Category: Running Week

RACE #169: Mt. View Trail Half

I had many emotions going into this race — gratitude, excitement, relievement and — yes — even a tinge of disappointment. So, let’s breakdown those emotions …

Gratitude — because Saturday not only marked my 169th race, but the 8th anniversary of the beginning of my journey. The day I decided to make up and LIVE.

Excitement — This was my 169th race, meaning I am just 11 races away from 180 goal (which I will hit on July 24th of the upcoming year).

Relievement — This was my 32nd and last race over 13.1 miles for the year. It’s been a year of many ups and downs with my ankle and health. I am looking forward to the next two weeks while I am in Europe. It will be some much needed rest before I go into the beast of my 100 mile training.

Disappointment — I’m grateful for any day, any distance that I can run. But, I’d be lying if I said I was not disappointed that I wasn’t running the 50K race instead. It was my first ultra, I’ve done it twice before and I just love it. A great beautiful challenging course.

So, yeah, those were the emotions I was dealing with before the race. But, nonetheless, I was excited to run, to see what I was capable of doing out there and just enjoying myself.

I didn’t have a concrete time goal for myself. It was mainly just time on my feet and a good effort. I was kind of expecting around four hours — which is about my average for a trail half marathon. But, I wanted to be faster if I was feeling it.

The race started at 9am which made for a casual race day morning. I still woke up by 4:30am for some reason, but didn’t get out the door until a quarter 7am. It was nice. I ate my breakfast, watched some news and blogged a bit. It felt like a weekday morning for me. I loved it.

After making the commute to the packet pickup which was near to the park gates, I saw a bunch of friend including Ruthie — who wasn’t helping me wish I was running the 50K. She is such a cheerleader and positive person that I knew I was missing out on the party.

But, I had my own party running the half marathon. After driving from the front gate of the park to Garr Ranch (about a 11 mile drive) I had a few minutes to mingle with a few of my friends — Bret, Doug, Ryan and his son Jordan — before we were off at 9am sharp.

Because we were dealing with a single track trail and there were a good 300 or so runners — I just held back a bit to let the mass of runners. I didn’t fight the runners and passing on that trail can be somewhat of a beast. So, I just took it easy for a few minutes.

I started off with Ryan and Jordan, but within the first mile or so, they were off ahead of me. Which was fine, I just used those first couple of miles to find a good pace. I felt good, so I tried to push myself just a bit harder than usual. Being my last race for the year and long run for the next couple of weeks — I decided to just put everything into it.

The game plan was easy — run the downhill, push the flat parts and fast walk the uphill. I stuck to that game plan for the most part. But, I won’t lie — there were times I lost myself in the scenery of the island and trail. I had to remind myself to refocus a number of times. It was a beautiful autumn day and I was in heaven.

I yo-you’d a bit with a girl throughout the entire race. It was her first trail run — not just race. She was a student at BYU-Idaho and decided to sign up for this race to train toward throughout the semester. She was a bit unsure about the buffalo — which we ran into a couple times along the course and she asked me to help her maneuver around them.

I’m not a buffalo expert at all. And, despite running this island a number of times — they still make me a tad nervous. But, with that said, they’ll leave you alone — for the most part. And, the best way to get past them is to run past them.

Easy enough, right?

In theory of course.

In our two encounters with the buffalo, I felt comfortable enough to stop and take a few pictures. And, for the most part they were pretty indifferent of our presence. They were pretty close to the fence opening where we needed to pass, but their indifference made it easily passable.

After the climb up the hill toward the finish line, I stepped up my pace. The trail turned into a paved trail and eventually pavement during the last couple of miles. It also helped that it was slightly downhill too. So, I just put myself in cruise control.

I separated myself from the other runners I had been running with — and I just focused on the finish line. I was about a half hour faster than I expected and I just felt great.

