Let’s Compare CIM to St. George and St. George Recommendations!


After many of you said yesterday that your treadmills are off on the distance, I decided to just trust the treadmill setting on my watch instead (I really want to get the foot pod though).   PS Our treadmill felt like it was really on at our last house, I think moving it is what messed it up.  We have recalibrated it many times but I’ve also read that the updates on the iFit software could be the problem too.

Only 51 interruptions to get these miles in but that’s just what happens when running at home for me (especially if I don’t wake up early to do it).

The pace that my watch said I was going felt much more accurate than the pace the treadmill told me I was going.

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Fast forward a few hours and Brooke and I hit up Sundance.

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My sister and her family were there too for the day.  I loved watching Brooke helping out her younger cousins.   I asked her on the drive home if she would rather go skiing or to Disneyland and she answered skiing!

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Another highlight of the day was stopping at my parents’ house for cookies!

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Beretta is sure that Brooke’s old bedding is officially hers now.

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The other day Keri said, “I’d love to hear a race comparison between St. George and CIM!  Course comparison, how it felt different on your body, if the downhill at St. George helps or hurts you or if the gradual course at CIM is easier on your legs etc.”

This question got me really excited to think about but I’m also not sure if I can give the best comparison because my 2:49 at St. George was done on one of those ‘I FEEL SO ALIVE AND FAST AND NOTHING CAN STOP ME’ days and my 2:58 at CIM was done on of those “THE FIRST STEP HURTS” days.

But here we go:


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VS St. George

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*I don’t think CIM is gentle until mile 18;). Maybe it’s because I was having a bad day that I feel this way but really this course is non-stop rolling for 18 miles with the last hill at mile 22ish (I think that’s where it was).  I would get to the bottom of one hill only to start climbing the next hill.  The marketing team for this marathon does a great job advertising that it’s the ‘fastest marathon on the west’ but I’m not totally sure if they say it is the fastest because there are so many fast people running it with you which helps, the weather is usually perfect or the amazing course support/crowds/organization… but I’m not sure I would call it the fastest because of the actual course.  Emilee has done CIM multiple times and she thinks it is easier than St. George but I think it is harder.  If I look back and really think about it… Even if CIM happened for me on one of those amazing running days where I felt great, fitness-wise I probably still wouldn’t have hit that 2:45 there.  Probably more of a 2:48-2:50.  I’m sure that I am going to get people thinking I’m crazy but I think that the Boston course is easier than CIM’s course (I SAID IT)!


*Andrew says that it is much easier as a spectator to see your runners often at CIM compared to SG.

*I feel like the majority of elevation loss for SG happens in the last 10k.  Which for me personally, my body can fight through the first 20 miles and it’s always the last 10k that kills me off which makes the last 10k at SG a huge plus for me.  Sure you have to get through some steep ups in miles 7-14ish but if you can hold pace through the first 20 you really can bring that average pace down in the last 10k.  I think this last year we brought our average pace down from a 6:35 from the first 20 miles to a 6:28 at the end.  BUT if you aren’t prepared for the down in the final portion of SG your legs are going to be fried.  Our coach had us do a ton of downhill work and trails with a lot of up and down in our training and made our legs ready to handle that.  If you pace St. George correctly, you can have the most beautiful negative split race of your life.  For me, St. George is definitely a faster course.

*I have no idea how to pace CIM still ha.  The more I think about it the more I think that an even split race would be the best option for me.  Most of the net downhill happens in the first half of the course but I think going out at the same pace I wanted to finish with would be the best strategy for me there.  Not sure my legs would have much speed in them for the last flat miles at CIM after all of those hills where in St. George you can really make up for slower miles in the beginning with those final miles.


*I LOVE the dry heat at St. George so if that isn’t your thing, maybe SG isn’t the race for you.  I know that CIM usually has the perfect weather for marathon running so that is definitely a huge plus!

*If running with fast people really helps you to run faster then sign up for CIM right now.  I couldn’t believe how many incredible athletes were there and the feeling of ‘team-work’ there was unreal.  Everyone wanted to help each other get to their goals.  At St. George you are more likely to have miles where there aren’t a ton of people around you.

*Both online course maps show that they are net downhill but those course maps don’t show the ups.. make sure you are prepared for uphills in both races and the pounding of downhill (especially for SG) for both races.

*You are still at a bit of altitude for SG and CIM is sea level so don’t forget about that!

*I do think that the CIM hills are more gentle on your body because they are more rolling (but there are a lot of them!) than the St. George hills… I wasn’t sore after CIM but I was after St. George!

