Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hobbler Half Review

The first part of this post is an overall review of the race for those thinking of running this specific half marathon, and the second part is my personal experience running this race.

Hobbler Half Marathon 2014 Race Review
The Course: You start up the left fork of Hobble Creek Canyon. Unlike most canyon races, this is not a completely "downhill" course. Hobble Creek offers plenty of ups and downs to make this a unique and challenging half. Due to construction, they changed the end of the course. When we exited the canyon we headed south into Mapleton. I actually preferred this course over last years. The route has a total ascent of 354 ft, a maximum elevation of 5,783 ft. and drops to 4,683 ft.
View at the start

One negative to the course was that it was short! Most runners reported 12.8 miles (including me). I'm sure this will be remedied in the future. Accurate course distances and mile markers are so important, and this year's Hobbler Half didn't deliver either.

Support: There were plenty of aid stations and port-o-potties along the course. They also offered a bag drop option at the top, which seemed to run smoothly. The race started a couple minutes late, but not enough that it was a big deal.
The race also had the RYR Pacers out helping runners meet their goals. They covered paces between 1:35 and 2:30 and also provided a sweeper. This adds a ton of value to me when racing.

Extras:  Packet pick-up ran smoothly. There wasn't any cool swag for this race, but I liked that they included a printed page of race-day instructions. I think it's convenient to have the important info in print on race morning. I was also disappointed that the race shirts are the same as the Provo Half shirts. They have different graphics on them, but they are identical otherwise.

This race also offers a 2 person relay over the half marathon course. I have friends who run the relay and love it! I think it is a fun option that this race offers.

Run13 likes to throw a party at their finish lines. There were bounce houses, face painting and hot air balloon rides. There were Creamies, snow cones, free breakfast and massages. My 5 year old remembered how much fun he had last year, and was really excited to do it all again this year.

Slim used his little piggy toes as brakes.
2014 Medal

Runners: There were just over 700 half marathon finishers, 33 relay team finishers, and 161 5k finishers.

Weather/Conditions:  The weather was nice and cool at the top of the canyon, but it heated up quickly. Even with the 6:30am start time, it's still a July race so prepare to run in the heat. There is some shade coming down the canyon, and after the first turn towards Mapleton, but the majority of the race is in full sun.

Bottom Line: I really like the Hobbler Half. Run13 puts on a fun and well organized event. The course is scenic. It also helps that it is in "my" canyon. If you're looking for a pretty canyon run that isn't steep, this is a great one. If you're looking for a super fast course, skip it. Well, unless they plan on making it 12.8 miles again next year ;)
Post race hugs and kisses

My Hobbler Half 2014 Experience:
Jocelyn and I got to the high school at 4:45am, parked in Springville High's main parking lot and walked over to the park where the buses were loading. We made it on one of the first buses up the canyon.
After only 1 year on the "running scene", I already feel like I am part of a running family. I could have enjoyed another hour walking around and talking to all the amazing people I've met through running.
Jocelyn and me
I went into this race with low expectations but high hopes. My knee and calf (opposite legs) have been bothering me on and off ever since I was training for UVM. I've taken a lot of time off from running since Ragnar to recover. Two days before the race I did a 2.5 mile treadmill run and still had some pain.  I stopped by my  Physical Therapist office on Friday to get taped up. They have worked wonders in the past for me.

I usually approach races with my focus on a strong finish. This one I wanted to start at a pace that would keep the dream of a PR, or at the least a course PR, alive as long as possible. If my nagging injuries ruined it, that was one thing, but I didn't want a conservative start to be the reason I missed a goal.
1-8:55       5-8:48         9-10:12        13-9:32
2-8:38       6-9:35        10-10:37
3-8:45       7-9:07        11-9:48
4- 8:53      8-9:47        12-10:18

Looking at the splits, I went out too fast for my current fitness. No regrets though. My knee pain started around mile 2 but it improved as I warmed up. It never got worse so I just forced my mind to forget about it.
I didn't take water for this one, and would get quite thirsty in between aid stations. I'd always get a burst of energy after drinking some water and dumping a cup on my head.

I really pushed my brain during this race. I tried to never let myself feel "comfortable." If I started to feel like I was going to blow up, I would take some fuel (I ate a salted caramel GU and some skittles during the race.), focus on the next mile marker, and/or find an awesome song on my playlist. This seemed to work for me and I was able to snag a course PR, and it was my 2nd fastest half at 2:01:26.

Even though I've totally been beaten down by all the racing I've been doing lately, I was able to beat my Provo Half time by 9 seconds. I know that my mind and heart pulled this off, because honestly my body feels 100 years old right now. :)

Me and Holly. It's a bit of a goofy picture but I like how happy we look.
Running in to the finish!
Anyone have more thoughts about this year's Hobbler Half?
Would you rather a course be a little long or short?
Do you always aim for negative splits in your races?


  1. So I love reading your running updates. I would LOVE to do my first half under 2 hours. I have a training guide I found online but any tips you have would be greatly appreciated. I have only done one other race, a 10k. I did it slower than any of my home practice runs. I think I started to fast and then ran out of juice at the end. Matt is no help because he is just a natural runner. He takes months off and then just goes out and does 6 min miles...

  2. So sorry I decided to abandon the blog right when you posted a comment. Hope I'm not too late to be helpful!
    Learning to pace yourself definitely takes some practice, and I'm still figuring it out. If you have a gps running watch you could keep track of your splits during the first half of the race and make sure you're on track, or find a race that provides pacers.
    Training wise... I would make sure you're finishing your runs stronger/faster than you start them, to teach your body and mind that it has juice left later in your runs. I always sprint at the end of my runs. Getting your weekly mileage up (gradually!) will help with speed and endurance. Also do one run a week where you practice running at race pace (tempo run). The tempo run gets your body used to running at your half marathon pace. So, if you want 1:59:59, then your average pace should be about 9 minutes and 9 seconds per mile. If you're body is feeling good, throw in a day of interval speed work. The rest of your miles should be at a comfortable pace. Always make your long run about distance and not time. Good luck with your training! Your boys are absolutely adorable!