Tag: big cottonwood

RACE #159: Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

When I ran the inaugural Big Cottonwood Marathon in 2012 — I never expected it to become what it’s become six years later. Like most inaugural events — it had it flaws. The miles in the canyon were short, the aid stations were less than desirable and I thought I got lost a couple times in the latter miles of the race. But, I loved I spinning finishers’ medal that I got and the scenery was absolutely extraordinary.

And, much like Disneyland — you can’t judge an event or entity on it’s first day. If you did — no one would have come back to Disneyland the following day or decades after ‘Black Sunday’ in 1955.

It’s been fun watching this race grow from that first event in 2012. The following year I was surprised at how much it grew. It made a leap from a local race to a nationally spotlighted race — almost overnight it seemed. That second year each state in the union was represented. That speaks volumes about the ownership, leadership and marketing.

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And, each year — it just seems to get better. There is a weight that Revel holds nation wide and you see that in their races and courses in Colorado, California, Nevada and Arizona. These courses are fast and a target race for many hoping to BQ or PR on a downhill course.

Originally, I was going to be sweeping the marathon course — as I have done the previous three years. But, I had to back out a couple weeks ago after my doctor didn’t want me running 26.2 miles on my ankle. Despite knowing that I could do it — I concurred and decided to stick with the half marathon instead. It would still keep my Legacy Runner status alive — and I’d still be able to enjoy the canyon.

Plus, I haven’t done this specific half marathon course yet. Back in 2013 when I did the half marathon the course ended at Cottonwood High — not on 1300 East and Ft. Union Blvd. I was excited to try this course, because it pretty much drops you right down the canyon and to the finish line. How can you not love a race like that?

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Sure I was bummed that I had to drop to the 13.1, but I knew that if I was going to heal properly and get myself prepared and ready for my 100 mile run in February. Everything at this point in my recovery and training is for that race. And, I need to remember that when I get discouraged at momentarily setbacks.

The morning of the race was abnormally warm for a September canyon race. I brought my usual hoodie and gloves, but I really didn’t need them. I should have taken it as a sign that it was going to be a tough hot day, especially for the marathoners out there shooting for a BQ & PR — because as evidenced from many social media posts it was.

Even at the starting line I believe the nerves and heat were getting to some people. I made the horrible mistake of stepping into a Honey Bucket where a previous runner threw up all over. I couldn’t contain my gag reflex and lost it as well — unlike the previous occupant I was able to successfully aim for the commode. It was absolutely disgusting.

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After composing myself and refueling a bit I got ready for the gun time at 6:45am. The race started with a slow walk toward the starting line and then a quick quarter mile out and back. I wasn’t expecting the out and back, but it was fun being able to see a number of my (much faster) friends along the course.

Where they started the half marathon is probably my favorite stretch of the canyon — which is about 9-10 miles above the mouth of the canyon. It was absolutely gorgeous as the sun was slowly rising above the surrounding mountains. It was the perfect way to warm up into my run.

l didn’t really have a goal for this race. My pride wanted a sub-three time, but my reasoning knew I really shouldn’t push my ankle too much. So I just decided to take what I could from my ankle — but, more than that — I just wanted to enjoy myself and have a good overall experience. So that’s where I set my expectations and heart.

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Around Mile 5-6 the marathoners — the elite marathoners — caught up with us half marathoners. It’s always amazing watching these runners streak past. It’s usually  during this part of the race where I get major calf envy. Seriously, have you ever noticed how well defined and strong many of the elite runners’ calves are? If I only had likewise calves.

But, enough of that. — one day I’ll get myself some sexy calves. Hopefully sooner than later. But, that’s a conversation for another day.

Around this time a number of marathon friends came running past — Ty Hansen, Monte Riding, Bill Hiatt and Elsha. It was really neat. Ty stopped and got a picture with me and I am pretty much the race photographer got a picture of me running alongside Bill and Elsha. I was on cloud nine.

