Sep 04

2013 Pocatello Marathon Recap by Steve

I ran the Pocatello marathon in 2013. I was supposed to run it in 2012 but I had emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed one week before the marathon! It was incredibly disappointing to not run it after all the training I had put in. It was nice to redeem myself in 2013.

Pocatello is a small town but this is a top of the line marathon. There are a lot of good things to say about it. The price of this race is an incredible value compared to what you get. The race bag, personally tagged with your information, was an Adidas sling bag (very cool!) and you get a sack of potatoes (very Idaho). Actually, the volunteers told me to take more bags of potatoes since my kids were doing the kids’ races. On that note, I would like to say that all the volunteers, people working the race, and even residents of Pocatello were incredibly NICE. There is such a warm, pleasant, and courteous vibe there.

The bus ride to the starting line went smoothly. The buses ran on time and were comfortable.

We arrived at a random farm that served as the starting line. There were plenty of port-o-potties. It was a fun feeling being gathered with a bunch of runners at this out-of-the-way spot in the dark.

We started the race running downhill. In fact, the first half of the marathon is downhill (with small exceptions like a short out and back). My plan on the downhill was to run close to my target pace but run comfortably. I didn’t want to expend energy trying to slow myself down. I believe this worked for me because the effort felt the same as the effort I give during an easy run. I can see how the downhill can lure people in to running faster than they should.

The scenery was absolutely beautiful as the sun came up. Many times I just looked around as I ran and enjoyed it. I heard a turkey gobbling at some point which made me chuckle. The weather was also perfect.В

At 13.1 the half marathoners line up to start 1:45 after the full marathoners start. RJ did the half marathon and I gave him a fist bump as I ran by. I can see how having all the runners start on the course at staggered times could be frustrating for some runners. If I didn’t run past the half marathoners before they started, I could have been caught up in a larger group of runners. This doesn’t bother me too much but I can see how some may not like this. The only thing that bothered me was when I caught up to walking 5k/10kers and had to run around them when I was really feeling worn out at miles 23/24. Although it didn’t bother me too much because I ran around one group and they said encouragingly, “Great pace!” Like I said, everyone is so nice!В

The second half of the race is much flatter and there’s a decent hill at mile 21 that took a bit of wind out of me.

The aid stations were well stocked with provisions and enthusiastic helpful volunteers.

The finish area is a beautiful park. The post-race provisions are excellent. After rehydrating and a few bananas, I couldn’t resist a pulled pork sandwich. There were some other cool things at the finish like bounce houses for the kids, massages, and vendors.В

After I finished and rested for a bit, they held the kids’ races. I love it when kids’ races are held. I think it gets the whole family involved. It also promotes an active lifestyle, especially running, for kids. Two of my kids did the “.2” race. They had an absolute blast. For the finish line, they ran through the mouth of an inflatable tiger head (the ISU mascot). Each kid got their own medal and a slice of pizza. Which do you think they liked more? With the registration, each kid also got their own race tech tee and sling bag (not the Adidas one). This is such a value for a very inexpensive kid race.

My oldest child did the 1.5 mile kid race. She is 8 years old and felt like “.2” was too short. I guess she already has the runner mentality! This race is timed, as opposed to the .2 race. For this race, they get to run through the actual finish line. It is fun to see everyone on the sidelines cheering for every kid.

My kids ended up using the bounce houses until the workers took them down. Meanwhile, I got a massage from a DoTerra booth.

Overall, there are so many good things to say about this race. It also helps my attitude that I set a PR on this race. There is such a great atmosphere. I ran with many friends and family (including my sister-in-law for her first marathon). The fact that the race is held on Labor Day weekend really makes it convenient too. I hope to do this race again in the future.

Aug 22

2013 Hoover Dam Marathon Preview by Steve

I ended up doing the Hoover Dam marathon on short notice. I had recently run a marathon but RJ and his wife were coming in to town to run the Hoover Dam marathon. If I chose to run it, I would be doing so only 5 weeks after the previous marathon. I did it anyways. рџ™‚

Hoover Dam is a smaller marathon. Still, Joyce fromВ Calico RacingВ puts on a great race. The registration was nice and simple. Packet pickup was small but efficient.В

Even though the race was held in December. The Boulder City, NV weather was absolutelyВ perfect.

The weather along with the views made for a wonderful experience. The views of Lake Mead, the Six Tunnels trail, and Hoover Dam really make this a race to put on your calendar.В

The race starts out near Lake Mead and heads along the paved River Mountain Loop trail to the Six Tunnels dirt trail (also known as the Historic Railroad trail). You run on hard packed dirt through some very cool tunnels (they will throw your Garmin off рџ™‚ As you run along the ridge, you will get more views of Lake Mead. After the tunnels, you go down a switchback walkway (ugh!) and reach the turnaround at the top of the Hoover Dam parking garage. This is when you will get a great view of the Hoover Dam.В

You turn around and head back. This makes one lap. 1/2 marathoners head back to the finish and marathoners do another lap.В

Normally, I prefer when races don’t have laps. My favorites are point-to-point. However, I enjoyed the two laps on this race for two reasons. 1. The views are so good, you have to do them twice. 2. I was so focused on the race that on the first lap, I missed the view of the Hoover Dam! Fortunately, on the second lap, I made sure to get a good look.

This course is definitely worth it for a 1/2 or full marathon. If you do the half, make sure you don’t miss the view!В

The course has a good amount of elevation change and the switchback walkway was kind of awkward to run on. It isn’t a PR race (it definitely wasn’t for me) but that isn’t the reason to choose this marathon. The views are worth it. I have gone back to this location to run the trails again and still enjoy it.В

Jun 29

2013 Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Recap by Steve

I ran the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in 2013. It’s a fun large city race and part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series. I had never been to Seattle before and it was a great way to see the city!

The marathon expo was also quite large. Brooks had a huge section as a major sponsor and did not disappoint. It was pleasant walking around and seeing what various companies had to offer related to running.

One thing Seattle is known for is rain. We got lucky on race day because it rained the days before and the days after but on race day it was a clear beautiful day!

The race was incredibly organized. Everything went smoothly. Dropping off your bags, getting in your corral, and finish area were all efficient. There were tons of port-o-potties too, which runners will appreciate! The aid stations were well stocked and in Rock ‘n’ Roll series style, they were full of enthusiastic and sometimes costumed volunteers. I like the fact that they had the bands but I had my own music so I didn’t experience much of that aspect. The various groups cheering, people giving you high fives, and folks holding signs were uplifting. The portion of the race with the veterans and soldiers killed in action particularly stirred my heart. The race itself was a great experience.

The course had some fun variety to it. You start at Seattle Center and make your way through the city to Seward Park. The park is beautiful and I could see Mt Rainier in the distance. From there, we made our way up to the 1-9, across the bridge, through a tunnel (who doesn’t love tunnels? besides my Garmin) and back. On the bridge, I could again see Mt Rainier across the water in the distance. Just beautiful. Then, we made our way back to the Seattle Center. The course map showed the race had some hills but I didn’t think it was as bad as the elevation chart indicated.В

The finish line was top notch. People can line up to watch their runner come in. I was so excited because I got a PR and was pumped to finish. The volunteers load you up with the normal race finishing water and fuel. A very nice touch was the cold towel handed to me. It felt glorious! They have an area for spectators to meet up with runners which helps keep things from getting clogged up. Then, after all this I went to do some tourist activities, like the Space Needle (after a shower, that is).В

This race was a great experience. I would do it again and would recommend it to others. I would also recommend the Rock ‘n’ Roll series. It can be a bit pricey but they put on a good race.В