Search results for 'grand canyon half marathon'

PA Grand Canyon Half Marathon (Race Recap)

20 Aug

On July 26th I ran the PA Grand Canyon Half Marathon in Wellsboro, PA. This was the inaugural year for the half marathon and the second year they did the full marathon (the half marathon was on saturday, the full on sunday).

My dad and I drove to Wellsboro after work on Friday, since their packet pickup went pretty late. I was grateful not to have to take a day off of work! Packet pickup was a breeze since this was a smaller race. We got a nice unisex tech shirt and our bibs. They also had a small selection of Gus and other running gear in case you needed anything last minute. We stayed at the Penn Wells Hotel¬†in downtown Wellsboro. The location was great – really close to the school where packet pick up and the race shuttles were – and parking was super convenient since they have their own lot. The hotel is an older hotel that has a Victorian feel. It has a lot of character but don’t stay there expecting a Marriott. ūüôā

We walked around downtown looking for dinner and eventually walked into a local Italian place thanks to Yelp recommendations. I got my typical Cesar salad and Pasta (stuffed shells, yum). And also had a beer… because that counts as additional carbs. Right? Right. ūüôā It didn’t seem to cause any issues with my performance the next day, I ¬†just made sure to be good and hydrated and drank plenty of water with it.

After dinner we went back to the hotel and I set out my race day outfit.

PA Grand Canyon Half 1 (1)I also loved the two digit bib number. How often does that happen?!

Saturday morning we woke up early – like Disney race early – to get ready and head to the school where they were running shuttles to the PA Grand Canyon, where the race was. It was about a 35 minute drive, so the Race Director recommended getting on as early of a shuttle as you could (they started running at 4:15 with the last one leaving at 5:45). I think we caught a shuttle around 4:45. Crazy early. But it was really nice to just drive the short distance to the school and then have someone handle the driving to the race course. ūüôā

Once we got to the canyon it was still dark and we had plenty of time to go to the rest room multiple times, stretch, eat last minute gels, etc. They had an emcee there to entertain us and the overall atmosphere was really relaxed. It reminded me of how I have always imagined a trail race would be. Basic start and finish line with a banner, small, relaxed atmosphere. ¬†I think if I did this race again I would take¬†a beach towel or something to sit/lay on while waiting. The bag check was on the honor system though- there was an area to leave it right by the start/finish line¬†so you can literally drop any “throwaway clothes” off at the bag check 5 minutes before the race starts. No need to actually throw them away. ūüôā

I took this photo of the canyon after the sun came up. Gorgeous right?

PA Grand Canyon Half 2

At 7am sharp the race started and it took maybe 30 seconds for me to cross the start. From the very beginning I loved the race course. It was so wonderful being out and close to nature. Here’s a blurry photo to give you an idea of the course.PA Grand Canyon Half 3

Most of the course was packed gravel roads which was a different running surface than I was used to be it was totally fine to run on.¬†Pacing wise, I tried to stick to my marathon goal pace to see how¬†it felt. I took a 1 minute walk break at every mile marker (I’m planning to do the same for the Wineglass Marathon) and walked to take gus and go through the water stops.

I just took in the sights and sounds of nature and smiled literally for the first 9 miles. I was loving it. Around mile 5 there was a pro photographer taking photos of runners at an overlook. I liked the photo so much I bought it.PA Grand Canyon Half 4

What other race could provide such an awesome view? ūüôā My pace was good, I was loving the course, and enjoying the amount of runners around me – I was able to run “alone” but there was always someone a little bit in front and behind me so I never felt really alone. It was perfection.

At mile 10 or so things started to go down hill. First up? Chafing. awesome. I have never had issues with my legs chafing in a race before, but I just purchased a new tube of body glide and for some reason it didn’t seem to work as well as the previous one. It hurt really really bad. I have never stopped at a med stop before but I had to this time – he gave me some “surgical lubricant” that sort of worked – but it stung putting it on and by the end of the race it had worn off again. It was SO frustrating to feel good but have my skin¬†hurt so bad that I had to slow to a walk/waddle. So frustrating. Lesson learned. I bought a new tube of a different anti-chafe product the day after I got home from the race.