The last few hundred yards I was greeted by my friend Boojah, which made me grin. She’s been fighting Stage IV gallbladder cancer. She and her husband Tim came to the finish line to cheer me in. I always love having my own fan club at the finish line. But, having Boojah there was extra special. After gathering myself and refueling a bit, Tim and Boojah gave me a ride back to my car near the ranch before grabbing something to eat on my way home.

In all, I had a blast. This was the perfect race to end my race schedule for the year. Having done 32 half marathons or longer this year — I’m ready for a rest before I go into the beast of my 100 mile training. I’ll blog more about that later. But, I’ll be taking a break from the bloggy blog for a couple of weeks while I’m on vacation.

I’m just grateful to be able to do what I am able to do. This past year has had many ups and downs with health and injury, yet I’ve done the most races than any previous year. I can’t help but feel extremely blessed.

But, I’m also ready for this break.

Right now it’s — EUROPE OR BUST, BABY!!!


MY NEXT THREE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 26.56 miles
TOTAL MILES — 45.66 miles
Races This Week — (1) Mt View Trail Half.

November 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 10.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 43.37 miles
TOTAL MILES — 92.67 miles
Races in November — (3) Snow Canyon Half, Joshua Tree Half & Mt. View Trail Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 429.24 miles
Race Miles — 466.87 miles
Walking Miles — 1166.87 miles
TOTAL MILES — 2062.98 miles
Races done in 2017 — (33) 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, Joshua Tree Half Marathon and Mt. View Trail Half Marathon.


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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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RACE #166: The Haunted Half — Provo City

I am winding down on so much right now — not only am I winding down on my 2017 race schedule, but my 180 goal as well. This was my 29th race over 13.1 miles this year and fourth to last. That’s a lot of running. Then on top of that this is the 15th to the last race of my 180 race goal.

That last one is a harder one to process than this year’s race schedule. But, here I am running my 29th race of the year and 166th race of my 180 goal. It’s hard not to get somewhat sentimental at these races — especially the ones I’ve done basically every year.

The Haunted Half is one that I have rarely missed the past few years. That includes both the Provo and Salt Lake City races. These are some of my favorite races — from the courses, medals, t-shirts and overall experience. That was one reason I loved working for Runtastic Events during the time I did, because we focused on providing top notch quality for the runners and their race experience.

As difficult as it was stepping away from the race company, I was excited that I was able to run the races — especially the Nebo Half (my favorite) and The Haunted Half races. That also meant I was going to be able to EARN the Trilogy medal. I am sure if I was still working for the company I would have been given one, but that’s not the same as EARNING the medal.

It’s a really, really, really cool medal. The design it top notch, it’s HUGE and it’s heavier than most newborn babies (slightly exaggerating). Since I won’t be in town for the Thankful 13 I had to earn it earlier and this race was the final race I had to do for the medal.

So here I am.

Since this is a Halloween race, I was planning on dressing up. But, the banana costume I bought wasn’t really running friendly. So I had to improvise. And, by improvise I mean — take the laziest approach to my costume. I threw on my Greg Gregerson shirt and just went as Greg Gregerson. That was it.

Kinda lame I know. But, it worked. And, I didn’t have to worry about the logistics of costume. A costume I’m not sure wouldn’t kill me with excess chaffing? And, that’s something you don’t want to find out.

So, Greg Gregerson it was.

I know, you kinda wish you could pull that off, huh?

I didn’t have a time goal for this race. I’ve made the switched to an effort goal about a month ago as I work toward my 100 mile run in February. I really wanted a good effort with minimal walking. So if there was any goal — that was it.

A lot of the athletes from my Addict II Athlete team were running this race in honor of Carlee whom we lost earlier this month. It’s been a very emotional month for the team and this was a very emotional race as well.

A number of wore Carlee’s name on our shoes, some ran in pink tutus for Carlee and Don ran the whole 13.1 miles dragging Carlee’s “I Can Do Hard Things” tire behind him. It was a great tribute to her. It was a very emotional run for many of us.