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Not long after passing Stormy Mountain both Amanda and Mike Bjarnson caught up with me. Being 34 weeks pregnant the race for Amanda was more like a 13.1 mile progressive bathroom break — as she had to stop at pretty much every Honey Bucket. We joked about it a couple weeks ago at the Nebo Half and then again when I saw her at Mile 3 waiting in a long line for the potties.

But, as pregnant as she is — she’s still a STRONG runner. And, was able to catch up to me despite all the breaks. I ran with her and Mike for a good 3-4 miles — and we just had a blast! We joked, cat called a marathon runner running in a Speedo and made new friends around us — I couldn’t have asked for a better stretch of miles than what I spent with the Bjarnsons.

We split around Mile 10 when we got to some more Honey Buckets. I decided to keep going, mainly because my ankle was starting to nag at me and I just wanted to be done. But, also because many if I kept going I would FINALLY beat Pregnant Amanda to the finish line?!

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I was really enjoying the run and despite the heat and varied elevation change of the last three miles — I just tried to zone in on finishing. It was around this time that I got heckled by a passing motorist. I recounted the experience in an earlier post that you can read here.

I will say this about the experience — it’s unfortunate that it happened — but, I feel worse for the guy who spouted off his insecurities and frustration. I mean, how would you like to live a life where to gain any value of self worth you have to tear down others? What a sad reality.

But, thanks to him, I was also reminded at how blessed and lucky I am to have so many wonderful friends within a community of a sport that I enjoy and love. I wasn’t going to let his words negate the experience I had running down the canyon being passed by my marathon friends or those miles of pure fun with the Bjarnsons. Those experiences spoke louder — much louder than any word he yelled my way.

I spent my last mile or so thinking about that experience as I inched toward the finish line. I was a hot mess thanks more to my ankle and sore quads. But, I didn’t care — that last mile of pondering carried me. I was done. I did it. And, I couldn’t wait to do it again.

I have a lot to be grateful for during this race. Just the fact that I was able to do it, I am grateful. I am also grateful for the friendly hellos and greeting from so many in the running in community. I don’t take those for granted. And, I cherish them — I hope no one shies aways from saying hi to me — PLEASE DO! Because it’s those friendships that make that motorist’s words meaningless.

I am already signed up for next year’s race — I signed up yesterday for the half marathon. But, depending on where I’m at this point next year I would like to be in a position to sweep the course again with the RYR Pacers.

But, we’ll see.

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I plan on continuing my status as a Legacy Runner at Revel Big Cottonwood for as long as my legs will allow me to run. It really is one of the best organized races I’ve done and a race I look forward to each year. It’s come along way from it’s inaugural run in 2012.

Now my focus is shifted toward the Huntsville Half Marathon this upcoming Saturday! No specific goals other than do my best, have fun and finish strong. And, luckily, no motorists along the course to heckle me!


MY RACES THROUGH OCTOBER


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 9.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 31.02 miles
TOTAL MILES — 53.12 miles
Races This Week — Nebo Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 47.5 miles
Race Miles — 40.0 miles
Walking Miles — 104.27 miles
TOTAL MILES — 191.77 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 7.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 36.82 miles
TOTAL MILES — 56.92 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 365.55 miles
Race Miles — 335.52 miles
Walking Miles — 921.24 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1622.31 miles
Races done in 2017 — (23) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half, DesNews Half, Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half, Nebo Half and Revel Big Cottonwood Half.


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Running BIG for Robert

This past week has been a tough one for me. I didn’t get in nearly enough miles, mainly because of illness among a few other things. But, I knew no matter how I felt I was going to do some miles on Saturday in honor of my friend Robert Merriman who’s battling brain cancer.

It’s been an emotional couple of weeks for the running community here in Utah that know and love Robert. He’s such a staple here on the road or trail. He’s a friend to all.

I met Robert first back in 2012 while running the Farmington Days Half Marathon. Our conversation was brief, but I remember him introducing himself and mentioned that he read my blog. We saw each other at a number of other races over the rest of the year and eventually connected over Facebook.

