Race Recap: Temple to Temple 5k

Last Monday I ran the Temple to Temple 5k (THOUGH IT WAS ONLY 3.04 MILES TAKE NOTE but I’m counting it as my PR because I slayed it).

Race: According to my GPS, the distance was 3.04, and I completed it in 24:38 (average pace of 8:05 min/mile). According to the timing chip on my bib, with the assumption that the course is an actual 5k (3.1 miles), my chip time was 24:34 (average pace of 7:55 min/mile).

Course: Downhill from the Provo LDS Temple to the Provo City Center Temple. (First mile -149 feet, second mile -89 feet, third mile -39 feet). I chose to pay for a timing chip to be in a smaller group of runners to start out. This race was PACKED with families and kids, so it was worth it to me, knowing I wanted to race it, to pay for the timing chip.

How I PR’d: I LOVE NERDING OUT ABOUT THIS so I hope you enjoy this section. Haha! Here are the details:

Last year (2016), same race, I finished in 28:43 (average pace of 9:15 min/mile), so by training speed this year, I improved my time by over 4 minutes (shaving off over 1:15 min/mile). I’m pretty dang stoked about it.

I should also note, I did another race last year and I got that same 9:15 min/mile average, so that was just kind of what it was. And let’s go back a bit further: I have run on and off casually since probably 2008, and did start running more consistently and doing longer races in 2014, but I wouldn’t say I started training until maybe February or March of this year. When I started training, I actually had a friend coaching me (Sam! :D) and we had me training both with distance (training for that half last month) and speed, for the first time in my life.

In May I did the Race to Red 5k, after starting those speed workouts, and got down to a 8:39 average mile. BUT, I didn’t race smart. I went out too fast and burned out by the end. I’ve been looking forward to this race to try again, and I DID it. I’m so proud of how I raced. My times for each mile were better than I had hoped, but I listened to how my body was feeling as I raced, and I went by that. I loved it. I feel so good.

Thanks for celebrating with me! And if you’re looking for a great downhill 5k to do next year, perhaps with your family, and perhaps with religious significance (if you’re a Mormon!), I highly recommend this race! It’s a sweet experience.

AF Canyon Half Marathon Recap

I can’t believe I haven’t written about my race yet, but I guess two weeks late will have to do! You guys, I RAN A HALF MARATHON. Ha! It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but always seemed out of reach. Or something I’d do LATER, you know? But earlier this year when parts of my personal life crumbled around me, I realized: I can do anything. I can do whatever the heck I want. (And maybe it was a little bit of, I’ve already lived through this sucky crappy thing and I survived, so of course I can do this other really hard thing, BY CHOICE!)

My friend Sam Monsivais coached me, and I will forever be grateful for that. Having a training schedule helped me work toward something when I was climbing out of that broken place. It was a huge part of my healing. My friend Haley and I trained together, running just about all of our long runs together, and running the entire race together. She has been such a blessing to me this whole time. We balance each other out very nicely when we run, as you will soon see an example of!

I should note: The night before the race I got 26 text messages from Haley in a row—mostly nervous emoticons and gifs. Ha! Haley is the best. But also, while she was nervous, I was surprisingly calm. I think I had gone through my nervousness a couple weeks earlier, and I figured, this is just another training run, and we’ll go on this adventure and just keep running and enjoying it. And I knew I was bringing just-in-case stuff in my running belt, and there were aid stations + bathrooms every 3-4 miles, so I knew we’d be okay. And, I just wasn’t nervous— I was EXCITED!

I got about 4 hours of sleep, Haley got like, none. Ha! We drove up to American Fork, boarded a bus, and got to the start line at Tibble Fork Reservoir with plenty of time.

One of the first things that anyone would probably ever tell you about this race is that it is SO WELL ORGANIZED. Like, I felt I had very little to worry about, as I mentioned earlier. We got to the start, wrapped up in our space blankets that the race provided (which worked SO well to help keep us warm), then when the time got closer, put our stuff in our drop bags (which the race also provided at packet pickup the day before), threw it in the back of a truck, and got ready to run.

