Category: Race Pacing

Running in 2018

Sure it’s December and it’s a bit cliche to put these goal posts out. But, I’ve been writing, scheming and planning my 2018 race and training schedule pretty much since August or earlier. I’m an over planner — that’s just what I do.

I love the last couple months of the year, because it allows me to be retrospective of the past year and finalize my upcoming year’s plan. The new year brings a renewed hope and excitement that I love. It’s really my favorite time of the year — if there’s a lot of snow falling outside (that’s a whole other story).

I have a few focuses for my running and fitness in 2018. I have my 100 miler in February, my 180th race in July and the need for balance with my fitness. They’re pretty simple goals, but goals that will requirement a commitment from me to focus on the task at hand.

This month and leading into February is about preparing for my 100 mile run. I won’t lie, I’m nervous about it. I know I can do it. But, my ankle injury really derailed my planned training throughout the year. But, really, the goal is time on my feet — lots of treadmill and indoor track miles — and I am fine with that. That’s what I knew I’d be doing at this point anyways.

It’s just the mental aspect of the injury and training that makes me nervous.

I have a game plan and 48 hours to complete the 100 miles. I’m going to do it.

I am also 11 races away from my 180 race goal. My commitment to this is rather simple — don’t sign up for more than 11 races between now and the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon in July. You think that’s pretty stupid — but, in years past that’s a real struggle for me.

I am planning on running a few 5Ks and trail runs under 13.1 miles throughout the year. That’s not only to keep my 13.1 mile runs and beyond in check, but also to me balance my fitness a bit more.

With the recent success I’ve had with keto, my focus is really on diet and fitness. I want to get faster and rebuild a foundation I had a few years ago that I lost when my thyroid tanked (long story). My keto diet really gives me hope that it’s possible to do that — especially with the proper training a sub-two half marathon — a goal of mine for years.

As you will see in my weekend running schedule below, I am planning on taking at least one weekend a month off from running and doing some cross training. Not sure what that will entail yet. Whether that will be boot camp, swimming or if I’m brave enough — cycling (another long story) — we’ll see. I just feel the weekend off will help refocus me as well.

I am also planning a number of training and trail runs throughout the year. I’ll post those on Facebook when I finalize dates on that — I’ll post that on my Facebook page and the wasatch.run Facebook page as well. So stay tuned.

Needless to say, I am excited for 2018. I am excited to see where my running takes me. I am excited about my fitness and health. I haven’t felt this way in a couple of years and that excites me. I am still not 100% with my ankle, but that will come.

The focus is simple in 2018 which will hopefully lead me into some more definitive goals in 2019.

But, for now — it’s one foot in front of the other.


Road to 180

In 2011 after I ran my first half marathon, I made the goal to run 180 races over 13.1 miles before my 40th birthday. Well, I fell into running a bit more than I initially anticipated. I will be hitting that goal this summer less than a month before my 37th birthday.

My 180th race will be the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon — which was my first and 100th race. I can’t think of a better race to celebrate this accomplishment at than my hometown race.

I am inviting anyone and everyone to join me that day — it’s July 21st and I have an event set up on Facebook you can RSVP at. Registration is only $40 right now — CHEAP! CHEAP! — so please join me!

Anyways, here are the last 11 races toward my 180 goal …


Race/Running Schedule 2018

As noted above the focus for my 2018 running is balance. Not just in running, but in my overall fitness. I feel like with that combination of balance and my current keto diet I’ll get where I want to be in 2019 so I can focus on some speed goals — including a sub-two half marathon time goal

January to mid-February will be heavy mileage weeks as I am working toward my 100 mile run at the Jackpot Running Festival. But, after that, my goal is to focus on about 1-2 half marathons a month with a group road/trail run and cross training weekend. And, by cross training I mean … a no race weekend other than maybe a 5K.

I have most of the weekend’s planned out — some will obviously change, especially from September to December. That’s just a BIT too far out to plan for me. There are a few variables with races and group runs that will need to play out for a couple more months. But, I have the gist of it figured out.

Anyways here is what my 2018 schedule SHOULD look like …

January

1 – Revolution Run (170)
7 – Olympic Oval
14 – Olympic Oval
21 – Olympic Oval
28 – Olympic Oval

February

3 – Sun Marathon (171)
10 – Olympic Oval
17 – Jackpot Running Festival (172)
24 – Cross Training/Rest

March

3 – March Madness 5K
10 – Cross Training
17 – Lucky 13 5K
24 – Riverton Half Marathon (173)
31 – Sugar House Park Training Run

April

7 – Run Emigration Half Marathon (174)
14 – Provo Canyon Trail Run
21 – Salt Lake City Half Marathon (175)
28 – Cross Training

May

5 – Emigration Canyon Training Run
12 – Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (176)
19 – Cross Training
28 – Memorial Day Big Cottonwood Training Run