You could say that after that — the rest was history. Over the next couple of years we were a part of a very close-knit group of runners. We all ran together, no matter the pace. Many times Robert would run ahead to take pictures of the group — or at times — if he wasn’t able to run with us, he’d still show up at some point of the run to take pictures of us.

I’ve grown to really respect Robert and look up to him in many aspect. His kindness toward others is second to none. He is one of the biggest reasons why I am training for my first 100 miler next February. Seeing Robert train and work toward gave me the hope and desire to try it too.

So when he was diagnosed with the cancer it was devastating — not just to me, but to our little group and the running community by and large. It’s been amazing seeing the community rally around him and support him and his family. Something we know he would do for any of us.

The weekend of his diagnosis and surgery it was awesome seeing so many runners wearing grey with red Canadian maple leafs at the Handcart Days and Deseret News Half Marathons. It continued with the Timp Half and the many other races that weekend as well. There were so many maple leafs worn during the Timp Half that many runners were asking why there were so many Canadians at the race.

That should tell you how much this community really rallied around Robert.

So, this weekend’s group run brought out the grey and maple leafs once again as we flooded Big Cottonwood. There was another group running the canyon as well, so there was a lot of crossover, but lots of grey either way. It was pretty cool.

I wanted to run anywhere between 15-20 miles, but with my health still questionable — I deciding between more like 10-15 miles. I am not where I want to be with my fitness right now, but I’m getting there. Especially with my ankle doing much, much better. I am at the point right now I need to start looking at alternatives to a couple of my marathons if I feel like I can’t do them.

But, that’s a post for another day.

Anyways, I decided 10 miles was a good run for me — which I decided basically right as the car passed 10.0 on the pedometer. So, I hopped out of the car that was taking everyone else up further in the canyon and made my descent.

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When I run, I usually don’t go for pace — I go by feel. I’m very much a zen runner. Honestly, it’s been the only way I’ve been able to get through my injury and slowing pace. If I am going to run, I’m going for a fun time. If I am too worried about my pace — I tend to not have fun and feel like crap post run.

So, I just focus on feel. I focus on pushing myself just beyond comfort. And, as long I focus on that I’ll get faster and where I want to be. Does this mean I’ll never focus on pace again? No. It’s just my goals right now don’t need it and mentally it screws with me. I’ll get there again. But, for now — it’s all about effort.

Anyways, the run went well. I kept my effort just beyond that comfort. I focused on my form, especially on my right foot. My new shoes really help keep my over pronation honest, but I still need to mentally focus on it so I don’t lazily undo it.

My ankle was a little sore by mile 7-8, but nothing like it has in the past. Most of the soreness was actually from lateral movement down the canyon, which I expected. And, compared to my last run down Big Cottonwood I felt much better. Thank goodness.

The run was gorgeous and I just focused on what I needed to while jamming out to my music. It was perfect. There were so many runners in the canyon that it really felt like a race. It was neat. There were at least three fairly large groups there. And, apparently some runners got stopped by others asking if there was a race.

It was the perfect morning for a run.

The last mile or so of my run I was able to run with my friend Lizz, who started three miles up the canyon and then walked down and then back up and down a couple times before running into me again. She did over 7-8 miles on a not very easy course. But, we haven’t had an opportunity to run much together so it I was happy to finish my run with her.

After being joined by Ruthie for the last bit of the run we all finished back at the Park n’ Ride and after a few pictures we left and parted for the rest of the day. As I mentioned above, it was the perfect morning for a run. And, a perfect day to run and honor our friend Robert.

The good news of this all is that he was sent home and is recovering really well. He should be a few weeks from being able to drive and do some light running (non-runners like to call it jogging). The fact that he’s been in amazing health has helped him a lot. And, I couldn’t be any happier for him and his family … he’s a fighter.

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Next week on August 17th — Robert’s Birthday — Costa Vida is holding a benefit night for Robert. As of right now, the Draper, American Fork and Payson stores will donate 20% of each order from 5pm to close to Robert’s family. There’s been a big interest from runners in other parts of Utah that they’re working on getting other stores involved in the benefit night.

