Salt Lake City Half Marathon Race Report

By , April 23, 2013 11:48 am

Racing while traveling is tricky, right? You are sleeping in a different bed*, eating different foods, maybe sight-seeing… you might be in a different time zone, at a higher altitude… you’re out of your comfort zone! Ha ha ha. All of these things describe the setup for running the Salt Lake City (SLC) Half Marathon last Saturday.

But! I love to race when I visit a new place. What an awesome way to see the city, and wonderful opportunity to meet and chat up with local folks! So. It’s totally worth it to me to run the race, even if I know “conditions” aren’t ideal.**

I’ve had a great training season this year. I thrive running in the cold and dark, and I got a lot of miles in. I was hoping for a PR at the SLC half. I only had two concerns: the altitude and lack of course elevation map. Okay, let’s add two more – eating strange foods and not getting much sleep. Okay, one more (ha!) – hiking the day before.

What?! I was not supposed to hike up a steep 350′ incline the night before the race to get views of the city?


Or eat delicious vegan baked goods (I only had (parts of) two!!!)?


Or eat dinner at 10:30? Go to bed past 12:00 and get up at 5:00?

Pssssh. I didn’t want to miss a thing in SLC. Ha! I thoroughly enjoyed my pre-race day.

I am really good at dragging this out, aren’t I? Ha ha ha. You guys know I will keep the actual race part short and sweet. But first.

I went on a short run Thursday night with Marty*** to test out how I felt running “at altitude.” Er… my lungs felt like they had a little furnace in them right away. No bueno. Obviously, this picture of Marty and me is taken pre-furnace.


So Saturday morning, I didn’t know what to expect. I decided to start out at a PR pace, and back off if I needed to.

I was NOT expecting to feel so emotional before the race. I rode TRAX from my hotel in downtown SLC, to get to the start line at U of U. Two stops before the final destination, bomb-sniffing dogs came on. The bomb squad was at the start. Police were everywhere. A helicopter flew overhead before the race and for the entire event. Everyone had Boston gear on. They were handing out these bracelets. I had my Boston ribbons on.




(last picture is post race)

I was choked up.

But spending time before the race chatting with other runners calmed me. Long conversations, just getting to know people. I ran in to a guy I met at the expo, remembered his name, and we chatted some more. I talked to people in my pace group. Introduced myself. Learned a lot of tidbits about people.

It was a great feeling. I really do love talking to other runners and connecting with people. And the thing is… the community is always like this. Not just post tragic-event. But that has put it in to perspective.

An interesting tidbit – “Sweet Caroline” was played at the start. I didn’t understand the significance until I read the paper the next day. Now, I can’t get it out of my head!

Alright. Let’s get going.


Did I mention it started raining about an hour before the race? And never stopped the whole damn time? Hee hee. I do love running in the rain. It felt awesome. The only sad part is that it was super foggy and the mountain views were not as clear as I was hoping. Darn.

I started with the 1:50 pacer. Following my plan to stick with pace and drop back if the altitude got to me.

That worked for five miles. Yep! That’s it! This (newly designed) course is a net downhill of 600′ (elevation line in green below – click to see larger)! Wheeeee! But! There are a few uphills in there too. And my heart rate was super high on those. I kept losing the pacer on the uphills, then trying to catch up. Oops. I’ve become a lot stronger on uphills, but that is where the lack of O2 got to me. I had to back it off to play it safe. So I slowed down and just enjoyed the race – and more downhills!


I smiled. I thanked the tons of police officers. I thought about how grateful I was to be able to run. I thought about how I run because I love to – not always for PRs. I talked to other runners. Someone who was in my pace group (Cami) caught me and passed me… but then we ran the last final miles together. She kept thanking me for being so strong and pulling her in. I felt fabulous! Just had to be careful on those few uphills.


And Marty was there. Waiting in the rain for a long time, to see me run. What an awesome friend (and we had met for the first time two days prior)! I definitely got a second wind after seeing him!




In case you want to see what supination looks like.

It was such an enjoyable race. I feel so lucky that it was going on the weekend I was there. And I also feel lucky that Marty was there and came to the finish (and later gave me a ride to my hotel), because DAMN! I was freezing after I finished! Ha ha! I had a bag with a long sleeved shirt and a light jacket in gear check. The bag was sitting out in the rain. My hands were so cold I couldn’t tell if the jacket in my bag was wet or dry. I had to have someone check for me. Ha ha ha.


Oh! My finish time! 1:54:54. 40 seconds off my PR! Ha! And I added a bit of extra mileage with my weaving. Round of applause to Kim…

Edited to add: 50 seconds off my PR. Derp. Math bad Kim no smart. My PR is 1:54:06. So. No PR for Kim.


