About runstrongrun

Christian, wife, stepmom, no meat athlete, runner, teacher

Race Recap: Utah Valley Marathon

This was my first time running in Utah and therefore was my first time running the Utah Valley Marathon. “Why did you pick this out-of-state race?” you may be asking. Well, I entered Michelle’s giveaway on her blog runningwithattitude.com and I won! After finding a $170 roundtrip flight to Utah, I was in!

I knew that it would be tight squeeze to catch my flight on Friday since this day also happened to be the last day of school.  Fortunately, students were dismissed at noon which gave me the time I needed to make my 1:50pm flight.  I, in fact, had enough time at the airport to enjoy a mushroom pizza and finish my final assignment for an online class I was taking through UC San Diego extension. (Does anyone else take a picture of where they have parked their car so they won’t forget?)

My flight to Utah was short, sweet, and uneventful.  Since it was such a short trip, I had just a carry on and my purse.  This allowed for quick exit once I arrived to Salt Lake City.  I picked up my rental car and made my way to the Utah Valley Marathon expo.  Sadly, my rental car smelled so strongly of cigarette smoke, that I had to stop and purchase an air freshener to help mask the stench.

Due to traffic, it took me a little over an hour to get to the Utah Valley Marathon expo in downtown Provo.  Once I arrived to the Utah Valley Convention Center, it was easy to locate the expo and pick up my bib & race packet.  This was the Utah Valley Marathon’s 10th anniversary and because of that each participant received a race jacket instead of a Tshirt. I still wanted a Tshirt to go along with my jacket, so I bought one at the expo. Speaking of the expo, it was organized, well stocked with great vendors, and had a great line up of speakers!

After leaving the expo, I enjoyed the views surrounding Provo, found a local vegan Mexican restaurant, and checked into my hotel.  My hotel wasn’t anything to rave about, but what do I expect when I book one of the cheapest hotels I can find?  The room looked as though it hadn’t been cleaned (there was still a towel hanging up in the bathroom) and the room felt as though it was 90 degrees!  I ran the window air conditioning unit all night, but it seemed to have little effect on the overall temperature of the room.

I could not get over how majestic the surrounding mountains looked!  I too live fairly close to the mountains in the Sacramento Valley, but not quite as close as Provo’s mountains. As I looked at the mountains I had the revelation, “I’m going to be running those mountains!”

I laid out my race gear, a pre-race routine, and tried to get some sleep since I knew my alarm was set for 2:30am. Yikes!

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The Utah Valley Marathon is a point to point course. Participants load up on buses that take them to the starting line. The bus service begins at 3am and the last bus leaves at 4:15am. I ended up getting on a bus at about 3:30am. I packed up all of my stuff and checked out of the hotel at about 3:15am.  As I took the following picture, my thought was, “Wow!  It’s early!”

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It took about 45 minutes to arrive to the starting line. Once at the starting line, I was delighted to see fire pits in an open field to huddle around to stay warm. There were probably a total of 20 fire pits scattered around an open field and there were volunteers who walked around to make sure everyone’s fires were still lit.


If you’re thinking about doing the Utah Valley Marathon, I recommend taking something warm to wear and/or wrap yourself in at the starting line to help you stay warm. I took a blanket with me to the starting line and was glad I did. At about 15 minutes until the race started, I shoved my blanket in my drop bag and handed it over to a race volunteer. (Yes, it was 48 degrees when I arrived to the starting line at 4:16am and it dropped to 39 degrees at 5:36am when the sun starting rising!)


Before I knew it, it was time for the race to start.  I lined up near the 5:30 fellow Beast Pacer because I knew that with the elevation lack of training, I’d be running pretty slow.  I, however, had no idea how slow I’d actually be going.  Right from the start my stomach didn’t feel right and I was having difficult catching my breath.  I checked my heart-rate on my Garmin Forerunner 235 and it wasn’t too terribly high.  I just couldn’t catch my breath.  At mile 4, I stopped to use the restroom, and again at mile 7, and again at mile 13.  I didn’t mind, however, because I was there to enjoy the views and have fun!

