RACE RECAP #89: West Mountain Half Marathon

89-westmountIt’s funny the difference missing a few things can make in a race. On Friday I took my gym bag to work with me, but forgot to take it home. It just completely slipped my mind. I had my Garmin, Imodium, my gels, salt tablets and my lucky hat. All crucial to my running, especially that lucky hat.

Well, okay, more like the Garmin. I haven’t raced without in a Garmin … since … well … when I first got my Garmin. It really has helped me keep on pace and motivated during races. I can gauge my distance and really push through those “walls” much easier. I love my Garmin.

I thought about leaving earlier than planned so I could stop by my office for the bag. But, that really didn’t seem like a good idea, because since I work on the University of Utah campus and that’s where the Salt Lake Marathon begins … I didn’t want to be trapped in the traffic and/or closed roads so I decided to just run without it.

Me and the Twins before the race. I raced Joycelyn and actually won by TWO minutes! WOOT!

I wasn’t going to tank the race, but I decided to just go by feel. I guess “zen” run it? So after having about an hour long drive to Genola from my house I decided that was going to be my game plan. I was going to take what the course gave me, give it my best and go by feel.

I also threw out my time goal, because it’s kind of pointless to hold yourself to a time goal without the means to gauge your time. Right? Going into it though I wanted to be around 2:35-2:45 considering it was an out and back race (and at the time I thought flat … um, totally not flat!)

So, yeah, not a very solid revised race plan.

West Mountain in the background of the first mile of the race.

One thing I loved about this race is that my race didn’t start until 9am, so I got there around 7:30am and had time to hangout with a few of my friends who were running as well. I love having a relaxed starting line. And, by relaxed I mean … no, busing me up a canyon, huge crowds or adverse weather. You don’t get that with Extra Mile Racing events (well, they don’t control the weather … that I know of …) which I love. It’s very much a small-knit community.

The half marathon course was an out and back course. For some reason I was thinking it was going to be like the Saltair Half … flat. I don’t know why I thought that, because the race even has the word MOUNTAIN in the race title. It was definitely hilly and there were a couple of hills that really challenged me. But, to say I was disappointed it wasn’t flat would be a lie. I’d rather have hills than flat, not just for the challenge, but also for the sexier legs.

If you’re wondering … YES … hills make sexy legs. I am pretty sure it’s one of the back page rules of running.

RULE #38 OF RUNNING: Don’t give a thumbs up three miles into your half marathon, because it WILL back fire.

The first three miles weren’t that bad for me, but after that we had to climb our first challenging hill towards an apple orchard. You would have thought the terrain would have been pretty de-script running through farming country, but it was quite opposite. It was beautiful. And, when I took my ear buds out at the second aid station all I could hear were the buzzing of the bees in the orchard. It was unreal!

I never felt more like a city slicker in my life.

The course turned around on the opposite side of West Mountain between the mountain and Utah Lake. The roads were open, but there were VERY few cars along the route. In fact I am pretty sure I saw more tractors than cars.


I did have a slight mishap around mile 8 or so, I was carefully walking over a cattle guard making sure I wouldn’t twist my ankle. Well, I made it over the cattle guard unscathed, but then took two steps and twisted my ankle on a rock. I am fine now, but it affected my speed some afterwards.

Around this time also, I was neck in neck with a 70 year old runner. He was a nice guy and we talked a little bit, but deep down inside me I knew I couldn’t let him pass me. I couldn’t for all the pride in me. So, with a sore ankle and nice gradual hill in front of me I pushed it harder than I should have.

But, I put enough distance between the two of us that for the last three miles I didn’t have worry much about him anymore. My pride could be restored for at least another race. But, at this time the heat was starting to really get to me. Luckily, I was in all white, but that didn’t stop me from feeling famished after every half mile.


I went through my two gels, two bananas and 2-3 cups of water at the aid stations in the last three miles. No joke. The sun made me all salty and soaking wet. I really couldn’t get enough water. And, it was around this time that a little girl was standing outside her farm (remember we’re in farm country) and offered me a cold water bottle. I was so thankful. I didn’t know how to thank her so I handed her one of my GU Chomps I got at the last aid station. I really don’t think she knew what to make of my gift? Especially considering they were basically caffeinated fruit snacks.

