Race Recap: Vacation Races Grand Teton Half

This June I crossed the finish line of my third half marathon. That’s three half marathons in under a year.

Last July, when I started getting serious about running, I didn’t even know it could be done, and frankly, I was really nervous about finishing my first 13.1. But, I did. It took 2 hours and 56 minutes, but I did it. And, I liked it so much I signed up for another half. And another. So, quite a bit has changed since my first half marathon race. I’m stronger, I’m faster and I’ve lost some weight—all factors that can make me a better runner. And, maybe the most important thing, my mental game has changed. When I first started running, 13.1 seemed like a lofty goal. I could barely finish a 5k in under 45 minutes. Not to mention by the time I finished I was out of breath with a side ache… These results made me pretty skeptical about my running ability and if I should be even running at all. But, with three half marathons in the books, I’ve become a more confident runner. Anyway, to get to the point, here’s a summary of my last race, the Vacation Races Grand Teton Half.

First, I have to say, the folks at Vacation Races put on a pretty good race. My first half, a Vacation Races half marathon at Lake Powell, was amazing. So much so I wanted to run another race with them. They have some amazing bling and everything about race day, and the days leading up to it, seem to go off without a hitch. They are kind of pricey, but that’s the price you pay when you’re running near a National Park I guess.

Like the Lake Powell Race, this half was a runcation. We drove up to Wyoming to check out Grand Teton National Park as well as Yellowstone. Both parks were breathtaking.

Surprisingly, despite the thunder storms that happened during the outdoor race expo, the weather on race day was great. The views along the course were awesome, and that’s probably the No. 1 reason why I love running with Vacation Races. Unlike road races, there’s a lot to look at, you’re never bored, it’s a wonderful way to see new things and it gives you the opportunity to take a trip to a National Park.I started out really strong. At mile two Kyle took a pitstop. We had agreed to run together, but I didn’t want to stop so early, so I kept running. The course was mostly flat up until mile four. At mile six, after the biggest hill, I felt guilty, I was thinking about how I left Kyle for the past couple miles. I waited for a few minutes to see if he was close behind. And sure enough, he was. I cheered him on and waited until he caught up to me to keep running. Although I didn’t keep my pace it was great to run with him, we even crossed the finish line holding hands I know—it’s pretty cheesy. The race finished at a country club with amazing views of the mountains. We were able to snap a few photos to save the moment.

This was the first year that Vacation Races offered a race called the Wolf Double. It included the Teton Half as well as the Yellowstone 5k. They also had an option to run a half in Yellowstone, but with all the hiking and camping we knew that we would be doing, we opted for the 5k instead. The 5k was not my best race. In fact, while I was running it felt like my worst. We were wrapping up our trip in Yellowstone and this was the last big thing we were planning to do. We were exhausted. Actually, exhausted is an understatement. But, we signed up for the race and we wanted to run. Not only were we tired, we had been eating like crap all day. I had a giant burger, fires and onion rings at a local diner in West Yellowstone. And, we had ice cream for breakfast that morning. It’s considered carb loading right? Our race was at 7:30 p.m. and we thought we would be fine… But we were wrong.

After we finished the race, feeling defeated, we went back to our hotel which was about a block away from the finish line. I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I saw a post from Vacation Races that said they were just about to start awards. We had nothing better to do so we went back over to the race. And we were welcomed back with quite the surprise…

Despite having a gut ache for the entire race, I finished fourth in my age division. Another thing I love about Vacation Races is that they medal five deep. So, by placing fourth I got some bling. Women’s awards were first and we were both kinda shocked that I finished in the top five. They moved on to the mens and what do you know, Kyle placed fourth, too! As a non-runner he was so shocked! None of the other men were at the awards, so being the goofball he is, he stood on the first place spot. The crowd loved it, and so did he. 

Will I run another race with Vacation Races? Absolutely. For more race reviews visit BibRave.com.

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