Zion Half Marathon | Race Recap

April 1st was my first half marathon of the year, the Zion Half Marathon! I would love to say it started off amazingly, but when your first mile is 18+ minutes, you kinda know it's gonna be a doozy! 

My friend and I took off from Las Vegas early Friday afternoon and the drive took us about 4 hrs. Yay for the S-Town Podcastfor the in-car entertainment! Packet pickup was at Zion Ponderosa Ranch which was north of Zion National Park from the direction we came in.  So, we had to pay the $35 admission to the park to drive across. Seriously wish there would have been some mention of this on the website.  Anyhow, we made it just in time for packet pickup and our spaghetti dinner.  The weather was very cold and it was super muddy.  The race directors had communicated this to us via emails, updates on facebook, and even text messages, so we knew what to expect when we arrived.  As a matter of fact, their communication throughout the evening and race morning was very good.  

We stayed in Kanab, UT which was another 30 minutes north of the start line at the same Zion Ponderosa Ranch.  Traffic was expected for race morning and we were told to plan at least an additional 30 minutes to our drive.  However, the night before the race, we were given notice that the parking area was being moved to their Plan B location due to the muddy conditions at the original parking lot.  This created even more traffic and congestion as there was only one entrance to Zion Mountain Ranch and cars were simply parking alongside of the road.  We then had to walk back towards the main road to where the buses were picking up runners.  This ended up being about a mile away from our car.  We finally arrived to the buses, waited in line, and boarded the lovely warmth of the bus! Kudos to the volunteers for being out there in the dark and cold morning in such good spirits! They rocked! 

Once we arrived to the start line area we found out the race was being delayed due to the traffic congestion caused by the parking lot change.  Once the race finally started it was pretty confusing and rushed so we ended up way in the back of the pack.  I thought we'd be ok once we started running and we found our groove but that never happened for me.  Unfortunately, all the melted snow created some pretty muddy trails that were nearly impossible to run through.  Runners ended up just walking along the edges of the trail or completely around the trail so we just all walked in a row behind each other.  Yup, more congestion.  By the time we were out of the 1st muddy mile, it'd been 18 minutes and I was feeling pretty defeated.  The downhill course that was promised was not really downhill.  It was way more hilly and more of an up and down course.  Add to that the super muddy trails where we were forced to walk most of them and we had ourselves a PR for slowest half marathon!  It was definitely not the race I was expecting.  Having to run past our cars around mile 7 was especially cruel! 

This was right before the finish line! Hardly a downhill run....Ugghhh Thanks @penguincity for capturing this shot! 

This was right before the finish line! Hardly a downhill run....Ugghhh Thanks @penguincity for capturing this shot! 

Clearly, I was not the only one who was a bit disappointed. @gimmeapaw was spot on with her post!  

Clearly, I was not the only one who was a bit disappointed. @gimmeapaw was spot on with her post!  

It hurts me to write this recap because I've seriously loved all the half marathons I've ran.  I understand no one can predict the weather and the havoc it can cause on race day and the race directors did a good job handling it.  I think they did the best they could with the weather conditions. They also gave all this year's runners a discount for next year's race and sent a very well written email afterwards.  However, it wasn't just the weather that did it for me.  I wish I could say it was just the wet, cold, muddy conditions that made it difficult for me to enjoy the race, but it wasn't just that for me.  I was also expecting a much more scenic race and the locations we ran through just didn't have spectacular views.  For this year only, the race was east of Zion National Park, so maybe the regular location is much more scenic, but I'm not sure. Ultimately, I know a race is what you make of it and I am glad I experienced this race.  It taught me that I need be prepared for everything and  sometimes races just don't go as expected.  I need to learn to go with the flow.  This race was definitely a mental game for me and I gave up quickly.  I did not give it my all and I let unrealized expectations, bad weather, and muddy conditions defeat me.  Lesson learned. 

I gotta say, I do love that big wooden medal and now I can mark off running while it snows from the bucket list! Ok, it was just flurries but still...

Did you run the Zion Half Marathon? I'd love to know what are your thoughts of the race.  

Las Vegas Spartan Super | Race Recap

Spartan Races are some of my favorite races ever! I've done more Spartan Races than any other race, with a total of 9 races - 2 Beasts, 4 Supers, and 3 Sprints! I love the Spartan Races because although they are challenging and tough, there is a great spirit of camaraderie and fun too! And you can't beat that feeling of accomplishment when you conquer obstacles you trained so hard for. Plus: free beer at the finish! 

