St. George Half Marathon 2016

Last weekend Mr. Mo and I took a road trip to sunny St. George, Utah (about a 4 ½ hour drive south of home) – for the purpose of rising bright and early Saturday morning to run the St. George Half Marathon. Thirteen point one miles. Yep, this is what we do for fun. In fact, we’ve been conquering one race per month since Jan. 2014. Everything about our trip turned out to be something Mary Poppins would be proud of.

practically-perfect-in-every-way-mary-poppins-measuring-tape-canvas

Although it was snowing when we left Salt Lake City, we had clear dry roads the entire trip down. (Perfect!)

Time for another half marathon! #utah #roadtrippin

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Race day began at a chilly 34°F but warmed to nearly 50° by the time we crossed the finish line. (Perfect!)

One of my cute fellow MoTab friends Stephanie – also a runner – came along with us which made the 10 hour round-trip all the merrier and we had so much fun getting to know each other better. (Perfect!)

And Mr. Mo and I had the chance to visit with his brother’s family (Perfect!)

The St. George Half Marathon is part of the City’s “Running Series”, and has been held annually since 1982, but it was a new race for us. We really loved it. The course includes several different terrains, including a few busy streets (properly protected with caution cones and police), a quiet subdivision to the west of the city flanked by a golf course, and a lovely landscaped trail along the Virgin River.

We were treated to beautiful views of the valley and surrounding topography.

st-george-half-marathon-northwestview

 

The race was incredibly organized. I was amazed at how many volunteers were manning the course – with someone pointing the right way at every twist and turn. There were multiple water/Gatorade/Gu stops, and plenty of the ever-important Port-a-Potties. Compared to some of our races in the past with rather extreme elevation changes, this course seemed very gentle and relaxing (well, as relaxing as running 13.1 miles can be). One of the cutest things to see were all the people who actually braved the chill and sat in lawn chairs in their driveways, or stood with motivational signs cheering us on. 🙂

Runners were given a 3 ½ hour deadline for finishing the course. It turned out I was able to keep such an excellent pace that by mile 12 I realized I might be able to beat my 3 hour barrier. I really pushed myself and sure enough, squeaked in at 2:59:58. 🙂

Someday, I’d love to beat the 2 hour mark. But for now, I’m just so happy I finished!

St. George was settled by early Mormon pioneers and is home to the first LDS temple completed west of the Rocky mountains. I love how the historic whitewashed temple stands out against the red rock cliffs. And it looked particularly stunning with snow on the tops of the Pine Valley Mountain peaks in the background.

st-george-temple-in-winter

We were treated to some spectacular skies during our travel down and back. Check out that sunset!

2016-01-UT-Sunset

Mr. Mo and I have embarked on a 12-week training schedule. Over the past three weeks he and I have been diligently checking off each day’s mileage assignment – which means we are gradually getting stronger and able to run longer. Of course, being on week 3 of a 12 week plan means we kind of jumped the gun for running our Half Marathon already! But, it’s just the way the timing worked out. We plan to stick to the schedule and continue to train in preparation for our next race. We are running at least 1 race per month in 2016 (just like we did in 2014 & 2015).

I recently came across a wonderful quote. I made a little meme out of and posted it to my refrigerator (next to our training schedule). Don’t you love it?

make-routines-not-resolutions

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with those New Year’s “Resolutions” or any big goal that means “change” for ourselves. This quote helps keep things in perspective. I only have to focus on today. Tomorrow, I will focus on tomorrow. Eventually, I will have created a routine, and the changes I desire will be a natural result of that routine.

Running a race is a powerful metaphor for living a life. We can even find the metaphor in ancient scriptures!

run-the-race-hebrews-12.1.2

Half the battle is simply choosing to show up, and start.

So, in terms of the race of life, you and I have already won a great victory. We chose to be here! 😀

Now, our task is to keep moving forward “with patience” – enduring to the end. Putting one foot in front of the other. Moment by moment, step by step – until we look back and see the mile after mile we’ve come. We won’t always know where the path will lead. We can’t anticipate every obstacle and challenge we may encounter along the way (whether physical/emotional /spiritual). But, we can visualize the finish line, and we can trust that we aren’t doing it alone. In this race of life there are so many people standing by at every turn eager to guide, direct, and cheer us along (on both sides of the veil) hoping to prevent us from getting off course – but if we stray, ready to help us get back on course and firmly pointed toward our final destination.

Just as there are multiple guidebooks, personal trainers and “plans” to help us succeed in a physical race, our Heavenly Father has laid out a clear Plan, and has provided multiple Guidebooks, and expert spiritual trainers for our successful life-race.

joy-in-the-journey-dieter-f-uchtdorf

One of the advantages of “running to finish” like I do (instead of ‘win’), is that I pause along the way to thank the volunteers, chat with fellow runners, enjoy the vistas, and take photos. Don’t forget to enjoy your journey! The rewards for following our spiritual routines are endless – both immediate, and long-term. Choose to stay on the race course that the great ‘Organizer‘ has set for us. Embrace the routine, relish the milestones, and treasure each victory along the way!

  • What routines are you making?
  • Are your routines taking you in the direction you desire?

MoSop

5 comments

  1. Beautiful pictures Holly. I wish I could run again. I know, when I get to Heaven, I will have a new body, but I wonder if there’s running in Heaven. Right now, I continue to run the race, metaphorically speaking. In other words, I’m running sitting down. However, I consider myself to be moving forward.

    I so enjoy your encouraging words. You must have been a cheerleader in high school. If not, your talents were wasted.

    Love you, Lynne

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    • Good for you, Lynne! Keep running forward – metaphorically or otherwise! I definitely believe there will be running in heaven!
      And, thanks for the laugh. I was a music/theater geek in High School, definitely not a cheerleader. But, thanks for your vote of confidence.

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      • Know how you feel about the cheerleader thing. I was too shy. My sister was a cheerleader, and we teased that she majored in cheerleading and boys. I was into art and studying. Not really the right combination for cheerleading.

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      • Just happened to think of a story I heard once. A little boy was in church with his family, and when a hymn was being sung, the congregation stood, but the little boy remained seated. His father leaned over and told him to stand. The little boy didn’t want to, but decided he’d better or face punishment. So, he stood up, but told his father, I’m standing on the outside, but on the inside, I’m still sitting down. So, on the outside I’m sitting, but on the inside I’m standing and running.

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