Friday, August 4, 2017

5 Favorite Half Marathons

Today's Friday Five 2.0 topic is Favorite Races. A blogging friend, Jennifer at the Fit Nana, visited Valley of Fire when she was in Vegas for BlogFest. Her post on IG reminded me of the half marathon I ran through that park back in 2013. It definitely ranks as one of my favorite races.

I love the half marathon distance! There are some really gorgeous courses out there!! I've actually only run 12 halfs since my first back in 2002. I relived each race preparing for this post and want to include each of them as a favorite, but I'll limit myself to 5. 😃

Earth Day Half Marathon. St. Cloud, MN. April 2002.

This was my first half marathon and it will always and forever make the list of favorite races. Unfortunately, I have zero pictures from that day. It was still a few years before blogging and the social media craze that is life today. 😉

I was working at a running store at the time and was training for my first fall marathon in the fall. A group of runners from the running groups led by the store I was working at decided to run this half marathon, and I decided to join them. I can't remember how many of us there were, but we all carpooled together. St. Cloud is about an hour north of the Twin Cities, where we all lived. We got two hotel rooms - one of the guys and one for the girls.

It was chilly the next morning at the start of the race. One of the girls had an spare long-sleeved running shirt that she let me borrow (though I don't think I ever saw her again to return it).

Once the race started, I fell into a rhythm with another girl. I can't even remember if she was from our group or not, but we were paced perfectly. We ran and chatted together for all 13 miles. I don't really remember much of the course or the weather, but I'll always remember the fun we had chatting our way through our first half marathon. I couldn't tell you her name or anything about her, but she was my angel that day and will always make this race very special to me. :)

Valley of Fire Half Marathon. Las Vegas, NV. November 2013.

I was training for my 3rd full marathon, but first in a decade, when I won a free entry to Valley of Fire. My parents had visited the previous month and we'd made the drive over to the Valley of Fire State Park, so I know how gorgeous this race would be.

My knees had been bothering me leading up to the race, and I'd dropped down to the 10k distance. But, after seeing the shirt said HALF MARATHON across the back, I knew I had to switch back to the half distance. I was so glad I did! A 10k just wouldn't have been enough time for me out on this course. It was definitely challenging with a ton of hills, but the views and scenery were amazing!

Trails of Fury. Las Vegas, NV. May 2014.

This was my first trail race! And it was so gorgeous!! I ran this with my friend George and had a blast - despite feeling a bit injured by the end. We then spent a couple hours at the M resort pool before running a 5k in the evening.

Not only was the scenery amazing during the half, we saw WILD HORSES! I'm not even a crazy horse person, but before moving to the West I had no idea that wild horses were a thing anymore. They were so far off in the distance, but it still made me all giddy that I was even able to glimpse them at all.

What's your favorite race? @EnjoytheCourse is sharing 5 of her favorite half marathons today. #running #FridayFive

Zion Half Marathon. Springdale, UT. April 2016.

Another race entry that I won on Facebook. :) There are a few things I would have done differently to prepare for this race, but the views were incredible! The hazy skies in the morning really made the colors pop. It was gorgeous, and I just had so much fun out on the course.

Recycled Run. Las Vegas, NV. April 2016.

It was chilly. It was rainy. There was a mad wind and some crazy hills, but this race was so much fun! I had trained with my friend Janel for her first half marathon, and Mother Nature definitely helped to make it memorable. The course was an out-and-back within an out-and-back. Kind of unusual and mostly fun. If I hadn't been running with a friend running her first, it might not have made the list, but we seriously had a ton of fun out there that day.

Deciding on which 5 races to include in this post was so HARD! I guess there is a reason why I love the half marathon distance, because all of the halfs I've run hold a special place in my heart. There is something to love about all of them.

Do you have a favorite race that you've run?
Or do you have have a hard time choosing a favorite?

Here is a list of all 12 of my half marathons with links to their recaps:

Earth Day (Apr 2002) (before blogging was a thing)
Urban Wildland (Aug 2011)
Get Lucky Triple 7k (Apr 2012)
The Really, Big, Free Half Marathon (Nov 2012)
Valley of Fire (Oct 2013)
Mustang 50th (Apr 2014)
Trails of Fury (May 2014)
ET Full Moon Midnight Race (Aug 2014)
Ventura Half Marathon (Sep 2014)
Long Beach Half Marathon (Oct 2014)
Zion Half Marathon (Mar 2016)
Recycled Run (Apr 2016)

I'm linking up today with Running on HappyFairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0. Be sure to hop over to read all about everyone's favorite races.

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  1. I have done the Las Vegas full marathon during rock n roll we s in November. Gotta say it wasn't my favorite bc of the course. I should have just stuck w the half so I could for up and down the strip instead.

    1. I ran the full in 2014. The course definitely wasn't the greatest, and I probably also would have enjoyed the half better. 😊

  2. I definitely have difficulty deciding on a favorite. Each race is special.

    1. Exactly! I haven't really run that many races and still had a difficult time narrowing down to 5. :)

  3. Valley of Fire has me intrigued... I need to get back to Vegas one of these days anyway. ;)

    1. It's such a pretty race! Definitely let me know if you decide to do it. :-)

  4. Those are some beautiful views in the races! Love it!

  5. I bet Zion was gorgeous :)
    It is so hard to pick favorites, but Glacier Half in MT wins for scenery (for me) for sure!

    1. I bet that Glacier was amazing! I've always wanted to spend some time there.

  6. I love that your favorite half marathons are a little scattered about. I really need to get to a Western half marathon some day, but I'm so intimidated by heat and altitude :D

    1. Yeah. I guess I'm used to the heat and altitude now, but I can see how they could be intimidating. :)