Running a BIG 10 down Big Cottonwood Canyon

IMG_3032Running and I have an interesting relationship. I can’t imagine living a healthy lifestyle without it. Yet, there are times it frustrates me, especially when I am not physically where I think I should be. This is when running can (and usually does) hurt. But, then runs like this past Saturday happen and TOTALLY surprise me to no end.

I have been looking forward to this run for a while now for a number of reasons. One, I always love a good downhill run, especially down Big Cottonwood, and, two, I wanted to use it as a gauge to my long distance running fitness level. I am nowhere where I want or should be for a sub-two half, but I’m working towards that and wanted to where I need to go from after an efforted long distance run.

Coming after my 25K last week I was a TAD apprehensive about this run, because I didn’t know quite how my legs would respond. But, the opportunity was too great to pass up or passively approach. It was all in or nothing. So throughout the previous week this run was on my mind 100%.


The morning of the run everything felt good for a great run. I felt good, my legs were fresh and I had the energy needed for a run strong. I met up with the fun group of runners at the Big Cottonwood Park n’ Ride and carpooled the ten miles up the canyon. Still everything felt great.

I was a little worried that I was a bit underdressed, because it was 32 degrees up the canyon and I was wearing shorts and a tech long-sleeved shirt. But, alas, that was not a problem at all. Once we started going I wanted to go all out on my first mile to give myself something to test on for future runs and to give myself another gauge of my fitness level.


I did that mile in 9:43, which I was very happy with. I could have probably kept that same pace for another mile or two, but I didn’t want to burn out to quickly knowing I still had another nine miles to go so I slowed down to a 10:45 pace for mile two and three, knowing I wanted to pick it up some later into the run, especially once I hit the “S” curves in the canyon.

But, around mile three something internally happened within me, within the deepest parts of my bowels. I don’t think I really need to go further in describing that feeling, because it’s simple … I had to poop. Like bad.

Knowing there was a bathroom at the end of the giant “S” curve I picked up my pace some and ran with a purpose only one who has pooped their pants before could fun with (and for the record the previous time wasn’t while running … and I don’t want to get into the story. Just know that I’ll only tell that story ONCE publicly and it will be in my book). Once I got to the bathroom I was greeted by this …


Yes, if you can’t read that it says … “RESTROOM CLOSED WINTER” The nerve! The tragedy! The … pain! How could they still be closed for winter? Winter has been over here in northern Utah since basically mid-January. And, with the temperatures in the mid-70s on Saturday we were basically in summer anyways …. so why were the restrooms still locked?

There was slight panic because I really, really, really had to go. I still had about 4.5 miles left in the run and really tried figuring if I could realistically make that. But, I knew that there was another campground down further and I had this foolish notion that it would be open. So after meeting up with my friend Robin (who was having similar problems) and walking with her for about a quarter of a mile I picked up my speed towards the next campground.


Now, I’ve been doing Hip Hop Abs lately and the first lesson you learn is to “tilt, tuck and tighten” your abs. Well, I’ve found other ways to apply these same measures and I am happy to report that it probably saved me a pantless ride home.

Since none of the campgrounds were open I just had to continue to run down to the park n’ ride. I knew if that bathroom was closed I could just continue my run to the 7 Eleven at the intersection of Wasatch and Big Cottonwood. That’s how desperate I was.

But, luckily, I made it to the park n’ ride bathrooms without incident and they were unlocked. I don’t think I’ve ever been so utterly ecstatic and disgusted all at one time then when I opened the restroom doors and saw this …


At least the people before me flushed and there weren’t any dead bodies or possums in the restroom so I had no problems. I was just happy for the needed relief.

So by the sounds of it, this could easily be classified as a “crappy” run, but it actually turned out to have some positive outcomes. The first obviously being that I didn’t poop my pants, but my pace was faster than I expected. I ended up averaging well under an 11 minute pace. My legs didn’t feel completely fatigued which was another bonus. I had some pain in my knee which is attributed to last week’s 25K, but nothing to worry about.

But, this run puts me slightly ahead of where I thought I was. The goal is still to focus on fitness, getting stronger and losing weight. Then once June comes I am going to focus on speed training going towards the Nebo Half in September where I hope to get a PR sub-two half marathon time. The key is going to be consistency, hard work and having fun doing it.

Well that and making sure I know where the closest bathroom is.




legs and wheelzThis past February you might remember the indoor race called Reese’s Run done by Extra Mile Racing that I ran along with my friend Josh Twelves. This was Josh’s first taste of the running world and needless to say he is addicted. So I’ve been helping him get a racing cart and connected to the running community.

Additionally, we are planning on running a number of races together so we decided to make a team of it. Since we’re both Joshs, we obviously needed nicknames to differentiate between the two of us. We kinda naturally came up with Legs and Wheelz.


We’re excited to get going. After my run on Saturday I took Josh and another friend of mine to go shopping for some running clothes. We ended up getting a tech shirt and shorts for Wheelz (aka Josh aka Josh Twelves aka The Other Josh) and of course we ended up getting burritos at Freebirds World Burrito afterwards. What’s a day without burritos?

But, this upcoming Saturday is going to be Wheelz first half marathon. We’re both running the Lagoon Half Marathon in Farmington. I am actually not pushing him though, our friend Chanda will be pushing him, but I am going to run with them to help both get accustomed to the chair we are borrowing for the race. But, it should be a great experience for all three of us. Plus, we get to run through Lagoon which should be a lot of fun.

I am helping fill out Wheelz’s schedule for this summer so if you’re wanting or willing to push him let me know. I am going to share more information within the next couple of weeks on that. So, please stay tuned.


Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015

2015 Training Miles – 130.4 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 74.0 miles
2015 Race Miles – 53.55 miles
2015 Total Miles – 257.95 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 72.85 miles
March – 106.3 miles




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