Category: Travel

After the Utah Valley Half Marathon

You can read my race recap HERE.

After the race, we went back to the hotel, showered, got ready, and went to Red Robin for lunch.  I was craving a burger and a beer.  I was too hungry to take pictures but it was delicious!!

Then we went to Bridal Veil Falls.  It was gorgeous!!  I was not brave enough to climb the rocks to get closer to the falls.

Then we had some time to rest before our next adventure – ziplining!  It was so much fun!!  But I will admit that I was nervous.  I’ve been ziplining once about 6 years ago.

I was scared!  I kept thinking of all things that could go wrong.  I know, crazy!  I knew that the only way to get over that fear was to volunteer to be one of the first ones to go.  I was also worried about the hand brake (afraid I would not brake in time) but the first time is the “hardest” one and then the rest was easy.  I became a pro and would have zip lined the rest of the day!!

Afterwards we were hungry again and decided to eat Mexican food.  Well, that turned out to be an adventure.  Mexican food and margaritas go together, right?  Someone suggested “Los Hermanos” in Provo.  Well, it turned out they only had non alcoholic beverages.  I searched Yelp and called two more places but neither had alcoholic beverages.  Finally, we went to Joe Vera’s.  Yes, margaritas with tequila!  The food was OK.  I ordered a dish with one taco and two tostadas.  However, the tostadas had so much stuff on top of it (chicken, beans, guacamole, sour cream) that it was soggy and I couldn’t eat it the way a tostada should be eaten.

The next day was my flight back home.  Marcia, Mary Beth, and I went downstairs for breakfast.  Then it was time for the whirlpool to relax before my ride to the airport.

The weekend went by fast but it was still a wonderful trip!

Ever been to Utah?  Ziplining?  Where?

Utah Valley Half Marathon

State #37 is in the books!  And here’s how it went.

Pre-Race
I was looking forward to this race because I was meeting up with some blogger friends.  My flight left Chicago at 6am and then I had a short layover in Denver.  Then my flight left again at 9:25 am and I landed in Salt Lake City at 11am.  There I met up with Mary Beth and then waited for Marcia to arrive before we picked up our rental car and made our way over to Provo. 

Once in Provo we had lunch and then checked into our hotel.  Then we went to the expo to meet up with the rest of the bloggers.  Afterwards we went to California Pizza Kitchen for dinner and then back to the hotel to get ready for the race.  Plus it had been a long traveling day and I was tired.

L to R: Judy, Marcia, Mary Beth, Holly, me, Teresa Photo credit: Holly Wilson

About the Race
The race starts at Provo Canyon and it was mostly downhill.  I was excited about it but knew that it would mean trouble because the quads would not be happy about it.  It is also a point to point course and there were buses taking us to the start line as well as from the finish line back to the parking lot where we left the car.

Pre-Race
The race began at 6am.  That meant a 3am wake up call to get ready, drive to the mall parking lot, and get on a bus to take us to the start line.  It was in the high 50s which was nice but it was cold in the canyon.  We still had to wait about an hour for the race to start.  Those two things are my only complaints: 1) early wake up call and 2) long wait time for the race to start.

I drank 16 ounces (two servings) of Pomegranate Blueberry Generation UCAN at 6:30 am and filled up my two small water bottles with Berry UCAN Hydrate.

Gear
Oiselle Long Roga Shorts, Oiselle Flyout Tank, Pro Compression Socks, Headsweats Race Hat, Brooks Launch 4

The Race
It was still chilly once the race began and I started running with a jacket.  The plan was to toss it once I was hot but I ended up wrapping it around my waist.  I just couldn’t bear leaving it on the course.  I never got too hot because the course through the canyon was shaded and the sun was behind us.

The course was mostly downhill with some inclines and flat areas.  But the flat areas didn’t really matter because the downhills really take a toll on your legs.

I was doing really good for 9 miles and then my quads couldn’t take it anymore.  The last 4 miles were my slowest (13:17, 13:38, 13:04, and 12:12). 

