I love local events and this one is one of my favorites! There are many reasons I love the Layton Triathlon: For one it’s local, so I don’t have to travel far to compete. Two is something my family can be a part of (who doesn’t love their own cheering section?). Three – it’s a fun challenge to do two mini tri’s back-to-back. This race is unique and is set up to swim-bike-run, then do it all over again; so you have to go from a run back to the swim. I have to admit it feels really good to jump back in the water after getting hot on the run. I have done this race many times, here’s some pictures from the events over the years. One year it even landed on my birthday – and the whole crowd sang to me – it was pretty cool! My favorite picture below is my cute little kids cheering! The event will be held on August 2nd this year. It’s a fun one to get involved with! Use the code BLDRUN and save $ (thanks for reading). Learn more
Wow, as always the Cache Gran Fondo did not disappoint. I have been part of this event since it existence 3 years ago and I remember being so impressed with how well organized it was even the inaugural year! I graduated from Utah State University as well as interned at Logan Regional Hospital (affiliated with the Race Director that puts on the event) so naturally I love to return to my old stomping grounds. A lot has changed since I want to college there, but the same beautiful mountains have not. As always I like to drive up the morning of the event. Getting up before the sun has its perks – I love to see the sunrise! This year I was participating again as an athlete as well as sponsor with many of my Team Blonde Runner – Triathlon athletes (www.TBRtriathlon.com). What a great group!
At the start we found each other and assembled ourselves for the 50 mile event which the majority of the team members were doing. I suggested they use the race for training and run after the ride to simulate a triathlon. I did this last year and found it great for training to run on tired legs – just like it would be in a triathlon.
Soon they announced the start but we were waiting for a team member and after it thinned out a bit we all started together. The weather was absolutely perfect at high 50’s low 60’s to start! The route rides in a large loop through Cache Valley and it was great to reminisce in my mind about all the great times I had in college running for Utah State University on scholarship. I am a long distance runner gone triathlete. Triathlons rock!
Since the 100 mile riders started before us there were lots of people to catch up with and I found myself passing riders the whole time even though I was riding conservatively since I knew I would be stopping and waiting at the first support station to check on everyone and reconnect with team members. The first support station was offer just short of 20 miles. When I arrived they had plenty of great snacks and beverages to refill water bottles etc… Last year we had a team member experience some flat tires so I wanted to wait until every team member arrived so I could make sure all was well and nobody needed assistance. I was pleased to see everyone was having a great time and we enjoyed visiting a while at the first aide station as everyone trickled in. Before long we were on our way to tackle the next 30 miles.
Immediately out of this stop the 50 and 100 mile rides split and not too much farther up the road was a 500 foot climb. I was looking forward to the challenge. The hill starts gradually and gets stepper as you go so it was important to keep your cadence up and not burn out your legs too early. I was happy to say I was passing people the entire climb. As always it was a thrill to reach the top and see the spray painted sign “KOM” on the asphalt. Just for a second you truly feel like a “King of the Mountain.” At this point the riders were thinning out and I found myself riding between groups; as I would catch them I would pull them for a while until I dropped them and worked on closing the next gap. It was fun! I was thrilled to be able to hold 36 mph for a portion of it. I tried to work in aero as much as I could to simulate a triathlon. I couldn’t help looking around at the beautiful scenery that northern Utah has to offer. It felt great to have the wind on my face and be surrounded by nature. It is really easy to remember why I do this stuff when I participate in rides like this. I was in the zone and just enjoying the ride.
Before long the next two supports stops came and went. The route was well marked and it’s always fun to pick up the pace for the final stretch to the finish! Shortly after I finished I was awarded my finish medal. Since I wanted to simulate a ride-run workout (aka “brick”) I didn’t linger and quickly put my stuff away and traded out my cycling shoes for running shoes and took off on the run. By now it was getting hotter and as expected my legs were tired. I pushed them to run hard as I pounded out some miles – it felt good. I love the burn of a great workout! Soon after arriving back at the finish area I saw my first athlete finishing up her ride. She was smiling and enjoyed the event!