As for the course, it was probably one of the most scenic races I’ve ever ran! Bodies of water (including a waterfall), greenery, mountains, rock faces, etc. With such a wide variety of views, there’s bound to be an elevation change! The race started about about 6,200 ft. and ended at about 4,200 ft. My home is located at 60 ft. above sea level. To say that I was not trained to be running at elevation would be an understatement. Next time, I will train more and get some training in at a higher elevation.


Throughout the course, there were plenty of porta-potties, Cliff gels, water, Powerade, and enthusiastic volunteers. There were even frozen Otter Pops at about mile 24. That was the best tasting Otter Pop EVER!

One of many highlights of the course was meeting fellow Pro Compression ambassadors Stephanie and Holly at one of the final aid stations.  All three of us were wearing the June sock of the month.

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The Utah Valley Marathon’s finish line was one of the best I’ve seen. It was in the middle of University Ave., there were many people cheering, and there were Jamba Juice smoothies waiting for us once we crossed the finish line!  Fortunately, I had some cash in my Nathan hydration bottle because there were cinnamon rolls for sale at the finish line. #irunforcinnamonrolls


Overall, I’d highly recommend the Utah Valley Marathon. Hmm… I may even have to go back and run the race again sometime.  This race was extra special to me, as I mentioned on my Instagram post because it is the end of my running for a while. I’ll still be moving my body and exercising, but I’ve been ordered to not participate in any high impact workouts until further notice. The #utahvalleymarathon was my third full marathon for 2017 and my 15th lifetime marathon. It was an amazing, sole-filling, whirlwind of a weekend, but so worth it!

Do you have any upcoming races that you’re excited about?  If you’re looking for a race to sign up for, be sure to check out my discount page for codes to use for Rock ‘n’ Roll races, wine country half marathons, Rock ‘n’ Roll races, and more!

Check out my Utah Valley Marathon race review and others at BibRave.com

Find me on the socials: InstagramTwitter / Facebook / YouTube 

Be sure to “subscribe” to my YouTube channel so that you don’t miss out!

Until next time,

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Race Recap: Women’s Fitness Festival 

This was my third time running the Women’s Fitness Festival, but probably my favorite one yet! My first time was in 2013.


At this time, there was a half marathon option. I, and my friend Melissa, met up and ran the half marathon together. I remember the race being hot. Although we enjoyed each other’s company, we both did not have a fantastic race that day. My second time running the Women’s Fitness Festival was last year and I did the 10k. It was fun and I loved getting to meet Deena Kastor, but it was a little lonely doing the race on my own.

This year, I did the 10k and was certainly not alone. Somehow, I managed to have 7 of my girlfriends there to participate in the event with me. And I loved every moment of it!


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Review: Adidas Ultraboost X Shoes

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Adidas UltraBoost X shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

The first running shoe that I purchased at a running specialty store was an Asics shoe. Since 2012, I have mainly stuck with the same Asics Gel Nimbus shoe.  (I may or may not currently have 6 pairs of Asics Gel Nimbus shoes in my closet.)  I have had some minor issues with blistering, but have been overall satisfied with the shoe.

When presented with the opportunity to try out the new Adidas UltraBoost X shoes, I said, “Yes, please!”  I wondered, could this shoe truly give me that extra boost of energy?  Could this shoe provide the cushioning I enjoy with my Asics?  How would it feel to wear a shoe that fits more like a sock?

Needless to say, I was quite excited when my shoes arrived!

I headed out for a quick run to try them out.

img_2037​Here were my initial thoughts:

  • Wow!  So light and great cushioning!
  • It’s breathable and nicely hugs my feet.
  • I thought the fit around the ankles would be too tight, but it wrapped comfortably around my ankle (not too tightly).
  • I’ve been wearing a 10.5 in my Asics running shoes, but I ordered a size 10 (my usual shoe size) in the Adidas UltraBoost X shoes and I felt as though they fit perfectly!

