Utah Valley 1/2 Marathon Recap!

SO happy to see Andrew and the kids and to be a few steps away from the end!

(Top, bra, shorts, shoes, glasses, jacket)

On Saturday, I could tell in the first mile that I was feeling off.  I kept telling myself that each race is a roller coaster of feelings and that things would change after a few miles (there were a few points where I did feel a bit better, though!), but I never felt like myself during the race.  Bad days happen to all of us, so it’s part of the sport, but I also think my body is asking for a bit of a break… I’ve been going a little crazy (and having great races!) the last few months between Antelope, Boston, and Vigor.  I need to look at the big picture of what my body needs and take it back a notch this month with mileage and speed. I’m thrilled with my time and place, but I can just tell my body wants a break from running for a few days and big speed workouts/races this month!

Things started bright and early with Megan, Jo, Courtney, and Kiley.  I woke up at 4:20 and took a shower before eating a bagel with jam and drinking a bottle of water.   We got to the race at 5:20, and it was chilly in the canyon before the sun rose.  This race makes sure to have fires for runners to huddle around before the race starts.

A crazy story that Megan told us when we were waiting—> She lived in Boston at one point, and her older brother decided to rollerblade the Boston Marathon (not just the course, DURING the race) in the 80s.  He got arrested at mile 4, so I guess that means we shouldn’t try that ourselves;)

Jo and I used the restrooms, and then we did about a half-mile warm-up before going to the starting line.

The only fuel I use now!  I took a gel 10 minutes before the race started, at mile 4 and mile 8.  I don’t know how I went so long without these, they just work for me.

I should have brought little water bottles because my mouth felt dry at the starting line.  I grabbed a cup of water at each aid station, the race volunteers were the best.

The race started at 6:18 (18 minutes late because barriers weren’t placed correctly), and within the first mile or two, Jo and I looked at each other with an ‘OH NO’ look.  Usually, we all try to chat a tiny bit in the first few miles of a half or marathon, but neither of us had any chatting in us.  The beginning felt what I usually feel like during the last mile, but I did my best to stay positive and cheer for myself.  I focused on staying in the mile and not contemplating anything ahead of the mile I was running.  I tried smiling during each mile to release happy hormones (smiling also helps to get in more oxygen and relax your body during the run) and focus on the things that weren’t hurting.  I felt a lot of gratitude in those final miles that even though things were hurting, my body allows me to do what I love.

My cadence was lower than my last few races, and my stride felt like I was just trying to hang on and leaning back!  I should have slowed down a bit to fix my form and get on top of my stride.   The course is net downhill, but those first 8 miles of rolling hills felt quite challenging, and then the last 5 miles are a straight shot that feels flat, but they are a slight downhill for four of the miles.  The one problem with running a race in your area is that you know exactly how far away you are from the end by the landmarks along the way, ha.  We have run the final 5 miles of this course so many times, and it is a straight shot that feels like it lasts forever when you are hurting.

When Jo took off her sweatshirt in the morning, I realized we were matching ha.  We did not plan this; it just happened!

I took 3rd place overall for the women and won a $250 check!  1st and 2nd place both told us they were shooting for under 1:20 and finished in 1:21:xx.  We all felt so off for the day.  Onward and upward!

The splits from my Garmin—> very positive splits that probably would have been even splits if I went out more conservative:). 5:57, 6:01, 6:19, 6:10, 6:05 6:03, 6:10, 6:12, 6:15, 6:20, 6:30, 6:19, 6:20, 5:53 pace for the last .25.

I looked at my watch probably 3-4 times a mile and realized I don’t like doing that.  *Note for next time… I love racing more when I don’t look at my watch much and just go mostly off of feel.

Another tangent—> I was in the late luteal phase of my cycle, and I prefer racing in any of the other three phases.  I wish I could plan my cycle around the races I want to do, ha.

Okay, one last tangent—> the official race chip time results were 1:22:35, so that is my official time, but I started my watch right at the starting line, never touched it during, and then stopped right after crossing the finish line?… Is something weird going on with my watch?  I’ve never noticed the timer on my watch to be off, just the distance sometimes.

