RACE #103: Park City Half

103-parkcityI have decided that running a half marathon ON your birthday is like the best way to not just kick start your birthday, but celebrate it. Originally, I had planned on making this Race #100, but after deciding to move it up the Handcart Days Half in July the plan was abandoned. So it simply turned into a birthday run.

Regardless of the significance, I was still excited to run. It not only was it on my 34th birthday, but I was spending the weekend up in Park City with my family. A great combination if you ask me.

And, if you thought that couldn’t get better, the mere fact that I could burn off my birthday dinner AND cake before eating it made everything that much more awesome! Both of which ended up being a Burrito Pizza and Banana Cake. Gosh, it’s getting better the more I write about it.

But, seriously, birthday dreams come true.

Back to the race.

Got assigned BIB #1! The first time this has happened to me. It doesn’t have so much to do with me being elite as it has more to do with me signing up for this race first.

This was the second time I’ve ran this race. I ran the half marathon back in 2012 when it was the Park City Marathon and Half. But, last year the race was bought by the Mountain Trails Foundation and the marathon was dropped. So now it’s simply the Park City Half & 5K.

In addition to the name and organizers change, the course has changed a lot. It still started and finished in the Newpark development near Kimball Junction, but the course now includes a combination of both road and trail around town. It’s very much a rolling hill course with just a couple hundred feet of elevation change.

I don’t do very well on flat and rolling hill courses. Well, I should say I don’t prefer them as much as I do canyon runs. But, that’s a whole other post for another day. But, more than that … I don’t do very well in heat. That’s evidenced from this year’s Ragnar Relay after I got heat exhaustion. Not fun.

Waiting for the race to begin at the Newpark development in Park City.

So when I found out that the race didn’t start until 8am, I was a bit worried. I didn’t need a repeat of Ragnar, especially on my birthday. Normally races around here in Utah during the summer start anywhere between 6-7am. Ideally, it would be around 7am at the latest right now in August.

And, 8am was TOO late, especially when the temperature got to nearly 90 degrees later in the day. By mile 6-7 I was spent. Most of my time spent at the aid station after that was used drinking Powerade and water, while pouring water over my head. It was just awful. Which was unfortunate, because the course was gorgeous.

In fact, I enjoyed it a lot more than I did the first year I ran the race. Plus, the combination of road and trails were fun and somewhat refreshing. It was a good introduction to trails for roadrunners. A good transitionary race if I can say so myself. Something of a transition I am in the process of making.

The smile is fake people. I was dying of heat, possibly dying within. This was my cry for help.

Since I was having such a difficult time with the heat and terrain I resorted to Galloway-ing a lot of the last 5-6 miles. I tried to stick to a minute of walking and a minimum of a minute of running — if not longer as the body allowed me. I know the last two miles it was more like three minutes of walking to one minute of running, but I tried to time it so I wasn’t walking too much.

Fuel wise I was okay, I brought my favorite Gu packets and I brought some salt tablets for mid-race. This helped me tons. And, they had gel chews at every stations along with water and Powerade so it wasn’t that bad for me. I did wish I brought a mid-run banana along with me because I needed something on my stomach.

A distant scenic scene of serenity and mountains. Too bad Bob Ross isn’t still alive, I’d have him paint this for me.

The last mile was horribly hot and I started actually getting a little sick. I was worried because the last thing I needed was an ER trip on my birthday. I took a Gu packet which helped, but I just wanted to get done. I knew I wasn’t the only one struggling with the heat as I passed a number of other runners in the last mile. There were a good 20 other runners behind me after I crossed the finish line.

But, the finish line made up for all of that. My family was there at the end to cheer me on, including my Dad. This was the first time he has been at the finish line of any of my races. It meant a lot to have him there. He has a hard time getting around because of his double knee replacements from last year so I know what kind of sacrifice it was for him to be there.

My foot. My right foot specifically.

Once I finished and I got rehydrated and ate a banana we took some pictures and left. I wanted to stay for the raffle, but I was feeling the affects of the heat I knew I needed more liquid and substance in my body. Namely … a Slurpee.

And, if that wasn’t good enough, it was almost like 7 Eleven knew it was my birthday, because they had banana Slurpees at the Park City location. Happy Birthday to me, eh?

Anyways, after getting showered and changed we headed out the door to have fun around the Park City area that included Park Meadows, bowling, pizza and swimming. Oh, and of course cake. What’s a birthday with cake? Especially banana cake.

I got a whole Slurpee even though I only did half of a marathon. I ran half the marathon and got a full Slurpee.

What a great weekend of running, family and birthday fun! It definitely gives a boost going into 34!



Here are a few Instagram posts that give you a bit of a better picture from the weekend past …

I didn’t find an unicorn to ride, but this is close enough. #birthdaypony

A photo posted by Joshua Snow Hansén (@mejosher) on

My nieces are cuter bowlers than your nieces. #bowlingnight

A photo posted by Joshua Snow Hansén (@mejosher) on


#becauseshecan #cuteniece #loveher


A photo posted by Joshua Snow Hansén (@mejosher) on



This has turned into one of my favorite races here in Utah. This is their third year doing this race down Little Cottonwood Canyon … and my third year doing it as well. It’s a fast course. It’s a fun course. And, it’s a challenging course, especially for those not ready to let gravity pull you down one of the steepest canyons in Utah. Plus, I love the convenient factor for me, it’s close to home, easy to get to on race day and not expensive at all for a great race.

I am hoping it doesn’t snow at the starting line like it did last year. I won’t lie, it was hard to get bumped for an AUGUST race while snow came pouring down. But, I guess that’s the nature of a race in Utah, especially down one of the premiere canyons. Luckily, the snow was gone before mile one was finished.

But, this is a great race, great course and I am looking forward to letting go and letting my legs take me down the canyon. Especially since I am not pacing or sweeping.



Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 193.0 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 256.15 miles
2015 Race Miles – 280.0 miles
2015 Total Miles – 729.15 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 72.85 miles
March – 115.3 miles
April – 76.3 miles
May  97.4 miles
June  131.15 miles
July  101.65 miles
August  55.7 miles



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