Category: American Flyers Pacing Team

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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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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