AMERICAN FORK — I love running. I especially love giving myself challenges through running. And, the past week was definitely a challenge. It’s nothing unprecedented for me. I’ve done it before. But, considering my health the past couple of years and the fact I’ve been pushing myself through these races — three half marathons within a week has been a good challenge for me.
As you might recall it started with the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon (July 23) last Saturday, followed by the Deseret News Half Marathon (July 25) on Monday and then the Timp Half this past Saturday. I deliberately pushed myself at the DesNews Half and came close to a sub-2:30 time goal (2:32) and I really wanted to push myself towards that goal again during Timp.
I wasn’t sure if it was not only doable, but a good idea? And, I was unsure what course to take for my race plan. I kinda decided to let how I was feeling that morning dictate my goal for the race. So I was going to stick with the 2:30 pacers as long as I could — whether that was one, two or all 13.1 miles.
For any other race I would commit to something more concrete, but considering it was my third half in a week — I just didn’t know how my legs were going to react. So I just went by feel. I really wanted that sub-2:30, but anything with effort was fine by me. I just wanted to do my best.
After being bussed up the canyon I was feeling pretty good. Especially considering I got about a good hour of sleep the night before. I felt really optimistic about keeping up with the 2:30 pacers — London and Jay. So when the gun sounded I stalked them. Though I am close with both of them I kinda decided to hold back a little bit, mainly to let them do their thing.
So I just stalked them.
The first couple of miles were great — granted the course was at its’ steepest. But, I felt good. At the 2:30 pace it gave me enough restraint to not blaze down the canyon. But, around mile three — my legs just kinda gave out. I tried to push through it, I just didn’t have any spring to the legs. Like at all.
While the legs weren’t giving me anything, I didn’t want to give up. I felt too motivated to just kinda bag the race, especially at mile three. So I just kept running.
But, even just running, I knew I had more in me. So around mile five something kinda snapped. And, though my quads were sore and felt dead — I just hit this other level and started kinda sprinting down the canyon. Okay, it really wasn’t sprinting, but I switched up my gait and just wanted to fly down the rest of the canyon.
I decided to make a game of it too. Every so many hundred of yards I picked a couple of runners ahead of me and just chased them down. Some were closer than others, I just wanted to keep going — strong. So I looked for ways to do it.
Even when I got out of the canyon and onto the paved trails, I wanted to keep that mentality going. I knew it was going to be tougher without gravity’s help. But, I looked for ways to keep that motivation and drive going. And, the easiest way for me to do that was to tackle the hills strong.
So every hill I had to run up, I literally ran UP the hill. I looked for another drive and floored it. The golf course had a couple of nasty hills, but I didn’t care. I was sprinting up them. I might not be going for my goal, but I was preparing myself to destroy it come August 27th.
There were a number of times I felt like slowing down or easing off the gas, but I couldn’t. So that’s when I would keep pushing myself. I just didn’t want to quit. I didn’t want to be satisfied with anything NOT my best.
One thing I was worried about coming out of the canyon was the heat. It has been 100 degrees on average the past couple of weeks and it was supposed to be another 100 degree day. Part of my motivation to keep pushing was to avoid the late race mile heat. But, luckily, it was mostly overcast. It was muggy, but no blazing sun until about a mile out.
Even then I just wanted to keep pushing. Not just to give my best, but it was getting hot and I just wanted to be done. My legs were dead and I was really sore. The sum of 40+ race miles in the past week added up and I was ready to pass out. I literally gave it my all. And, once I crossed the finish line — I kinda just passed out.
Well, okay not literally — I grabbed my medal, some water and found a shady part of the finish corral to just plop myself. I was finished. I was done. And, I was happy with what I gave out there on the course.
Since I wasn’t running with my Garmin I wasn’t sure of my time. I thought there was a chance I was sub-2:40, but when I checked on Saturday night my official time was 2:43:31. I’m fine with that. I feel good about that time, because I earned that time. My race was pretty much a 13.1 mile fartlek.
It was great prep for Run Elevated and by last stab at a sub-2:30 half. Additionally, it was better preparation for my ultra. This race gave me great experience to push through pain, mental road blocks and sore legs. Because let’s be honest — the toughest obstacle I’ll face during my 50 miler will be what I create mentally. I know I can do it, especially when I mentally prepare myself for the task at hand.
August 27th is circled for my sub-2:30 half goal and I can’t wait, but first — let’s get through August’s training runs first. Two 20 milers that will further prepare me for Run Elevated.
It’ll be a good month of training!
BOOYAH! YEAH RUNNING! YEAH GOALS!
This is a goal race. This is basically my last half marathon of the season before I get into the swing of my marathons in preparation for my 50 miler. It was going to be Nebo, but I am going to be out of town Labor Day Weekend — so I had to drop it and pick up this race. I’m not complaining, because I love this race.
I do have other half marathons scheduled for the year, but besides the Snow Canyon Half — the rest of them I am sweeping or pacing. So this really is it as far as getting that elusive sub-2:30 half marathon. And, I am going to get it. I’ll be prepared, well rested and eager to race down Little Cottonwood.
I’ll work on a more detailed race plan later. I have until the 27th. But, until then it’s my training runs — a couple 20 milers and a 12-15 miler down Big Cottonwood Canyon the week before. If I am going to be prepared for this race, my marathons and ultra — August is going to be the key to my success.
I can’t wait to get at it.
YEAH RUNNING! YEAH TRAINING! YEAH SUB-2:30!
MY NEXT THREE RACES
Spent the evening cleaning the temple. It was an interesting experience. It kinda felt like being at Disneyland after it closed for the day. I got the sucky job — literally — I spent two hours vacuuming the men’s locker room, before dusting picture frames. It was some wild n’ crazy stuff. But, really, it was an unique way to serve and I’m glad I could contribute to a greater effort. #bountifultemple #cleaning #service
A photo posted by Josher (@josherwalla) on
This was kind of an odd week of running and walking. I didn’t do much outside of Monday and Saturday (because of my races). I kinda designed it that way. I knew after two halfs last weekend I needed some recovery time. I did some slow, slow, slow mileage on Thursday to shake out the legs a bit.
I didn’t get as much walking as I wanted and part of that was because I was out sick on Wednesday. That shot my mileage BIG time. But, that’s fine. My focus is really now on August. I want to rock August. I want to hit my 5 miles — Monday through Saturday — and get some good runs in mid-week.
And, then of course I have my two BIG training runs as well. My 20 miler next weekend and then the 27th. BOOYAH!
TOTAL MILES TO DATE
MILES TO GOAL