I went out for another run in my new Adidas UltraBoost X shoes and even took a slow motion video!

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As shown in the slow motion video, the shoes truly provide me with an extra boost.  My foot lands lightly on the ground and is energetically rebounded back up.  The arch support at first felt a little strange, but the longer I wore the shoes, the more I got used to the adaptive arch support.

I tried out the Adidas UltraBoost X shoes on the asphalt, the trail, and the treadmill.  As advertised by Adidas, the Continental rubber sole provides great traction on all surfaces!

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I ran the Women’s Fitness Festival 10k in my Adidas UltraBoost X shoes and they felt great!  Lately, I’ve been getting terrible blisters on my toes when I wear my Asics shoes, but with the Adidas UltraBoost X shoes, I have not had a single blister!  The Adidas UltraBoost X shoes provided me with the extra bounce I needed to get a great jump pic in front of the Sacramento State Capitol and the shoes looked cute with the Pro Compression socks!

img_2760My next adventure in my Adidas UltraBoost X shoes included an all day field trip to San Francisco with my 5th grade students.  We left the school at 7:30am and returned at 9pm.  The day included a 1.7 mile run across the Golden Gate bridge.  (Yes, I did in fact run nearly 2 miles in blue jeans and a cotton long sleeve shirt.)

At the end of our field trip, while I was talking to a mom of one of my students (she’s also a runner) about my new shoes, another mom noticed my shoes and said, “Nice shoes!”  I looked down at her feet and she was wearing the same shoes!  She told me how she too use to wear Asics, but also had a problem with blisters.  Years prior, she use to wear Adidas, so she decided to give them another try.   Ever since purchasing her Adidas UltraBoost X shoes online, she’s loved them!

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Some other adventures my Adidas UltraBoost X shoes have seen me through has been a snake sighting, a Memorial Day run, and a quick weekend run get-a-way.  (If you look closely, you’ll see my SmellWell Moisture Absorbing & Odor Eliminating Shoe Freshener and Deodorizer in my Adidas UltraBoost X shoes to Keep my shoes Fresh! Interested in trying out SmellWell for yourself?  SmellWell – Buy 3 for 2 using “BIBPRO10” on Amazon – http://amzn.to/2rKVRq7.)

Some final closing remarks about the Adidas UltraBoost X shoes:

  • Although some may be deterred by the price tag ($180), you can’t put a price tag on a shoe that is going to provide you with great support and keep you injury free.  I normally spend about $150 on my running shoes… way more than I spend on my everyday sandals, boots, etc.
  • Don’t be scared off by the unique Primeknit upper of the shoe.  Go to your local Dick’s Sporting Goods store and ask to try them on.  Know that the arch support may feel a little weird at first, but your foot adjusts after a while leaving you with a great, adaptive fit.

Be sure to check out the Adidas UltraBoost X at Dicks Sporting Goods and also on their social media outlets –Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  

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What is your favorite running shoe?  Do you often stick to the same brand of shoe?  What’s the most important thing you look for in a running shoe? (cost, color, brand, etc.)

Until next time,

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Happy Global Running Day!

Yes, it’s true. Today is Global Running Day!  As a 5th grade teacher, I thought what better way to celebrate than with my students.  So, I went to globalrunningday.org, printed off bib templates, and all 70 fifth graders decorated their own #globalrunningday bib.   This wasn’t my first time celebrating with my 5th graders.  In fact, here’s a picture from last year’s Global Running Day.img_3419

And here is this year’s group picture.

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This year, instead of telling students how many laps they had to do, I instead set a time goal.  I told students that they were to run or walk for 20 minutes.  There were a few who tried whining and griping, but I quickly shared with them about the 94-year-old who just set a new half marathon record.   Needless to say, I didn’t hear any more griping.

I happily ran around the track in my “I run like a girl” shirt and Adidas Ultra Boost X shoes.  Happily, I gave encouragement as I passed each child.