The after-race felt like a party.  We ended up being there for a few hours, cheering on the marathoners and talking.  My coach (the friend that writes my plan!) ran a 2:30 and took 3rd for the men!

Makena and her dad… I spent a good chunk of my high school years at their house hanging out.  They brought me this crown too.  Makena’s brother is Tristen, if you saw him on Shark Tank!

Post-race kisses!

I saw Emilee and Jenn at mile 10, and they gave me the biggest pep in my step.  There is just something about seeing your people in a race that gives you a boost of energy.

The kids then had their race!  The Utah Valley Marathon always puts a free race on for all kids.  They get t-shirts, medals, and goodies at the end of the race (popsicles, pancakes, smoothies, chick-fil-a, etc.). I love what this race does to get kids outside and to move.  There had to have been a few hundred kids running.

Skye wasn’t feeling great, so she didn’t do the race and went home with Andrew and Beck… She was so bummed to miss the race, so I will create one for her when she is feeling better.

It was hot out by the time they started, but they ran so well.  I love seeing them in this environment…

The kids’ race was a 1k, and they were all talking about how they want to do it again next year, so I’m calling that a huge success.

Time to recover and reset!


Do you pin your bib on your top before putting it on or once it is already on?

Does your area ever have any races for kids?

What race have you spent the most time in the pain cave?

Tell me what the highlight was of your weekend!

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How wild that you, Jo and the women who placed 1 and 2 were all having an off day! Even though you had an off day it was still a fantastic race! Love that the kids race is free too.

The New Jersey Marathon in 2019 was pain cave essentially the entire race, which is LONG when it’s a marathon. Unknowingly was injured so at least I know why I was in the pain cave so long.

The highlight of my weekend was trying a new to me workout class called Rumble! It’s a mix of boxing and strength training so it’s a fun high intensity class I did with 2 friends. I hope you have an amazing MOnday!


It really was so strange that we all felt so terrible! You just never know what you are going to get come race day but that is what keeps bringing us back for more. 26.2 miles in the pain cave?! You are amazing for completing that marathon, your mental strength is unreal. Ummm I want to come with you to Rumble, that sounds awesome. Thanks Maureen, you too!


$250! You’re a professional runner!

Great job gutting it out, it can be really hard to do that on a day that’s not great, but if you can keep at it and stay healthy, it’s good to get the mental toughness practice and work on doing your best that day. And you may just get third and get money! That will buy a lot of swedish fish haha.


They definitely have great cash prizes for this race and my brain instantly went to another pair of shoes to use the money on;). But Swedish Fish would be an even better choice! Victoria, Andrew and I have kept our eyes wide open and still cannot find the fish and friends. I’m going to go to Walmart today because they usually have a bigger variety, I must try them. It really is so true… these bad days build so much mental toughness. Congrats to you this weekend, you are on FIRE. I need you to write long race recaps so I can study every word. Have a beautiful day!


Congratulations Janae!!! I love reading your race recaps!! I love seeing your hard work pay off!
I did a race once where it’s net downhill for the first half but it’s an out and back. It was a half and it was so hard for me! Even for the downhill beginning part I seriously considered turning back early and running the 10k instead.
Get some good rest today!


Thank you so much, Amy! Oh that would have been so tempting to go back to the 10k too… I would have done the same on Saturday ha. Thanks friend, you too!


A lot of times for top finishers with money they do gun time Vs chip time, maybe that was the discrepancy.


Interesting… that makes sense! Thanks Annie, hope your day is off to a great start!


Look at Brooke up there on the podium with the boys! I’m so proud of you all. Not feeling great but then eeking out a 1:22 is just unbelievable. I hope you’re proud of yourself, too.


Thank you so much, Stacey! What I would give to just head out on a run with you today. I feel like we have so much chatting to do:). Have a happy Monday!