I then browsed through the expo with lots of vendors and enjoyed all the fun festivities. It was an honor to be part of such a well organized event! After picking up some food (provided by the event with a meal ticket – how cool is that?!) I headed back over to the finish and was greeting by many other team member who had just finished with smiles on their faces. It was fun to say hello and I was happy to see everyone had done well and felt good about their ride.
This was truly a great event and one I plan to do every year. It’s just so fun to be back in Cache Valley and to be part of such a great event. This event also helps fund breast cancer screenings – bonus. I love to be part of a great cause too! I hope to see you there next year!
~ Coach Lora Erickson
Registration for the 2015 event will begin in January. Learn more
Check out this cool video – you can see all the great views!
Other perks you should know about:
Complimentary breakfast before the event
Photo’s available for free after the event
Great expo at the finish with lots of fun booths, food and vendors.
UCA categories racing available
Free meal ticket after
Prizes & drawings
The Cache Valley Super Sprint put on by On Hill Events is coming up this weekend! Registration is still open – use the code BLDRUN to get a discount – check it out Triathlons are a blast!
Coach Lora Erickson
This is a great annual local event offering a half marathon and 5k along with a 1k for kids and breakfast! It’s great fun! Come join us. I’ll be helping at the aid stations and cheering for you!
Use the code TBR14 and save $$
Are you signed up for a marathon (St. George, Layton, Chosen, Huntsville etc…) and want some help with your training? I have a Marathon Training Program starting soon. Message me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to learn more.
Coach Lora Erickson
USATF certified running coach
Please share your opinion.
Coach Lora Erickson
There are a lot of great races up in Northern Utah and this one looks like a lot of fun. Night races are a blast. Check out the Independence Eve event. They offer a 10K and 5K. Learn more
Do you want to win a spot? If so visit the Blonde Runner Health Facebook page and enter to win!
The South Davis Recreation Center puts on a lot of great races. One of my favorites is the Labor Day triathlon. It will be held on Monday Sept. 1st this year. Come join in the fun. Learn more
I wrote this report a few days after the event and hesitated to post it because it was a bit emotional for me. But I decided to anyway because this is how I really felt about the race. This isn’t my typical race report. Here’s goes:
This report is a little different than my normal race reports as for this event I was the race director not the athlete. I wasn’t nearly as nervous and because this is the fourth year of this event and I have put on many events before I felt pretty confident I had done all I could to make it go smoothly. Race directing is no easy task and it takes many months and hours and hours of preparation to make the event go well. One thing you never know about is the weather but I am happy to report the weather was great! It may even have been a little on the warm side for runners, but it was certainly perfect for their supporting fans. The morning started early for me at 4:30 a.m. with finishing route markings and setting out the first aide station and posting signs to make sure all participants stay on route.
My first priority when I got back to the venue was to make sure sprinklers were not on and the bathrooms were unlocked. Fortunately the sprinklers were not on but sadly the bathrooms were locked. NOT GOOD when you have 300-350 runners/walkers that will need to use it! A phone call or two later, things were taken care of (thanks Judy!) and before you knew it they were unlocked and everything else was moving along. Great volunteers helped to finish unloading all the pre-registration bags my family put together – all 350 of them! Whew! The refreshments, volunteer/ vendor supplies, shirts and posted signs and maps were being put in place meanwhile the timers and DJ set up their supplies. Soon athletes started arriving. It is amazing how quickly time fly’s when you are crazy busy. A quick check-in by the photographer and then I was thrilled to introduce the Zumba duo to the DJ. Soon people were getting their groove on with warm-up dancing. It was at this time that I tried to pause for a few minutes and soak it all in. The fun music, the neat posters, all the people including many friends and family members! It was magicial!
As I read all the names on people backs tears welled up in my eyes (glad my sun glasses were on) – they had come to honor their loved ones! I thought to myself how happy I was to keep my promise to my Samantha – that she would never be forgotten. She only lived five hours but she is indeed part of our family and for one day we will stop to remember her along with all those others that miss someone. Read Her Story
It was very touching but I couldn’t get too carried away in the moment and had to bring myself to the task at hand. Making this the most positive experience I could for other people. I doubled checked that finish medals were in place and made sure everything else was in order. All volunteers accounted for and ready at their stations. What a relief to have amazing volunteers to help! I am so greatful for my team (Team Blonde Runner – TBR – triathlon) for all of their support and efforts to help others at this event. I am so proud to be their coach!