But, if you would like to help Robert and his family while also enjoying an awesome meal from Costa Vida you can get more details about the night here. As I mentioned more stores will hopefully be added soon — and those will be posted there.

Anyways, we love you Robert! We’re praying for you! We’re running for you!


July 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 38.6 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 116.38 miles
TOTAL MILES — 194.28 miles
Races in July — (3) The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days & DesNews Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 13.5 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 15.66 miles
TOTAL MILES — 29.16 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 324.55 miles
Race Miles — 282.42 miles
Walking Miles — 795.81 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1402.78 miles
Races done in 2017 — (19) New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, The Hobbler Half, Handcart Days Half and DesNews Half.


I kinda want to know what constitutes EXCESSIVE speed?

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Shopping for the morning after the apocalypse.

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He looks as beautiful as Stevie Wonder plays, and plays as well as Stevie Wonder sees.

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I must be in Utah County.

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RACE #148: Drop13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

It’s no secret that I have an eternal crush on Big Cottonwood Canyon. I love this canyon. Ever since I was a child and my grandparents would take us up the canyon for a picnic to now as a runner — the beauty and majesty of the canyon leaves me awestruck. As a runner I jump on any opportunity to run this canyon I get — whether it’s a race or training run.

After I backed out of the Utah Valley Marathon a month or so ago, I decided to register for the Drop13 Half instead of simply downgrading to the half. This is a fun, fast course. And, unlike the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, 12 miles of the race are in the canyon compared to about 10 or so.

Not, that I don’t love Revel Big Cottonwood, it’s just — I love canyon miles. Being a bigger runner I love having gravity on my side. It makes it much, much more enjoyable.

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Going into the race I didn’t really have a set goal. Still dealing with my sprained ankle I didn’t know what to expect? I wanted to at least come in under three hours — which I felt was doable. I still have pain in the ankle, but it’s pretty much only regelated to when I move laterally than anything.

If I wasn’t dealing with the ankle rehab I was really hoping to push 2:30 — which is what I ran last year. It’s been humbling dealing with this ankle, because I do feel like I could push that time, but the ankle hinders that. I just have to remember to be patient with my recovery no matter now anxious I am to move forward.

Race day started early — as is usual with summer races. With a 6am gun time I up at 2am and out the door by 3am so I could get on a bus for the start line at 4:30am. So, so, so, so, so early. But, that’s the beast of summer running.

After meeting up with Tim and his wife — Boojah — we rode up the canyon together. After a quick pit stop to the Honey Buckets we still had just over an hour left until gun time. The trick now was staying warm until then. Which isn’t very easy up Big Cottonwood — anytime time of the year.

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While wandering around the starting line for a bit, I found a group of my friends huddled together in the Uhaul with the engine running and heat blasted to high. There wasn’t enough room for me in the cabin, but I was able to stick my face into the open window — which did the trick.

After take a quick group picture and after waiting for the majority of the crowd to cross the start line — we were off! Tim and I decided to stick together for most of run depending on how we both felt. With my ankle and his lack of miles of late — we didn’t really know what to expect? So we just we just ran together.

I felt good in the first few miles of the race. My ankle felt really good and I tried to focus on pushing myself as best as I could. It wasn’t until about mile 4-5 that I started to feel the ankle rather aggressively.

Most of this discomfort was brought on by the twists and turns in the course. Many of those turns acted much like a lateral move which aggravated the ankle. Luckily, it doesn’t cause extreme pain in my ankle, but it makes it uncomfortable enough that if I am not careful I can misalign everything about my gait and pace. Which can cause more pain and issues in the long run.

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At this point I had split with Tim at the last aid station so he could use a Honey Bucket. So I just centered on my ankle, gait and pace. I cranked up my music and just watched the terrain so I could avoid uneven grades to pain my ankle.

Basically, as the course wound down the canyon my pace became more of a fartlek than anything. Which I was fine with, but it was a bit frustrating because I very much just wanted a consistent pace. But, I just focused on doing my best and pushing myself where I could.

Around Mile 8-9 Tim caught back up with me, we kept a good paced fartlek. We ended up walking most of the switchback. Even walking the switchback was tough on my ankle. The elevation drop lends itself to runners than walkers, so my quads lurched forward while my ankle got a brunt of the impact.

It wasn’t fun.

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The last few miles were pretty non-descript and was easier for me to run. But, at this point of the race my ankle was hurting pretty bad — so any push I made to run faster was rather painful. So, I just tried to find a good pace that was at least faster than a walk.

Tim was hurting pretty good and started walking more, so with about a mile, mile and half out I ditched him. I couldn’t walk without my ankle hurting worse, so I had to keep going at my set pace. Plus, I just wanted to be done — aaaaaand — I felt like a sub-three time was still a reachable goal.

So I pressed forward like a hot mess.

At Mile 12 I got a second mind as we exited the canyon. And, I pushed myself, especially as I saw that I would be cutting the goal time close. I kept the walking to a minimum and only in areas where I felt I needed to slow down for the sake of my ankle. But, I felt like I had enough energy to make it.

Which, I did.

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I crossed the finish line in 2:56:08. Not my fastest time, but also not my slowest. And, given the circumstances with my ankle — I felt proud of myself. I could have easily taken it easy, especially those last couple miles. But, I didn’t. I kept pushing and it paid off. And, I met my goal.

Luckily, my ankle is feeling okay 24 hours after the race. Really the only pain I have is in my quads which is expected for a race like this one. That gives me hope for a faster recovery. I start physical therapy on the ankle next week so that will only help.

But, I have Race #148 done — and now I am focused on the Bear Lake Trifecta this week. Luckily, I am just doing the half marathon trifecta, but it will be a challenge for sure. Is it the smartest? Probably not. But, I won’t have any reservations backing out of any of the races if I feel like my ankle can’t take it.

And, if all goes according to plan I will also be hitting a milestone on Friday when I run my 150th race. It’s hard to believe this journey is just 30 races away from being completed. But, at the same time — I am excited to move forward onto some other goals in my running and life. More that I will share not much later.

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Anyways — I’ll be back for the Drop13 again next year. I’ve got some goals and unfinished business to deal with on this course. I want to redeem my time and hopefully meet a new PR! But, in the meantime I’ll keep my focus on strengthening my ankle, getting stronger, faster and slimmer.

But, right now the focus is on Bear Lake!

IT’S BEAR LAKE OR BUST, BABY!!!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Loitering at the Sev after the race.

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If there’s any question she’s my niece, this picture should settle it. 😻

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 12.2 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.14 miles
TOTAL MILES — 49.44 miles
Race(s) this week — Drop13 Half Marathon

June 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 21.7 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 32.81 miles
TOTAL MILES — 67.61 miles
Races in May — Drop 13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 248.95 miles
Race Miles — 190.72 miles
Walking Miles — 557.26 miles
TOTAL MILES — 996.93 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon and Drop13 Half Marathon.


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Looking ahead toward the summer …

Summer feels like it’s finally here. Sure, we live in Utah, so the odds of a June snowstorm isn’t completely out of the question — but it’s June. It’s summer. And, I couldn’t be any more excited.

The past couple of months haven’t been the easiest. The road to recovery has been difficult at best. But, my ankle is getting stronger and I feel optimistic that I’ll get where I want/need to be sooner than later. I’ve never sprained my ankle this badly before — so it’s kind of uncharted territory for me.

I’m finding it’s easier for me for me run roads at this point. The unevenness of trails probably isn’t the best surface for my ankle at this point in my recovery. But, I found a downhill road terrain works best for the ankle right now.

I’m not sure if the downhill has any benefit other than makes me feel faster? But, compared to a flat or hilly course there isn’t much push off on my bum ankle — which makes for a happy ankle — in the long run (pun intended).

I’ve been trying to avoid running more than 13.1 miles for my races the past month — so — I sadly, had to back out of Ragnar that happened this weekend. I just know that my ankle wouldn’t have held up. Even with that — I looked at other races, but most were all trail races. A no, no for my ankle right now.