Around mile 11 the course gets a bit tough. It is pretty much up hill. PA Grand Canyon Half Elevation

One thing to keep in mind with my Garmin data is that because this course is really out in the middle of no where the Garmin doesn’t do the best job calculating. I think my final “distance” was 13.6 or something. So take the elevation chart for what it is – a general look at the elevation but not exact.

The hills felt steep and they just felt like they kep going from mile 11 til the very end. To be honest I don’t remember the downhill that’s shown around 12.5. I just remember feeling so mentally defeated – I’d get up what I thought was the hill, only to turn the corner and see another uphill. It was very tiring. ¬†I give anyone who was able to run up those hills a lot of credit.

Looking at my pacing I really did stick to my marathon pace until mile 10, so for that I am pretty happy. But my pace for the last three miles was not good at all. Final Time was 3:22:13. Not a time I am proud of or I hoped I would end in given how great I felt in the beginning of this race.

However, I would do this race again, hands down. I love the relaxed feel of it, the small size and the scenery can’t be beat. Next time I’ll just make sure to use more Body Glide. ūüôāPA Grand Canyon Half 5


A Tweet from Meb + Wineglass Marathon Training (Week 8)

1 Aug

First off, I freaked out momentarily yesterday.

Meb was doing a twitter chat and I figured, what the hell, lets ask a question and see if he responds.

Imagine my surprise when he actually did!!! With great advice too.

If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.

And yes, I’m aware Wineglass isn’t *technically* my first marathon since I did the Goofy Challenge¬†in 2013, however, this is the first time I am training specifically for the 26.2 mile journey and am focusing on finishing strong.


I can’t believe how quickly this training cycle is going. I’m going to be at the start line in a little over 2 months! I’m still loving Run¬†Faster, Run Less¬†– and I feel like I am definitely getting stronger mentally and physically.

Saturday ‚ÄstPA Grand Canyon Half Marathon!!! (Recap soon, promise)

Sunday ‚ÄstComplete and total rest day. It. was. glorious.

Monday ‚Äď 4.5¬†miles of speedwork (800s)

Tuesday ‚ÄstBodyAttack* + BodyPump*

Wednesday ‚Äď 8¬†mile tempo run (1 miles warm up, 6¬†at pace, 1 cool down), I had RPM scheduled for the morning but woke up with some… womanly woes… so I opted to stay in bed. So glad I did – my run wouldn’t have been as strong if I had forced RPM, I am sure of it.

Thursday ‚Äď BodyAttack + BodyPump

Friday ‚ÄstP90x3 Yoga

Total Miles: 25.6

*Links for more information: BodyPump, BodyAttack

This weekend I’ve got a 10 mile long run (guess it’s a cut back week?) planned, and will probably do 2 hours at the gym on Sunday – either BodyPump + RPM or BodyPump + BodyFlow, depending on how I’m feeling.

Have a great weekend!!!

Celebrating 100 races… and the Best Of!

20 Apr

Since I recently completed my 100th race (the Hershey 10k) I thought it would be fun to look back at the 100 races I’ve done¬†and¬†break down my race history with some stats and give some thoughts on the “best of” races in lots of different categories (based on the races I’ve run). I would be really hard pressed to give my overall favorite race ever, but I think I can give some suggestions and things to consider if¬†you are creating your own race schedule.

By the numbers…

3 marathons

33 half marathons

9 10ks

38 5ks

4 color runs

3 relays

2 mud runs (Warrior Dash and Dirty Girl)

1 Bermuda Triangle Challenge

1 Goofy Challenge

7 years, 10 months of running from my first race to #100!

The Best Of…

(based on the races I’ve run at least ūüôā )

Best Half Marathon for a First Timer: Disney Princess Half Marathon – This race is all about fun and the course time limit is very generous. Instead of focusing on a finishing time (which you shouldn’t do on your first half anyhow) you can focus on having fun in the happiest place on earth!

Disney Princess Half (4)

Best Marathon for a First-Timer: Wineglass Marathon – They have a really long time limit and the volunteers are super friendly. The water stops stay open for the back of the pack runners. The course is a net-downhill so you can focus on completing the distance and less about the course itself. They also leave the finish line open for the very last runner (and the photographers stick around too). Oh and the medals are hand printed glass!


