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Category: Wyoming

Conquering Grand Teton half marathon pushing a double stroller

OH Wyoming, you’re quite a story! If you’re one of those jump-to-the-cliff-hanger type of readers, I’ll give you the quick and easy. I ran the Vacation Races Grand Teton half marathon at 6395 ft elevation, uphill, pushing a DOUBLE stroller with two big kids! Every other person passing me, (because there were many passing me) called me “badass” or “you’re a beast”, or “you go mama!” which felt really encouraging. But it wasn’t until I started writing this that I discovered, damn! I AM a BADASS! Check out how amazing the Tetons were!

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Grand Teton Half Marathon, The Run

This was my first run with Vacation Races, and I was expecting a great race based on previous reviews. But this run far exceeded all of my expectations. I’ll say it multiple times during this post, if you get the opportunity, Run a race with Vacation races.

The course is primarily paved on a bike trail, with some dirt tracks near the finish line. I had expected to become weary with a 583 ft elevation gain at max 6,383 ft. What I had not anticipated, was my husband having an emergency and being left with our two kids. I, like most situations in life, had two choices. To choose defeat and get my first ‘did not start’ (DNS), or find a way to run. Sometimes life throws us changes that we can’t control. It probably would have been easiest to accept this race was out. But I thought, WHY NOT TRY? So I found an online service that rents baby gear and rented a Bob double stroller and we started.

Two and a half hours later, we were still running. There had only been one 3-year-old melt down, (because Cheetos had fallen on his seat) but we could see the finish line. So again I considered, WHY NOT TRY?

Sadie and Pierce’s first half marathon

We decided to try, and made one of the most fulfilling personal records of my running career. Sadie and Pierce’s first half marathon! The scenery was absolutely mesmerizing, so much so, that it kept my kids entertained for 13.1 miles. For the cherry on top, The finish line had a picturesque photo drop of the Grand Tetons. A carousel of buses transported us back to the start line. But be cautious, if you have a double stroller you may have to wait quite a while for a bus that can fit the stroller too.

Grand Teton half marathon scenery

Things to do

I’ve heard of the wonders of Jackson, WY for over a decade. My husband worked on a wildfire hot shot crew in his twenties, and was captured when the helicopter flew over the Grand Tetons. He’s been pressing on returning since then. I didn’t get the same aerial view that he did, but even from the ground you can enjoy the sheer magnitude of the Tetons. First and foremost, download the gypsy guide. It’s 100% worth the commentary that is informative and entertaining. It’s like having a personal tour guide in your car; then you’re ready to explore this beautiful national park.

Jenny Lake

There is a trifecta of highlights to visit, all of which we were able to do in one busy day. Start at the explorer center for a wilderness badge for the kids and a few souvenirs as well. Then head on over to Jenny Lake. You can either choose to hike the round trip of 7.5 miles or pay $18 for a roundtrip on the boat. On this trail you’ll visit hidden falls and inspiration point. One tip, don’t wait too long to get back to the boat if you don’t plan on hiking home. The boat ride closes at four and we ended up waiting an hour in line. Many people were forced to hike.

Next up on our journey around the Grand Tetons was mormon row. This is known for its photogenic barns that belonged to some of the earliest settlers in Jackson hole. Then to snake river outlook, made famous by Ansel Adam’s 1942 portrait attracting visitors to the Grand Teton national park. There are several other features of the park you can follow with your gypsy app if you have more time available.

Snow King Mountain

We’re always looking for fun family friendly activities while we travel. Snow King mountain definitely filled that role. There’s a scenic chair lift to the top of the mountain, where kids can enjoy a treetop adventure. Then choose to either slide down or ride the cowboy coaster. There’s also a bungee trampoline, mini golf and bike rentals. Check it out in the video above, we liked it so much we went twice!

Jackson Village

Probably the most enjoyable part of our trip was visiting Jackson village. This quaint town had a variety of stores, including the biggest toy store to reward my kids for “patiently running/being pushed for 2.5 hours in a stroller” for their first half marathon. I enjoyed sampling at spirits and spices and the whole family loved eating at Pizzeria Caldera.

Where to stay

Originally I had searched for a camping experience, with showers for after the sweaty run. But If you take one tip from this post, it’s Book early! I made reservations in January for our June half marathon, and nearly everything near Jackson village was already booked! We luckily booked the absolute best Fireside resort, minutes away from the start line. These luxurious rustic cabins are ideal for family and friend settings, perfectly equipped with a kitchenette to make some home cooked meals to enjoy by your own fire. I hope you enjoy Wyoming as much as we did!

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