed and raced out the door. I forgot to take a handheld water bottle, which I normally do for a 10K. That would have given me a chance to drink a little more… I started the race thirsty and eager for the aid station.

There were a ton of people in costumes and I gotta give people credit for running in some crazy getups. One woman came up to me and asked me to write my name or my alter-ego on a nametag. She was running as an identity crisis. So I wrote “Skeleton Mommy Jill” since my daughter had told me before I left that I was a skeleton Mommy.


The race itself felt harder than it should have… my heart was racing right off the bat and I was thirsty. The course was a loop and if you were doing the 10K you did the loop twice. So I got to pass the aid station twice! I was so happy to see it, just past the 1 mile mark. I really wish the cups had been filled more… most of the time you don’t want the cups too full at a race because you would pour it all over yourself. This race I would have gladly accepted a giant cup of water.

There were a lot of families participating in the 5K, so they were getting lapped by the 10K runners. It made for some fun dodging as they walked 4-5 abreast, but most of the course was on fairly wide open trails so it was easy enough to go around.


The start/finish area was another story though… it was a VERY narrow start. There was a woman in front of me at the start, she started to run when they told us to GO! and then immediately started to walk after she crossed the start line. I love events that get a large turnout of all abilities, but there needs to be the etiquette reminders. If you’re walking the race, don’t position yourself at the front for the start!

Since it was a loop course, you ran through that same narrow place midrace and for the finish. I was kicking at the finish to cross the line… and there were people leisurely walking in for their 5K finish or just milling about on the course. I guess it was an obstacle course in disguise! :-) I was beat and happy to be finished. I think my time was 58:xx… I could look it up, but I don’t care. I know my watch said 59:xx when I remembered to stop it. I had my sights set on the water at the finish line!


My awesome skeleton arm warmers rubbed a lovely little chafe wound into my skin. I didn’t notice from pain or anything, just when I sat down to chug my water and eat my KIND bar, I went to pull the sleeves down and noticed the hole. My daughter was fairly upset when she saw it and insisted on putting a band-aid on it for me. She did a great job of opening the band-aid herself… and then putting the sticky part right on top of the wound.

The organizers do a great job of decorating the park for the event. The whole thing is a fundraising event for Eagle Quest, a foster care organization. In addition to the race, they have vendor tables and a whole family festival associated with the event. So after I finished I told my husband to bring the kiddo over to play.


We paid the $5 fee so #AwesomeA could play games. She did a bean bag throw, ring toss, Plinko, etc. And at each game she got 2-5 pieces of candy. And they had donuts for the kids too. This kid was hopped up on sugar!


It’s a great event… if you’re a Vegas local I really recommend it because they do such a nice job with everything. If you’re visiting Las Vegas at the time, I recommend you check it out. It’s way far from all the touristy stuff… but visiting Floyd Lamb State Park is a great way to realize there is more to Vegas than what you associate as Vegas.

This year I’ve had a real problem where the days leading up to races I sit there and question why I do these, it just feels like a hassle to get there and I feel like I’m being a jerk leaving my child with her father. (Yeah… stupid, he needs to be spending more time with her anyway!) But then I’m always so glad I went to the race and leave hoping to find another one soon. I was literally thinking on the drive to this race, “Maybe I’ll just not do any races in 2016. It will be easier that way.” And now I want to sign up for more events.

I can keep myself in check though… January will be here before too long and I won’t have the option of doing races much as my CPA-spouse enters his busy season for work. But I wish it was easier for me to just do the races without giving myself a heaping dose of mom-guilt in the process.

Cedar Half Marathon 2015 [Race Report]

This past Saturday I ran the Cedar Half Marathon in southern Utah. The race starts at nearly 8300 ft elevation and drops to 5800 feet. Meaning… fast, fun, downhill run!

Elevation profile for the Cedar Half Marathon

So of course, two days before the event I start to come down with a cold. Not a severe cold, a cold that was just annoying enough to need a decongestant so I can breathe, a slightly scratchy throat and a headache.

On Friday, I drove north with my kid in tow. It was our “girls trip” and I’m pretty sure she thought I was her personal request-line DJ. This cute little voice in the backseat kept piping up, “Play Let It Go now!” and then “First Time Forever please!” I kept trying to tell her we need to listen to the soundtrack straight through; I can’t switch that much while driving. But she didn’t agree with that. “You can do it, Mommy!”

We arrived in Cedar City, picked up my packet and then went over to the Relay for Life event happening in town to see my mom and her husband. We walked a few laps around the track and looked at the luminarias that were lining the track for those who have battled cancer. And my daughter got up her courage to try a big bounce-house-slide. It was pretty steep and tall for someone as little as her… it took about five attempts walking up to the slide before she did it!