Best Half Marathon to Race: D&L Heritage Half Marathon – I may be partial since this race holds my current half marathon PR, but this course can’t be beat. There is one hill at the beginning and from there it is smooth sailing downhill. The hill does not set your time back at all, given the rest of the course. The course is also shaded so it doesn’t get too hot, even if the sun is out. They offer pacers (including 2:45 and 3:00 if I remember right) so you can tag along with others to help reach¬†your goal!

Best 5k to Race: One of my favorite 5ks was the Rock n Roll Savannah 5k¬†which I realize is pretty random. But it is flat, runs through a scenic park and ends in a baseball stadium which is really cool. ¬†It’s definitely PRable if the weather cooperates!

Rock n Roll Savannah 5k (4)

My Proudest Performance: Niagara Falls International Half Marathon – I ran this race as miles 8-20 of a 20 miler during marathon training, and managed to PR and break the 2:30 barrier for the first time. Oh, and it was rainy and windy. ūüôā


Races I’d Do Again and Again: Pittsburgh Half Marathon – It may be clear from my race history but I love Pittsburgh. This year will be my 6th year running it. The energy and excitement that running in Pittsburgh brings keeps me going back year after year. The¬†fact that there are tons of awesome spectators, it’s so well organized and the registration price isn’t insane for a big city race (as long as you register early) are the icing on the cake.

Pittsburgh Half 2015 (8)

I also love the Hershey 10k¬†(5 years and counting…)¬†because of its simple packet pickup and fun course that runs through the theme park. It’s a challenging one because of the hills but I love being able to push myself for “only” 6.2 miles during this race.

Hershey 10k 2014 (2)

Race I’d Never Do Again: Hershey Half Marathon – This is nothing that is¬†fault of the race itself, more my own preference (since clearly I’ve gone back year after year for the Hershey 10k and also gone back to do the half marathon relay). I had a really rough race here in 2011 – my legs were tired by mile 5. And the hills just never gave me a reprieve. ¬†I have no desire to give the entire half marathon another go.

Race that is a Rural Gem: Bird in Hand Half Marathon – From starting in a field¬†and dodging cow poop to¬†running between Amish farms and school houses, it really does not get more rural than that. Throw in some wonderful scenery (think green hills and clear blue sky) and well stocked water stations (and Rita’s ice!) and you’ve got an awesome rural race.


Race that is a City Gem:¬†Cherry Blossom 10 miler¬†– This is a wonderful race through Washington DC that doesn’t go through the mall. Instead you run around the tidal basin and are treated to some gorgeous waterfront scenery.

Cherry Blossom (3)

The Route 66 Marathon/Half Marathon or 5k are also great races that give you a tour of Tulsa Oklahoma and the surrounding neighborhoods. The locals come out and cheer for you and running through Tulsa is like one big party!


Most Challenging Race: Harpers Ferry Half Marathon – There are so many insane hills during this race. ¬†Throw in some trail running and running through a battlefield and you’ve got a tough race in front of you. But, the views and the gorgeous course make it pretty worth it. Plus running through a National Park is pretty cool too!

Harpers Ferry Half (7)

The Pennsylvania Grand Canyon Half Marathon¬†comes in a close second place for most challenging race. It’s also got some relentless hills and can be hot since it is in the summer but again, the views are spectacular. Unfortunately upon doing some research I’ve found that this race has been discontinued. Hopefully some day it will come back!


Best Water Stops: The Springfoot Half Marathon had some awesomely fun themed water stops (like Harry Potter!). The volunteers were having a blast which made the runners have a blast too!

Springfoot Half (3)

Best Challenge Series: While I know Disney’s Goofy Challenge has some huge fans, I have to hand this one to the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. ¬†With the first race (1 mile) being downtown, the second (10k) in the middle of the island and the third (13.1/26.2) a loop (or 2) around the entire island, this challenge shows you a LOT of Bermuda and there’s little repeating. The locals are out and cheering and super friendly too, and those ocean views can’t be beat!