*I prefer the scenery of the SG course personally.  There are way more spectators at CIM to give you that energy boost you need and not many spectators at SG until the end of the race and spots like mile 15 BUT for me personally, the red rock views at SG really help me to forget about the pain I am experiencing.  I guess I feel more in nature during SG if that makes sense and I really love that but don’t expect to be distracted by spectators/signs the whole time there like bigger marathons like CIM (best crowds ever) when running SG.


*Learn from my mistake and probably don’t fly to a goal marathon the day before the race ha.  From here on out if I am flying to a goal race then I’ll want to get there at least 2 days in advance.

*At SG you have a total of 3 turns the entire race and those happen at the very end and at CIM there were more than that but not a crazy amount.

*Both finish lines are amazing.  At St. George you can see the finish line for about .35 miles and at CIM it feels like you turn a corner and boom there is a finish line.  Both finish areas are amazing—> Loved finishing at the capital for CIM and they also had hot soup for the finishers.  I also love the huge park that you finish at for St. George with Great Harvest bread waiting for you.

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*For St. George you have to really wake up early to make it to the busses on time and for CIM we were able to have our husbands drop us off pretty close to the starting line (but I know that CIM also has a bussing option).

Both courses are phenomenal.  I know that I’ll be at the SGM every year I can (it’s easier to travel to for me and it’s my all-time favorite marathon) but Emilee and I have also talked about how we really want to go back to CIM (because it is an amazing race and we want our goal to OTQ in the future to happen there).  I do know that the next time I do CIM, I won’t be running a different marathon just 2 months beforehand.


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I’ve also had a few people ask me for St. George travel arrangements for the marathon! I hope you all come do this marathon someday, it is an incredible experience.  PS I think I heard that they are starting to do a half-marathon the same day as the full so that is exciting!

*We always stay at the TownPlace Suites by Marriott the night before the marathon.  It is about a 4 minute drive to where the busses pick you up AND the finish line and it is right by a Target for any of the last minute items that you may need.  You can also get a really nice suite with two bedrooms (if traveling with kids or a group) which I love.  The hotel has breakfast items out for the runners very early that morning and I’ve never dealt with being waken up by noise in the halls/other rooms.   It is also just about a 10 minute drive from the expo so that comes in handy too.

*If you go to St. George then I’m going to require you to eat at Viva la Chicken, Morty’s Cafe, Kneader’s, Cafe Rio, Bear Paw Cafe and definitely follow every recommendation from Female Foodie for St. George.  The night before the race I just had take-out from Olive Garden at my hotel.  I don’t really care about the food before… I just need noodles, grilled chicken and red sauce.

*As far as things to see while you are there… Hike around Snow Canyon (after the race), visit the sand hollow sand dunes, Zion, Bryce Canyon (my favorite), their Children’s Museum is awesome if you have kids, St. George Temple & Visitor’s Center, make my brother fly you around in an airplane;) and go see a show at the Tuacahn theater.  There are so many amazing places to bike, swim and hike… you are going to run out of time to see it all.


Who has done either CIM or St. George Marathon… what are your thoughts on the courses etc?  

What would you say is your all-time favorite race course?

Do you prefer smaller races or big ones?

Have any trips planned this year?  Would love to hear where you are going!

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Ha ha, I think getting Great Harvest bread after a marathon would be the perfect Janae finish line! I enjoy big races because I like the energy, BUT I need the running crowd to stretch out a bit, or I feel fenced in. I’ve run races where I never felt like I was with a smaller crowd, and mentally that was tough–but I like those bigger races so I think I need to get used to it!

No trips planned this year YET, but there are lots of weddings come up! Waiting for details on those before making plans. :-)


Bahahah maybe that is why I love Great Harvest so much;) It really is perfect! Oh I totally know that fenced in feeling and it is not my favorite either. I hope we can find the perfect medium for you somewhere for a race:) . Enjoy all of the weddings, sounds like a perfect year. Enjoy your day Kristin!


Watched this and thought you might like it:
I watched the documentary about the Barkley and have been fascinated with it ever since.


You. Are. The. Best. Now I have something to watch on the treadmill today. Have a great day Samantha and thank you!


You did amazing At CIM for being sick. It just showed your training and how strong you were at that time. I also think that the more familiar you are with the course, the faster you can run it. Experience brings knowledge. It is hard to prepare for the unknowns when you haven’t run the course in the past. You make a plan but realize, it’s different than you planned. I love courses with nature. Their beauty distracts me.


