After last week’s Ogden Half — I was immediately looking forward to this weekend. Why? Because the 10-day forecast didn’t call for rain. That was the main reason.
But, I was also excited because I love pacing and sweeping races — you never know what you’re going to experience, because you’re not on your timetable. Especially when you’re sweeping. You’re basically as fast as the slowest runner — so it’s hard to gauge a finishing time compared to pacers who are locked into a time.
This race — I wasn’t sure what my finishing time was going to be. Especially since this is a smaller course — about 200-225 racers. Usually these races are anywhere around 3-4 hours. But, that variable differs widely compared to the bigger races — about 1000-3000 racers — where I am typical out there between 4-4:30 hours.
Going into this run, I was hoping for about 3:30 hours or less. About the same time I finished Ogden last week. Ugh. I swear my running shoes still squeak.
Anyways — I was prepared for the long haul. I brought a long my backpack — stashed with raisins, almonds and water (all Whole30 compliant foods). I also stashed a First Aid Kit and some Ibuprofen in case I come across an injured runner. I swear I’m not a packing mule, but I take my job seriously — and I come from a family of preppers … soooooo … it’s in my blood.
After picking up my packet and pacing stick we mingled for a little bit before gun time at 7am. The half and 5K started at the same time — which normally isn’t an issue. But, being the sweeper I wanted to make sure I wasn’t ahead of any of the half marathoners. The last thing I wanted to do was get ahead of any half marathoner — especially if they needed assistance or help.
So, I decided to run the first mile with Ramie and Cevan who were pacing the 2:40 group. And, as we passed runners I would glance at their bibs to make sure I wasn’t leaving behind any 5Kers. Luckily, I wasn’t. But, at the same time — I wasn’t quite sure.
Once the 5K and half marathon split around mile two I stuck around the intersection to just make sure. I didn’t see any other green half bibs — so I just went back to running the half marathon route.
About a mile or so later I caught up with the last half marathoner. He was run walking most of the race, so I just kept my distance for most of the race. When I sweep I usually don’t interfere with the last runner until around mile 8-10, unless I see that they’re struggling or hurt.
This runner wasn’t hurt, but confessed to me that he was undertrained and had some shin splints in the first mile — so we was just going to jog the rest of the race. I wanted to correct him that you don’t “jog” a race — but, alas, I just let him go ahead.
With keeping an eye on him — I played a game of catch and mouse with him. I’d let him get ahead quite a bit before booking it back to within a few hundred feet behind him. I did this mainly to get some a good workout in during the race, because it was a lot of walking. It was perfect.
Though I was playing cat and mouse the runner ahead of me — I still was worried that I was ahead of another runner. So I would occasionally stop and wait for a minute or two and then get back to running. Around mile 11 — one of the other pacers was running back up the course to get extra mileage in, so I asked him to check for other runners.
Luckily when he got back to me there wasn’t anyone else behind me. I could run a little bit easier knowing that. And, so I just focused on finishing the race.
Once I got back to the middle school and to the finish line I glanced at the clock and noticed that I came in around 3:08 hours. Which kinda surprised me. Well, okay, really surprised me — probably the fastest sweeping assignment I’ve ever had — and I chuckled because it was also nearly a half hour faster than my time the previous week at Ogden.
I guess that kind of shows the misery and obstacles we faced in Ogden weren’t a fluke?
Anyways — it was a great race. Beautiful course. The hills make it difficult, but that’s also what I love about it. It’s a very technical race. You can’t just put yourself on cruise control and expect to roll right into the finish line. You’ve got to work and think your way through it. Utah Run does a good job putting these kind of courses together.
I think next year, I might just run this race instead of pace. I want to challenge myself through the run. But, that’s a year out from now. My focus now is Drop 13 in a couple of weeks — and my 50 miler in October.
Baby steps towards that 50.
I am looking forward to this race. I’ve been looking forward to it actually almost since — um — like last year. I love any and every race that runs down Big Cottonwood Canyon. It’s my favorite canyon here in Utah — both for it’s beauty and terrain. It’s perfect for running. Perfect.
Drop 13 last year was my year best time of about 2:35. I am not sure if that’s attainable, but I am going to push it. I’m feeling stronger and more energetic since I’ve started Whole30 and I feel like I have a great run in me. So, the focus on the next couple of weeks is to continue to shed the pounds, run consistently and work on the core.
If anything, Drop 13 will be a good starting point to launching myself back into getting faster. I know I have it within me and I’d love to proof that to myself throughout the summer and especially at the Nebo Half.
DROP 13 OR BUST, BABY!
If you haven’t listened to the new Addict II Athlete podcast — you’ve got to give it a listen. By far one of my favorites to date. Coach Blu is talking about the AIIA Minor Leagues and the importance of impacting our youth.
Listen to it now on Pod Bash …
So for the past few months I’ve been intending on starting an Instagram feed of my races — well, my races that I am counting towards my 180 goal. So basically any and all races over 13.1 miles. I’ve procrastinated it for a while — but, this past weekend, I had some time and decided to just for it.
I’m slowly added each race with a brief, brief synopsis of the race. But, the goal is that each race gets one post and I’ll add them up to my 180 races. I’m sure after I reach that goal I’ll probably continue to add them to the feed. But, as far as I am concerned right now I want to get caught up as soon as possible.
Check out the account here. But, it’s been fun reliving a few fun memories and races while putting this together …
RACE #1: Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon (2:52:05); July 23, 2011. First half marathon of my 180 race goal. Ran solo. Flat terrain and rather hot (being July and all), but I did it! Didn’t realize what I was getting myself into. #race1 #handcartdayshalf #running @joshruns180 @josherwalla
A photo posted by Josh Runs 180 (@joshruns180) on
RACE #11: Salt Lake City Half Marathon (2:52:59), April 21, 2012. Before the race I joined @huntsmanhometownheroes to raise money in my mom’s honor. To garner donations I pledged to run in denim pants if I raised $1000. I got $2,000! It was a rough race. It was hot and somewhat miserable, but so worth it. #race11 #saltlakehalf #running #cancersucks @saltlakecitymarathon @joshruns180 @josherwalla
A photo posted by Josh Runs 180 (@joshruns180) on
TOTAL MILES TO DATE
MILES TO GOAL