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I hadn't planned on running the Las Vegas Spartan Super this year because I'm a wimp.  The race was scheduled to be at the same location as last year and the course was super sandy and I remember how much I did not enjoy trying to run 4 miles or so in sand. But, when a friend of a friend found out she couldn't run it just 2 weeks before race day, I jumped on the opportunity to have her race deferred to me! I couldn't resist.  The 8 + miles wouldn't be a problem because I've been training for the Zion Half Marathon coming up April 1st.  The obstacles and sand however, were a whole other story! Although I knew I couldn't get myself in top shape in just 2 weeks and I knew my upper body strength was nowhere it had been, I didn't think it would be so hard.  But, yikes did I struggle!  It was especially sad to struggle on obstacles that I don't normally struggle with. I had a lot of help from my teammates and fellow racer on course.  Like I said, all that help and support from fellow Spartans is what makes me love this race series!  My teammates and I finished strong and for 3 of the 5 of us, it was their first Spartan Race ever.  Seeing my friend conquer obstacles she didn't think she could was so awesome and really made that race special for me! 

This race was such a wake up call for me.  Like I said, I finished the race and I had a ton of fun running it but deep down I know I can perform better.  So, what do you do when you don't run your best race? You literally wash off the mud and sign up for another one! In my case, you sign up for the Spartan Beast + Sprint coming up in October in Big Bear Lake, CA and aim to get that Trifecta one more time.  Let the training begin! AROO!


Have you ever ran a Spartan Race or OCR? What's your favorite race series?   

 

 

Pinot's Palette | Parent's Night Out

This past Saturday the hubs and I went out for a fun painting date night with some friends at Pinot's Palette at Boca Park in Summerlin.  I received 4 complimentary classes to check out Pinot's Palette in exchange for writing about my experience but, all opinions are my own.  Pinot's Palette is a franchise paint and sip studio with locations all over the country.  There are 2 locations in Las Vegas, with a 3rd location opening at Town Square on April 7, 2017 (more on that later).  All 3 Las Vegas locations are owned by local husband and wife team Reed and Judy Alewel.  I love being able to support local businesses here in Las Vegas!

Jason is a much better painter than I am, so I was a bit nervous that our "fun" date night would end up in frustration on my part.  But, thankfully, it was nothing but fun! The studio at Boca Park is pretty spacious.  As soon as we walked in we were shown to our table, which was already set up for us with everything we'd need.  Since it was our first time there, we were given a quick run down as to where everything was, the aprons, bathrooms, purse cubbies, and most importantly the bar ;) 

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One thing I really liked about Pinot's Palatte is that we were allowed to bring in our snacks, so we took some cheese, fruit, and crackers to enjoy while painting and sipping wine.  We purchased a bottle of wine at the bar to share and then it was time to get started!

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Our instructor had great energy and kept the atmosphere relaxed and casual.  He gave us clear, step-by-step instructions throughout the 2 hours we were painting.  He pointed out which brushes to use, how much paint to use when blending, and tips on how to get the look we were going for.  There was also an assistant walking around the room answering questions and giving us more paints if needed, etc.  She was awesome and came by to help us with our paintings when we kinda messed up what we were doing (oopsy!)  They were both super supportive and encouraging as they came around and looked at our pictures.  The painting instructor even took the time to help out my friend when she thought she'd really messed up her painting. He explained and demonstrated how to fix it and then let her do the rest.  I also liked that there was music playing while we painted, which kept the atmosphere lively.

Half way through the class we had a 10 minute intermission to let the paint dry before moving on to the next section.  It was a good time to take a break and stretch!  The instructor took the time to share some news about upcoming classes, their facebook contest, and to give info on booking a party there too.  I think this would be a great idea for a bridal or baby shower! They also host kid parties, which I would love to do for the kiddos! How fun would that be? And the best part is there's no clean up for parents afterwards! 

Like I said, it took about 2 hours or so to complete our paintings.  The whole class then took their works of art to the stage for a group photo.  They also took photos while we painted to post on their facebook page!  We had such a great time during the class.  We laughed, chatted, and got to take home our finished masterpieces.  It was definitely a nice change from netflix and wine on the couch :) 

To celebrate the opening of their 3rd location at Town Square, Pinot’s Palette is hosting a Grand Opening celebration on Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8. The upscale wine and painting experience is partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for a weekend of giving back to the community while patrons fulfill the Pinot’s Palette motto of “Paint. Drink. Have Fun.” Supporters can sign up for either of the two-hour 7 p.m. classes on Friday or Saturday for $39, with 100 percent of the painting proceeds to be donated to St. Jude. Guests interested in signing up for Friday’s class can register online atwww.pinotspalette.com/townsquare/event/147378 and Saturday’s class registration is available at www.pinotspalette.com/townsquare/event/153747

I would definitely recommend checking out their classes and what better way to have a fun night out and do good than by going to their Grand Opening Celebration.  Have you ever gone to a paint and sip studio? What are your thoughts on the experience?