Saturday morning I woke up at 4:30 AM… that’s 3:30 AM my time! I ate a Yummari bar, ate an applesauce pouch. Those two things have been pretty bulletproof for me for two races and all long runs for several months now. Then I took my mom’s car and drove to the finish line to catch a school bus to the start line.

It was chilly in town, even colder up the mountain. There were several fire pits around for runners to stand around and stay warm. I immediately hit the porta potty line, because that’s what you do at races! I milled about, shivered a little as the sun came up, before the group started to make their way up the canyon road a little ways to the official start line. I took my sweatshirt off, they told us all to GO, and we were off. I carried my sweatshirt with me for a little ways until I got back to the ranch where we hung out with the fires so it was easy for volunteers to grab and take away with them to donate.

I love this race; I’ve run it once before. I was supposed to run it last year, but flash flooding washed out part of the interstate between here and there and it would have more than doubled my drive time, and I wasn’t doing that. So I missed last year’s race, and I was eager to run the race again. But in the days leading up to the event I had a bad attitude. I was annoyed I caught a cold, I was annoyed thinking about what a hassle it is to do a race out of town and the associated arrangement. But it was fine. In fact, it was a better mommy/daughter road trip than any other I’ve done with her, and she loves the opportunity to play with her grandma.

A few weeks ago an episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls aired, where he took James Marsden up a canyon. This is the canyon where the episode was shot. So sometimes you can see the road we ran down in that episode!




The race went pretty well. I ran smoothly; fueling was fine. The only trouble is that I was soooo…… thirsty…. the…. whole…. time…. A side effect of cold meds, they’re dehydrating. And the extra drinking made me require two pee breaks. That kind of sucked!

I crossed the finish line about 30 seconds slower than I ran the Parowan Half Marathon a month ago. It’s a good time; I should be happy with it but I just keep thinking the “What if I didn’t have a cold? What if I didn’t have to pee so much?” I hate that “What if” brain. So overall I am happy with it. And I just hope that someday the stars will align or everything will click or it will all come up smelling like roses or whatever cliche fits here… but someday I will have the perfect race.

Or I won’t, and this is the universe’s way of messing with my perfectionist’s brain and giving me a big HA HA!

The weeks leading up to this race I was feeling “Okay, just get through this race and you can take a break.” and I finished feeling like “More! Give me more! When’s the next one?!”

My child was happy to see me at the end, but she wasn’t that interested in staying around to snap photos!


Parowan City Half Marathon 2015 [Race Report]

I’ve mentioned it here, but after Boston I was lazy. Well… not lazy, since I still ran 4 times a week and I’d picked up more strength training. I just wasn’t focused. I didn’t have a plan I was following and I just ran however much I felt like running. Until about 6 weeks ago and had the epiphany, “Oh yeah… I have a half marathon coming up!”

Parowan City Half Marathon

Friday late afternoon/evening my husband and I loaded the kid and the dog into the car and we drove to Southern Utah. We stayed at my mom’s house and she was kind enough to get my race packet earlier in the day. I brought her a massive supply of Retro Bakery cookies to put in her freezer in exchange for taking care of that task for me.

Saturday morning I woke up at 4:45 AM (3:45 AM in my time zone) to get ready to race! I had hoped to be out of her house at 5:15 to drive to the finish line, about 20 miles north of her house. But I was a little slow getting my stuff together. I filled my water bottle, made sure I had everything together and took my mom’s car to the fairgrounds.

I got out of the car, walked toward the bus loading area and straight onto a yellow school bus. I knew I was cutting it close to when the last buses were leaving, so I figured I would just use the porta potties at the start line.


The moon was glowing as we rode the bus up the canyon. I ended up sitting next to a fellow Las Vegas resident. Funny, given that there were about 400 participants in the race and from the discussions happening around us it seemed everyone was fairly local to that region of Utah.

The start line is at a small lake, Yankee Meadows Reservoir. It’s beautiful to watch the sun come and light the sky there. I think it was between 40 and 50 degrees at the start line, cool enough to need my toss-away sweatshirt, but not cool enough to make me cold.


There was one challenge… they only had about 9 porta potties at the start line. And the lines were pretty long. And I was at the end of these long lines.


As I was leaving the “facilities” I heard the race organizers yell “Go!”, so I started about 30-40 seconds after the official start time. Not that big of a deal, except this race was timed gun-to-chip, not chip-to-chip. This means there was no starting mat for our timing chips to cross so EVERYBODY has the same start time. So there’s some time added on my official race time where I wasn’t even up to the course yet. Oh well.