In a flash I was having the DJ announce it was time to head over to the starting line and after a few simple remarks in my megaphone the 10K/5K race was started, the 2 mile walkers soon after.
After the race was started I headed back to make sure all was ready to accept runners and refreshment preparations were underway. I glanced over the posters again, trying to remember all the names that were to be honored today on this Memorial Day. Everything seemed to be in order and for a moment time stood still. All those months and hours of preparation were coming together. Race day was here! Soon I found myself cheering the first runner in!
Then another; and another. With the addition of the 5K this year we had a steady stream of runners throughout the event. As always, I couldn’t help to cheer extra loud for my TBR team athletes and other clients I am coaching as well as many former athletes, friends and family members. What a thrill it was to join together to honor our loved ones!
It reminded me of a conversation I overheard when my children were asking their friends who they were going to walk/run for. It was music to my ears to hear “I am running for my sister Samantha” and fun to be the fly-on-the-wall as the other children talked about who they could walk/run for. What a great thing – to do something for someone that has passed on! As a mother who lost a baby I can tell you that you love them well before they are born and you long to do things for them even when they are gone. So I thank all the participants that allow me this opportunity to spend a little time on behalf on my daughter I didn’t ever get to know but long to one day. I do believe I will see her again, but that doesn’t make me miss her any less. She would have been 16 this year. I am not alone in missing my loved one. All the people at the race were missing someone. It was a day to celebrate and recognize life. It was great to see people cheer and embrace each other as they finished. The pride on their face as they were awarded their hard earned 10K finisher medal was priceless. For many participants this was their first race ever! I can’t think of a better reason to run than for someone else! How neat it was to see family and friends gather together for group pictures and to witness all the support and love they have for one another! One thing for sure – this is a unique race. While there is the push to finish strong and achieve athletic excellence as indicated with an impressive new 10K course record of 35:32 (5:43 min./mile average) – this is a USATF sanctioned event. This is more than just a race, it’s a little step in the direction of healing from a loss. It’s a moment to embrace life and overcome difficult challenges. It’s a day to gain support, love and understanding. It’s a race for grief.
Even when the race is over for me I can still feel it’s effects. The comments like “great race, I’ll be back next year” helped seal those memories in my heart as people were leaving with their finisher and award medals proudly around their necks!
The positive feedback and kind messages that come over the next few days help me savory the richness of that day.
“Lora , I had such an overwhelming experience on Monday. I can’t put in to words how much I needed that or how much I’m looking forward to next year.” Shaylee
“Thank you again for giving us the opportunity to be a part of your amazing event. We had so much fun!” Leslie
“Thank you for all your work in putting on a great event that helped my family grieve some more with our loss this last month of my brother in law that died in a motorcycle accident. Sorry for your loss. Thanks for a wonderful morning.” Kory
“Thanks for putting together this great event Lora Heyl Erickson. Great course and better cause!!”
“I had an incredible experience this morning. Today was my first RFG and I’m so glad I was there. Granted, I cried most of the morning, but it was so healing and beautiful. I love and appreciate my finisher medal! I will be back every year you do this race!” ~ S.H. 2014 participant
“I’m running for my little brother, November 9, 2012. He was a Marine Corpsman and father of three. Lost him to suicide. Running is my therapy for grief!! THANK YOU for allowing the opportunity to run and honor him and his life accomplishments!!!” Dan E.
“I thought the race was amazing again. I was able to set a new PR for the 10K and beat my time from last year. The turnout was wonderful and it is such an emotional and amazing event. Great job!”
Samantha is in my heart and will forever live through this Race For Grief event. I do hope to have you join us next year!
~ Coach Lora Erickson
aka Blonde Runner
In Loving Memory of Samantha
The Sharing Place
To learn more visit www.RaceForGrief.com
Read a recent newspaper article about the event: