RACES #101 and #102: Utah Midnight Run & Timp Half

Fall colors cover the backside of Mt. Timpanogos along Utah's Alpine Loop in American Fork Canyon.

A funny thing happened this past weekend. I went into the weekend planning on just running the Timp Half. Well, actually, I was planning on pacing it. And, then come Thursday night I added another race to the docket and ended up doing another back-to-back all-night half marathon.

I might have a running problem.

Might.

I really didn’t mind doing it for a number of reasons. First, I was sweeping the course for both races so I knew it would be easier on my body compared to running both at full effort. If I did that, I am pretty sure I would have died or at least had a pretty good story about the time my legs completely fell off mid-race.

I was planning on being at the Midnight Run anyways as a volunteer, so it wasn’t that difficult for me to rearrange my schedule. I ended up volunteering before the race with registration, packet pick up and answering runners’ general questions, etc. So it worked out pretty well.

Plus, I got to run with Tim again, which is always a bonus! I always love running with him, because we always end up laughing too hard or thinking too hard. I don’t know if there’s any middle ground? I really enjoy his friendship, especially when we’re out on the course, because he’s really taught me a lot about the runners’ psyche and how to connect with them on a personal level to help them push pass mental and physical road blocks.

And, not to mention it gave me another reason to run in a kilt. Can’t go wrong with that, right?

If I wasn’t sweeping both courses I wouldn’t have agreed to pace the Midnight Run. I am glad it worked out that way because I really enjoyed running both races. This past week has been a week of emotion leading up to the Timp Half. After my dear friend, Meridith aka “Dith” was diagnosed with breast cancer, it was inspiring to see the running community come together on her behalf and in her honor.

The Timp Half was her last race before starting her cancer treatments later this month, so we wanted to overwhelm her with love and support. Cancer royally sucks and there is no such thing as TOO much love and support when dealing with this vicious disease. And, we wanted to let Dith know that we were with her and would do anything for her during this uncertain and dark time.

I will blog more about what we’re doing and planning on doing a bit later this week … because I want to give it the time and space it warrants.

But, it was a great moment. We all wore pink for her and I even FINALLY got myself a (pink) sports bra to save myself from chaffed nipples and to show support to Dith. It was quite a surprise for everyone there when I took my shirt off at the starting line. I did put my shirt back on, but I did run the whole 13.1 in the bra. And, I will have to say … I loved the support. But, again, that’s a post for another day.

Here are my race reports for my two races this past weekend …


RACE #101: UTAH MIDNIGHT RUN

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As mentioned above, I was originally planning on just volunteering at the race, until I was asked to sweep it earlier in the week. I waited until the last minute to see if anyone else would jump onto the spot. But, I was more than happy to fill the roll, especially after Tim said he’d run alongside me. Plus, I wouldn’t have agreed to sweep the course if I wasn’t sweeping the Timp Half as well.

Since I was volunteering in addition to running, I arrived at the Legacy Center (bus pick up and finish line) to help with last minute packet pickup with Tim. It was interesting seeing the other side of races from the perspective of the race director. A lot of people waited (myself included) for last minute packet pickup, not to mention about 20-30 people who registered on site.

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Tim and I either really excited to be running or really excited to be sitting at the back of the bus.

After helping the majority of the runners with packet pick up and general information Tim and I hopped on the last bus to the starting line. Unlike the Provo Midnight Run that I ran in June this was a point to point race along the Legacy Parkway in Davis County. The starting line was located around the I-215 interchange in North Salt Lake and ran along the trail back to the Legacy Center in Farmington.

The race started at 10pm the usual suntan lotion was swapped out for bug spray. And, it was needed … well … at least at the starting line. There were lots of mosquitoes at the starting line. Fortunately they tapered out further into the run. But, they were pretty thick.

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My brother’s girlfriend said before I left for the race that I looked like a Catholic Schoolgirl. I can’t say I disagree …

Since Tim and I were sweeping, we literally swept the course. Not of runners, but of the glow sticks the runners were required to wear. A number of them simply fell off, but there were a number that were simply removed because the runner didn’t like the feel of it on them. Whatever the reason was, Tim and I, picked up pretty much all of the glow sticks along the course.

We literally were sweepers.

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Literally sweeping the course …

Most of the glow sticks we picked up were in the first three miles of the race, so it wasn’t that bad. We weren’t obligated to pick them up, but it was easy for us and made a lot less work for Joe and the On Hill Events crew. Plus, Tim had fun trying to make a neon stick flower while picking up the loose neon sticks. So we basically all won.

Since the half had around 200-250 runners the sweeping pace wasn’t that bad. I’ve noticed in my sweeping that the smaller the course the less walkers there are. There are a number of reasons for that, but that’s a post for another day. But, we did come across a couple of runners who were struggling during the last three miles of the race. Which is pretty normal for any race regardless of size.

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Tim and I showing off our bling!

I felt really bad for one of the runners. We came across her when she was flat on the trail in agony. Both of her calves seized up and she couldn’t get herself out of the cramp. So Tim and I gave her aid. He stretched the calves for her and I have her some water and salt tablets. Once we got her up we walked the last two or so miles with her to the finish line. Luckily, they didn’t seize up on her again during the race.

But, once we got to the finish line and I got myself hydrated and fed (bananas of course) I hurried home to get ready to head south to American Fork for the Timp Half. Once I got home around 2:30am, I had about 15 minutes to shower, change and get something a bit more substantial to eat. Not an easy task. But, somehow I did it … [THIS ENDS SIDE ONE OF JOSH’S RUNNING ADVENTURES, PLEASE FLIP THE TAPE TO PROCEED TO SIDE TWO]


RACE #102: TIMP HALF

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Once I got showered, changed, fed and out the door I hurried down to Salt Lake to pick up my friend Joycelynn who was running the Timp Half as well. We were running a little late, but luckily traffic at 3am is fairly dead between Salt Lake and Provo. We just had to pick up our packets between 3:45-4am before the busses picked us up.

We made it despite a traffic jam of giant proportions in the middle of American Fork. Joycelynn hopped out and walked the half mile to the school while I fought traffic to get into the parking lot. I always laugh about these kind of traffic jams, because when has American Fork ever seen a traffic jam INSIDE of town, in the wee hours of the morning? That’s the crazy world of runners for you, I guess?

Despite the jam and rush, we made it in time and got on a bus up the canyon. It was a bit hectic, but what race morning isn’t?

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My favorite start line. Can’t go wrong with this view!

Once we got up to Tibble Creek at the starting line we started rounding up all our running friends together. This past week has been an emotional one for all of us, after learning of the diagnosis of our friend Dith’s breast cancer. This was going to be her last race before she starts chemo soon, so we really wanted to make it special for her. A huge contingent of us runners wore pink in her honor while a number of other friends not running came out to support her along the course. It was awesome seeing the out pouring of support she got.

I even surprised Dith with my own sign of support. I finally got my long discussed sports bra and wore it in her honor. When I took off my shirt at the starting line I am pretty sure I got cat called … I was flattered. But, seriously, the one thing I learned through my Mom’s journey is you HAVE to have humor in your journey. And, that was my contribution.

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Showing Dith a little support.

Since I was sweeping the course I waited at the top of the starting line for the majority of the runners to cross the starting line. Since I wasn’t in any hurry I calmly used the bathroom and moseyed around taking pictures of Timp and the reservoir while the masses were funneled through the arch. This also allowed me to start off at a good pace for the first mile, because I knew I would be much slower than the night before.

The one thing about the race though I had to be mindful of was getting everyone out of the canyon by 7:30am. This gave us an hour and a half to run about 7.5 miles down and out of the canyon. I was on pace for that, but I got some bad information from one of the Forest Service support vans. They told me 8am instead. I questioned that, but they were adamant it was 8am. So I slowed down my pace to that time limit.

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I make this look good, right?

I told the runners around me that it was 8am and not 7:30am as well. And, apparently he had told some other runners ahead of us that it was 8am as well. So, it really caused quite the confusion. I wanted to check my phone, but I didn’t have any reception since we were in the canyon. So, I just went with it. And, I should have gone with my gut instinct.

But, we started to get swept off by the saggin’ wagon. I was upset about the miscommunication, especially since I was pacing a few runners during their first half marathon. Plus, we were only a mile away from the mouth. But, luckily they were just dropping the runners off at the mouth of the canyon instead of taking them to the finish line. I ended up hopping in the Race Director’s car for the mile.

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Dith, me and Shelley. That hat on Shelley makes me laugh. I just picture her stealing it off the head of a circus monkey.

Once I got out I told the runners with me we’d make up the distance up at the end, since we ended at a track. I wanted them to get their 13.1 miles in anyway possible. This was my goal too. I ended up not having to run the track in the end though, because as I was sweeping the course I had to run around chasing some runners who were going the wrong way. Some of the runners were convinced they were going the wrong way and went the opposite way. It made up for the distance quite adequately.

The last few miles though of the race were great. I paced alongside a couple of runners and I was able to listen to their story. If there is anything I love more than running it’s listening to people’s stories and learning about their backgrounds. People fascinate me. People’s stories inspire me. And, that’s one reason I love pacing, especially sweeping, because oft times you have enough time to listen and share.

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After the race Joycelynn and I were in DESPERATE need of calories and all we could think about was McGriddles. These change lives folks. Change LIVES.

Once we got to the last quarter mile of the race I was greeted by Dith, Shelley, Rendi and others who waited to see me cross the finish line. I really think Shelley just wanted to get a picture with me in my bra. But, it was really nice to see them. I was hoping to see them again, but thought since I was sweeping they would have been long gone. It was a great way to finish the race. I have some awesome friends, friends I’d do anything for, since they’re more like family. Family members you get to choose!

Seeing Dith going through these early stages of her cancer journey brought a lot of memories back to me about my Mom’s journey and I know how important family and friends are during the many stages of cancer. My heart goes out to her and I’ll be dedicating the rest of my miles this year to her! Heck that sports bra might not be coming off!

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Race #102 in the books! I will always remember this one!

YEAH RUNNING!
BOO CANCER!
GO DITH!


NEXT RACE: PARK CITY HALF (AUGUST 15)

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This originally was going to be my 100th race when I planned it out earlier this year. I chose it for a couple reasons, well okay, one reason. August 15th is my birthday and it felt right to celebrate such an accomplishment on my birthday. But, after I signed up for the Handcart Days Half and came to my senses … I changed that goal.

But, I am excited nonetheless to be running on my birthday! This will be my first time I raced on my birthday and it will be a party. I am going to be staying in Park City with my family for the weekend. We’re staying up there from Thursday night to Tuesday day. It’s become kind of a semi-Family tradition. Now I am throwing in running a race at the same time.

The Park City Half also kind of starts the summer to fall racing transition. I’ll be running or racing pretty much every weekend leading up to my 50K in November. Lots of back-to-back half marathons, fatigue training and a couple of marathons as well. I am excited about the challenge and getting my body — physically and mentally prepared.

YEAH RUNNING! YEAH BIRTHDAYS!


MONTHLY MILEAGE 2015

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 188.0 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 241.65 miles
2015 Race Miles – 259.15 miles
2015 Total Miles – 688.8 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  13.1 miles

MONDAY MOTIVATION

 

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