Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon Review 2011

Bryce Canyon 2011: The Year Of The Jump

Keeping with last year's tradition, we drove to Bryce Canyon with our friends Darin & Shelly Thomas. We got stuck in long road construction and I got the boredom munchies. I went though some cookies like they were going out of style. We also had more than enough time to pull out the camera for a self-portrait. Bonus points to Shelly for joining me in a Do-I-Have-Any-Broccoli-In-My-Teeth smile.

We picked up our packets in Cannonville where the race finishes. I saw this cool flag near the finish line after we picked up packets:

We stayed at the Best Western which is PERFECT because you walk out the front door and you are practically at the starting line. Thankfully we didn't have to wait too long outside for the race to start because it was COLD. We could see our breath and my fingers felt like popsicles. From this picture, it looks like my face had been frozen ever since our drive to Bryce Canyon the day before.

As I mentioned a few days ago, I planned to run the race with Mel and not overdo it so I didn't punish my legs too much before the Deseret News Marathon coming up in eight days. One of my favorite parts is the first few miles of the race where you are on top of the canyon and can see to the bottom where you'll be in just a few short miles.

Along the way we met up with our friend Braydon. I ran up ahead so I could get a jumping picture of them as they came down the road:

And then I got a brilliant idea: Set the camera on a cone in the road and start the self-timer. A jumping picture with all three of us would be sweet! Unfortunately my plan turned out to be a miserable failure because we jumped too early. In the picture we caught exactly zero inches of air. You might as well have told the kitchen table to jump. Our awesome jumping picture turned into this:

Forunately I think race photographers got good pictures of a few of my jumps. The Bryce Canyon Half Marathon has some unique mile markers:

Mel, Braydon and I ran together for eight or nine miles and Mel was still feeling good so she went farther ahead and my goal became Help Braydon Get A PR. He was keeping a steady pace but I just tried to give encouragement and keep him going. I loved seeing the runners weave through the canyon like ants.

I was so thankful I wasn't pushing too hard. I didn't have any crazy leg cramps. I didn't have any chunky burps. I didn't feel like my skin was melting off my bones. I didn't want to curl into fetal position on the side of the road and start crying. I was enjoying the experience and having fun!

We were in the home stretch with only a few miles to go and I knew Braydon was within striking distance of getting his half marathon personal record. He kept pushing and I hoped we would be able to make it.

Remember the bright idea to try a self-timer during the race? And remember how I was just taking it easy and having fun? Well, I decided I'd see how many jumping pictures I could get along the way. You'll notice that these are all at different locations. Unfortunately they are all in the Lift-Off phase instead of Mid-Flight, but I guess you can't be too picky when using the self-timer during a race.

Braydon and I made the final turn for the finish line and he was moving good. It was awesome to reach the point when we knew he would make it. We crossed the finish line in 2 hours and 42 minutes and Braydon got a new PR!

I had so much fun and unlike last year I actually felt good. I didn't feel sore or have the desire to use a wheelchair to get back to the car. I enjoyed being part of helping someone reach their goal. It was nice to see so many friends at the finish line:

No matter how fast I finish a race, I always feel that sense of accomplishment when I reach the finish line. The finish line was especially enjoyable this time without the feeling that my legs had just gone through a meat grinder. 8 more days until the Deseret News Marathon!

"Experience has taught me how important it is to just keep going, focusing on running fast and relaxed. Eventually pain passes and the flow returns. It's part of racing."
~ Frank Shorter


  1. awesome!! sorry we missed he group shot. :) hoping zazoosh caught my jumping picts I made sure to get one at every photographer once my potty breaks got in the way of my PR. glad to see you guys and was fun running with you for the 1st mile. and got some great shots of you guys finishing. :)

  2. Cory.... Words cannot describe how much I appreciate your words of encouragment, motivation, pacing, jumping and sticking by my side as I thought that I was gonna die. I have never hurt so much during a race, but you ROCK... Thanks for helping me get a new PR. You are the MAN!!!!!!! I had a blast running with you and mel. COngrats on another fun race and best wishes for deseret news.

  3. What a cool medal! :)

    As always... great pics. And so glad you didn't need a wheelchair. Always a plus! Sounds like you were an awesome pacer and friend to Braydon. Runners are the coolest. I am excited to hear about you running Deseret News! Their 10K was the first real race I ever did and my hubby wants to do that marathon one year (I am a little afraid of the heat though!!)

  4. That looks like a great race. I cracked up laughing with the "jumping" pick that never lifted off. :) That's funny! I'm glad ya'll had fun.

  5. That's a good idea! Putting the camera on the cone! Beautiful pictures as always. Looks like you had a GREAT TIME! I like that medal!

  6. Loved reading this! I absolutely love that you had so much fun running this race. That is what running is all about. Love all of the pictures.

  7. You are so funny! I love that you have fun in your races. Cool pictures once again. This looks like a realy pretty course. The medal is awesome! I want one!! Congratulations on a great race and to your friend for getting his PR. That is fantastic!!

  8. Looks like a very scenic route, that's a race I should put on my calendar just for the scenery.

    The "trying to jump" photos made me laugh. Looks like you were having fun. :-)

  9. Fantastic jump photos. I need to work on getting some of those myself!

  10. Sweeeeet! how cool to cheer on a friend and help him get a PR. I would love to do that some day. I guess after I've run a BAZILLION races like you have, that I will feel like I can take it easy sometimes. It looks like you had a total blast- and THAT is what racing is about.

  11. Looks like an awesome race!!! Great photos!

  12. yes, nice air. way to keep it real.

  13. LOVE all your pics. seriously looks like you had a blast and the medals are AWESOME!! scenery is of course gorgeous as well! congrats to your friend on the PR!!

  14. What a fun group! I really need to start running with you guys. Good luck at Deseret News, not my favorite marathon. Watch out for kids throwing Pops at you along the parade route.

  15. I love Southern Ut. I love Bryce Canyon. Do you see much of the canyon during the run? Or is the race just out/near the canyon?

    I ran Desseret News last summer. Have you ever run it before. The first 6 miles are steep down hill. It was crazy on my bladder. Great pics.

  16. Wow.. that was great! Great race, great photos all of it was totally inspiring! Amazing!!!!!!!!!

  17. Wow! I was amazed by the photos really good. Global Visas assisting our individual and corporate clients with our team of highly qualified and friendly experts. The canyon in Bryce Canyon Nation Park is very special! Although the park is small (compare to other national parks), it is worth visiting! thanks for sharing.