The view was AMAZING!  I took some walking breaks and soaked it all in.  I’ve run in over 30 different states and this by far has the best views.

Post Race
I’m pleased with how this race went.  My “A” goal was to finish under 2:30 and “B” goal under 2:45. My finish time is 2:34:59.  I did not train properly for this race.  My longest run was 10 miles so I knew I was not going to PR.  

I did feel very sore for the rest of the day but that didn’t stop me from doing other fun activities (going to Bridal Veil Falls and Ziplining).  

L to R: Mary Beth, Marcia, Holly, Teresa, me Photo credit: Teresa Bird

Final Thoughts
I am glad I ran this race.  I don’t mind traveling and running a race alone but it is so much better and fun with more people. The race was well organized, with plenty of water stations and the volunteers were wonderful.  There weren’t too many spectators (once we left the canyon) along University Avenue leading to the finish line.  

The weather was perfect too!  We definitely did not get the heat wave that hit Chicago and other parts of the country during that time.

I love races that give out free photos!  There is a video that goes with the photo of me crossing the finish line.  I couldn’t upload it here but it was cool to see it.

Buffalo Half Marathon

This morning I ran the Buffalo Half Marathon.  It is state #36.  My flight was at 10am but with the long lines at security, I decided to get to the airport early and avoid the long lines.  The joke was on me because I was done in 5 minutes and had to wait over 3 hours at the airport.  While I was waiting I realized I had forgotten my belt with my water bottles along with my bottle of Nuun tablets.  It was tempting to go back home since I leave so close.

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It was a quick flight where I attempted to take a nap but I couldn’t. Once I landed I ate a quick lunch at the airport because I was very hungry.  Then I took a cab to my hotel.  I had a nice room.  The only bad thing was that I had to pay for wifi.  I was annoyed because I was already paying $250 for the room and I still had to pay for Internet.  I didn’t pay.

The expo was about a little over half a mile.  No big deal.  Except that it was HOT.  Once there I bought two bags of Honey Stinger Chews (orange blossom and pink lemonade) and two bottles of Nuun.  I only needed one because I have quite a bit at home but I wanted to try some new flavors (orange and strawberry lemonade).  I quickly saw Bart Yasso at the end of his presentation but did not get a chance to say “Hi” to him because there were people waiting to take pictures with him.

After the expo I headed back to the hotel.  I took a quick break to cool down.

Then I went to my room to watch TV.  Luckily I did not need wifi to watch some shows on Netflix.  I did not want to get up but realized I still needed to eat dinner.

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For dinner I went to a restaurant around the corner from the hotel.  It was crowded but found a place close to the bar but even better because I had a much better view of the Mexico vs. Paraguay soccer game. 

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I did not stay too long because I knew I had an early wakeup call since the race started at 6:30am.  Gorgeous sunset!

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I did not sleep well last night and did not want to get up.  I struggled.  I made coffee and quickly changed.  I wore a tank top because I knew it would be hot and indeed it was.  I got to the start line at 6:15 but went to the convention center to use the restroom.  Of course there were long lines.  Once I was done I went back to the start line and could hear the end of the National Anthem.  Of all of the races I’ve run, I don’t think I’ve ever missed the National Anthem. Apparently there were also fireworks which I missed too.

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Finally it was time to run.  I knew I was in trouble before Mile 1.  I was too HOT.  More hot than usual.  Plus, I had a headache.  I started too fast and my first 2 miles were my fastest (10:45 and 10:04).  After that it was downhill (mile 6 was 10:36 which I am surprised).  I struggled the rest of the way.  I was literally running one mile at a time and counting down each mile till the finish line.  I thought about dropping out because I was feeling horrible.  I felt better (and did much better) at my previous race in WV and that course was even more difficult.  But it wasn’t as hot like today.  I knew dropping out meant I would have to come back (or pick another race in NY) and I did not want to do that (nothing wrong with coming back here but I did not want to cough up the money).  Plus, I had been attempting to do this race for a few years and this year was the year to finally do it.

