May 12

Labor of Love Marathon Recap by Steve

I approached this marathon much differently than the others. First of all, I ran this marathon on a whim. I was originally planning on a Saturday long run. However, I thought it would be nice to have a new course safely laid out, fuel placed along the way, and a few extra miles. I showed up on race day with cash in hand for the marathon.

It’s nice to add spontaneity to life.

This race takes place in Lovell Canyon among the Spring Mountains. If you enjoy desert mountain scenery, you will appreciate the views. I thought it was actually quite lush as far as a desert setting goes.

The course runs along a winding and hilly paved road. The road wasn’t shut down but there were very few cars using it. It’s mostly an out-and-back course with an extra turnaround near the halfway point to round out the mileage to 26.2. The road could use a repaving but that isn’t a big a deal to me. Overall, it is a tough course with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. The high temperatures (80s/90s) didn’t help either. It probably isn’t going to be your PR course, but I don’t think the goal always has to be a new PR.


My goal for this race was simply to get in a good workout. I strapped on my heart rate monitor and did my best to keep it in a low zone throughout the race. Keeping my heart rate in a low zone was tough on some of the climbs. I forced myself to slow down or walk to get my heart rate back down. Mentally, I couldn’t let it bother me when people passed me or get lured into racing hard. In the end, I accomplished my goal of getting a good workout. I didn’t push too hard and felt great the next day.

Calico Racing always puts on a solid event. Everything flowed well logistically. The volunteers and support were great. It’s not a huge event, so if you prefer races with fewer participants, this is a good one. I really like the shirt and medal too.

If you’re looking for a well-organized, challenging, low-key marathon in May (and in Nevada) this one is a great choice. Other distances offered for the event include 5k, 10k, half marathon, 50k, and 50 miles.
As always, if you have questions or comments about this particular event, feel free to post something below.
Sep 20

Mesquite Tri State Marathon Recap by Steve

I ran the Mesquite Tri-States Marathon in 2012. This was actually my first marathon. I am writing this review after having completed five marathons so I have a little more perspective.

Mesquite is small-ish town in Nevada about an hour away from Las Vegas. For the 2012 marathon, the event was run by the Casablanca hotel. They are no longer running the event. It is now run by Planet Ultra.

The organization of the race by Casablanca was okay. There were plenty of hotel deals in Mesquite. The race swag wasn’t great. The shirts were plain. The medal was very cool though. I’m sure it will be better with Planet Ultra involved.


This race has a point-to-point course. We took a bus from Mesquite, NV to Utah. The great thing about this course (and why it is called the Tri States marathon) is that you start in Utah, run through Arizona, and then finish in Nevada. Very cool! The course is mostly downhill with a few rollers on the latter part of the race. The elevation chart really hides those hills, particularly one at mile 21 (Why does there always seem to be a hill this late in the race?). The scenery was beautiful and the weather was perfect. We finished at the Casablanca hotel. They had a nice modest finish festival.

If you want a low key race with fewer participants, fewer spectators and a great course, then this race is for you. I actually remember chatting with another runner during the marathon saying she specifically chose this course because there would be fewer people. Everyone running was very nice and I made some new friends.

The aid stations were stocked decently. I have seen better but I didn’t know any better at the time. The volunteers were outstanding as always though.

This unique Tri-State course with lots of downhill is great choice, especially if you’re looking for something less crowded. It was a great easygoing race for this first timer.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.