Bermuda_Half (8)

Best Bling: Monster Mash Half Marathon – I’m not sure exactly why but this medal is one of my favorites. It’s huge (the largest one I own probably), heavy, glows in the dark, and has a spinner. and really, its just super unique and¬†has a fun theme for a late October race!


Furthest From Home: Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon – I am so thankful that work took me to Portland, Oregon and I was able to time my flights to take in a half marathon outside of the city. ¬†The scenery was amazing. This race was a true “YOLO” experience for me.


I hope this may help someone who is curious about races. As always, I have a complete listing of all of the races I’ve done on my Races page so you can find links to all of my recaps there.

It has been quite a ride. ūüôā




5 Jul

Below you’ll find a list of races I’ve completed with links to race reports housed on this site. I’ve also added some note-worthy running milestones to the page.

Marathons (3)

Route 66 Marathon Р11/20/2016 Р5:45:20 (26.5 miles) PR

See also: Runner’s World Marathon for Mortals Plan Review

Wineglass Marathon – 10/5/2014 – 6:44:04

See also: Thoughts on the Run Less, Run Faster Marathon Training Plan

Walt Disney World Marathon (Goofy Challenge Part 2) Р1/13/2013 Р7:07:23 My first Marathon!

See also: Why I decided to do Goofy for my first marathon, How I trained for the Goofy Challenge, What I did well, what I didn’t do so well.

Half Marathons (39)

End of the Road Half Marathon – 10/29/2017 – 2:29:51

Baltimore Half Marathon – 10/21/2017 – 2:38:41

Wineglass Half Marathon Р10/1/2017 Р2:14:16 PR

Zoom Point Pinole Half Marathon – 9/2/2017 – 2:40:51

Buffalo Half Marathon –¬†5/27/2017 – 2:24:11

Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 5/7/2017 – 2:45:35 (paced a friend)

Springfoot Half Marathon – 2/19/2017 – 3:28:10 (paced a friend)

Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Half Marathon – 11/6/2016 – 2:24:36

Niagara Falls International Half Marathon – 10/30/2016 – 2:28:31

Harrisburg Half Marathon – 9/11/2016 – 2:47:18

Path of the Flood Half Marathon – 5/28/2016 -2:44:46

Harpers Ferry Half Marathon – 5/15/2016 – 2:49:45

Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 5/1/2016 – 2:39:01

Bermuda Half Marathon (Bermuda Triangle Challenge Part 3) Р1/17/2016  Р2:40:33

Philadelphia Half Marathon – 11/22/2015 – 2:38:26

Rock n Roll Savannah Half Marathon – 11/7/2015 – 2:44:01

Delaware & Lehigh Heritage Half Marathon – 11/1/2015 – 2:35:20

Rock n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon – 10/31/2015 – 2:30:50

Monster Mash Half Marathon – 10/17/2015 – 2:34:42

Path of the Flood Half Marathon – 5/23/2015 –¬†2:50:50

Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 5/3/2015 – 2:58:35

Asbury Park Half Marathon – 4/18/2015 – 3:04:08

Battlefield Half Marathon – 11/8/2014 – 2:58:44

Runaway Pumpkin Half Marathon -10/18/2014 – 3:09:51

Pennsylvania Grand Canyon Half Marathon – 7/26/2014 – 3:22:13

Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half¬†– 6/8/2014 – 3:18:55

Pittsburgh Half Marathon
Р5/4/2014 Р3:11:44

Runner’s World Half Marathon – 10/20/2013 – 3:04:32

Wineglass Half Marathon – 10/6/2013 – 3:11:59

Rock n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon – 9/15/2013 – 3:19:20

Pittsburgh Half Marathon Р5/5/2013 Р3:17:10

Walt Disney World Half Marathon (Goofy Challenge Part 1) Р1/12/2013 Р3:27:21

Bird in Hand Half Marathon – 9/8/2012 –¬†3:27:53

Cleveland Half Marathon – 5/20/2012 – 3:31:39

Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 05/06/2012 – 3:15:24

Hershey Half Marathon – 10/16/2011 – 3:13:22

Cleveland Half Marathon – 05/15/2011 – 2:56:26

Disney Princess Half Marathon – 02/27/2011 – 3:09:19

Philly RnR Half Marathon – 09/19/2010 – 3:18:57

10ks (9)