Oh thank you so so much Mary! That means a lot and I agree, knowing a course makes a very big difference. Our minds are so powerful and even knowing that you’ve done it once before and you didn’t quit makes it so much easier to do it again. Thank you so much and I hope you get a nature filled course soon. Have a great day!


Beretta looks so comfy in Brooke’s sheets! I bet she’s excited for the redecorating now too haha. I prefer bigger courses because I like running around other people for encouragement. But I see what you’re saying about being in nature! Definitely love that for long runs.


Hahaha she really does love it too:) . I totally agree, that encouragement is amazing! It just pushes you in a very different way! I hope you have a fabulous Wednesday!


I’m curious how you use your watch in a race. Do you set it to auto lap or do you use manual lap every time you see a mile marker? What data do you pay attention to during the race?

Favorite course ever: Whistlestop Marathon!


Hey JP! I ended up using the auto lap for each mile and after the first few miles of CIM I stopped really looking at it at all because I knew it was an off day. Towards the end I used manual lap just to play mind games with myself and congratulate myself for getting through .25 miles etc. During St. George I pretty much had our splits that we needed for a sub 2:50 race memorized (10k, 1/2, 20k etc) and so I would check in often on that. It’s fun to know a course so well that you can know exactly where you should be along the way. I hope that answers your question and if not let me know! I just looked up Whistlestop and it looks amazing! I want to come for that one. Have a great day!


Loved reading those comparisons! My husband and I are really considering doing St George together this fall – it would be my second marathon and his first. We love St George so much – I love living in the Salt Lake Valley but boy do we love visiting St George a few times a year! So beautiful and amazing!


Oh Laura, you’ll have to let me know if you do it and I want to hear all about your training. It really is such a nice little escape down south:) . I hope you are having a beautiful day!


Ahhh…thank you so much! Loved reading your comparison on the two, even though it’s hard to compare when one of them was 2 months after the other;) I love St George too, it’s always been my favorite! ❤️


Thank you so much for the idea Keri! Hahaha… two months apart, not my best move;)


I am partial to the Columbus (OH) half and full marathon course. It’s a very flat/fast course with only a couple of small “hills”. There are also a lot of spectators throughout the course. I’ve done the half there a couple of times and I’ve done the full once (and plan to do it again this fall). The weather is usually pretty good – a little chilly as it’s in October, but last year it was 50+ degrees at the start which was a little warm in my opinion.
I also have done the Canton Football Hall of Fame full marathon, which was a cool experience because you get to finish ON the football field in the Hall of Fame stadium! The course wasn’t terrible, but I did not really like it. It actually had more ups and downs than I thought, one of which was around mile 24 or so when I hit my wall. It was also not well spectated.


That race sounds perfect (and I love a little chilly and totally agree that 50 degrees at the start is warm)! A hill at mile 24, that is just cruel! It’s hard going into races that we don’t know very well!

I hope you are having a beautiful day and I need to come out and try the Columbus marathon! Thanks Ali!


I hope to run St. George someday! maybe next Fall :)


AHHHH please let me know if you sign up for it! That’s exciting:) . Hope you are having a great day Danielle.


Hi Janae, I have two things that have little to do with your post today. First, I’m wondering where your couch is from? It always looks so nice and it seems like it must hold up well to wear and tear? Second, I’m a teacher and I have to say, I love that all of the shirts I’ve seen on your kids seem to have sayings about kindness/being a good person. It might seem like a little thing, but I see lots of kids wearing shirts that have sarcastic/rude phrases on them, and it really is nice to see positivity ?. Lastly, I’m currently on maternity leave and I’m also doing a goals journal to give me some things to work toward during my time at home. One of my goals is to avoid all social media, except for your blog. I’ve found your blog to be one of the rare spots on the internet that is focused on happiness and gives me a good dose of wisdom in my running, so thank you for that!


Hey SJ! Okay, your comment made my day. Wow. I feel really lucky right now and thank you for letting me in on your life!

My couch is from Sofa Mart and it is called The Caruso. We love it and it actually is a pretty great deal. Thank you so much for your sweet words and I’m so with you on that… the more positivity in the world the better! Congrats on your new baby (or are you just about to have your baby?)! Keep me updated on everything and thanks for brightening my day!


A group of friends from Texas are considering CIM – Did not realize the course had so many re olling hills. We may still make it out but it will change our training for sure.


HEY YOU! I just want to be a part of you and your running group in Texas! A ton of people have PRs on that course but yes, definitely train for hills! Hope you are having a beautiful day and that your grandbaby is doing well!