I started off the run with Don, Russell and a number of the teammates. We all kept close to each other for the first half of the race. At the mid way point we kind of part and I ran the rest of the race with Zack and some of the Minor League team members.

Zack was slowing down a bit around Mile 9-10 and I ended up sticking with him for the rest of the race. As fast and downhill this race is, I forget that those last few miles are TOUGH! Around mile 10 the canyon is gone and the hills come out.

The worst of all the hills is the hill at Mile 12. People complain about the hill at Mile 10.5 of Run Elevated down Little Cottonwood Canyon, but this hill is much worse. It’s longer and — just brutal.

But, the good thing is that once you get over it the finish line isn’t too far away. But, oy! It was brutal (have I said that enough?).

The effort was there and once I got to the finish line I was done. I gave a great effort. I quickly grabbed my race medal and some water before grabbing my bag and Trilogy medal before leaving. I wanted to linger, but I was exhausted and really needed food in me.

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Luckily for me there was an In-N-Out less than a mile from the finish line. I was in heaven. Ever since I started my keto diet my favorite thing after a long run or race was an In-N-Out protein style, animal style burger.

Needless to say, it was delicious. Possibly life changing.

The focus now is this weekend’s races in St. George and Joshua Tree, California. As you might recall I am running both the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and Joshua Tree Half Marathon on Saturday. It will be a great challenge and training for my 100. Plus, there’s the whole part where I’m running my name.

I’ll have more on that later this week.


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 17.46 miles
TOTAL MILES — 34.56miles
Races This Week — The Haunted Half — Provo

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 33.69 miles
Race Miles — 52.4 miles
Walking Miles — 89.62 miles
TOTAL MILES — 175.71 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 415.24 miles
Race Miles — 427.57 miles
Walking Miles — 1117.23 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1960.04 miles
Races done in 2017 — (30) 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 and The Haunted Half — Provo.


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RACE #165: Howloween Half Marathon

[CLICK HERE FOR MY SOJO HALF RACE REPORT]

After getting home from the SoJo Half I had an agenda — get some food and take a nap. Unfortunately, I only succeeded in one of those two. I didn’t get the nap I wanted. But, after some steak and eggs I was pretty much good to go for my second race.

This was the second time that I’ve done the Howloween Half. The last time it was held was back in 2013, but it was held in Provo and not Magna. But, with that said, I’ve done this course numerous of times, as it’s the same course as the Saltair Half. The race I did back in April.

But, I’ve never done this course in the dark.

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My goal going into the race was to fast/mall walk and to finish within four hours. The goal to fast/mall walk was to replicate my ultra pace on tired legs so I could gauge where I’m at physically. I know that sounds somewhat strange. But, with my injuries and health the past year my training has been somewhat shot.

And, the time goal was there only because I had to pick my Mom up at 10:30pm from the airport.

The race was rather small with about 30-40 runners. I like these races because there is a different feel to it. I love the chill atmosphere to Extra Mile Racing’s races. And, this race was no different.

I meandered out there and arrived about a half hour before gun time. With the casualness of the race I got my bib and shirt with ease. I waited until gun time to start, but I won’t lie — I wanted to start a soon as I was ready. Mainly, because I knew I was going to be out there for a while.

I didn’t know who was sweeping the course, but with my race plan — I knew I’d be hanging out with them for most — if not all — of the race. I was excited to see that it was my friend Jennifer Petrossi from my Addict II Athlete team.

And, we did the whole race together.

And, we had a blast.

We talked about life, keto, the Addict II Athlete team, more about life and even more about the Addict II Athlete team. This happens when you run with anyone. But, we were also out there longer than usual so we got life stories, diet plans (helps we’re keto freaks) and whatever came to mind. It was a lot of fun.

The race started around 6pm and we reached the turn around just as the sun set and we were left completely in the dark. I thought about bringing a head lamp. Heck, the prerace email stated I should bring a head lamp. But, did I?

Nope.

And, neither did Jennifer.

We tried using our phone flashlight, but it wasn’t really needed. The lights of the passing cars on the freeway provided some light. But, we really didn’t need to know where to run, because it was a flat paved frontage road.

With about three miles left to go T.J., Jennifer’s husband, came out to run us in. He had paced the 2:10 group and after he finished he came back out — crazy if you ask me. Funny when you realize I was in the middle of my own crazy.

I kept focusing on my pace and even though those last three miles were tough, they were tougher mentally than physically, which was encouraging. And, in a funny twist, that helped me mentally, because it gave me the confidence that I can do this crazy little 100 mile run in February.

As soon as we finished, we stopped and snapped a couple of pictures and then I just headed to the car. I gathered my belongings and just sat in the car for a couple minutes to gather myself. I started to ache and the stiffness of my legs settled in — it wasn’t fun.

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But, I made my journey to the airport to pickup my Mom, but in true Hansen fashion she gave me the wrong time. She came in an hour later than originally stated, so I started stretching in the car after popping a couple Aleve for the pain.

Once I got home it didn’t take long for me to crash after a quick shower and a small meal. I was dead. And, I was out within minutes. It was a long day, but worth all the pain and effort.

Now to do it again in a couple weeks.

Oy!


MY REMAINING 2017 RACE SCHEDULE


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 8.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 22.09 miles
TOTAL MILES — 56.29 miles
Races This Week — SoJo Half & Howloween Half

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 29.69 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 72.16 miles
TOTAL MILES — 141.33 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 411.24 miles
Race Miles — 414.47 miles
Walking Miles — 1099.77 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1925.48 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, The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half and Howloween Half.


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RACE #164: SoJo Half

Sometimes I make good decisions. Sometimes I make bad decisions. But, often, I make really bad decisions — yet somehow turn out to be good all along. That pretty much sums this past Saturday for me.

I haven’t done a double race day or two within less than 6-12 hours of each other for quite a while — back in July of 2015. Or about 63 races ago. Oy, that seems so long ago.

Anyway, I chose to do it again (and I will do it again in a couple of weeks) for a few of reasons —

  1. It’s good ultra training
  2. It helps get me closer to my 180th race so I don’t have to do many back-to-back race weekends in 2018.
  3. I wanted to.

I haven’t done the SoJo Half Marathon since 2013 so I was kinda excited to do it again. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I don’t do that well on flat-ish courses. But, I wasn’t running it for a PR or year best time. I was running it to prepare myself for February.

My goal going into the race was to get as close to three hours as possible. With my recent injury, energy levels and training — this would be a stretch for me, especially considering this wasn’t a canyon race and didn’t have the luxury of letting gravity help me along the way.

The morning of the race was pretty uneventful. I made my way down to the finish line where the packet and bus pickup was around 5:30am. Once I got my packet I had about an hour before the last bus left for the starting line so I sat in the car to stay warm. I knew the starting line was going to be cold — and I didn’t want to wait for the gun time too long.

After hoping on the bus I met a Facebook friend Ashleigh — I always love meeting new friends, especially ones that have only been digital friends up to that point. Our conversation mainly centered around keto and what’s worked for me, her and her husband. Though I’ve been doing keto now for just over two months, I still feel very new to it. So talking with others about their experience with it is something I enjoy and need.

After getting to the start line I headed inside the University of Utah Medical Center where a group of runners huddle inside to stay warm and use some of the restrooms. Honey Bucket didn’t deliver the needed amount of port-a-potties so the lines to the bathrooms were fairly long. To make sure runners had the chance to use the restroom the race was delayed about five minutes as well.

Once we were off and running I decided to just keep a good efforted pace. I wasn’t too much concerned with my timed pace as I was with the effort. Just as long as my legs were tired and sore by the end of the run, I’d be happy. I wanted them to ache for the night’s race.

But, I knew if I focused on getting close to a three hour time that’d do the trick for me.