But, I was VERY thankful for that water, if not just for the giving gesture.

Once I was finished I was famished. I guzzled down water, Powerade and … more bananas. I didn’t even look at my time until the day after. I laugh about that now, because I really though I ran somewhere around 2:45 or so. Well, I got that “or so” … try 3:04 hours.

Not sure why … but … I chafe on my back fat. Go figure?

I really wanted something faster. And, I won’t lie, I was slightly disappointed. BUT … you know what? I still did 13.1 more miles I would if I stayed at home. And, after a week where I wasn’t feel my best, I consider it somewhat of a victory. Even if it was a victory over not pooing my pants while running … that’s still a victory, right?

I have plenty of other races and I am really looking forward to the Provo City Half in a couple of weeks. I really, really, really want to shoot for around 2:30-2:40. I’ve ran the course enough that I know the technicalities and terrain of the race. But, this time I am TOTALLY not leaving my Garmin at work.

Well, that and my Imodium. Both are equally important …




After my race I stuck around the finish line and helped pass out medals to the finisher. I did this for a couple of reasons. First I am an Ambassador for Extra Mile Racing and I wanted to lend a helping hand, but, secondly, I wanted to also stick around and watch my friends finish their races.

Two of those friends were Ryan and Heather and they were both running their first marathon. I won’t lie, I have a special place in my heart for first-time marathoners. Having been there some three years ago I know how HARD it is to train, train and train for one, but then to have that all come down to THE RACE itself it can be a very emotional experience. Not just for the runner themselves, but for all those connected to them.


That’s why I love being around first-time marathoners, because for me that’s the PURE love of running. That’s the spirit of the marathon. Seeing their joy keeps me going and “IN TOUCH” with what running should be about. I’ve made a vow to myself to celebrate that as much as I can, no matter how many marathons I have under my belt.

But, I can just say it was an awesome experience seeing Ryan come in with his Dad and son there to greet him. Not to mention all of the other runners cheering him on. I was even able to hand him his medal. That was a great moment.

I was also able to be cheer in Heather along with Joycelyn and Angela as she crossed the finish line for her first marathon. I handed her a medal and gave her a big sweaty hug. Knowing some of what she has had to overcome physically and mentally to get to the point and to that finish line … I have the upmost respect for her. She’s a fighter.


And, she was fittingly wearing Wonder Woman gear for the ocassion. I am BEYOND happy for her!

Though I might not be running marathon this year, I want to celebrate them more and I sure got a great dose of that on Saturday!



The next race won’t be until May 2nd. I toyed with the idea of running the Tulip Festival Half or a redemption running Winter Circuit 30K, but since I am will working PrepperCon all weekend long … I really don’t have time to sneak in anything longer than a 5 mile run in the morning. But, that’s fine, because I will be running the Provo City Half on May 2nd, which happens to be one of my favorite races (mainly because its’ downhill!)

But, this race will also be somewhat of a milestone as well. This will be race #90! Which means I am HALF way to my goal of 180 races! It’s really hard to believe that I am half way to my goal, but considering this will be my fourth time running the Provo City Half … I guess it’s not that hard to believe.

Still, that’s a lot of running.



Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 152.5 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 97.0 miles
2015 Race Miles – 79.75 miles
2015 Total Miles – 329.25 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 72.85 miles
March – 115.3 miles
April – 62.3 miles


Since today is Boston Marathon Monday, I wanted to share a few pictures that capture the spirit of “Boston Strong.” That day two years ago affected me and thousands of other runners. Though, I will never qualify or reach Boston, it was attack on my community, friends and country. The loss or harm of life troubles me no matter who or where it happens. I hope that as we celebrate the marathon today, we celebrate life, freedom and those affected by the happenings in 2013.


Boston Marathon Bombing Artifacts mebBOSTON-STRONG



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