It’s literally my dream to run St. George one day. My sister lives there and has tried to convince our entire family to move there for years. I’ll have to ask her if she’s tried the chicken place you recommended!

On a somewhat unrelated note – I’ve been building my mileage for a full year (used to run consistently years ago, and then had surgery). I want to sign up for a marathon SO BAD (maybe this Fall?) but every time I up my mileage something happens, although nothing major – just weird kinks in my feet, and I have to scale back. My husband thinks I just get in my head too much, which I totally agree with. Any tips on upping mileage and not completely psyching yourself out?? Thanks!


Oh Tess, you have to go run it and then eat at the chicken place afterwards:) . Keep me updated on your plans!

About upping mileage… For my first marathon I maxed out at 35 miles (and most weeks I was at 28) per week and had a fabulous race. Remember that for completing the marathon, you do not have to have a crazy amount of mileage! You can always add in cross-training too! Run a few days a week and hit the spin bike etc on the others as you are building up your mileage. Take one week at a time and REALLY listen to everything your body is saying. Also, I want you to know that small little things (I have no idea how bad your kinks get in your feet) are pretty normal for me with increased mileage. So you aren’t alone with that! Have you thought about what shoes you are wearing the rest of the day? Sometimes that can cause problems in our feet when we think it’s the running! I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions! Have a great rest of your day!


I agree about CIM’s net downhill description being very deceiving! It may overall be a net downhill but it is a hilly course. I’m from Tennessee, so luckily we have nothing but hilly courses here, but I remember at mile 15 wondering when all of the hills were going to stop. Definitely a wonderful race for support and spectators! They really keep you going.


Yes yes yes, I agree with everything that you said! I hope you have the best day and keep me updated with what races you have coming up next. Thanks Emily!


That is so interesting on the treadmill and watch combo. My treadmill tends to severely overestimate my speed and distance. To the point where it will say that I went 12 miles when I really went 7. Crazy how off they can be!


WOWZER… that is a big overestimation! Sure glad we have these tools to help us get in a run on the days we can’t get outside but I wish they were a little more on. Have a fabulous day Leeann!


If you get a foot pod to pair with your garmin your pace will be spot on on the treadmill! :)


Ahhhh I am officially going to get one. Seriously, I need to know! Thanks Jaci!


Janae… what shoe do you recommend for the treadmill?


Hey Erin! I actually just wear whatever shoes I am wearing outside. So when I do speed on the treadmill then I wear the hyperion like I would outside and for all of my other runs I wear the Ravenna’s inside or outside. I hope you have a really great day!


Hi Janae! I’m going to run the Zion Half end of this Feb! Thanks for this great post!!


AHHH this makes me so happy! Will you please let me know how it goes and what you think of the area? Have the best day!


St. George seems so awesome! If you’re ever interested in some serious traveling for a race, you should try the Shamrock marathon in Virginia Beach! It is COMPLETELY flat! You also run through 2 different military bases. It’s not exactly beautiful, but it’s really cool! And you finish on the beach board walk-can’t beat that :) Meb will be there this year, and the year I ran it Shalane was there!


I was so excited to read this post today. My family and I have a trip planned to St George this June! We are so excited to explore the area and do a lot of hiking! We did a trip to Phoenix/Sedona last summer and wanted to make it to Utah, but it was a bit far. I have been taking notes on all the places you’ve recommended to eat :-) Someday I would love to do a race in the area, although I think I’ll hold out for the half marathon that’s my sweet spot!


I need your “Mama needs a run” shirt! That’s great!

I’ve done both CIM and St. George, but was coming off of a stress fracture and having only ran 6 mi before St. George. However, I agree that the course is gorgeous. It was just such a different race for me because I was trying to slow myself down, where I was going for the PR at CIM. They both rank up there for me as far as favorite races, just for totally different reasons.

I definitely prefer larger races and how you get to share the energy and vibe with everyone there!

My husband and I are chaperoning a school trip to Europe this summer and we are taking our oldest daughter with us! We’ll be visiting Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy, and France. I am beyond excited!


I have always said that CIM is way harder than they advertise it to be! Those marketing folks sure know what they’re doing when they portray it as the Fastest Marathon in the West- the Rolling Hills are SO killer, and I felt the exact same way about the rolling hills: I would get to the bottom of one hill only to start climbing the next hill.

Either way you crushed it!


I love this recap! I’m very partial to St. George. But you need to add Benja’s Thai Garden on your list of must-eat places! And George’s Corner Grill. ;)
I totally agree with your other recommendations too!

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