June

2 – Vigor Solitude 5 Mile Run
9 – Drop13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (177)
16 – Mueller Park Group Run
23 – AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (178)
30 – Cross Training

July

7 – Hobbler Half (179)
14 – Run4Fun Trail Run
21 – Handcart Days Half Marathon (180)
28 – Cross Training

August

4 – Big Cottonwood Training Run
11 – Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon (181)
18 – Cross Training
25 – Mt. Nebo Half (182)

September

1 – Antelope Island/Mueller Trail Run
8 – Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (183)
15 – Park City Trail 13.1 (184)
22 – Cross Training
29 – Big Cottonwood Training Run

October

6 – Thistle Trail Festival (185)
13 – Antelope Island Half Marathon (186)
20 – Cross Training
27 – The Haunted Half – Provo (187)

November

3 – Mueller Park Trail Run
10 – Mt. View Trail Half Marathon (188)
17 – Cross Training
22 – Thankful 13 (189)
24 – Utah Santa Run

December

1 – Utah Santa Run
8 – The Bakers Dozen Half Marathon (190)
15 – Cross Training
22 – The Run Before Christmas
29 – Cross Training


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RACE #168: Joshua Tree Half Marathon

[CLICK HERE TO READ MY SNOW CANYON HALF REPORT]

After picking me up from the High School, Julianna, Michelle and her daughter booked it out of town so we could get to Joshua Tree in time for the Joshua Tree Half Marathon. Crystal was going to make the journey with us, but she ended up going to the ER to get some fluids after her race. Sadly, she didn’t make the trip at all.

The trip down was fairly uneventful. It took us about five hours as we passed through Vegas and Barstow. We knew we were going to cut it close to make sure we got to the race on time, so we only stopped once for gas.

We made it into Joshua Tree with about an hour or so to spare. But, we were met with a 1.5 mile long traffic jam as the other 2300+ runners were all parking for the race. The jam made us sweat a bit. But, we made it on time — and it helped that the race also moved the start time back a little because of the traffic.

Since I killed my legs in the earlier race my plan was to just stick with Julianna and Cheryl who were sweeping the race. The plan was for a 4 hour sweep time, which would be perfect ultra training — especially with the tired legs. So it was an easy game plan.

In the first mile we met up with a runner who was coming back because she started getting a headache and felt nausea. I felt bad. She was in tears. Being the professional pacer that Jules is — she immediately hugged the runner — and told her that she’d get her to the finish line. The hug and reassurance stopped the tears and our new friend Anita joined the party in the back.

About another half mile or so, I started feeling nausea again. I was trying to figure out why — because I hadn’t eaten much in the past couple of hours after lunch — and it didn’t bother me then, so why now?

Either way, I ended up throwing up just a mile and half into the race. I couldn’t believe it. I did have the brief thought that I should turn back. But, I couldn’t. This was a race I wanted to do — and I wanted to run my name. I wasn’t going to give up.

The course was gorgeous as the sun finally disappeared behind the mountains and the full moon made its’ appearance. I felt like I was running inside a U2 music video. Which I kinda did as I turned on U2’s Joshua Tree to get me into the mood of the run. But, after I threw up a second time — I stopped with the music altogether.

I couldn’t believe I was still throwing up. It didn’t make sense. Especially, when it felt that I didn’t have anything on my stomach. It started making me wonder if I had a second stomach I was unaware of?

Despite my caution, it seemed like a few minutes after every aid station, I would get nausea and then throw up. It was like clockwork at this point. It was beyond bizarre.

The course didn’t help my situation at all. It was tough. Very tough. It was very much a trail race. There was only about 1.5 or 2 miles of pavement.

We climbed a lot, which isn’t much of an issue for me, but it was on hills that were VERY sandy. It made for a tough hike. And, soon the party in the back collected quite a few people. We had a good 10 or more people well behind the 4 hour pace.

But, we all kept going.

And, I also kept throwing up as well.

Having thrown up five times during this race, I had enough. I was done puking. So, by the Mile 9 aid stations I came to the revelation — from Julie and my friend Jill (who I was texting) — it was my Powerade Zero making me sick.

I am not sure why it took me so long to figure that out? Probably out of denial? But, it made sense. This was the 5th race I’ve thrown up at after starting my keto diet. I contributed a lot of that to not being able to eat the proper fuel I needed that early in the morning.

But, it wasn’t necessarily that food.

It was what I was drinking. It made perfect sense. And, after saying a quick farewell, I resolved then and there to stop drinking it. So, at the Mile 9 aid station I dumped out my Powerade Zero and filled my pack with water.

And, that was the difference.

My stomach felt fine. And, in fact, I just drank as much as I could, because at this point — having thrown up 12 times that day — I was worried about hydration. So I was very mindful to keep drinking.