Hershey 10k Р4/8/2017 Р1:00:51 PR + 100th Lifetime Race

Hershey 10k – 4/2/2017 – 1:06:47

Bermuda 10k (Bermuda Triangle Challenge Part 2) – 1/16/2016 – 1:12:48

Hershey 10k – 4/11/2015 – 1:14:47

Hershey 10k – 04/13/2014 – 1:22:58

Hershey 10k Р04/14/2013 Р1:18:47 

Turket Trot 10k – 11/24/2011 – 1:21:58

US Air Force 10k – 09/17/2011 – 1:19:54

Arts Festival 10k – 07/10/2010 – 1:19:34

5ks (43)

Resolution Run 5k – 12/31/2017 – 33:24

Turkey Trot 5k Р11/27/2017 Р28:22 PR

Baltimore 5k – 10/21/2017 – 30:44

Corelle 5k – 9/30/2017 – 32:11

Standing Stone 5k – 9/24/2017 – 31:33 First in my Age Group

Sweetheart 5k – 2/12/2017 – 33:46

Resolution Run 5k – 12/31/2016 – 28:30

Run Rudolph Run 5k – 12/10/2016 – 32:38

Route 66 5k – 11/19/2016 – 33:46

CO Awareness Run 5k – 3/13/2016 – 33:00 Third in my Age Group

Resolution Run 5k – 12/31/2015 – 30:48

Rock n Roll Savannah 5k – 11/8/2015 – 32:45

Mt. Nittany 5k – 9/6/2015 – 31:10

Trail to Wine 5k (Train Race) – 8/16/2015

Happy Valley Sprint Triathlon Relay – Run Leg – 7/5/2015 – 34:18

Resolution Run 5k – 12/31/ 2014 –¬†38:52

Turkey Trot 5k – 11/27/2014 –¬†37:16

Arts Fest 5k – 07/13/2014 –¬†38:02

Turkey Trot 5k – 11/7/2014 – 37:16

Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill 5k¬†– 6/7/2014 – 39:36

Resolution Run 5k – 12/31/2013 – 40:56

Turkey Trot 5k – 11/28/2013 – 38:00

Beaver Stadium Run 5k – 04/21/2013 – 38:14

April Fools Day 5k – 03/31/2013 – 36:46

Resolution Run 5k – 12/31/2012 – 39:41

Turkey Trot 5k – 11/22/2012 – 37:56

Arts Festival 5k – 07/15/2012 – 43:17 (paced my friend)

Beaver Stadium Run 5k – 04/23/2012 – 37:12

April Fools Day 5k – 04/01/2012 – 38:32

Resolution Run 5k – 12/31/2011 – 37:36

Arts Festival 5k – 07/17/2011 – 37:30

Beaver Stadium Run 5k – 04/17/2011 – 35:29

Florida Brain Cancer 5k – 03/06/2011 – 36:35

Disney Royal Family 5k – 02/26/2011 – Untimed

Jingle Bell 5k – 12/12/2010 – 36:09

Turkey Trot 5k – 11/25/2010 – 35:14

Skippack Lions 5k Р06/26/2010 Р36:03

Beaver Stadium Run 5k – 04/24/10 – 33:01

Disney Royal Family 5k – 03/6/10 – 35:05

Resolution Run 5k – 12/31/09 – 34:26

Jingle Bell 5k – 12/13/09 – 39:55

Lemon Run 5k – 10/25/09 – 37:56

Pittsburgh Steelers 5k – 08/30/09 – 38:59

Skippack Lions 5k – 06/27/09 – 37:26:71 My first race!