The first 2-3 miles were fairly uneventful as we meandered around Oquirrh Lake and made our way toward the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. There we were encountered the largest and — really — only sizable hill of the race. I walked the hill. Well, fast walked it like a gold mentalist in the Senior Olympics.

After taking a quick picture at the top of the hill with the temple, I made the descent down the hill on the other side. It was glorious. Gravity was very much my friend at that moment. So I let it guide me for as long as it’d allow me.

Around this time I noticed a lady in front of me a hundred yards or so ahead of me. She was dressed in a pioneer costume of sorts and I told myself — I’ve got to pass her.

But, she wasn’t a very easy pass.

She kept a good pace with me and this somewhat frustrated me, because I just wanted to pass her. I told myself — I’ve got to beat the pioneer woman — so that my focus. I felt that if I consistently kept in front of her for a mile or two she’d eventually start walking and then I could lower my pace a bit.

But, nope.

She kept a good pace. It wasn’t that she had a long stride, in fact it was quite the opposite. She ran with small quick steps. Somehow they made up the difference in my long legged strides in the same amount of distance?

Either way, after another couple of miles I was determined to pass her. We yo-yo’d quite a bit and around Mile 5 she got ahead of me. I was sore in my attempt to keep up with her. I cursed her unknown name for the next couple of miles until I had to stop to use the restroom at the Mile 7 aid station.

It was a hard decision to make, but I really didn’t want to pee my pants in pursuit of her, so I made a quick stop of it. But, as soon as I got out of the Honey Bucket she was way ahead of me. I was bummed. I thought the pioneer woman got the best of me.

But, I didn’t want that to deter me. There was still a little less than a half of the race left, so I wanted to give myself the chance to catch up and pass her. I had to give the effort, otherwise I’d always remember this race as the one time I was out ran by a pioneer.

It wasn’t going to happen.

So for the next 3-4 miles I kept a good pace going. My legs were sore from the efforted push — exactly what I wanted — to catch up with the pioneer woman. I kept her within my sight for the most part.

I noticed her starting to take short walking breaks so when she did, I pushed myself a little bit faster to make up the distance. I did this 3-4 times between Miles 7-10. By Mile 10 I had caught up to her and we were almost neck to neck.  But, I didn’t to stay that way, I wanted to create distance between the two of us so I just focused on that push.

By the last couple of miles I was ahead and once we ran onto the Jordan River Parkway Trail I glanced back momentarily to see where she was located. She was walking down the hill toward the Parkway aid station — and I knew I had her. If she was going to walk a downhill, she was probably going to walk the Parkway.

I regrouped myself a bit at that point — stretched a bit and downed some of my Powerade Zero — before going back to a good running pace. I was spent, especially from my effort to catch, maintain and pass the pioneer woman. I desperately wanted to walk, but I tried not to.

I knew I was close to the finish line, so I tried to push myself as much as I could. I only took a couple glances back, but I didn’t see signs of the pioneer woman. This made me happy.

I kind of chuckled to myself just thinking that in this race of marathoners and half marathoners the most competitive race didn’t determine the overall winner or an age group. It was a race that no one knew about — not even the pioneer woman herself. Yet when I crossed the finish line I felt like I won the race.

Once I was done, stretched out and refueled I did find the pioneer woman and we talked briefly. She thanked me for pushing her as she tried to keep up and ahead of me. I chuckled and said, “Likewise! You did great out there!”

So in the nature of winners and losers — we both won. We both provided each other with a goal and we probably killed ourselves too much in the process. But, you know what? I’m glad we did.

With my legs sore and near death I was ready for a nap and meal before my second race of the day.

[CLICK HERE FOR MY HOWLOWEEN HALF RACE REPORT]


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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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For the 144 …

This past week has been a VERY emotional week for not just me, but lots of people — nationwide and within my circle of friends. It’s been a week full of sadness, somberness, reflection, anger and frustration. Sometimes separately, sometimes concurrently.