Having gained a second wind, I was ready to finish this race. I was beat up — not just by my Powerade Zero, but the course as well. Our little party in the back started resembling a zombie march. It seemed like the hills kept climbing and the sand never ceased.

But, honestly, from a roadrunner’s perspective it was miserable, but from a trail runner’s perspective it was that bad. And, that’s what I was trying to focus on. This was a trail race.

But, the course was extremely tough for everyone, even for the runners in the front and middle of the pack. I felt bad for some of the pacers who struggled to keep their pace because they had to work almost twice as hard. It was just a tough, tough race.

The course limit was four hours, but we were far from it. We hit the four hour mark at 10 miles. And, because of the permit and course limit we were all driven about a mile and a half ahead so we could finish sooner. They had to take a couple car loads and as much as we wanted to resist — we were grateful. We all just wanted to be done.

When I finally made it to the finish line I was just grateful to be done. I was drained. I was sore. I was depleted. I was stinky. I was so many things. But, I did it. This was much tougher than my last double race day — mainly thanks to the puke and sand. But, I survived.

Once I was done, I knew I had to make up my distance in order for me to count the race toward my 180 — so I paced around the finish line, parking lot and went back out to the race course to meet up with Julie as she brought in the last runner.

That last 1.5 mile was tough. I could have easily not done it and been fine with it. But, I’d have that nagging on me if I didn’t. 13.1 miles is 13.1 miles.

We were going to drive back to St. George that night, but it was midnight and we were all bushwhacked from the course and day. We made the smart decision to crash at the local Marriott Courtyard where our friend Melissa was staying. It was the best decision, even though that gave us a 10 hour ride home the next day.

After not getting my hooker shower earlier that day and running two races in the same clothes — I was so ready for a hot shower. And, it was definitely one of the best showers I’ve ever taken — definitely in the Top 3.

It seriously was the best.

After a great sleep and good sized breakfast the following morning, we were off heading for home. I had no ill affects from the night before. I kinda wished I had a scale I could jump on, because I could have sworn I lost nearly 15lbs. from the day before.

But, going away from the race — I was just grateful for the ability to be able to do what I can do. It was a tough day. It was a demanding challenge. And, despite the obstacles — I finished what I started. There’s a lot of pride in that.

And, as I reminded myself often during the day — it was GREAT ultra training. Puke and all.


MY NEXT RACE: MT. VIEW TRAIL HALF

The year is winding down for me. And, I won’t lie — I am looking forward to some rest the next few weeks, before going headstrong into my ultra training for Jackpot. But, before that — I have one more half marathon for the year.

This Saturday I am running the Mt. View Trail Half Marathon on Antelope Island. I grappled with the idea of doing the 50K — which I have done the last couple of years. But, not only do I feel like not doing it, but I’m just not ready for it mentally and physically. I just don’t trust myself at meeting the needed cutoffs on the 50K.

So the half marathon it is for me!

The course isn’t that bad. It’s basically the last 13 miles of the 50K course along a gorgeous part of the island near Garr Ranch. It should be fun. It will be a different challenge. And, really, I am just going for time on my feet at this point in my training — so — I’m going out there to just enjoy myself.

And, after this race — I’m basically taking a three week break from running to recharge, recalibrate and refocus. I’ll be heading to Europe for a few weeks and I can’t wait. I’m heading to Paris, Rome, Athens and Crete. I’m going to FINALLY meet cousins and family in Greece I haven’t met yet. And, of course — I’m making my pilgrimage to Marathon.

There was no way I could go that far without stopping for a visit.

Once I am back in December I am jumping into my training for Jackpot and I’ll blog more about that next month. It’s not a lot of sexy training. It’ll mainly be time on my feet and lots and lots and lots of long hours roaming my streets, the Olympic Oval and the treadmill.

But, right now the focus is on Antelope Island this weekend!


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 8.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 23.08 miles
TOTAL MILES — 57.28 miles
Races This Week — (2) Snow Canyon Half & Joshua Tree Half

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 37.69 miles
Race Miles — 52.4 miles
Walking Miles — 95.89 miles
TOTAL MILES — 185.98 miles
Races in October — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

November 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 16.81 miles
TOTAL MILES — 47.01 miles
Races in November — (3) Snow Canyon Half, Joshua Tree Half & Mt. View Trail Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 423.24 miles
Race Miles — 453.77 miles
Walking Miles — 1140.31 miles
TOTAL MILES — 2017.32 miles
Races done in 2017 — (32) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta – Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run, Jordan River Half Marathon, The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half,  Howloween Half, The Haunted Half — Provo, Snow Canyon Half Marathon and Joshua Tree Half Marathon. 


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Running in 2018 …

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my road to 180 races. My 180th race will be July 24th — pretty much SMACK in the middle of the year. So that means I’ve got January through July pretty much covered — but, what about the last half?

What’s after my 180th race?

That’s a good question.

While I am trying to figure out my 2018 race schedule, I’ve had a couple focuses — one, my 100 mile run and, two, not doing as many back-to-back race weekends of a half marathon or longer. I know that if I am going to faster, especially during my half marathons, I am going to have to scale back on the long races.

I don’t anticipate myself PRing next year. But, I am wanting to use 2018 to set the foundation to PR in 2019. Well, I shouldn’t just say PR, but to break my long time goal of sub-two’ing a half marathon. That’s the goal.

To work on that fountain, I plan on not just scaling back on the races — but, focusing on doing two races a month. Ideally, a half marathon and a trail race, a month. This would be on top of shorter training runs on the other weekends. Runs that I want to vary between a canyon downhill run, trail run and challenge run (a mentally challenging run — run uphill, midnight all night run, etc) — but, I’ll blog about that later.

I just want to challenge myself, get faster and mentally stronger in order to attempt and achieve my goal. A goal I’d love to meet at either the Nebo Half or Revel Big Cottonwood Half in 2019. Something that seems rather doable for me.

But, 2018 will have to set that kind of success up for me. So, while I am scanning UltraSignUp, UtahRunning.com, Running in the USA, RaceEntry.com and other registration websites I’ve come up with tentative schedule for 2018.

Remember these are only races 13.1 miles or longer. I am sure I’ll have a few 10Ks and 5Ks planned throughout the year. Also, races in bold are ones that I am registered for already. And, there are a few in the later months that are planned on a projected date.

So, yeah, here’s my schedule …

1 — Revolution Run, January 1, 2018
2 — Sun Marathon, February 3, 2018
3 — Jackpot Running Festival, February 16-18, 2018
4 — Strider’s Winter Circuit Half Marathon, April 7, 2018
5 — Salt Lake City Half Marathon, April 21, 2018
6 — Provo City Half Marathon, May 5, 2018
7 — Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, May 12, 2018
8 — Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, June 9, 2018
9 — AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, June 23, 2018
10 — Canyon to Canyon Half Marathon, July 14, 2018
11 — Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon, July 24, 2018
12 — Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, August 11, 2018
13 — Mt. Nebo Half, August 25, 2018
14 — Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, September 8, 2018
15 — Park City Trail Half Marathon, September 15, 2018
16 — Corner Canyon 25K; October 13, 2018
17 — The Haunted Half – Provo, October 28, 2018
18 — Mt. View Trail Half Marathon; November 10, 2018
19 — Thankful 13, November 22, 2018
20 — The Bakers Dozen Half Marathon, December 8, 2018

If you are planning on running any of these races or would love to suggest other races for me to do, please comment below! I love discovering new races!


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RACE #163: The Haunted Half — Salt Lake City

I absolutely love running in October — for many reasons. I love the cool October air, the changing leaves and the plethora of races during the month. You’d think July and August would be the most popular month to run, but it’s too hot during the summer months. October is PERFECT conditions for running.

Earlier in the year I wasn’t planning on running The Haunted Half, but those plans changed when I resigned my position with Runtastic Events. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, because I loved who I worked with. But, I had too much to juggle with a full-time job, a family run business and a podcast among other things. It didn’t leave much of an evening for me.

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But, as much I will miss it, I’m glad I am still able to at least run The Haunted Half and the other Runtastic Events races. Their races are always down the most gorgeous canyons with the most awesome shirts (biased here), best volunteers (biased here) and coolest Finisher’s medals (once again, biased here). So, being able to go back to “just” being a runner of their races is exciting — but, with a much deeper appreciation for what it takes to put on a wicked awesome event.

Since I wasn’t working the event, I decided to not just run the race — but, to pace it. So, I volunteered to sweep the course with the RYR Pacers. I don’t think it goes without saying how much I love sweeping courses. It’s the party in the back.

My sister Jenny also decided to run with me — especially since she’s always wanted to run down Emigration Canyon. She used to run quite a bit a number of years ago and just recently started picking it back up. Like me, she also struggles with Hashimoto’s Disease and has recently balanced it along with losing over 30lbs. So while there were nerves on running a half marathon again, she felt emboldened with her recent changes in health.

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I was more than excited to have her join me, because she was the first of my siblings to run with me — not just a half marathon, but a 5K a number of years back. So this race was a bit extra special for me.

Slowly, but surely, I’ll get my whole family to run a half or full marathon with me — BRUHAHAHA!

The night before the race my sister had a million and one nerves going on. I got texts throughout the evening on what she should bring and wear. I kinda chuckled, because I remember having those nerves for races like this. Heck, I still get nerves for races — especially ultras. But, that’s a whole different story.

After leaving Bountiful and making the trek to Sugarhouse, we rode the buses up to the start of the race. We knew there was suspected rain and/or snow. But, apparently,  it was just the snow part that we got. Lots of it too.

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Around 5:30am the canyon got a blizzard. This halted the buses from coming up the canyon for a while, which delayed everything. Once our bus got to the start line we just sat there without any runners getting out. This was the case pretty much for all the buses. I wasn’t complaining, because I knew it was going to be COLD outside.

Once I got to the point that I needed to use the Honey Buckets, we hopped off the bus. The race was delayed about 10 minutes or so. I wasn’t sure, because I just saw a mass of humanity making their way under the pumpkin arch. Almost immediately I was trying to figure out my adjusted pace.

But, almost as immediately as we started, we were slowed down by the icy road from the blizzard. The first two miles or so were fairly slippery and it was difficult to navigate. Jenny and I couldn’t get a good rhythm because as soon as we did — more ice. So we did what the road could give us. We weren’t the only ones having issues with the roads as well, many runners ahead of us were too.

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After a couple miles in the roads were dry and we picked up our pace. And, so did the runners around us. The chaotic mess subsided and we were all good. But, once again, I tried to figure out my new pace. But, at this point I knew I was going to be off on the times I needed to hit on Sunnyside and 2100 S. — not much, but off.

Around Mile 7 wanting to keep up with my pace, Jenny and I decided to split. She was going to focus on the group in the back, while I tried to run ahead to meet the cutoffs the race wanted me to hit. It worked out pretty well actually.

I was about 13-15 minutes off because of the delays, but I made up good time. Because of the delay the officers, thankfully, kept the intersections and roads open a bit longer. And, once we got out of the canyon we made our way toward the 900 East area where we meandered around some neighborhoods before making our way to Sugarhouse Park.

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i am usually not a fan of running around neighborhoods, but the last four miles were pretty gorgeous. The older homes lined with trees transformed to almost a completely different city. The homes were gorgeous and well kept — I believe many of the U of U professors live around in this neighborhood? Either way, it was a fun few miles.

Once we got to the park, we made a loop around the pond before approaching the finish line on the east side of the park. The race was over. And, I finished in about 3:30. I haven’t confirmed the time yet as my results haven’t posted yet. But, it was about the time I was expecting. A couple minutes later Jenny came in with Christy — all smiles. A perfect way to end a race, right?

I hung out at the end for a while. My friend Lizz hung out with her Mom after their 5K to see me and my sister come in. Both ended up PRing their race. They both got to ring the PR bell! Hopefully come next year I will be ringing that bell too! But, that’s a post for another day.

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After both Jenny and I limped back to the car we made our way home. After a quick shower and lunch I then headed up to Lagoon for Pod Bash Lagoon Day. I had tons of fun — but — that made for a looooooong day on my feet. My FitBit registered over 20 miles so by the end of the day my feet were aching.

But, the way I looked at it — it was GREAT ultra training.

Oh, the mentality of a runner, right?

Anyways, it was a great day overall. So many highlights with friends — both my running and Pod Bash friends. But, I’ll always remember this as my first race with my sister. We had a blast and she did too. And, she even mentioned that she wanted to do more in the future.

And, that left a smile on my face.

I got her.


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES

My 180 race journey is RAPIDLY coming to an end. It’s hard to believe that I am just 17 races away from reaching the goal I set some six years ago. It’s also hard to believe that within the next month I am going to be cranking out six more races toward that goal. It’s going to be A LOT of running.

But, I am excited for the adventure.

This Saturday I am running both the SoJo Half and Howloween Half. Then The Haunted Half in Provo the following before doing another two race day when I run both the Snow Canyon Half and Joshua Tree Half. My sixth race will be the Mt. View Trail Half out on Antelope Island the following week.

The Mt. View Trail Half will be my last half marathon of the year. It will also be my last race before heading to Europe for a couple weeks. Two weeks that will be a nice break before going all in on my training for Jackpot.

But, right now the focus is these next four weeks and six races. Let the adventure begin.


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 9.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 25.2 miles
TOTAL MILES — 47.3 miles
Races This Week — The Haunted Half – SLC

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 21.69 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 50.07 miles
TOTAL MILES — 85.04 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 403.24 miles
Race Miles — 388.27 miles
Walking Miles — 1077.68 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1869.19 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta – Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run, Jordan River Half Marathon and The Haunted Half – SLC


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RACE #162: Jordan River Half Marathon

One of my greatest learned life lessons didn’t come from my Dad, a grandparent or some guru — it actually came from Kenny Rogers. Back in 1978 — before I was even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes, Kenny Rogers came out with a song called The Gambler with this advice —

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

There’s a lot of life lessons there. Probably enough that could fill a whole blog post. But, that’s not that kind of blog post — this is my race report for this past Saturday’s half marathon. But, it’s very applicable to this race.

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In running you gotta know when to go full force, when to hold back and even when to step away. Which is something I’ve been doing a lot this past year and it’s been very humbling dealing with my sprained ankle, thyroid and whatnot (whatnot is code for depression — thanks largely to my thyroid issues, but that’s a post for another day).

