10-21-17 - Lake Powell Half Marathon Recap - Page, AZ
I am really behind on posting my event re-caps. Like over a month behind.... Eeek! The event took place at Lake Powell Half Marathon in Page, AZ. I hesitate to say I ran or competed in the Half because whenever I sign up for an event, my goal is just to "complete" it, enjoy the process and cross the finish line with a smile on my face. This event didn't disappoint and the course was spectacular!
The DH and I took the RV to Page on Thursday before the event (on Saturday). We got a late start out of Green Valley at 11:00am because I miscalculated the distance. I thought it was a four hour 250 mile drive; but that was closer to the distance from Phoenix... and Green Valley is about 2 hours SouthEast of Phoenix. Fortunately, the DH isn't the grumpy sort and he didn't give me a bad time... just said "oh well". I figured that worst case if we needed to stop and find a place to park before we got to Page it would be no big deal. We planned to just do some sight seeing on Friday and pick up my packet at the Expo; so if we didn't arrive until Friday we had some wiggle room.
As it turned out, we were fine. We did get to Page after dark however and had a problem finding the event venue. The event organizer offered a "no services" pop up campground; but the directions to the site were difficult as there was no specific address. I had a satellite map from the website; but at night with no lights it was hard to say if we were in the right location. We found what appeared to be a large open area that we figured could possibly be the event parking; so we set up and settled in for the night.
In the morning, we woke at first light and peaked out the windows. All I can say is that the sight was breathtaking. The red rocks and landscape were so pristine and beautiful. We were surrounded by them.
I figured we were in the right place as could see a few tents set up downhill but not far from us. After breakfast, I went out for a walk around the area and could see where the organizers were getting the expo set up. Later, the DH and I walked over to the Expo, looked through the vendors and picked up my bib and t-shirt. The expo was outdoors in a natural alcove surrounded by tall rock formations on three sides. It was really unique and so much better than the typical parking lot or convention center style expo.
The rest of the day we spent looking around the area. Again, the scenery everywhere we looked was outstanding.
One particular thing we wanted to do was visit Antelope Canyon. This is a slot canyon located on Navajo land with very limited entry. Unfortunately, we were unable to get a spot and the tours were all sold out. We seriously want to return to the area and I'll make sure we reserve in advance next time. The other must do is a visit to the Rainbow Bridge. This is a natural arch similar to what you would see at Arches National Park. Again, we were unable to visit the Bridge as the boat trip to/from the area takes 6 1/2 hours. I thought we would be able to take a short hike to see it; however didn't realize that you can only get to the area by boat (or with a 2 day hike). Again, something for next time. We had a fun day then headed back to the RV so I could rest up for the Half Marathon the next morning.
The Half Marathon started bright and early at 6:30am. It was still dark when we walked over to the starting area just in time for the Star Spangled Banner. The Sun was just coming up over the rocks and again, it was a memorable sight.
The start line was well organized with starting pacers based on your estimated finish time all the way to 3 hours. They allowed up to 4 hours to finish so this also makes for a great walking event. I myself do run/walk intervals based on the Jeff Galloway method and that seems to work well for me. The course was mostly paved with just a couple of miles on narrow rocky trails. The trail portion was difficult but well worth it as the views were incredible.
I ended up finishing 12th in my division (Females age 60-64) of 28. I am always pleased if I finish in the upper 50% in my division. That doesn't always happen however; particularly in the larger races. This particular race had less than 1000 participants, and I consider that to be a smaller field. My time was also decent despite the elevation of 4,000 ft. The course was mostly a "downhill" course starting in AZ and ending in Utah. It was great to end with a finishing elevation about 300 ft less than the start.
Overall, a really great experience. This makes 32 consecutive months of running at least one Half Marathon event. I have events on the calendar for the next four months, so the plan at this point is to get to continue with the streak at least through 36.