This race is beautiful. I was thinking as I ran that I wished I had a way of taking photos of the course and still keep running along at a fluid pace. But I noticed there was a drone flying above the course and sure enough, a video has been posted online. I snagged a couple of stills from the drone video to share the beauty.

Aerial photo shot by a drone during the Parowan City Half Marathon, August 1, 2015
Still from drone footage shot by St George News
Aerial shot of the 2015 Parowan City Half Marathon
Still from drone footage shot by St George News
Aerial shot of the 2015 Parowan City Half Marathon
Still from drone footage shot by St George News

I felt really good throughout this run. I was happy, had no digestive woes and was so eager to run toward my little girl. The promise of her being at the finish line is wonderful for me!

I forgot to start my Garmin at the start, didn’t start it until about .9 mile into the race. So I just ignored it the whole time.

Parowan City Half Marathon 2015
A photo captured early in the race by a photographer on course.

I did throw myself off a little thinking that I was about 2 miles away from the finish and decided to take a walk break to fish a ginger chew out of my Orange Mud hydraquiver (first time I got to wear this in a race! I’ve trained with it all year, but it wasn’t allowed in Boston) and lost about 30 seconds due to that. If I had the vest model this wouldn’t have been an issue as I could have had them in front pockets. And if I had realized that it was more like 1 mile away I would have just said, “Tough it out, you don’t need that sugar!”

The last mile is a very gentle incline. A slope that I would normally not even bat an eye at but after 12 miles of some steep downhills, that incline HURTS! Even if that stretch was pancake flat it probably would have felt hard to traverse after the declines.

Overall I am really happy with this performance. I’m trying hard to not dwell on those missed seconds at the beginning and from the ginger chew thing, because there is nothing to be done. But I also realize those precious seconds cost me my sub-2 goal. Next time, right?


And now, post-race, I am in serious pain. I assumed my quads would be sore from the downhill pounding, but they’re fine. It’s my calves that are screaming at me now. Not sure I can pick my strength training back up today, it’s technically legs day! LOL!

If you ever get the chance, sign up for this race. It’s so pretty and SO cheap. I think I paid $30 or something like that. And the small town vibe is great, you get the sense that people in the community take pride in the event and they pull together to make it happen. It’s great when the organizer is at the start line and tells everyone just to throw their jackets, bags or whatever into her van and she’ll have it for you at the finish!

I wore a pair of Fabletics capris, my Eddie Bauer Quantum t-shirt (seriously, love this shirt. They need more colors!), Saucony Virrata 2 (They’re almost dead! I might need to do the new shoe hunt soon! NOOOOO!), and the Hydraquiver mentioned above.  I also ate an applesauce pouch and a Yummari bar before the race. That combination seemed to be the perfect balance of fueling me for the run without being too much to digest.


Boston Marathon 2015 Recap – Numero Dos

Read: Recap Numero Uno

Rain started to fall a little as we made the 45 minute drive to Hopkinton. It was just a sprinkle and stopped by the time we were there.



But the Athletes’ Village was kind of soggy. There was a big tent set up with bagels, bananas, water, coffee and Gatorade. People could spread bags, or whatever items they had, on the ground to sit, but most of the people were in line for the potties. And many had already run out of TP! You’d think with how detail-oriented everything was with this race, they wouldn’t be out of that!

We found teammate Angela there and hit the potty line. And it wasn’t long before they announced it was time for our wave and corrals to start heading toward the start line. Volunteers checked every bib to make sure you were in the right corral, no jumping ahead like I’ve seen in other races. I’m glad for that.

It’s nearly a one mile walk from the Village to the start line. Along the way in this shuffle I ditched my sweatpants, but kept the jacket. It was also during this walk when the rain started to fall more steadily.

The start was rather sudden, we kept shuffling forward as they released corrals and all the sudden – RUN! – it was ON as everyone realized they were at the start line.

Rachel and I had decided to start out the race running together and keep evaluating how we went along and how we felt. Both of us had kind of lonely training with many miles on our own and we each appreciated the company. I can’t imagine that you’d ever run alone in Boston, there are so many people, but it’s nice to have someone in particular that you’re checking in with throughout the miles.

The first miles are all downhill; over and over I’ve heard the biggest mistake runners make in this race is going out too fast for those early miles. I was very aware our pace wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be, a little fast, but not too bad. And it felt so good. Oh… and there are so many people, it’s hard to not be swept along in the crowd. Despite the rain, despite the wind, despite the cold… I was having so much fun.