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Going out to the track is nothing new with my students.  We regularly head outside for a quick lap around the track for a “brain break” in the middle of our school day.  The rule for the “brain break” lap is that the students have to stay in front of me.  (I walk the lap.)  Students will sprint ahead of me, walk, and then as I get closer to them, they’ll scream and sprint ahead again.  Throughout our 20 minute track session this morning, there were quite a few screams and statements such as, “How do you keep on running?”

I responded with, “It take dedication and practice.”

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How did you celebrate Global Running Day today?  If you didn’t celebrate this year, what do you plan on doing next year?

Until next time,

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Review: BUFF UV Arm Sleeves

Disclaimer: I received a pair of  BUFF UV arm sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

When I first started running in 2011, I didn’t own a smart watch, a fuel belt, compression socks, nor any arm sleeves.  Now, I don’t know what I would do without all of the amazing running accessories I have found!

One of the latest accessories I have discovered are BUFF UV arm sleeves.  I’ll be honest and say that up until this point, I mainly used knee high socks with the toes cut off as my make-shirt arm sleeves.  Now that I own a pair of real arm sleeves, I won’t be going back to the altered, cotton knee-high socks ever again!

When my BUFF UV arm sleeves first arrived I was a little skeptical.  I wondered if they’d fit, if they’d be uncomfortable, and if I’d get too hot.  Fortunately, I used the sizing chart (shown below) before ordering, so yes, they fit!  Yes, they were comfortable (besides the minor inner arm irritation due to the tag.  Perhaps I’ll end up cutting the tag off.)!  No, I did not get too hot.  CHART_arm-sleeves-run_588x305

My fist time taking out my new BUFF UV arm sleeves, I headed to the nearby levee for a short evening run.  I thought I would feel claustrophobic in the arm sleeves, but thankfully that was not the case.  As soon as I began to sweat a little, the sleeves actually helped to keep me cool.  As stated at BUFFusa.com,  “The highly breathable polyester material wicks moisture, is comfortable next to the skin, and blocks harmful rays.”

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Next, I wanted to test out the BUFF UV arm sleeves for a longer run, so I packed them in my bag when I headed to Reno, Nevada for the Downtown River Run marathon. Yes, I wore the arm sleeves for the entire 6 hour, 26.2 mile race!  At the start of the race it was 37 degrees Fahrenheit.  At the finish line, it was close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The sleeves helped to keep my warm at the starting line and cool towards the finish line. When I started getting warm during the race, I simply poured water over the sleeves at the aid station.  With the sleeve’s breath-ability and moisture wicking technology, I stayed nice and cool while keeping my arms protected from the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Speaking of the sun’s rays, one thing I learned during the Downtown River Run was to put sunscreen on my hands.  Can you tell where the BUFF UV arm sleeve ended?

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I tested the BUFF UV arm sleeves again during the Rina’s Run half marathon. Again, the sleeves helped to keep me warm at the starting line and cool toward the end of the race.  I didn’t have to worry about my arms getting sunburned since the sleeves provide UPF 40+ protection! (*Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) measures the amount of UV radiation that penetrates a fabric and reaches your skin. A fabric rated with a UPF of 40 will allow only 1/40th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through.)

Some of the other things I love about the BUFF UV arm sleeves are the reflective elements strategically placed for better visibility in low-light conditions, the elastic upper with engineered silicone grip so that the sleeve is held comfortably in place, the ease in pulling them on and off as needed, and that the sleeves are light, packable protection that fit nicely in a pack or pocket.

If you have any questions and/or comments about the BUFF UV arm sleeves, please feel free to leave me a comment.  I’d love to hear from you!


BUFF® USA will be sponsoring the weekly #Bibchat on Tuesday, June 6th at 8pm CST on Twitter. You could win a set of UV BUFF® USA Arm Sleeves for chatting! You can also check out BUFF®USA on Facebook and Instagram!

 

Check out some other BibRave Pro bloggers who have reviewed the UV Buff Arm Sleeves!

Lindsey   Tedrick   Amy   Jeannine

Until next time,

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