It didn’t help that the week started with the news of the Vegas Shooting. I woke up at 2:45am to use the restroom and couldn’t back to sleep as I was following the updates. Not only was I checking Facebook for friends who live in Vegas, but the whole ordeal just made me sick to my stomach. Not to mention tears to my eyes.

And, then on Wednesday, our Addict II Athlete team got news that our teammate, Carlee, took a knee and lost her battle with addiction. This was a shock to the whole team. And, this has been hard to process, because of the range of emotions felt throughout the week.

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I had a couple of good runs to help with those emotions — including a 1.44 mile run I busted out on Wednesday in honor of my friend. I also had a couple good couple mile runs that were rather invigorating to be honest. Like I already mentioned — it was just a very emotional week.

During rough weeks, days, news, and whatnot my first inclination is go run. Not to necessarily escape, but to help me process what’s going on. This really started when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2012 and I haven’t stopped when life seems to dampen my spirits, breaks my heart or forecast a seemingly unknown future.

Those midweek runs helped — but, I don’t think the sorrow or frustration will go away for awhile. I’ve never dealt with a substance abuse addiction before, but I have lost family and friends to it — and it just has to stop. It has to. I hate seeing family and communities devastated by it. It’s heartbreaking — and preventable.

Over 144 people die a day in this nation from opiate addiction overdose. That’s one too many. My AIIA team has been running for the 144 this past year. So, when our teammate Carlee became one of the 144 last week — it hit home … HARD. It put a real face to this epidemic. And, I think for me, that’s been the hardest thing to process about the whole week.

My friend Lizz and I — who’s also a member of the AIIA team — decided to dedicate our hike on Saturday to Carlee. Carlee was one of the first people that introduced herself to Lizz and actually ran the AIIA 5K alongside her. So this news of her passing was just as harrowing for Lizz.

One thing that Coach Blu challenged us to do back in April was to go out and do things that the 144 would miss out on if they weren’t around to enjoy it. The response was awesome — we had posts of athletes out on runs, hikes, bike rides and races in some of the most beautiful scenery and locations. We wanted to show the 144 that there’s so much more to life than a life of addiction.

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Lizz and I chose to hike Mueller Park in Bountiful for a couple of reasons. One, I love it. Two, it’s a bucket list place Lizz wanted to hike. And, three, it’s gorgeous — especially during the fall weather. A perfect location to honor Carlee and the 144.

For a Saturday morning the trails weren’t necessarily busy. There were a few trail runners and bikers, but it felt like we had the trail almost to ourselves. And, the leaves were absolutely beautiful — something that we tried to capture with our camera, but, was impossible — it had to be experienced. So many intense colors of red, orange and yellow with green sprinkled amongst the leaves.

We hiked about 2.5 miles out before taking a couple minutes to take in the scenery and reflect on the week’s happening. It was a perfect peaceful moment in our tribute to our friend Carlee and the 144. After taking a few pictures we headed back for a good invigorating five mile hike.

For a non-race weekend — this was what I needed. It was the perfect opportunity to renew my spirit, straighten the ship and refocus my priorities, heart and intentions. Me missing the St. George Marathon was the farthest from my mind.

I have a lot of running head of me before I head to Greece in mid-November — seven races to be exact. That’s a lot of running. But, I am ready for them. I’m excited for them. I’m going to be running in some of the most beautiful canyons, state parks and a National Park I’ve been dying to run. Places that I can’t wait to share with the 144!

In addition to processing the loss of one of my AIIA teammates, I also want to let you know — that if you struggle with a substance abuse addiction … THERE IS HOPE! Please reach out to others to get the help you need. Even if it’s Coach Blu or one of the AIIA team members, we’re here to help!

Life is amazing — LIVE IT!


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 12.69 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 25.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 37.74 miles
Races This Week — None

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 12.69 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 25.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 37.74 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half — SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half — Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 394.24 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1052.48 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1821.89 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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