I’ve had to drop races, switched distances and even DNF a race. All in all — it’s been humbling and eye opening to me. It’s made me realize many things about my running, my priorities and life in general. Again, that’s a post for another day.

But, trust me, this is all applicable to this race report.

When I signed up for this race, I actually signed up for the marathon. I planned to run the marathon. I wanted to run the marathon. But, many factors lead me to the decision to hold back and downgrade to the half marathon.

Do I think I think I could have done the marathon on Saturday?

Yes.

But, I knew that I couldn’t. My training wasn’t what I wanted. Not because I didn’t want to put the training in, but my ankle prevented me from many of the needed training runs, long runs and whatnot (that’s not code word for depression, it’s just a filler for everything else you need to do to prepare yourself for a marathon).

Plus, right now the focus is on two long term goals — preparing myself for my 100 mile run in February and get closer to my 180 race goal. I don’t need another marathon right now to get me closer to those goals. Especially since my training plan for my 100 mile run is based on time on my feet and my 180 race goal is for any race over 13.1 miles.

So why potentially ruin both goals?

The answer to that question confirmed my decision.

I am starting to turn longer miles in my training. And, much like other ultra races, the training isn’t much about pace or time than it was about time on my feet. And, because of the relative flatness of this course, my coach and I decided to slow down my pace and really focus on time on my feet. This essentially would be a training run — with aid stations every few miles and a race medal at the end.

Being a somewhat smaller race, I knew I was going to be in the back. And, I was. My friend Julie and Jenni were sweeping the half marathon course — so I basically crashed their party.

I tried to just focus on my pace — not so much the running pace, but the kick in my walk. Transitioning from road to ultra training is a different mentality, because they’re different beasts. I’m excited for the transition — something I probably could have done a few weeks ago? Either way, here I am.

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I had a blast with Julie and Jenni. We fartleked the course, encouraged the marathoners running past and just had a blast. It really was a nice change of pace and mentality. Something I needed.

Somewhere around miles 7-8 my legs started to ache. I’ve had this issue the past couple of month or so. It’s not horrible, but uncomfortable for my long runs, training runs and races. Since Julie has been doing keto since January I used the time to pepper her with questions during the race. She suggested the aches were just the body still getting used to the keto diet — it was teaching my body to not rely on the carbs and insulin to fuel my body.

This made sense.

The transition has been easier in the past few weeks, but recovery is tougher and my mid-week workouts are hit and miss. Some are great and some are just miserable. But, I need to remember that I am retraining my body — a body that has rigorously worked out fueling with carbs over the past 7-8 years.

Patience. Patience. Patience.

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And, really, for me, that’s hard to practice. If I’ve learned anything over the past 2-3 years, especially THIS year, it’s patience. Patience with my health issues, patience with my ankle, patience in my training. There’s a point where you just get sick of it and want to move on — but, there in lies the need for the lesson.

I focused on my fueling the last 5-6 miles. I had my Powerade Zero with me and had to remind myself to drink it a few times. I had no need for my emergency applesauce packet, thanks in large part to the weather. The cloud cover was perfect and a nice change of pace from the heat of the summer.

The last couple of miles we were joined by Jason Henry. Jason is one of my favorite people, we ran our first ultra together a couple years ago at the Antelope Island 50K. He and his wife are just the kindness, nicest people. He’s been dealing with running injuries as well, so I haven’t seen him in a while. It was nice to have those few miles to catch up.

The last half mile I ran ahead of the group to finish with a good strong effort. I finished under four hours, which I was shooting for — nothing to write home about, but for the training and time I needed on my feet — it was what I needed.

The ankle wasn’t horrible either. There was some soreness, but the pain on top of my foot — nonexistent. Which I think kind of confirmed my belief that the ankle pain was more to do with that, than with my previous ankle injury. And, right now, as I write up my race report it doesn’t hurt — so that’s good.

I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks. I don’t have a race this upcoming weekend — it was suppose to be the St. George Marathon, but that’s not happening. So, I am planning on doing some time on the trails up here in Bountiful on Saturday. I am going to hike Mueller Park with my friend Lizz. To add some miles, I’ll probably run to the park and back home (which should add about 5-6 extra miles to the hike).

But, after that I am pretty much a running fool up until I leave for Greece. I have The Haunted Half in Salt Lake on Oct. 14th, both the SoJo Half and Howloween Half on Oct. 21st, The Haunted Half in Provo on Oct. 28th. And, then in November I am running both the Snow Canyon Half and Joshua Tree Half on Nov. 4th and then the Mt. View Trail Half on Nov. 11th.

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So, yeah, lots of running before I leave Greece on Nov. 15th.

I am looking forward to it. I am sweeping a couple of those races, so it will be great training for my 100. Especially on my double race days. I think those days will be great training, better than a marathon or 50K could do for me right now.