I did not like the course.  The one thing I did like was that most of it was shaded.  I am thankful for that because I know it would have been much worse.  It is also flat but nothing gorgeous or exciting to see along the way.  There weren’t many spectators but there were great volunteers. There were plenty of water stations and a few even gave us cups filled with ice.  Plus the locals used their water hose to cool us down and that felt wonderful.  I did see three runners on the ground needing medical assistance. Scary!

Seriously, why make us run through this?

My favorite sign.

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Done.  I was very happy when I crossed the finish line.  I drank a cup of Gatorade, got a water bottle, and ate a few orange slices (delicious) and walked back to the hotel.  It felt like a LONG walk back to my hotel.  

I know every race will not be a great race and this was definitely one of them.  There was nothing I could do about the weather.  I did my best to enjoy the race and to finish it.

Next race:  Elmhurst 4 on the 4th, July 4.

New Orleans Day 2

After the RnR Half Marathon, I did a couple of fun things with my sisters and nephew.

First, we did a hop on/hop off bus tour.  Even though I was not sore from the race, it felt good to sit on a bus.

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Then I played chess with the teenager.  I won.

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Last, went to see Ruby Bridges’ school.  It was pretty cool.

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Overall, it was a great trip to New Orleans!

Trip to Portland, Maine

A little late with this post but better late than never right?

Two weeks ago I flew into Boston to meet up with Kim, Elizabeth, and Sonya.  We were all running the Old Shipyard Port Half Marathon on Saturday morning.  Elizabeth flew in from Atlanta and both Kim and Sonya flew from Portland, Oregon.  I was the last one getting in so I was hoping that my flight would not be delayed.  I must have jinxed it because even though it was not late (we did arrive at 5pm) there was trouble at the gate and we did not get off the plane till a little after 5:30pm.  Thankfully they were patient and kind enough to wait for me in the rental car. Finally, I was outside the terminal, they picked me up and on our way to Portland, ME.

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First thing was dinner.  We made it to Portsmouth, NH and found an amazing place for dinner. We all wanted lobster and that’s what we ate.  It was delicious.  And I did forget to take a picture of what we ate.  Once we were all satisfied, we continued on to Portland.

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Photo credit: Kim. “Flew to Massachusetts, dinner in New Hampshire, will sleep in Maine”.

Thanks to Sonya who found a nice 2 bedroom apartment via Airbnb.  I was so tired and was asleep by 11pm.

The next morning I was up at 6 and wanted some coffee.  Sonya and Kim were still sleeping (it was 3am their time) so Elizabeth and I found a cute coffee shop not too far from our apartment. Elizabeth wanted something different so we kept walking to look for another place and ended up at Portland Pottery Store & Cafe.  I did not order anything because I had my bagel but E had a delicious breakfast.  We ended up going back with Kim and Sonya for brunch.

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Afterwards we visited several shops in downtown Portland until it was time for our Maine Lobstering Tour with Lucky Catch Cruises.  One of my favorite stores was the Stonewall Kitchen. Pretty much everything looked delicious! There were a few samples for us to try out and I took advantage of it.  I did not buy anything but for sure will order something online.

A piece of The Berlin Wall on our way to the boat.

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Ready for our Maine lobstering experience with my 3 lovely roommates.

We caught a few lobsters but had to throw them back into the sea because we were on a demonstration boat.

Finally time to eat!

Bon Appétit!!

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I had a great time at the tour and highly recommend it.

The next day was the race but I will write another post about it.  Another fun place we went to after the race is The Holy Donut.  It is seriously the MOST AMAZING donut place!!!  We wanted to try all flavors but it would have been a little too much.  Plus we were kind of full from brunch but yet had some room to try a few of them.  We bought half a dozen donuts so we could each sample 6 different flavors.

  • Dark chocolate and sea salt
  • Fresh Lemon
  • Maple Bacon  <===== MY FAVORITE
  • Maple Blueberry
  • Old Fashioned Coconut
  • Sweet Potato Ginger

I had a blast in Portland.  As for the race itself, well, it was very hot on Saturday and I did finish the race and that makes me happy.

I hope these girls invite me again to go on another trip.