Finally! The reason for the season. What I had been working towards all summer (but let’s be honest, had only really kicked into gear in August/September)!
The Moab Trail Half!
Two disclaimers- H15l337n355’s parents are in the “Moab Friends-For-Wheelin” club that volunteers and benefits from this race…. And this was my first half-marathon and first trail race. I am a glutton for punishment?
I have run quite a few street 5ks, a couple 10ks, and a 15k though. So at least I know what a race should look like.
Let me start off by saying that this is going to be a rave review. I had so much fun and saw so much beauty… How could it not?
I won’t put the trail map here, you’ll have to go to their site for trail details. Oh! And check out the sweet video footage from the 2014 run. That’ll give you a good idea of what really awaits you!
We (my friend Becky and I) got there about 45min before our wave. There was ample parking and you could camp there the night before if you wanted. It was a long-haul walk from the parking lot to the start. Just think of how good the cool-down will be after the race.
It was a crisp, chilly 30°F, so after a quick pit stop and saying hello to Lydia (my SO’s mom who was volunteering at the registration desk!) we went to warm up by the campfire that was in the middle of everything. We peered around at our surroundings. The start is near the Colorado River and the cliff walls tower across the way.
Soon it was time for our wave (Becky was sweet enough to run in the back with me. Thanks Becks!!). We took off down the road, around the corner and up the trail.
The first couple miles are a blur to me. I remember how much fun it was to jump and run over solid rocks instead of Colorado skree (don’t be mad at me Colorado, I still love you best!).
Eventually we started up the steepest incline of the race. Where we pauses to take this selfie. Can you see the gorgeous panorama behind us?
This is the only photo I have while I was still so bundled up. I took off my coat at the first aid station. (5.7 miles)
The first aid station had rockin music, snacks, water and sports drink. Oh, and my lovely SO, h15l337n355, and Warren who had gotten up and going at some god-awful hour (much earlier than me) to jeep out to the aid station to volunteer. Thanks guys!!
The sand on parts of the trail was so fine and so soft, it was brutal to run through. I don’t know who that person was in front of me, but I know how they felt!
Hey! There’s a view here! Take a pic, quick!
The most beautiful part of the race was Hunter’s Canyon rim before the second aid station. It was so beautiful that I didn’t think to take any pictures! Darn it!
We ran right on the edge of the canyon and had to do some fun rock scrambles. It was fun and scary! People hurt their ankles here. Be careful!
At the second aid station, they had even more snacks, water and sports drink. At this point the marathoners split off to the left and the halfers went to the right. To the right was a disappointingly steep road that seemed to go on forever.
But eventually it ended where we hopped into an icey cold creek that went on for a mile or so. If it sounds like I didn’t enjoy this… Let’s just say I really like how bad-ass I felt about it after. (I did a half-marathon where a mile of it was wading through a creek?! I am awesome.)
Don’t be deceived. This is just the part I felt comfortable taking my phone out on. It would have most likely fell into mud and been ok at this point. Prior to this it would have fell into a foot of water I couldn’t see through.
The run finishes up with a singletrack that crosses this creek a couple more times. And just when you think there really are no more up hills, there’s a brutal embankment to climb up right before the finish. But finally, we were done! Hooray!
We picked up our finisher medals, some hot soup and cheese quesadillas (seriously genius!).
I have to say that I thought the organizers did a great job. The waves left on time and they were spread out enough to reduce bunching. The shirts were nice, the medals were pretty. If you’re the type to be competitive, I saw the trophy’s and they were so cool! There was plenty of food and drinks for everyone. The atmosphere was a party atmosphere.
Remember to bring your ID to registration, they’re pretty strict about that (since only so many people can run on this course and they have a firm wait list system).
I recommend bringing a change of shoes and maybe some warm clothes. After you run through that creek you’ll want them!
This is such an amazing race. I can’t wait to do it again next year! Maybe next time I’ll remember to take more pictures!!