Sunday, March 3, 2019

Number 78 - Zion Half Marathon

About seven or eight months ago got a text from my son about a half marathon out at Zion National Park. It's put on by an organization that does races at various Nations Parks - Vacation Races. It looked interesting.  He and his wife were interested in doing this race so I said if they wanted to do it, I'd join them.

After agreeing to do the race the thoughts that went through my mind though - February - winter - Utah - cold.  Hmmm...  I am not a big fan of bitter cold, let alone doing half marathons in cold weather.  However, their website listed average temperatures as 33 - 60 degrees F. That convinced me that it would not be too cold to do a half in February.

Average weather listings are funny things.  They may or may not be true on the day you are there.  Well, this apparently was not an average year as the temperature at the start of the race was 10 degrees F!!!  It was sooooooo cold!  

As typical, weeks, days, before any race, I'm always checking the weather forecast.  There was no doubt in our minds, it was going to be unseasonably cold.  This lead to the purchase of balaclavas, hand warmers, and thoughts of layers, layers, layers.

We had to get up very early (4:00 AM-ish) to get to the race as we were staying in an Airbnb in Orderville, about 45 miles away which included going through Zion National Park (in the dark, a very interesting drive, icy roads, a very winding road, meaning you were not going to go fast at all).  We did make to the starting line which was in Virgin, UT.  The race was a point-to-point race from Virgin, UT to Springdale, UT.  Although the race is called Zion Half Marathon, the course was not actually in the park.  The finish line was a couple hundred yards from the entrance to the park.

The other thing that was unique about this race, a point-to-point race, it was all uphill!  So between the cold and going uphill the whole time, I knew I would probably not be able to finish in my self imposed (secret :) goal of three hours.  No worries though, just finishing would be good enough.

 Scenery was incredible!

 ~Mile 9, warmed up to about 20 degrees! 

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Fun, senior sidebar note:  Since our Airbnb was on the other side of Zion National Park, during our stay we made five trips through the park.  It cost $35 each time our vehicle entered the park.  However, since I purchased the Senior Lifetime America the Beautiful Pass a few years back, we did not have to pay the $35 each time, got in for 'free'.  What a deal!  

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Number 74 - The 2018 Great Saunter

Earlier this month, for number 74, did the Great Saunter.  The Great Saunter is a 32 mile walk around the island of Manhattan.  This is an annual event hosted by an organization known as Shorewalkers .

This was the fourth time doing the Great Saunter and also it was the second time doing it with my daughter.  We had good weather, and oh boy does that make a difference!  No rain :)

Since we were pre-registered, my sister and brother-in-law dropped us off at Fraunces Tavern early in the morning and we were on our way.  Fraunces Tavern is on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan and it is where the Great Saunter stated and finished.

Since both of us were "veteran Great Saunterers", we knew where bathrooms were, and where other important things, like a place to grab a coffee, were.  So we both looked forward to getting about four miles into the GS and we'd grab a coffee, to go of course.  It was part of our routine :)  However,  at mile four we discovered that the coffee shop was no longer there!  This was not good.  The coffee was definitely part of our GS experience and very anticipated.  So as we continued, the ONLY thing on my mind was where can we get a coffee!  Long story short, at mile 7.29 we found an Espresso Bar ant got two large lattes, to go of course :)

Okay, now we could resume enjoying the GS.  And we did.  It really is a great walk and a wonderful way to see New York City.

Favorite pic of the day...

George Washington Bridge

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Number 73 - 2018 Georgia Half Marathon

For number 73, did the 2018 Georgia Half Marathon.  It's been two years since I did a half - after doing this one, I remember why it's been so long.  They're hard.

I've been battling a knee problem for a few years now and even a few days before this race, I was still on the fence for switching to the 5K instead.  Two things helped me decide on doing the half:  a new knee brace and an absolute promise to myself that I would do no running during this race.

For once, I was true on the promise - I did no running in the race.  It worked.  The knee did not bother me outside of the 'normal' pain of doing these distance races.  The new knee brace was great! I was very pleased with it.

The best part about the race, pretzels and ice cold chocolate milk at the finish line:

Typically do not snack on these two things together, but after the race, the combination of the salty, sweet, and cold, really hit the spot!

 It was so good!!! 

Time: 3:01:33
Minutes/mile: 13:52

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Number 72 - Epiphany Lutheran 5K

For race number 72 I decided to do the Epiphany Lutheran 5K.  I always prefer participating in races that benefit a cause instead of the profits going to some corporation.

Epiphany Lutheran Church will be hosting a 5K Run on March 3rd to raise money for our youth trip to Houston this summer. Every three years, the Lutheran Church hosts a National Youth Gathering that attracts 30,000 high school age participants from around the country. This year, participants will be aiding in recovery efforts for the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. All race profits will go toward alleviating the cost of this trip for families of our youth.

I did not pre-register for the race so I needed to sign up when I got there.   Gave them the money, got my t-shirt, and the woman said "the next race number is 238" and started to hand it to me.  My brain quickly wondered if race bib 239 was available so I asked.  She said "yes it is, would you like that one instead?"

I'm sure she wondered why, but didn't ask, and handed me race bib 239.  For my sisters and me, there probably is no other number, in all the numbers, that has as much meaning as this one.  Our dad passed away in 2007 and the number 239 immediately brings back fun, warm memories of him.  Dad had a joke, that he told many, many times, typically in a BBQ restaurant or anytime baked beans were being served.  He would say "you can only eat 239 of them".  Which would always warrant the response "why".  He would then get a gigantic grin on his face and say "because the next one is too farty"!    

As usual, did a combination of walking and running in this race, always aware of heart rate.  For me, no need to stay in the max heart rate range.  It was a good race, well except for the uphill parts.

I ended up placing 1st in the Male 60-69 category for the race.  However, there was only one person in that category!  :)