Canyonlands/Moab Half Marathon

Somebody told me last year that the bad weather and very windy conditions were a fluke… otherwise I don’t think I would have signed-up to do this race again. It was too windy and cold to enjoy… so windy in-fact that I found myself trying to “draft” off other runners. While drafting is common in cycling events I never thought I’d need to employ that tactic in a running race!

I watched the weather report for days before leaving for Moab; crossing my fingers that we’d have better weather and less wind this year. As the date approached it looked like we’d be in-luck and would have nice conditions.

This is second year I’ve run this race and was really looking forward to comparing my results. One thing I really enjoy is doing a race (whether it be running, triathlon, or other) multiple times so that an apples-to-apples comparison can be made. I’ve done three different half-marathons in the past few years and the perceived effort and final times have varied greatly. The slope of the course, weather conditions, and other factors have a big impact on the outcome.

We rented a great little condo near the Moab golf course; the master bedroom was very comfortable and even had a gas-fireplace! Unfortunately, the wind started during the night and the vent for the fireplace magnified the howling sound of the wind. I woke in the middle of the night hearing the howling wind and it did not make for a good night’s sleep! The one bright spot was that there were mostly clear skies in the morning — we would be lucky enough to have a little sunshine!

Weather issues aside, I was really looking forward to this event because my two oldest boys were both running it too! One of them did the half-marathon and the other ran the 5-mile event.

Paul-In the canyon

This course has two sections… the first 10 miles are in the canyon along the Colorado River. The second section consists of the last few miles after you leave the canyon and run through Moab city toward the finish line. The canyon section was much better than last year; winds were varied and it felt like we maybe even had a tail wind for a few minutes. ¬†However, after leaving the canyon the winds were VERY strong and directly in our faces. Strong like hurricane-force winds strong. All the runners around me had their heads ducked down and were plugging along at a snail’s pace. I had to keep my eyes mostly closed, despite having sunglasses on, to keep the flying dirt from blinding me.

At the finish my time was 1:51, two minutes slower than the previous year! The positive I took away from this race was that I felt much stronger during the run and felt better afterward as well. My speed hadn’t improved but my strength and endurance had.

It was awesome to see my oldest son cross the finish line a little later and see the sense of accomplishment on his face. Finishing his first 13.1 was probably harder than he anticipated but it’s so cool to see people push themselves and do something new! My second-oldest also did a great job on the 5-mile run, he finished in a respectable time even though he took a tumble on the run and banged up his knee.

Relaxing at Finish

After the race the boys wanted to sleep… I wonder why? So we left them at the condo and Natalie and I, along with the younger kids, headed out for a hike. I’ve heard a lot about these crazy people that rope-swing from some of the large stone arches in the area and I really wanted to see it first-hand. So, we hiked to Corona Arch and were lucky enough to see several people make the jump. Wow, that is pretty amazing! I would like to have been there the first time somebody decided to try it out… how did they know they would survive?! My 7-yr-old watched and then asked when we were jumping… after I told him we probably wouldn’t be jumping he decided that is was really boring to just watch!



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