Then, we started running!

We went in the first wave of runners, which was anyone with a 9:30 pace or faster. (Spoiler alert: we came in with an average page of 9:29 haha!) I was in charge of keeping our pace. I was surprised how many people were barrelling past us the first mile or so. I knew we had to conserve energy and take it easy starting out, so we just kept doing what we were doing! (We maintained about an 8:30-9 minute/mile pace through the canyon). Walked at water stations. One bathroom break around mile 8. And just kept going!

*One very, very heartwarming thing about this race for me is that all of the money from entrance fees goes to local cancer patients, and they were able to raise over $380,000 for that purpose. Holy moly. I get teary eyed thinking about that. Many people—myself included—wore the names of loved ones who had battled cancer on their backs. I ran for my grandma Judy Williamson who passed away from pancreatic cancer last year. As I ran down the canyon my thoughts went to my grandma, and also to a friend’s mother who had passed away from cancer a few years ago. I never met my friend’s mother, but there was a moment when I felt she was with me (as odd as I still feel like that sounds, ha! yikes). I got teary eyed thinking about these women, and also seeing the many names of loved ones along the course. This is a very special race.

Back to the running itself: Haley was super out of it as she really didn’t sleep well the night before, and so the first 10 miles or so was me giving a lot of words of affirmation, singing the few words I knew of Moana, and pushing her with pace every so often when I felt us lagging. She was amazing. She handled that lack of sleep WAY better than I would have.

We ran out of the canyon and onto a paved trail through a really beautiful golf course. Some rolling hills but it was still great. Then onto a trail through some shaded neighborhoods.

Again, so many amazing volunteers and so many resources for the runners. It was such a good experience.

We then hit mile 10 (the furthest either of us had run up to that point). And THEN, the Murdock Canal Trail. Haley and I ran parts of the Murdock Canal Trail during training, but it’s always a bit rough. Very little shade, and just flat. The last 2-3 miles of this race were on that trail, and yes, there was NO SHADE and it was just flat. The sun was luckily at our backs, but it was still really hot, and I don’t do well with sunshine while running. This is where our roles changed: Haley had to pull me along those last 2-3 miles. She was feeling much better at this point and I’m so glad, because I needed her here. (See? We really do balance each other out as runners. I love being her running buddy!)

We ran, ran, ran, and finally, the finish line.

Two hours and 4 minutes. Average pace of 9:29 min/mile

We saw Sam there waiting for us (he rocked it, by the way, and I think was 11th overall? Maybe? His Strava says he finished in 1:20 with an average pace of 6:07), and our other friend Mikala who also rocked her race! Haley’s mom and brother were there waiting for us as well, which I loved. (Basically my fake family lately 🙂

Fact: Sam had anticipated that we’d finish closer to 2:30. Was proving him wrong a motivator for me? Yes. Absolutely yes. Ha!

I finished the race and went straight to the giant bucket of ice cold water bottles, and squatted, holding the edge of the bucket. Haha! I FELT AWFUL. I THEN got water, and got my medal (totally passed them before). We hung around in the sun chatting with Haley’s family and Sam for a bit and I casually was like “hey, can we go to the shade?” and finally I just walked away to find that shade, and luckily everyone followed! Ha! This is me after a race: feisty and demanding, apparently.

We picked up our drop bags and again, as everything else was, the process was simple and the race volunteers were SO on top of it. We got our card with our official times, took a group picture, then Haley went to get the free Kneaders french toast and I left. (Because I was pretty sure that post-race stomach + rich french toast = vomit, so, no thank you).

I was drowsy all day, and sore for 2 days. The worst day was probably Monday morning, waking up still sore, knowing I had to teach yoga at 8am. Ha! But I taught yoga and Erin came, who also ran the half on Saturday. Yay, friendship! So we had a good chat while we practiced yoga together. I think yoga is exactly what I needed, because by that evening my muscles/body felt much better.

It’s crazy that this was just two weeks ago. I still haven’t decided exactly what race I’m doing next, but I’ve kind of decided on a training plan to keep doing all the things. Ha!

Make It Magical

The thing about trauma is, it can connect to so many things. For a lot of people, and for me, holidays are tough. Really tough. Even minor holidays like my town’s Summerfest. For me, it was a mix of association and anxiety at the thought of bumping into certain people. But the thing I’ve learned about holidays and other difficult occasions/places/things: they can be reframed. You can go to that place and make a new memory there; you can make new traditions; you can sort things out with a friend or therapist or coach; you can take the broken pieces and make something magical.


The night of Summerfest I passed on an opportunity to watch fireworks with friends and decided instead to go on a run, timed perfectly with the fireworks. I ran down the main street and watched the fireworks go off in the distance, breeze blowing through my hair, warm sweat on my skin, and it just felt so good to be alive—and alone, though I was surrounded by families watching the fireworks on the grass along the sidewalk. And just like that—magical.


This morning Haley and I set out for our longest run yet: 10 miles. Last week we did 7 and it was HARD. The week before that we did 8 and it felt really hard. Both weeks we also had guests join us for our runs, which was just not our norm and may have messed with our minds a bit (even though we love them so). We decided to invite NO ONE on our run today (stay away, friends who love us! Haha!) because, we work well together! Haley and I have a similar pace. We push each other I think in different ways– she’s told me I push her in pace (today, for example, I started rapping Push It by Salt N Peppa at the last mile, and was friendly-shouting at her to spring the last quarter mile), and I know she pushes me in endurance– I would NOT have stuck to any of our long runs if I weren’t with her.


I was aware of our 10 mile run all week, obviously, and was a bit nervous for it, but I’m grateful for encouraging friends, particularly a new friend who is a runner himself, and took particular care in making sure I knew his confidence in my ability to do this run, and texting me the night before with additional encouragement. I knew he also happened to be running 10 miles this morning, just elsewhere (and according to Strava, we actually started our runs within 2 minutes of each other, which I just think is really fun. But he would have smoked me in a second! Haha!)


I woke up less worried, though. My normal pre-workout nervous stomach (which I’ve had lately, whether it’s going on even a short run or trying a new spin class, I just feel sick beforehand)– it wasn’t there. Or at least not ANYWHERE near how it usually is. And here’s why I think that is:


  1. I knew that this was only 2 miles longer than what we’ve already done, and that felt do-able. I also mentally divided the route up into basically three 5k’s. I know the trail pretty well so it felt good to even finish the first portion and know we were ⅓ of the way done, etc.
  2. I knew we could pause anytime, and we did. We paused at about 1 mile for Haley to re-tie her shoes so they fit better; just after mile 3 when my feet started to cramp, and I just took my shoes off and rubbed them out for a couple minutes; probably around mile 5 when Haley’s knee was feeling funky so we paused again to stretch; then briefly at around mile 6.5/7 to use the restroom but it was closed so we just stretched for a moment, ate a couple of Honey Stinger chews, and kept running. (According to my Garmin, our total running time was 1:35, and elapsed time was 1:42, so our pauses were maybe just a couple minutes each, if that).
  3. I know what I wanted to have with me for the half I’m training for, so I took this as a practice run for that: I wore my running belt (which I usually hate, but barely noticed it on this 10 miler vs. shorter runs) and had my cell phone and Honey Stinger chews in it, and also carried a handheld little water bottle with Nuun in it to stay well hydrated (usually I just use water but I really loved having Nuun on the run, and felt it helped me stay hydrated and feeling better than just water alone). I had the things I needed, if I needed them, and there’s some comfort in that for me.
  4. Likewise, I knew there was at least 1 water fountain right on the trail, and others in nearby parks. I knew there were multiple bathrooms along the route, which I didn’t use but still calmed a lot of (poop) fears. Haha!
  5. Haley. I just really enjoy our runs together. We talked most of the time, but had some moments of silence, and that was just fine too. Also, girl chat is real nice. And being able to be a gross runner and have it not matter (we each have our gross habits and it’s pretty hilarious).
  6. I think it was just so long that I was able to stay in the moment more than looking forward to the end of the run (which I sometimes do with shorter distances that are my usual training runs). I REALLY enjoyed running 10 miles, which is so surprising to me, but it just felt like a journey more than my usual run. And I stayed in that moment.
  7. And, like I said, encouragement from friends. So, so beneficial to know I had people who believe in me and were cheering me on.


After the half marathon in a few weeks, I don’t know if I’ll focus on shorter distances or longer distances. After some of our recent longer runs, sticking with speed work for 5k’s sounds nicer and more my thing. But after this run… I get it. I get longer distances now. I thought I could understand in theory why people liked longer (to me) runs, but after this run, I get it.


I think I’ll have a better idea of where I want to go with training a month from now 🙂

Race Recap: Race for Red 5k

This morning I ran the Race for Red 5k. This was an important race to me, but to explain its importance, we’ve got to do a couple flashbacks:

In June 2015 I ran the Young Living Run Through the Lavender 5k in 28:45, with an average pace of 9:15. In July 2016 I ran the Temple to Temple 5k in 28:43, again, with an average pace of 9:15. I wanted to try to get a better time last fall, but the one 5k I did was so congested for the first part of the race that I just decided to take it easy.

I signed up for the Race for Red 5k with the hope of breaking that 9 minute mile. That was the goal I told people. But as I began training, I quietly made a couple more goals: get an average 8:30 minute mile, and get in the top 10 women for the race. (After looking at past results, and considering my goal time, I felt this was a good goal).

Backing up—Training. In past years I would run and work to increase my mileage gradually, but I never followed a formal training program or did any speed workouts in there. This year I actually have a coach who has been training me both to PR in this 5k, and also for a longer distance race that I’m running later. So, I actually trained, under the supervision of someone who knows what he’s doing and is an accomplished runner himself, specifically for this race, and specifically with speed in mind.

And I did it. Unofficial result: 26:54.9 (8:39 min/mi). 7th place overall women’s. 2nd place Women ages 25-29.

…I DID IT!!!

My Garmin tracked it a little bit differently, and I did start running before I remembered to start my watch, so that’s my bad. But according to my Garmin I went 3.08 miles (like I said, whoops) in 26:51, at an 8:43 mile.

While I didn’t quite get that 8:30 I had hoped for, I got pretty darn close, especially considering my previous best 5k had an average of 9:15 min/mi. That’s a pretty solid jump there and I’m really proud of the work I did to get there.

I recognize some ways I could have raced SMARTER, and I’m excited to try again.

The race itself: I think Intermountain Healthcare organized a quality race! They were well organized, both in packet pickup and during the race itself. The course was well marked and they had people at every turn (and there were many in this course) cheerfully directing runners which way to go. They also had police officers stopping traffic both at small roads and a major road for runners to cross, and they did so in a timely manner so I didn’t even have to slow down. It was awesome. THEY were awesome. The course was relatively flat, which was nice. Running into the bright sun wasn’t that fun on the second half, but that’s just how loop courses work! We were greeted with a live band playing at the finish line and the energy was just great.

And now, the sentimental friend story portion of this blog post. I ran this race with my friends Sam (who is also my coach) and Dane. They are awesome. The three of us also have a tradition of watching Brooklyn 99 (formerly New Girl) every Thursday night, and thus I entitled our run this morning “99 Night Day Run.” 😛

I should also note, the three of us were on a Red Rock Relay team last October (which is when we decided to start the New Girl/99 Night, because being in a van all day with people will yield awesome ideas like that), and our Red Rock team was called “Saturday’s Warriors” (also the title of a Mormon musical from the 1980’s)—also named by me. SO. Just take note. My team naming skills are 2 for 2. 😉

But really, these guys are great. Sam offered to pace me initially, but I knew that HE could do awesome things in this race himself, so I made all 3 of us run separately to see what we could do. Sam, Dane and I all ended up placing in our age groups (medals!!) and Sam got 2nd overall man. WOOHOO! Then we celebrated with smoothies at GreenMe Smoothies in Orem. So good.

I loved this race this morning. I feel accomplished and strong, and eager to see what more I can do with the 5k distance.