I’ll blog all about that training and my upcoming races in the next couple of weeks. But, I have 162 races down and 18 more to go!

The end is ‘nigh!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 22.72 miles
TOTAL MILES — 41.82 miles
Races This Week — Jordan River Half.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 22.0 miles
Race Miles — 49.75 miles
Walking Miles — 106.19 miles
TOTAL MILES — 177.94 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 381.55 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1027.43 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1784.15 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run and Jordan River Half Marathon


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I am soooooo close to my goal …

Wow. After this past weekend’s race — I realized that I am only 19 races away from my goal! NINETEEN! I’m in the TEENS! Time flies so fast. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been doing this now for over six years.

But, it’s also hard to believe that I am reaching this 10 year goal — three years early! Who would have thought? Who would have imagined the experiences I’ve had, races I’ve run and people I’ve met over the past years? I feel extremely blessed being able to do what I love and with people that I admire, look up to and gain inspiration from nearly daily.

Sometimes when I think and plan for the end of this 180 race goal — I have to remember that it’s not the end of running. Because it won’t be. I’ll keep doing it. I might be a bit more deliberate here and there as I shift focus, but I’ll still be running to my heart’s content.

But, as I look at the remaining races toward my goal, I’m getting excited. Many are races I’ve run numerous times, some a couple times a while ago and even a couple that I’ve never done. And, then of course there’s the Jackpot Running Festival where I am attempting 100 miles.

I am excitedly nervous about that race. I know I can do it. I know I will do it. And, despite the crappy year I’ve had with injuries and my health — I know it’s doable. I will be ready come February.

So there’s lots of running ahead before I reach the finish line at the Handcart Days Half Marathon next July — which I am looking forward to running! And, as you can see I am trying to be more deliberate with my running, especially after Jackpot. I am running any races 13.1 or longer on back to back weekends — well, except for Provo City and Vigor Big Cottonwood — but, I am planning on sweeping Provo City again, so I’m not really counting it.

But, I am planning on scaling back the races, not just to hit the 180th race in July, but to also get faster. I don’t expect to PR next year (though that’d be nice), but I do want to get back into the 2:20-2:30 range by the end of the year with the help of continued health and some specific coaching.

I am not sure exactly what my race season will look like after my 180th race, but I’d like to keep to two long races a month for as long as I can keep that up — and preferably a road and trail race.

I have some time to figure that all out. But, for now the focus is really Jackpot in February while also focusing on getting myself to number 180 next July.

Here’s my remaining planned schedule …


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RACE #159: Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

When I ran the inaugural Big Cottonwood Marathon in 2012 — I never expected it to become what it’s become six years later. Like most inaugural events — it had it flaws. The miles in the canyon were short, the aid stations were less than desirable and I thought I got lost a couple times in the latter miles of the race. But, I loved I spinning finishers’ medal that I got and the scenery was absolutely extraordinary.

And, much like Disneyland — you can’t judge an event or entity on it’s first day. If you did — no one would have come back to Disneyland the following day or decades after ‘Black Sunday’ in 1955.

It’s been fun watching this race grow from that first event in 2012. The following year I was surprised at how much it grew. It made a leap from a local race to a nationally spotlighted race — almost overnight it seemed. That second year each state in the union was represented. That speaks volumes about the ownership, leadership and marketing.

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And, each year — it just seems to get better. There is a weight that Revel holds nation wide and you see that in their races and courses in Colorado, California, Nevada and Arizona. These courses are fast and a target race for many hoping to BQ or PR on a downhill course.

Originally, I was going to be sweeping the marathon course — as I have done the previous three years. But, I had to back out a couple weeks ago after my doctor didn’t want me running 26.2 miles on my ankle. Despite knowing that I could do it — I concurred and decided to stick with the half marathon instead. It would still keep my Legacy Runner status alive — and I’d still be able to enjoy the canyon.

Plus, I haven’t done this specific half marathon course yet. Back in 2013 when I did the half marathon the course ended at Cottonwood High — not on 1300 East and Ft. Union Blvd. I was excited to try this course, because it pretty much drops you right down the canyon and to the finish line. How can you not love a race like that?

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Sure I was bummed that I had to drop to the 13.1, but I knew that if I was going to heal properly and get myself prepared and ready for my 100 mile run in February. Everything at this point in my recovery and training is for that race. And, I need to remember that when I get discouraged at momentarily setbacks.

The morning of the race was abnormally warm for a September canyon race. I brought my usual hoodie and gloves, but I really didn’t need them. I should have taken it as a sign that it was going to be a tough hot day, especially for the marathoners out there shooting for a BQ & PR — because as evidenced from many social media posts it was.

Even at the starting line I believe the nerves and heat were getting to some people. I made the horrible mistake of stepping into a Honey Bucket where a previous runner threw up all over. I couldn’t contain my gag reflex and lost it as well — unlike the previous occupant I was able to successfully aim for the commode. It was absolutely disgusting.