There’s really no way to get how much this area loves the race until you’re there. I’ve heard stories of the crowd support many times, yet it still blew me away. Even in the rain, people lined the streets. For 26.2 miles you have people screaming and cheering for you. They set up tents in their yards, have music blasting, people playing various musical instruments (drums, a fife, cowbell…) and you can get aid between all the official aid stations. Residents hand out water, Gatorade, Twizzlers, oranges… I can’t believe how much pride they have for this race. The aid stations were very consistent: every mile with Gatorade Endurance and then water. The volunteers all smiled and cheered for us, even as they had to stand in the rain and cold.

Rachel and I decided that at the halfway point she would dig her phone out and we’d take a picture. Both of us had our phones in plastic bags tucked firmly away so they didn’t get soggy. Everything else was soggy, must protect the electronics!

Rachel and Jill at the 13.1 mile point of the Boston Marathon
My new running buddy for life, Rachel!

The Wellesley College Scream Tunnel is amazing and loud, you can’t help but smile as you run through their noise and signs. Going into this I wanted to record this section, but with the rain I didn’t get any my phone out. And even with the rain there were a lot of girls out there… thanks ladies, for braving the cold/wet/wind to cheer us on!

Heartbreak Hill has the reputation, but really there is a series of hills leading up to Heartbreak. It’s just once you top Heartbreak, the real climbs are finally over that everybody looks forward to! It’s not that it is super steep either, it’s more a lot of climbs in a row and the fact that they come so late in the race after you’ve been running downhill. But I conserved energy and felt really strong at this point still.

Rachel and I took some walk breaks on the hills, making agreements on where to start and stop our breaks. “Start at the umbrella and end at that tent?” She tried to encourage me to go on ahead, but I told her she was stuck with me. I was having too much fun having a pal on course, someone to share all the amazing energy with me, I wasn’t about to ditch her.

My friend Terri’s apartment is actually right on the race course, so I got to wave to her. She had some things to offer me if I needed them; a jacket, new hat, gloves… But I was feeling okay and nothing added to me at this point could change how soggy I felt. So I waved at her and we pressed on. She said that most people she knows say they don’t remember the race from beyond her place cause it’s so late in the race, but I’m pleased to say I do. I felt FANTASTIC!

I remembered signs at the expo saying “Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston”, and in the final mile as I saw the course turning right I knew we must be at that moment. I wanted to just charge ahead full speed, it was so exciting knowing I was going to finish another marathon after a long hiatus, and not just any marathon… The Boston Marathon!

Rachel and I promised to cross together and that we wouldn’t mess up each other’s finish. She had a friend charge ahead of her at the last minute once and I had a friend cover my face in the finish as she outstretched her arms. We grabbed hands briefly for a moment and then crossed that blue line. It was also so great to have someone who I could immediately turn to and share in the moment of victory… the “Holy crap we just ran the Boston Marathon!” moment.




This was my best feeling marathon ever! I had a dopey smile on my face most of the race, I never felt my form slip, my energy was consistent… It was simply amazing. The rain seriously worried me, but it didn’t pose a problem during the run.


The finish area was great, the volunteers put the medal around each finishers’ neck and treated each of us like we were special. Then volunteers put the heatsheets on each of us, helping to guide our arms in, pulling the hood up, and fastening the Velcro closure for us. (BTW – the heatsheets were WAY better than a simple mylar blanket, which I couldn’t have held on to at that point as my hands were frozen.) We were handed a bag of snacks and volunteers were passing out bananas, even offering to peel them for us.

It was just as we approached the finish line the rain started to fall harder. I went to the gear check area to pick up my bag and it seemed so far away. I had dry clothes in my gear bag, but no way to get dry. I ducked into the women’s changing tent and pulled off my wet top layers and put on a new shirt/sweatshirt on top of my wet skin. I don’t know if that actually improved how I felt or not, I was shivering pretty hard. I didn’t really want to sit down on the wet ground to pull off my soggy shoes and walk through all the puddles in flip-flops, so I kept my soggy shoes on.

Then I had to walk just as far to get to the family meetup area where Terri was waiting for me. I eventually found Terri and we boarded the T to get back to her place. (Marathon runners ride the T for free on Marathon Monday, good thing… my hands wouldn’t function to find my money.) I’d have to say the finish area was the hardest part of the race for me, and I think that was mainly due to the weather.

I had an amazing time, I would love to get the opportunity to do Boston again in better weather. But I’m so grateful to my sponsor, Stonyfield, for getting me there. This was the experience of a lifetime and just what this mom needed to recharge. I guess I recharge by completely draining my physical reservoir and letting my mental/emotional reservoir refill at the same time. These past several months have been difficult for me, but this weekend has brought me back to life!

And since my phone was ensconced in layers of plastic baggie to protect it from the rain, I didn’t get many pictures on race day. So here’s a bunch of pictures of some of the things I received from the race packet: