MOAB, UT...... who would guess that this would end up being one of this travel agents favorite places to visit in the world!
It all started when I stumbled upon Thelma and Louise half marathon. Being a favorite movie of mine, how could this race not be perfect? Well, I convinced my running buddy to join me not only for the half marathon, but to take on the adventures of what Moab has to offer as well!
We flew in to Denver from Florida and decided to rent a convertible for one of the most scenic drives in the West! It was a planned 5 1/2 hour drive, however with a stop for lunch at Colorado Bistro (a hidden gem off I70) and a stop at Walmart to pick up supplies, our total drive time ended up being closer to 8 1/2. It was still worth every minute! (if you take the drive, make sure to get off 170 and take UT128 along the Colorado River for the most jaw dropping welcome in the Moab area!)
The Goldbar Campground hosts the Thelma and Louise Half, however, we decided to step it up a notch and go 'glamping' at Moab Under Canvas (highly recommended!) I couldn't imagine spending my time in Moab any other way! I only wish the pictures of the stars and Milky Way would come out, as it is an awesome experience!
We arrived on a Wednesday, with the race being Saturday, which I think was well planned for these sea level girls to get acclimated to the elevation (Moab is located at 3800ft).
Our first day we went out hard and did our first outdoor rock climbing experience ever at Looking Glass Rock with Cliffs and Canyons adventure guide Chris. Lets just say, with rattlesnake warnings, 40mph winds, and shaking nerves, we still survived our 300ft multi pitch climb and a 135ft rappel in a natural amphitheater and arch!
After our exhilarating morning of climbing, we took the convertible for a drive through Arches National Park. You can literally see most of the park without leaving the car! (it was close to 95 degrees that day) Being in the convertible we felt immersed in the natural beauty 17 miles point to point and back! We did do one short hike to Landscape Arch which was cool to see as it is the biggest.
Our 2nd day in town (day before the race) we took it easy and drove the convertible around to check the other surrounding parks.
Dead Horse State Park (where Thelma and Louise drove off the cliff in the moie)
Canyonlands National Park
This was the 4th annual Thelma and Louise half marathon with about 630 runners, 430 of them being half marathoners, the others doing the 2person Relay. The Expo was held at the Moab Rec Center with an optional pasta dinner right after. There were lots of cool official race items for sale, but unfortunately I did not see any fuel type items or actual running supplies.
Packet pick up included a reusable bag and race shirt. I also purchased a cool trucker hat.
The night before the race was definitely a night to remember. We were warned earlier in the day that a big downpour storm was on its way. It seemed to stay away all day, but it found us in the middle of the night. We woke in the middle of the night to 40+ mph winds shaking the tent, torrential downpour, and lightning that seemed to be striking right next door! Ive been camping in storms before, but not quite like this, and definitely not the night before a race! Thankfully we were at Moab Under Canvas and their tents were Amazing! No leaks at all, surprisingly! (we did have a wet front door rug in the morning, but realized it had come in thru the fireplace hole. After they removed the rug, it was fine).
The course starts and finishes at the Gold bar Campground. The campground is basically just an open area next to the river, but also next to the main road. (seems all the campgrounds in Moab are like this) The course is pretty flat, but for those like us 'sea level Florida girls' there is a slight incline. (although me and my friend argued the entire race on if it was actually inclining or declining!... must have been the lack of oxygen! lol)
It is basically an out and back course along the river. I knew it was going to be pretty, but I really didn't realize how pretty it was going to be. It is very peaceful. There was also an arch right off the road and a waterfall (or mudfall from the storm the night before) Adding to the 'scenery', they had Cute Cowboys manning the first (and last) water stop! There were also drummers at one of the stations that brought unique entertainment.
The race started at 630a. We had a 20 minute drive, so we were up at 430a. We arrived with plenty of time to spare. There was coffee served and plenty of portal potties. (there are 2 real bathrooms too that barely anyone recognized to use). It was an honestly system line up and a real shotgun that started the race!
The aid stations were all set up properly. There was enough water and Gatorade to go around as well as 2 options for a GU of sorts. Because of the location you do not have spectators lining up cheering you on. There were some family members at the end and at the turn around point, but that was about it
Thankfully because of the storm, the temps stayed lower than I believe is normal (under80) and it stayed overcast til the very end. Having such an awesome PR last month in Ocean City MD, I decided I was going to go out for a repeat and tried to stay with the 2:10 pacer. My running buddy quickly was struggling with her breathing because of the elevation (she is usually a much stronger and faster runner than I am). We split up, but within 3 miles I knew I would not be able to keep the pace, so I stopped and waited for her to catch up. It was, after all, the Thelma and Louise half marathon.... seems like one you run 'with' a friend. The majority of the race we 'leap frogged' with a girl from Napa, CA who was also complaining about the 'slight incline'. After the turn around point, my friend had gotten her breathing under control but I ended up losing my strength and was slowing down considerably. It was funny how complete opposite runners we are. I told her to kick it into high gear the last mile and beat our 'competition', the Napa girl. We all finished within a minute or two apart.
The after party was right on the water. The cold water was awesome on the feet. I would have liked to have gotten my legs in, but the current was fast. Two (big) local beers were given and there was a slew of snacks to munch on. Awards were given and then they had a Trivia game related to the movie with some awesome prizes! (bib numbers were drawn). It was quite entertaining!
The shirt is awesome and sans sponsor logos splattered all over the back! The fit was perfect.
The ribbon for the medal is cool, however I am very disappointed in the lack of color on the actual medal itself. I do give them props for being creative in making the medal an actual belt buckle, however you would have to cut the ribbon off if you did use it that way.
Kudos all around! I love the theme and that the race director actually tried to incorporate the theme in all areas of the race! The scenery and surrounding area is spot on! This is definitely one to grab a girl friend or two and plan a week getaway! There is so much to do in this active hotspot!
The next day we woke early for another adventure with Cliffs and Canyons Guide, this time with guide Riley who escorted us through Fiery Furnace of Arches National Park (this is by permit/guide only. And you must make reservations at least ahead of time). We were one of the first to arrive in the area (highly suggest) and we got up close and personal with the amazing structure of the land. It was completely silent so early, you were completely immersed in the quiet beauty). The walking, scrambling, and slight climbing definitely stretched out the tired legs!
That afternoon we had to squeeze in one last adventure with Red River Adventures and did 2 rappel and a hike over near Slick Rock and Negro Bill Canyon (Ephedras Grotto and Morning Glory)
|Morning Glory (yes, I'm rappelling!)|
Monday was our adventure drive back to Denver for a flight home. (and yes, the drive was just as beautiful and worth it the 2nd time too). We were very sad to leave Moab and looking forward to another adventure trip there as there is more to explore! .....Moab ROCKS!!
State #21, HM#51
I am currently running a half marathon a month and also running a half marathon in each state all to show support and raise awareness for breast cancer via The Donna. Please consider showing your support by making a donation today!