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After composing myself and refueling a bit I got ready for the gun time at 6:45am. The race started with a slow walk toward the starting line and then a quick quarter mile out and back. I wasn’t expecting the out and back, but it was fun being able to see a number of my (much faster) friends along the course.

Where they started the half marathon is probably my favorite stretch of the canyon — which is about 9-10 miles above the mouth of the canyon. It was absolutely gorgeous as the sun was slowly rising above the surrounding mountains. It was the perfect way to warm up into my run.

l didn’t really have a goal for this race. My pride wanted a sub-three time, but my reasoning knew I really shouldn’t push my ankle too much. So I just decided to take what I could from my ankle — but, more than that — I just wanted to enjoy myself and have a good overall experience. So that’s where I set my expectations and heart.

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Around Mile 5-6 the marathoners — the elite marathoners — caught up with us half marathoners. It’s always amazing watching these runners streak past. It’s usually  during this part of the race where I get major calf envy. Seriously, have you ever noticed how well defined and strong many of the elite runners’ calves are? If I only had likewise calves.

But, enough of that. — one day I’ll get myself some sexy calves. Hopefully sooner than later. But, that’s a conversation for another day.

Around this time a number of marathon friends came running past — Ty Hansen, Monte Riding, Bill Hiatt and Elsha. It was really neat. Ty stopped and got a picture with me and I am pretty much the race photographer got a picture of me running alongside Bill and Elsha. I was on cloud nine.

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Not long after passing Stormy Mountain both Amanda and Mike Bjarnson caught up with me. Being 34 weeks pregnant the race for Amanda was more like a 13.1 mile progressive bathroom break — as she had to stop at pretty much every Honey Bucket. We joked about it a couple weeks ago at the Nebo Half and then again when I saw her at Mile 3 waiting in a long line for the potties.

But, as pregnant as she is — she’s still a STRONG runner. And, was able to catch up to me despite all the breaks. I ran with her and Mike for a good 3-4 miles — and we just had a blast! We joked, cat called a marathon runner running in a Speedo and made new friends around us — I couldn’t have asked for a better stretch of miles than what I spent with the Bjarnsons.

We split around Mile 10 when we got to some more Honey Buckets. I decided to keep going, mainly because my ankle was starting to nag at me and I just wanted to be done. But, also because many if I kept going I would FINALLY beat Pregnant Amanda to the finish line?!

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I was really enjoying the run and despite the heat and varied elevation change of the last three miles — I just tried to zone in on finishing. It was around this time that I got heckled by a passing motorist. I recounted the experience in an earlier post that you can read here.

I will say this about the experience — it’s unfortunate that it happened — but, I feel worse for the guy who spouted off his insecurities and frustration. I mean, how would you like to live a life where to gain any value of self worth you have to tear down others? What a sad reality.

But, thanks to him, I was also reminded at how blessed and lucky I am to have so many wonderful friends within a community of a sport that I enjoy and love. I wasn’t going to let his words negate the experience I had running down the canyon being passed by my marathon friends or those miles of pure fun with the Bjarnsons. Those experiences spoke louder — much louder than any word he yelled my way.

I spent my last mile or so thinking about that experience as I inched toward the finish line. I was a hot mess thanks more to my ankle and sore quads. But, I didn’t care — that last mile of pondering carried me. I was done. I did it. And, I couldn’t wait to do it again.

I have a lot to be grateful for during this race. Just the fact that I was able to do it, I am grateful. I am also grateful for the friendly hellos and greeting from so many in the running in community. I don’t take those for granted. And, I cherish them — I hope no one shies aways from saying hi to me — PLEASE DO! Because it’s those friendships that make that motorist’s words meaningless.

I am already signed up for next year’s race — I signed up yesterday for the half marathon. But, depending on where I’m at this point next year I would like to be in a position to sweep the course again with the RYR Pacers.

But, we’ll see.

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I plan on continuing my status as a Legacy Runner at Revel Big Cottonwood for as long as my legs will allow me to run. It really is one of the best organized races I’ve done and a race I look forward to each year. It’s come along way from it’s inaugural run in 2012.

Now my focus is shifted toward the Huntsville Half Marathon this upcoming Saturday! No specific goals other than do my best, have fun and finish strong. And, luckily, no motorists along the course to heckle me!


MY RACES THROUGH OCTOBER


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 9.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 31.02 miles
TOTAL MILES — 53.12 miles
Races This Week — Nebo Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 47.5 miles
Race Miles — 40.0 miles
Walking Miles — 104.27 miles
TOTAL MILES — 191.77 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 7.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 36.82 miles
TOTAL MILES — 56.92 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 365.55 miles
Race Miles — 335.52 miles
Walking Miles — 921.24 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1622.31 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half, Nebo Half and Revel Big Cottonwood Half.


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