Arizona: Sedona Half Marathon

A couple of weekends ago I officially crossed Arizona off the list!

I ran the Sedona Half Marathon with my husband and two of our friends. We drove out to Sedona on the Friday before the race for a long weekend trip. Saturday morning we woke up to freezing temps and were not feeling prepared. I feel like this has been a common theme for me recently, between the rain in KC and the cold weather in Sedona!

Luckily the race started at 8am, which is later than most races I’ve done, which meant that the sun had risen and it was starting to get warmer. By the time we started moving, it felt great.

This race had 3 distances: half marathon, 10k, and 5k. All were an out and back and followed the same route, with varying distances (of course) and staggered starts. We did the half marathon and started first, with a nice downhill!

I really enjoyed the race. It was smaller than others I’ve done (I think about 1500 people) and it definitely had the feel of a small course. There were not a lot of spectators, so if that’s important to you, this probably isn’t the right race. However what it lacked in cheering squads it definitely made up for in views! It was one of the prettiest races I’ve done. It reminded me why I love running, especially in the morning, with incredible views. 🙂

It was also pretty hilly. I don’t think it was as bad as I was expecting though. I went in with the mindset that it would just be the worst in terms of hills, but it was all pretty much rolling hills and nothing too horrible. There was a big hill towards the end, which I was dreading the whole race after running down it and knowing what was coming, but even that wasn’t the end of the world.

I will say, I think the elevation got me on this course. It wasn’t very high elevation, but coming from sea level it was still something and it definitely made the hills harder and my pace slower. At least I’m going to blame it on elevation anyway. 😉

We finished the race on an uphill (whyyyy do courses do this?) and were rewarded with a finishers medal, t-shirt, and of course all of the race treats. Which, by the way, are not Whole30 compliant. Leading up to this race I had decided to do Whole30 for the 2nd time with some friends, and I hadn’t gotten to the point of adding in non-Whole30 foods yet (my 30 days were officially over around the weekend of the race), so it was disappointing to see the cookies and crackers that I couldn’t have. But I grabbed a banana and filled up my water bottle and it was fine!

After the race we hung out for a little to grab some pictures, then headed back to our Airbnb for a feast, and to explore more of Sedona!

Missouri: Kansas City Half Marathon

State: Missouri

Race and state #: Kansas City Half Marathon, #10

Date of race: October 19, 2019

My husband and I went to Kansas City for a long weekend in October to visit my dad and run the Kansas City Half Marathon. If you aren’t familiar with KC, it sits on the border of Kansas and Missouri, but the race we did was all on the Missouri side. It was very confusing for someone not living there! One minute you’re driving around in Kansas, the next in Missouri! We couldn’t keep up.

Living in Southern California now, we don’t get much rain. So when my husband and I woke up on race morning to it raining, we were not prepared. The race started in downtown Kansas City, near Union Station.

I honestly couldn’t tell you where it went from there, but the course was nice. We went through more or downtown, what I imagine were some suburbs, and the Jazz district. There were definitely a good bit of hills, but I felt prepared for them. And through it all it rained. For a couple minutes it’d be pouring, then a light rain and back to pouring again. But despite being a weakling from SoCal, I loved it. We fully embraced the rain and jumped in as many puddles as we could! Downside of running in the rain (besides being freeeezing after)? Hair = a literal rats nest.

It was not fun to try to brush that out after.

Overall the race was fun! There was a full marathon too, and as we were driving home after the race, we saw the runners out. The course looked like an out and back for the 2nd half of it. It was in a pretty residential area, but I think I might have gone a little crazy with that out and back.

And my FAVORITE part of any race? The post race meal. Kansas City Joe’s BBQ for the win! Highly recommend this if you are ever in KC. Get the Z-man sandwich and don’t hold back on the fries. I’m drooling just looking at this now.

What’s your favorite post race meal?

Do you like or dislike running in the rain?

California: Encinitas Half Marathon

State: California

Race and state #: Encinitas Half Marathon, #9

Date of race: March 31, 2019

A lot happened between my last half marathon in 2016 and this one. As a refresher, Jon and I got engaged during the half in June 2016. A couple months after that, in October, we packed up our lives and moved across the country from North Carolina to California. And then, a couple months after that, at the end of June 2017, we got married! It was a whirlwind of travel and planning during that time and for the rest of 2017 as we were there for other friends getting married. Running took a backseat to it all.

So finally, as things settled down, we decided to cross off a race in our new home state!

We signed up and ran the race with some friends, which was just the motivation we needed to get up early and head to the start. We heard from past years that traffic would be crazy, so to avoid it all, we met at our friends house and rode our bikes to the start. I highly recommend this for any half, if you can swing it. It made things so much easier. And bonus: it’s a nice warm up!

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Not a bad spot to leave the bikes.

From there we walked to the start, and basically spent the rest of the time waiting in line for the porta potties. When the race finally started, we all went our separate ways. Jon wanted to run a little faster, so he and I split up, and our friends were running their own pace (run a mile, walk a minute) so we split up as well. I definitely didn’t mind running on my own though.

The course was gorgeous! Basically all of it is along the coast, so some great views. It was also a beautiful morning. The sun was out and it started off a little cooler. It definitely warmed up as the race went on, but still nothing like some other runs I’ve had. I didn’t train in this race for any specific time, I just wanted to get back into racing and distance running after over a year of a hiatus. As the race went on though, I realized I was feeling really good and running a pretty quick pace (for me anyway). I kept it up and about halfway through, decided to run with music for the extra little boost. The one thing about the course is that it was pretty hilly, but apparently a lot better than past years, and it was nothing different than what I had trained on, so it was fine.

The last few miles were probably the hardest. They weren’t uphill, but they were in an out and back stretch that was just a little less exciting than the rest of the race. No ocean views?! But, two of our good friends were there to cheer us on at that section, which was much needed!

Towards the end of the race, I realized that at the pace I was going, and with the distance that was left, I could finish in under 2. Realizing that really kicked things into gear for me even more. I didn’t go into this race with any goals, but once I realized it was possible, I was going to make it happen.

1:59:59 – hardly made it!

I ended up being not too far behind Jon, so we met up at the finish line with my family (they happened to be in town over this weekend which was awesome, we loved having more supporters!).

After everyone finished, we met back up with our friends for a celebratory drink and brunch!

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