I know you weren’t feeling your best, but still such a great race! Congratulations again!! And I think I saw that Megan PR’d too that day!
I love the finish area of a race too… Seeing your people, hugs, smiles, snacks… It really is like a party.
My husband and I do the Surf City half marathon every year, and in 2021, I was in the pain cave the entire time. I’m not even sure why! I got really hot by the first mile marker, my stride felt off the entire time, I couldn’t find one positive thing to say to myself that stuck, it was just awful. So you’re right, some days you just are off, so you move on.
Best part of the weekend was our son’s graduation party. It was just a happy, fun day.
I ended up taking 4 days off from running and working out, with the graduation and family around. I didn’t plan on it, but I think I needed it! Now that all the fun chaos is done, I am feeling ready to get back to it!
I hope Skye is feeling better! It’s so hard to see your kids not well.
Have a great start to the new week!


Thank you so much! YES, Megan was 9 minutes faster than her goal time. Absolutely amazing. I love that you two do that half every year and I really want to come join you guys one year. That pain cave… uggg. I am sure that the heat was a big part of the pain. I cannot handle heat when I am running. Your party looked amazing, he is so lucky to have you guys as parents. I bet your body was so happy with that time off and this week will be much better for your training. Thanks Wendy, you too!


Congrats! This is so exciting! Take a break and then I’m reading to hear all about fall plans!
$250 should buy plenty of Maurten gels! Gel rich!
I think my mind is still trying to get out of the pain cave from my last marathon. Send a rope ladder.


Thank you Molly! Hahah so true… maybe that cash will cover my Maurten gels for the year? Maybe not;). I’ll climb out on that same rope ladder. The pain cave for a MARATHON is an entirely different type of pain. You are amazing.


Congrats on the race!! You did amazing! Good job pushing through even when it’s hard.

I usually pin my bib once my shirt is already on. But I saw a tip from Meb once to put the shirt on a pillow, then pin the bib so it’s where you want it! I should do that.


Thank you so much, Mariah! Ohhhhh thank you for sharing that tip, I will absolutely be doing that next time. Have a beautiful day.


$250 will buy a lot of tacos…..

just sayin.


SOOOOO many tacos haha. I should go get some now! Hope your day is off to a great start, Loribeth!


Such a great life lesson that every day cannot be “the day” but pretty incredible that a 1:22 is your off day!!! And super fun that the kids did the race. I’m dying at your nephews long socks ;)

I did a trail 10k at the Marine Mountain Warfare training center and it was an excruciating 2+ miles straight up, then a few across the ridge and the last 2 down. Those first 2 miles were definitely in the pain cave, and I just remember being amazed by the Marines speeding by in their combat boots and some with packs on.

Highlight of the weekend was a mountain bike ride with my pup. It had just rained and the wildflowers were so bright and we even saw a rainbow!


Thank you so much! Hahah I think he needs to pick out my socks for my next race! CONGRATS on your 10k and it sounds like the absolute hardest course ever. Ouch and I cannot even imagine having a pack on with combat boots while running those first two miles straight uphill. I bet that ride was gorgeous! Happy Monday, Michelle!


Congrats on your race, Janae! I’m sorry you felt off, but how awesome that you still powered through and finished on the podium!!

The Maurten gels are amazing! Would you mind sharing how you fuel throughout the day/week for your running? I always love the recipes you share! I’m struggling to find quick snacks throughout the day.

Also question for you: do you think you’ll ever coach runners? You are so positive and happy and seem like such a great motivator! (And you know so much about running/training!)

Have a great week!! :)


funny, I think I pin my number on before putting my top on, then usually re-arrange it then….weird thought, at one time we always crushed up the number before we put them on…it was like trying on the race/finishers shirt before the race..actually at one time you didn’t get a finishers shirt until you actually finished…and now, we can’t crunch those bibs because they usually have the timing chip attached…
my favorite races are where I’m half the way through, and realize that I’m actually racing….it’s like a surprise..
yesterday’s training run was good, three other runners, one new to me, that were all faster than me, so I had to pick up the pace……a great thing

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