I would love to run this race again. I kind of fell in love with Utah. And imagine I would more, if I saw the rest of the state.

So, what’s next? Derp. Find a 5K to run this week. I am coming from a higher altitude! Let’s see if those legs have some speed in them!

Just kidding. My favorite half – the Wisconsin Half Marathon – is coming up on May 4th**** I already told my BIL I am ditching him and going for the gold. I have a pacer lined up and everything. Boo yah. Unless I decide I don’t feel like running fast that day.

And if you made it this far in this post, applause to you! I reward***** you with this funny picture of my sudsy knees during the race! I would like to hear if anyone else has ever had sudsy clothes during a race or run? Ha ha.


*We won’t mention the part about sleeping next to a loud snorer.
**How do the elites do it? I suppose they get to the location early to acclimate.
***More about my awesome time with Marty later this week!
****May the fourth be with you!
*****Not much of a reward since I already posted it on my blog FB page.

58 Responses to “Salt Lake City Half Marathon Race Report”

  1. Melissa says:

    Awesome! I love finding races when I go out of town. The sudsy clothes thing is really funny…I have never seen that before! Salty, yes; sudsy, no.

  2. Congrats on the awesome race! It sounds like it was a great time. Those vegan treats look amazing, btw. I expect a full post on the foods and sights later!

  3. Kim says:

    What is going on with the soapy knees? So strange!

    Great job on the race!!!

  4. Heather says:

    Wow, what a race in the elevation – you totally KILLED it!!

  5. Holy cow- you did FANTASTIC…let alone at a race where you are out of your natural running environment! Kudos to you! (And great photo of your supination by the way HAHA!)

  6. Ashley says:

    Awesome race!!!

  7. J says:

    Awesome job on the race girl! You did so good! I am so glad your training is paying off.

    Also on the foot strike thing, I just finished reading born to run and it made me think of your foot. I don’t know what type of shoe you run in, but maybe you should try running barefoot outside on a turf field or something similar and have someone video you to see if you do that thing while you don’t have shoes on. That may help to see if its the shoes or if you really do that naturally.

    • kilax says:

      That is a good idea. I actually switched to these shoes in late 2010 because I was in shoes for pronators! BAD idea. So these have supported me a lot, but maybe something else would be better πŸ™‚

  8. Xaarlin says:

    Having fun and being thankful for the ability to run. Amen.
    The poster being sent to Boston + sweet Caroline would have made me a wreck with emotion. It is nice they did a tasteful tribute for the tragedy.

    You kicked butt out there with all the challenging conditions! The sudsy knees are a hoot!
    You are such a warm friendly person- love hearing these stories of how you make friends wherever you go πŸ™‚

    Supination.. Crap, I might do that too. Is it bad??

    Have a feeling you’re going to do awesome next week… Poor BIL. He will need to find someone to run with now!!

    • kilax says:

      It was really tasteful! I was impressed! A lot of the talk from race organizers seems tasteful. Thankfully.

      Aww, thank you! Remind me to tell you the story about how one time my mom said I was NOT a people person (come to find out she didn’t even know the true definition of one) so I took every opportunity on this trip to tell her I was talking to people and making “new friends.” HA!

      Supination is not bad if that is what your body wants you to do! It just depends on how it affects the rest of you. Ideally, we’d all land center midfoot, right? Me too lazy to work on that.

      Ha ha ha. BIL and I have planz…

  9. Jess says:

    Congrats on a great race! Your ankle looks like it’s going to break in half in that picture, eek! I missed your posts while you were gone and glad you had a great trip!

  10. Trying to PR at altitude? Girl, you crazy! BTW, did you think the entire time about partial pressure and oxygen and hemoglobin. I will love you forever if you did!

    Anyways, congrats on a race well done! Fingers crossed that Kenosha treats you well. We’ll save the vegan treats for post-race.

    • kilax says:

      Ha! Dream big, right?!

      GIRL!!!!! You know I did! I read that chapter in the book again before I went. Especially the part that said there could be less wind resistance at altitude (there wasn’t).

      YES VEGAN TREATS!!!! NOMZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Pete B says:

    Cool that it rained. I like to race in the rain because it’s cool and because of it’s cooling effect! Congrats on the near PR. When I miss my goal by a few seconds I always think I could have saved those seconds by not weaving or not doing too much high-fiving. But what fun would that be? πŸ™‚

    • kilax says:

      Yes! That is why I like running in the rain too πŸ™‚

      I think that was exactly why I missed my PR. Ha ha ha. Oh well! There are PLENTY of halves and it’s not like I run so fast that I cannot try another later on if I want!

