Sunday, March 13, 2016

zion half marathon

brian and i--along with b's two sisters whitney and emily--went down to zion to run the half marathon there this past weekend. we met up with whitney, emily, and whitney's daughters shortly after we checked in for the race on friday afternoon.

 they had a s'mores place set up so that racers could cook a few s'mores after checking in.

 the girls enjoyed the rocks.

 b liked his s'mores--definitely.

after s'mores, we walked into the park for a little bit and checked out the virgin river.

 the water didn't feel all that cold. i imagined that it might feel good to dip our feet in it after the race the next day.

 kirsten and reagan enjoyed the ants they found. ray ray was cute and referred to them as her friends.

 here, ray ray is saying good bye to her friends. 

 matt joined up with us. we checked into our hotel and snapped a few shots of the stuffed animals they had in the lobby. 

 k and r loved the animals.

 a view of the mountains from the hotel.

 we had about an hour to spare before dinner, so b and i went to coal pits wash and hiked around there a bit.

 we loved all the yuccas we saw.

 even yuccas with staffs!

 the sky was beautiful

 and we saw interesting cactuses.

 the sun was going down as we were out there.

 we raced up a little side wash to see this. what a majestic view!

 then in the other direction (the west), we could see the sun setting.

 oh the desert! can you ever get enough of it?

 the sky. if only i could paint this.

 this is what we called the cactus tree.

on friday night, we all met up at a local burger place in springdale and enjoyed a nice burger and fries meal. then we parted ways and headed off to bed to get ready for the big race. emily has run several half marathons (i think 6 before this one), but this was the first one for the rest of us. and, in fact, brian and whitney's first road race period. 

saturday morning, we got up early. we drove the starting line together, but found that because of the rain friday night they were sending cars into la verkin to park there and then ride a shuttle to the starting line. that worked out great--although by the time we got to the starting line, we still had about 45 minutes to wait before the race started. the race started at 6:50--so we had a long and pretty chilly wait. none of us had on warm clothes--so in the drizzly rain and early morning, it was chilly. but we powered through. 

we all started together with the 2 hour group. they had pacers who you could run with to set your pace for the race. as soon as the race started, b was off! w, e, and i were left behind never to see brian again until we met up after the race. 

b ran a great race! he finished 65th overall (there were almost 2300 runners) and 5th in his age group. his time was 1:43, which put him at a blistering 7:52 mile pace. wah!

i finished 225th and 14th in my age group--a little less impressive. but i finished under 2 hours, which was my goal. i got 1:57. i was very pleased with that, and very happy to be done with the race. the last 3 miles were rough.

 here we are after cleaning up. we are definitely tired and sore, but we're happy! we all finished and enjoyed the race.

 this picture was done with us showing how we imagined we looked when finishing the race.

for lunch we ate big burgers again (this time double-patty burgers), and then we parted ways. whitney, matt, and the girls headed back home. and emily, brian, and i went off exploring into less popular parts of the park. we went out onto kolob terrace road. mostly, we just enjoyed the scenery as we were pretty sore and tired. but we did go on a short hike to enjoy the scenery close-up. we saw lots of neat cactuses and beautifully vibrant western blue birds. the vistas were great too.

 some purple-tinged cactus.

 it was cooler up there--higher elevation.

 look at that moss. it was interesting to see so much moss in a such a seemingly dry place.

 the river is down there at the bottom of this valley.

 an interesting flower-fruit type appendage to the cactus.

 the trail we went on was muddy. with all of the rain friday night/saturday morning, it did get things muddy. it took quite awhile to get the mud out of the grooves of our shoes.

after the hike, we drove up higher on kolob terrace road. we went as far as we could until the snow got to be too much! mostly it was off the road, and then--suddenly--it wasn't. so we turned around and headed back to springdale. 

b and i went to a super cool antique store in springdale and greatly admired the neat antique and vintage native american, southwestern, mexican, and central american items they had. it ranged from pottery to beads to paintings to woven clothes to bags and so much more. wah! i don't know if i've ever been in a store that has had so many things i'd want to own. we looked around for awhile and then found a cool oaxacan painting on pressed bark paper. it was a good price and fun looking so we got that. it will be nice oleh-oleh for ourselves. 

we said good bye to emily and then headed out. it was a great weekend adventure!

July 2016 Update by B while clearing out the pics from my phone

By the virgin river

View from our hotel room

N outside our hotel room

Scenes from a quick hike we took

Eating lunch after the race. Big burgers here.

Receiving my 5th place (for age group) medal in the mail.

Looking as dignified as I could with my participants' medal and my 5th place.