I’ve been looking forward to this race pretty much all summer. I wasn’t pacing or sweeping the course so this was a “ME” race. It was just going to be me, the road, my music and the best I could muster busting it down Little Cottonwood Canyon. A recipe for fun.
I really love this race for a number of reasons. First, it’s a canyon run. Gravity is my greatest ally during these races, I love just letting go and seeing where that takes me. Second, it’s Little Cottonwood Canyon. Besides Big Cottonwood it’s probably my second favorite local Utah canyon. Plus, for a runner it’s steep and if ran right can be a major asset. And, lastly, it’s organized well. It’s ran by the City of Sandy and while it might not have all the bells and whistles like most other race companies, it’s efficient in accommodating in what they have. Probably the best city owned race I’ve ran from 5K and up.
Oh, and I should also add that I loved the fact this race starts at 6:30am. This is in comparison to last week’s race that started at 8am. The earlier the better in my opinion. Especially when it’s still kinda … summer. Remember that season?
This week leading up to the race I was unsure if I wanted to put a time goal to the race. I haven’t really tested my speed since Drop 13 in June and I didn’t want to set myself up for an unrealistic goal. But, I felt that I could push and get at least under a 2:45 … with the second goal of a sub-2:40 if I could manage it. I don’t know if anyone else does this with racing goals, but I always have the “safe goal” and then the “secret ambitious goal” that I really don’t tell anyone.
While I had that goal in mind, I really didn’t know if it was attainable? I felt it was with the downhill course. I felt good. So, I just decided to give my best effort and see what happened. Like I have since April I didn’t run with a Garmin. There are many reasons why I’ve chosen to do that, and that REALLY is a post for another day. But, I felt that if I at least gave MY best effort and fell short I could feel bad about that, because it was the best I could give.
So, yeah, that was the game plan.
After carpooling with Sonja to the bus pick up, we hopped on the bus up the canyon. Luckily, there was no snow unlike last year’s race. It was perfect weather actually. I brought my Snuggie just in case it was too cold, but really it was perfect. I was just excited, which was a good indication that I was going to have a good run.
Starting off at the gun, I had two motivations … to do my best and not get swept. I had to average AT LEAST an 11 minute mile for my first 9.5 miles or the Saggin’ Wagon would have picked me up. I wasn’t THAT nervous about it, but I was nervous enough to motivate me to not stop longer than needed. Went hand in hand with my overall race goal.
And, I didn’t stop.
The first couple of miles really flew by as I adjusted myself to a nice easy pace. I probably went out a bit too fast, but around mile three I got myself into a groove that I maintained the rest of the way out the canyon. My quads hate me right now and I’ll be walking funny for the next few days, but the only times I stopped were at aid stations and once to take a picture of the canyon.
There is nothing I love more when I get into a grove to see and feel the miles pass by quickly. And, that was definitely the zone I was in during the race. I got out of the canyon with plenty of time to spare as I ran the first 10 miles in just a shade under two hours. I was extremely happy with that. I knew the last three miles would be tougher, especially with the hill at mile ten. But, I was just determined to fight through the last three miles.
I know this is a tangent, but I have to mention that at the Mile 11 aid station my life was changed. The volunteers were handing out oranges along with gels and water. In my state of hunger I took one of the orange wedges … and … it was COLD! Like, straight out of the ice cooler cold. It changed my life. I don’t know why more races do this? But, cold oranges during a hot summer race is life changing!
Okay, I just had to get out there into the universe.
Back to the race.
The last three miles were difficult, but I just kept going and having done the right twice before I knew what to expect. There’s a lot to be said about being mentally prepared for a race in that regard. When you know what to expect it’s WAY easier to tackle.
As I turned onto Highland Drive and then to the finish line I took a glance at the clock and noticed I came in around 2:37! A time I was ecstatic with! But, that ecstasy was short lived when I looked at the finish line and saw that my friend Dith was handing out the medals!!! At first glance I ripped off my shirt exposing my pink sports bra and gave her a BIG hug before she gave me my medal.