  12. Nice job! Those baked goods do look delicious!

  13. Kiersten says:

    Sounds like my race in Chile. No real time to acclimate and I was way too busy having fun and seeing the city to rest. I think in a way though that it helps me because I don’t have time to worry. Does travelling to a race help you take the focus off your race performance?

    Looks like this race was great, despite the rain. Awesome job!

    • kilax says:

      It was exactly like that! Traveling usually does make me think less about performance and more about having fun. I remember being a bit nervously excited about the NYCM though!

  14. there is always The Race that’s Good for Life 5k in Oak park this weekend…I’ll be there… come on you know you want to drive an hour for a 5k snort. Awesome race report!! Don’t know about the sudsy knees! how odd!

    • kilax says:

      I would love to go to that race and support Erin’s running club! I am unavailable though! Have a fun race!!! πŸ™‚

  15. Congrats on a great race! I love running on vacation and being able to run a race is even better. I always do so much weaving during races. It may be inefficient but you do get more miles for your money :).

    I’m learning to like running in the rain. I ran a few miles this morning and it wasn’t bad at all. I bet I’d like racing in it too because it cools you down!

    • kilax says:

      HA! I love that! Yes! You get more than those suckers who only ran 13.1. Ha!

      That is the best part about running in the rain. And all you need is a good hat and a warm core! Okay, and a hot shower after.

      Happy Birthday!

  16. EmilyJ says:

    Way to go! Glad you felt great and still did well even in the altitude. You are a rock star!!

  17. Heather says:

    Great job! I supinate too and freak people out if they catch it in a pic, haha!

    We thought so hard about doing the WI half marathon but we registered for the Cinco de miler before knowing about the WI half…I want to meet you! Wah.

    • kilax says:

      We will meet! We live so damn close! Throw me some dates. Uhh… I am busy most weekends until July. Weeknights. LOL.

  18. Christina says:

    Congrats on beating your PR by 40 seconds! I love running when I am on vacation because I can explore new sites.

    • kilax says:

      Oops! Sorry I was unclear. I was over my PR. And I just realized it was 50 seconds, not 40. Whoa. Math. Not so good at it.

  19. bobbi says:

    LOVE love love everything about this. The only thing that would have made this better was if you HAD PRd, but what the eff ever – you had FUN!

    I had a lot of the same thoughts as you did while I was running Sunday. Boston has reminded me to be grateful. That we are lucky. That running is supposed to be FUN πŸ™‚

    And thanks for the link about Sweet Caroline – I had wondered what it was that made it a Boston “thing” and now I know πŸ™‚

  20. abbi says:

    Great job! I love running in a new city as well. None of my races have worked out quite that well though, they always tend to be disasters with the travel part!

  21. Kandi says:

    Wow! Awesome race (at altitude) (I have no idea what that feels like since I’ve never even been at altitude)! I think you will kill it on May 4th!
    Glad you decided to go with the half marathon!

  22. Michele says:

    Awesome race!!!!

    LOVE your last pic of sudsy knees! I have to say I’ve never seen anything like that!

  23. Girl you look AWESOME in that last photo!!! Who’s been working out?!

  24. Rachel says:

    Were you crawling through the salt flats before the race? I have never seen that happen to pants before! πŸ™‚

    Oh you’re just so cute and happy and fun and supinatingly wonderful. I’m so glad you had a good time in SLC and at the race.

    You will nail that PR in WI where we have plenty of oxygen to spare! Can’t wait to see you next weekend.

    • kilax says:

      Ha ha hahahahah! Nope. Sigh. I am not sure why my pants decided to be special that day. Derp, pants. Derpadiddlydo.

      AHHH!!! SQUEEEE! I get to see you soon! I MIGHT be in costume. MIGHT.

  25. Anne says:

    That’s awesome you got a PR despite the hills, altitude, and your knees bleeding soap. And yay for a vacation friend! Our new vacay friends already Facebooked us (because I gave them Bob’s super easy to remember name, but still), so it’s not surprising that you did πŸ™‚

    I had a really good PR race last year the day after: going to a concert with friends, drinking beers at said concert, meeting other friends at a bar, drinking more beers and eating tons of deep-friend food, and getting home at 1am. It was also an emotional race, so maybe one thing overcomes all those not so ideal things.

    • kilax says:

      Sorry! I was over my PR! I was unclear. But I was close.

      I want to hear about your new friends!!! πŸ™‚

      Ha ha ha. That sounds like a good pre-race routine. Should I try that for Kenosha?

      You ready for back to back races this weekend, you badass?!