Other distances (17)

Sproul 10k Trail Race – 7/22/2017 – 2:07:38

Firecracker 4 mile Р7/4/2017 Р40:08 PR for 4 miles

Ragnar Pennsylvania – 6/2/2017-6/3/2017 – Leg 1, Leg 2, Leg 3

Cherry Blossom 10 miler – 4/2/2017 – 2:02:36

Hershey Half Marathon Relay (6.5 miles) – 10/16/2016 – 1:08:45

Firecracker 4 mile Р7/4/2016 Р43:47  

Memorial Day Race (3.8 mi) Р5/31/2016 Р44:09 PR for 3.8 miles

Bermuda 1 Mile (Bermuda Triangle Challenge Part 1) – 1/15/16 – 9:21 PR for 1 mile

Tussey MountainBack Relay Race (4.3 mi) –¬†10/25/2015 – 43:47

The Color Run Philadelphia (3ish miles, untimed) – 07/19/2014

The Color Run (3ish miles, untimed) – 09/29/2013

Harrisburgh Half Marathon Relay (approx 6.4 miles) Р09/08/2013

Color Me Rad 5k Phildelphia (3ish miles, untimed) Р06/16/2013

Dirty Girl Mud Run (3ish miles + obstacles, untimed) –¬†06/08/2013

Memorial Day Race (3.8 mi) –¬†05/26/2013 – 48:51

811 Run 8k Р3/10/2013 Р1:06:27 PR

The Color Run Philadelphia (5k, untimed) Р07/07/2012

Warrior Dash (3.5ish miles + obstacles) – 06/16/2012 – 1:24:24

Firecracker 4k – 07/04/2011 – 29:54

Memorial Day Race (3.8 mi) – 05/30/2011 – 48:57

Firecracker 4k Р07/04/2010 Р28:39 PR

Revolutionary Run 5 mile – 04/18/10 – 58:40 PR

Virtual Races (5)

Minnie Cupcake Virtual – 09/22/2013

Run S’more Virutal – 08/10/2013

St. Patrick’s Day Virtual 5k – 36:56 – 03/19/2013

Fit, Fab and Lean in 2013 Virtual 5k¬†–¬†40:32 – 02/25/2013

Tackle The Miles Virtual 5k Р39:51 Р02/04/2013

Other running milestones

05/10/2010 – Hal Higdon 15k completion, first 10 mile run

03/9/2010 – Hal Hidgeon 10k completion

01/24/2010 – Gateway to 8k completion

06/9/2009 – Couch to 5k completion

05/11/2009 – First logged run

My Favorite Race Distance (Tuesdays on the Run)

30 Sep

On Tuesdays I am joining a link up with MCM Mamma Runs, Run the Great Wide Somewhere and My No Guilt Life. You can find out more about the link up here.

This weeks topic: Favorite Race Distance 

This may come as no surprise but my favorite race distance is hands-down the Half Marathon.


Runner’s World Half Marathon in 2013

I have run 15 of them and though I have had some hard moments during many races, I love the experience of training and eventually running them.

Disney Princess Half

My Second Half Marathon in 2011 @ Disney

My reasons for loving the half marathon distance are:

  • Training for them is a small¬†time commitment – you can cross the finish line by simply running 30 minutes twice a week and working up to a 10 mile run on the weekends. ¬†Marathon training tends to be¬†MUCH more time consuming.
  • It is a longer race distance that is accessible to many people of all sizes, abilities and paces. ¬†I love being around so many different runners during these races.
  • The pace you run for a half marathon is a slow enough pace that your lungs aren’t burning (if you aren’t competing at least, haha), but fast enough that you don’t feel like you are going at a snails pace.
  • Tons of options – half marathons are super common and easy to find. I live in the middle of central Pennsylvania and have run them in Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and of course Pennsylvania (though from this list I am realizing I need to venture into Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey :)).
    PittsburghHalfMarathon2014 (4)

    Bridges during the Pittsburgh Half Marathon


    The reservoir we ran around in Massachusetts during the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Weekend

  • Quick Recovery. I find that I am able to recover from my long runs during training and after the race itself within a day or two, no issues.
  • The Bling! Often, half marathons are the shortest distance that races give out medals (though I am seeing medals being offered¬†at the 5k and 10k distances more and more).PA Grand Canyon Half 5hhhalfm-3
  • Crossing the finish – I’m not sure what it is, but crossing the finish line gives me a feeling of accomplishment that I just don’t feel after a 5k or 10k.


    Goofy Challenge Half Marathon in 2013

And that is why I ‚̧ 13.1. ūüôā