She mentioned she wanted to be there, depending on how she felt. I didn’t expect to see here there just for the fact that she started her chemotherapy yesterday. But, she wanted to surprise us and it was very much an emotional treat to see her there ALL smiles.
I told her afterwards how I kept thinking about her throughout the race, especially during difficult stretches of the course when I wanted to slow down or stop. I couldn’t help but think of her, my Mom and other friends and family who have and fight now the horribleness of cancer. How can I quit or not fight through my fatigue or pain, when Dith has NO option but to fight … FOR HER LIFE?!!?
That brought a lot of emotions back from my Mom’s battle with cancer. And, like my Mom, Dith fights with tenacity, grace and faith. Cancer sucks, but it sure also helps put things in perspective.
Anyways … yeah, 2:37. I feel great about that. It gives me something to build on for Nebo. As of right now I am shooting for a 2:35. But, I’ll talk more about that in the next couple of weeks leading up to the race. I am just happy with my effort and at the end of the day that’s all that matters, right?
I am hoping to start this new little “thing” with each race recap of some thoughts I jogged down while on my run. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of writing down those little moments of inspiration that only seem to come during a run. Some are personal and others or most are just in general that usually deal with my current frame of mind.
So take it for what it’s worth and hopefully you find worth or inspiration from them …
“Your legs will carry you, but your heart will get you there”
“One’s tortoise is another one’s hare”
Pre-race banana … Slurpee. #becauseslurpee A photo posted by Joshua Snow Hansén (@mejosher) on
Oh yeah, 9.5 fast miles down Little Cottonwood is going to make me walk funny the next couple days. #runelevated #race104 #running #runutah #run801 @running180 @mejosher A photo posted by Running180™ (@running180) on
You know what made a great race even better? Seeing this fighter at the finish line giving out medals. Today’s race was tough and so rewarding. When times of defeat crossed my mind, I fought through them. How could I not, when friends like Dith have NO choice, but to fight for their lives? My two hours + of effort pales in comparison. #run4dith #fight4dith #pink4dith #runelevated #race104 #running #runutah #run801
A photo posted by Joshua Snow Hansén (@mejosher) on
Yeah those were all mine after today’s race. #mcgriddles4eva A photo posted by Joshua Snow Hansén (@mejosher) on
RACE #104 DONE! Very happy with my effort and time with this course! Finished in 2:37, under my goal of 2:45! Love this course and canyon! This really gave me a lot to look forward to for Nebo in a couple weeks. WOOT! #runelevated #race104 #running #runutah #run801 @running180 @mejosher
A photo posted by Running180™ (@running180) on
RACE #105: MURDOCK HALF MARATHON
The next race is happening this Saturday along the Murdock Canal Trail in Utah County. I am sweeping this course which is probably a good thing since it’s sandwiched in between this Run Elevated and Nebo. The legs are still pretty sore from Saturday’s run so I am looking forward to the easier course and effort. It will be good prep before going gung ho again at Nebo.
I haven’t ran this race yet, so I am also excited to try something new. It’s a technical course and a fairly new race, so it should be a fun adventure. I am assuming it’s going to be a smaller race compared to most so my sweeping pace might not be at a walking pace. Which, I am not totally against.
But, we shall see! Still excited to run regardless of circumstances.
THE UTAH RUNCAST
If you haven’t caught the second episode of The Utah Runcast yet, check it out here. Look for a new episode next Wednesday!
MONTHLY MILEAGE BREAKDOWN 2015Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015 2015 Training Miles – 195.5 miles 2015 Walking Miles – 263.45 miles 2015 Race Miles – 293.3 miles 2015 Total Miles – 752.25 miles Monthly Total Miles for 2015 January – 78.8 miles February – 72.85 miles March – 115.3 miles April – 76.3 miles May – 97.4 miles June – 131.15 miles July – 101.65 miles August – 78.8 miles
SOME MONDAY MOTIVATION