I registered for the Parowan City Half Marathon a while back and had kind of forgotten about it until I got home from our cruise. Then I had an epiphany, “Oh yeah… I have a half to run in a few short weeks. Yikes!” And I hadn’t run a half in over a year cause the last one (when A was 7-months old) was so rough on me physically. So I had to get myself up from a long run of 6 miles to half marathon in short order.
Well, I did it and my training went really quite well! All of my long runs felt strong and I was happy with how I’ve ramped up. Could it have been better? Of course. But I was pleased with how things went in prep for this race.
Want to know how to make an out-of-town half marathon trip a little bit harder?
Make it a mommy-toddler road trip.
On Friday, I loaded A into the car so she and I could hit the road. We had a nearly 3 hour drive ahead of us (the race is in Southern Utah) so I strapped her into her seat and made sure she had a water bottle and a bag full of books within reach. I can easily make the drive on my own in 2.5 hours, but with the kid we had to stop at a gas station for about 10-15 minutes to look at everything in the store and just let her move her little legs. I never knew there were so many monkeys to be seen in a gas station… but there were. Monkeys on food wrappers, monkey toys, and things that kind of look like monkeys but aren’t really monkeys.
The good thing about this race is its proximity to my mom’s house. Which means that A had a babysitter for the race AND I got to share my kiddo with her grandparents. We all went to the packet pickup at the fairgrounds, where A put my bag around her neck and was spinning around in circles. I took video of her spinning and extracted this still using the app Vhoto.
My race bib with the timing chip attached to the back (Jaguar timing system), race shirt, bandana with the race logo on it, brochures for the area, keychain and a sample of Deep Blue Rub by doTerra were all in the bag. Race organizers/volunteers also had written every runner’s bib # on the bags, so you could put whatever you wanted in the bag, take it to the start line and use it as your drop bag. They return the bags to the finish line for the runners. The city was also giving away cowbells for spectators. Charming little touches that come from a small town race!
I woke up at 4 am to get ready for the race and drove my mom’s vehicle to the race start (so she could bring the kid in my car. Moving a car seat is a pain!) The runners all gathered at the fairgrounds and we were driven to the start line up the canyon on school buses. It was still dark when the buses left, but the sky was brightening so the scene when we got to the reservoir where the race starts was pretty and serene. I looooooooove me some mountain air.
I am not entirely sure what the temperature was at the start line, but I’d guess it was in the mid 50’s. I was so excited to feel cooler temps and even possibly feel a little cold. After so many days in the Vegas summer, it’s nice to escape the heat every now and then! The race start was so casual, I’m not even sure where the official start “line” was and there wasn’t a starting mat. So the race timing was gun to chip finish, except there wasn’t a gun. So I guess it was “person counting down” to chip finish! The first three miles of the race are on dirt road and there were volunteers to direct us around the cattle guards in the roads. Once more, small town charm.
This race is a downhill race. Really downhill. I knew it was all downhill, I had looked at the elevation profile. But I didn’t realize just how steep some of these downhills were! And as awesome as the downhills were, the last 2.5 miles or so were kind of hard because it was either flat or a very slight incline. It’s hard to get your legs turning over properly after so much downhill!
I had to make a pit stop at mile 6. To be blunt… if I didn’t stop I probably would have shat myself. And I’m not in contention for any prizes nor am I competitive enough to just keep going in the face of that potential humiliation. So I stopped at the porta potty by the aid station. Notice, I said THE porta potty. Just one, a single solitary one. And there was a line. I waited there for 5 minutes. I know this because of the difference in my actual time and the “moving” time recorded by my Garmin. The volunteers at the aid station were friendly and chatted with us as we waited in line, “I guess this is the point where runners gotta go, huh? We’ll tell our bosses we need more potties here next year!” LOL! Yep… definitely need a couple more.
But for most of the race, I was really moving well and I was loving the mountains. There were hand-written signs all down the canyon along the course with sayings like, “Smile, you paid for this!” and “Your feet hurt from kicking so much butt!” My favorite was probably “No! You’re not almost done!”
Once I hit the flat ground it literally felt like I was moving through mud, it was so hard to pick my feet up! I wasn’t the only one feeling that way… I saw lots of walkers in the last stretch. Even people who were walking in the finishing chute because they just couldn’t do any more. And even though I had several moments where I felt really worn down in that last stretch, I was impressed with my surge to the finish line! And my toddler ran some of the steps with me in to the finish.
Want to know how to make an out-of-town half marathon finish a little bit sweeter?
Make it a mommy-toddler road trip!
I literally crossed the finish line, turned around the chute and dropped to the ground so A could run into my arms. She told me she loved me right there at the finish. She’s way better than any medal I could receive!
We walked over to find some food, and proof of being a mother… every food item I started to eat the kid said she wanted it and I would give it to her. I ran 13.1 miles but she needed to refuel! We shared watermelon, banana and a peanut butter granola bar. (Which prompted her to say “Is PEANUT BETTER!” upon first bite.) After we’d eaten a little, A stood up to give me another hug and then said, “Mommy go shower!” Yes dear, I will take care of that.
If you only do races for the bling, the Parowan Half Marathon isn’t the race for you. The medal was kind of weak. But here’s the thing… the race is SUPER cheap (I think I just paid $35 or so) and it’s in a beautiful place. So I don’t care that the medal isn’t a heavy showpiece. It’s still a souvenir of a great event!
My legs started hurting pretty shortly after the race, I knew I would feel that downhill. I used the sample of the Deep Blue Rub before I got in the car to drive home. (First time ever trying that stuff, it felt pretty good!) But my legs were pretty trashed. Here it is several days post race and I’m still feeling it! Hopefully this makes my muscles even stronger for downhill races cause I have another one in about a month!
I would recommend this race to anyone/everyone. Travel to do it if you must, you’ll find plenty of fantastic things to do in the region (if you need help, just ask me!) – it’s a great little event and I really enjoyed myself (I would do it again, and again, and again!) I’m also quite pleased that I did a half marathon, it’s been a while since my last one!
I wore my Narrative clip during the race. I will post a real review of the gadget at some point, but I just wanted to share some of the better pics it snapped during the race.
Slightly overcast at the beginning
Dirt road for the first 3 miles
Friendly volunteers (and a potty)
More volunteers on course
Blue skies, overcast no more!
Down the canyon, hit the town!
Glimpse of my mom and toddler at the finishing chute!
Relaxing in the grass after the run!