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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Zion Half Marathon and Angels Landing

When I first heard about the Zion Half Marathon I thought it sounded pretty cool and I wanted to get a group together to do it (because it's always fun to be with friends and it saved you a few dollars!).

Somewhere along the line I decided that the race was too expensive for me (it started off at $65, I think) and so I made other plans to go to the Scrapbook U.S.A. Expo with some of my sorority sisters from college.

Then about a month ago I found out that my brother-in-law and his wife were planning on coming up and he was going to do the run. I felt kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. I really wanted to go spend time with my friends (and family -- I already had babysitting plans organized with my brother), but I knew if my brother and sister-in-law were coming up from California they were going to want to see their niece and nephew.

I decided to stay home. I didn't have any plan on actually doing the run, but I figured I would be a support on the sidelines.

Then about a week before the race I saw something on Facebook about people selling their bibs. I instantly decided that this was something I really wanted to do. I posted on Facebook that I wanted to buy someone's bib and by the end of the evening I had all the information I needed.

We went out to Springdale on Friday right after work to pick up our packets. I was impressed with how awesome the race shirt was and the little expo was fun. DC was so sweet because I pointed out a really cute 13.1 necklace and he ended up buying it for me. It really means a lot to me. I don't necessarily think of myself as a runner, but somehow that number -- 13.1 -- proves to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to.

I really wanted a photo of just DC and I, but EM was being a stinker and insisted on being in the picture too, but she wouldn't turn around.

We had dinner in Springdale and then headed back home to watch San Diego State win their first round NCAA tournament basketball game. It was a pretty good night!

And then morning came way too early! The race started at 7 a.m., but our shuttle time was 5:30 and it takes a good hour to get out there. My alarm went off at 3:30 and we were out the door by about 4:15. It was myself, my brother-in-law and then his wife, my sister-in-law, that were the ones who were participating in the race. 

The night before I had pulled out all my gear and got my Ipod set to go. While I was waiting to leave on Saturday morning my Ipod said it needed to update and I thought I had enough time, but as we were walking out the door it was only about halfway through the update. I figured I could just power the thing off and turn it back on and then finish the update later -- WRONG. This is the screen I saw:

I was so frustrated and figured I was going to have an awful race without music, but it ended up being OK in the end.

When we got to Springdale I completely forgot about my music because it was absolutely beautiful how many stars were in the sky. I don't think I've ever seen something so magnificent in my whole life. I tried to take a couple of pictures, but they just don't translate.

It was pretty cold (definitely below freezing) and we stood in a tent with some heaters after we took our shuttle to the starting line. And stop the presses -- I used a porta-potty! I had drank so much water on the way out there I thought I was going to die!

While we were waiting my in-laws gave me some Gu and some Chompers. I had never had either, but they were actually pretty good. There was also Gu at each of the water stations and I really think that is what helped me to do so well.

I loved that we had a timing chip and my shoes look super professional with it one!

Like I said before, I think the Gu really helped and for the first time in my life I ran (very slowly) NINE miles straight! I was so stinkin' proud of myself! My time was right around where it has been -- 3 hours and 21 minutes this time -- but the point is I finished and I felt awesome!

Now part of the cool thing about the Zion Half Marathon is that if you completed the half and then went and did Angels Landing within 72 hours you are forever immortalized on their website and you get 50% off next year's race entry. I was all about this, as we everyone else, so we went and did the strenuous hike on Monday after I got off work. 

You gain a ton of elevation quickly going up to Scout's Lookout. I love seeing the trail behind us. 

This is my "I'm prettying to be scared, but I just might really be scared" face. This was my second time doing Angel's Landing and the first time I was definitely more scared than I was this time.

My official photo with my bib number and metal on. I'm also wearing my super cool race shirt.

My sister-in-law and I.

My feet looking down the canyon. Don't worry -- I'm just sitting in this photo. I have a thing about taking pictures of my feet!

DC and I. I really, really love this photo of us!

My post scary part of the hike picture. I hardly said a word going up, but you couldn't shut me up going down. DC kept telling me we weren't out of danger yet, but I was already celebrating.

And here is DC and his falling man picture. You kind of get an idea from the sign how dangerous the hike can be if you either aren't paying attention or aren't in the right shape to do it. Notice I don't really have any photos of us hiking because my camera was in my backpack. I know DC took some photos and video, but I  don't know if I'm ready to see those yet!

One last photo -- looking down the canyon. It is definitely one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Well, that was a couple of highlights of our fun, active, outdoorsy weekend. :) Thanks for reading if you made it all the way to the end!


  1. SO, what I never shared on my site about my half marathon last spring, was that at all the water stations they handed out off-brand GU. I'd never had it, but didn't think twice about trying it. WORST MISTAKE EVER! I was in so much pain. It was like Ka-blam or ka-boom or boom. Stay away.

    Also, WAY TO GO 9 miles without music! That's AWESOME! How do you not consider yourself a runner!?

    1. I guess maybe I am! It's all about changing my frame of mind, right?

  2. my husband and I are running Zion next March. We are super excited this will be our first half. I have a couple questions though. we live at sea level. Do you have any tips on how to acclimate to the elevation? Also I noticed that this race is all up hill, although it does seem gradual did you feel like you were going up hill the whole time?

    Way to go for running. 9 miles straight is a big stretch! you are a runner for sure! I only started running a couple years ago. I never in a million years thought I would be signing up for a half.

    1. Hi Deb! Thanks for leaving a comment. The race didn't seem too bad as far as all up hill, except for one little stretch. My brother and sister-in-law that ran it with me are from San Diego and they seemed to do fine. I would say if you could find a higher elevation to train at once in a while that would probably help.

      That is so awesome that you are all signed up! I signed up as well so maybe we'll get to meet :)