      • Anne says:

        Oh, my bad! I just assumed you had gotten it, but being close with all of those factors is still really really awesome!

        We met our new friends on a boat with an open bar, so no mystery as to how that happened πŸ™‚

        But I do recommend my pre-race gorging/drinking/staying up late routine to anyone! Just don’t go with my pre-Shuffle routine of puking all week.

  26. Erin says:

    Oh yeah, you’ve got Wisconsin in the bag! You ran a great race in SLC and you know the Wisconsin course like the back of your hand.

    I’m happy the SLC race was a happy event for you in the end and that Marty came out to cheer. What a great experience to have!

  27. Marcia says:

    I have heard of sudsy knees before but cant remember who had them. WHat is up with that? Glad you enjoyed the altitude race. That was pretty much my experience in CO. Net downhill but too many uphills too in thin air. Enjoy being super-sonic here at sea level!

  28. martymankins says:

    BEST BLOG POST EVER!!! (and not just cause there’s two pics of me on it… he he)

    It was so fun to meet you and to cheer you on (rain or shine, I would have been out there). If you come back next year for the 2014 SLC Marathon, I promise to run with you. (I will have to find someone else to wait in the rain to take photos)

    Good luck on the WI race next week.

    • kilax says:

      Yes! That is why! Hee hee hee.

      WHAT?! You would run the marathon? Or half? Yes. This is reason to come back for sure (like I don’t already have a million). πŸ™‚

      • martymankins says:

        I promise to do the half, but if I can get my ass in gear before winter hits hard again, AND can be in decent shape, I *might* be open to the whole 26.2 miles. But that’s a big MIGHT. For sure, I will prepare and get ready for a 13.1 half.

        • kilax says:

          THAT WOULD BE SO EFFIN’ SCHWEET!!! I would be in! And I would bring Steven this time πŸ˜€

          Are you ready to run outside though? πŸ˜›

  29. Beth says:

    I’m sorry you just barely missed your PR, but from the photos it looks like you had a blast running the race. You’re right, racing is an awesome way to get to travel and see new places. I hope you can PR in Wisconsin!

  30. Maggie says:

    I think some elites train at altitude … CHEATERS. LOL. Also, I think you should count this as your altitude PR! I have only ever tried walking at altitude (in the Rocky Mountains) and it was HARD. So to be that close to your PR is awesome!!

    • kilax says:

      They sleep at altitude and train at sea level! CHEATERS INDEED! So they have all the benefits of more red blood cells, and train like the rest of us schmucks. What the what!

      Thanks πŸ˜€ I was pleased. Ha.

  31. Erica says:

    See you make it look fun! And soapy πŸ˜‰ that has happened to me, too.

    Great run! I would love to try that one. I love destination halves. I did 3 this year so far!

    • kilax says:

      You should do this one! What is your next destination race?!

      Yay! I am not the only runner with the soap issue! πŸ™‚

      • I am signed up for Indy Mini, Cleveland (friend there), Seawheeze (Vancouver) North Country (Michigan), Michigan Wine Trail though the summer. Lots if fun! Oh and Mt Washington Road Race in June. That is a bad idea! Will make for a good blog post πŸ˜‰

  32. Look at your gooditude as you run through the rain! I’m really on the fence about traveling to run. I mean, I love the idea of it, but why am I paying for races if not to do my very best? And I can’t do my very best when I’m also focused on experiencing the local culture, nightlife, and food. So….maybe I’m not all THAT on the fence about it. Runcations are not for me! πŸ™‚

    • kilax says:

      LOL! They aren’t for everyone! I know a few other people who only like to race when they run their best too! I usually run races for fun and only “race” races a few times a year πŸ™‚

  33. Kristina says:

    Kind of random, but I really like the top that you were – and the arm warmers!
    I would definitely look at this as a great training run which will get you where you want to be for May 4. Good luck with that!
    I do travel specifically FOR an event (in CA, mainly), but I rarely/never sign up for a run/race just because I’m going to be somewhere. Pretty cool that you combined work + play.

    • kilax says:

      Aww, thank you! My friend Anne ( had this Nike “Kapow” top in green and when I saw it I had to get one for myself! And I am doing a giveaway for the arm warmers (similar design) today!

      I’d like to do more of what you do – travel for races! My husband thinks I am a bit cray cray, always looking for races to do when I travel πŸ™‚

  34. kelsey says:

    What GREAT race pictures!!!! I love them! You look so happy to be out there running. I love you!

  35. Woohoo!! Congrats, girl! That’s awesome!
    When I saw the first pic of you with Marty, I thought “are her arms tattooed?”, then I realized they were arm warmers. Those are sweet!!

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