Resigned to running on my own, I was going to run Big Cottonwood with a group of friends or possibly go help at an aid station during the Squaw Peak 50. But, when it came down to it — I opted to stay closer to home. I had a few things I needed to do at home and if I volunteered at Squaw Peak, I would have been gone all day.

So I decided to get done what I needed to do and just go for an evening run.; I was going to run my usual route along Davis Blvd., but I won’t lie — it’s run it’s course. It’s a little boring for me. So, I decided to climb up to Bountiful Blvd. and run to the temple.

The climb up Chelsea Drive in Bountiful is pretty steep. It’s a half mile climb which feels like Everest at times. But, I decided it would be a great warm up — so I did my Grandma proud and mall walked up Chelsea. It got me sweating before I was half way up the road.

Turning northward I made the trek toward the temple. I didn’t have a mileage in mind, I was more in for the zen than anything else. So, I just ran. Well, it was more like a fartlek. But, I was feeling good and that’s all that mattered.

After winding around I made it 2.5 miles out before taking a moment to enjoy (and take a picture) of the sunset and temple. I debated going a bit further, but the 5 miles seemed like a good enough distance. Besides, I was just enjoying the evening, scenery and moment. So I headed back.

The run back was just as nice — I granted I ran into a deer around mile four and then a raccoon about a half mile after that. I’ve been running into a lot of wildlife lately — in a Snow White kind of way. Last week it was skunks, this week the deer and raccoons, I can only imagine what next week will bring?

Let’s just pray it ain’t snakes.

I hate snakes.

Anyways, I’m excited for this weekend. I am running the Drop13 Half Marathon down Big Cottonwood Canyon. Probably my favorite canyon here along the Wasatch Front? This course is fast. And, despite the ankle my goal is simply a sub-3 … which I am sure will happen. Heck, a 2:45 would be great, but right now I am wary of pushing that high of an expectation.

But, we’ll see. I’m just going to base my effort and push on what the ankle will give me.

I am running the Bear Lake Trifecta next weekend. Granted, it’s the half marathon, not the marathon. I am worried about how my ankle will hold up, so I am going to reassess it after each race. I should be fine. I am not going for speed and if I need to take my time on one or two of them — so be it.

But, I am not afraid of backing out of one or more of the Trifecta races if I feel like the ankle won’t hold up. I have to be. My long term goal isn’t worth ruining for short term glory. I am working toward my 100 miler and that needs to be my focus. But, that doesn’t mean I am not going to push myself.

Anyways, here is my race schedule up until the end of August. I can’t wait …

I’ve got a lot of running to do and I can’t be more excited and ready for the challenge. But, I am also willing to be patient as my body continues to heal. Two opposites that are teaching me a lesson at the moment.

Anyways — I’m just ready to run.


We make patriotism look good. 🇺🇸 #runofremembrance

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I taught Eliza how to take her first selfie today. Now we just got to work on the face. Baby steps.

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We be grillin’ … summer is HERE!

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 11.5 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 18.52 miles
TOTAL MILES — 30.02 miles
Race(s) this week — N/A

May 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 22.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 104.04 miles
TOTAL MILES — 152.24 miles
Races in May — Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.

June 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 9.5 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 8.67 miles
TOTAL MILES — 18.17 miles
Races in May — Drop 13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 236.75 miles
Race Miles — 177.62 miles
Walking Miles — 533.12 miles
TOTAL MILES — 947.49 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon and Jordan River Half Marathon.


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Ode to Big Cottonwood Canyon …

I love Big Cottonwood Canyon. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that a million times on this blog. The proximity, scenery and elevation drop is bar none. Well, I shouldn’t say bar none, because Little Cottonwood Canyon, American Fork Canyon and even Emigration Canyon can give it a run for its’ money. But, when it comes down to it all, Big Cottonwood Canyon is the one that’s getting the last rose.

I’ve been looking forward to this past weekend’s run for WEEKS! And, I mean WEEKS! So when I threw my back out last Monday I was nervous I’d have to skip this run. But, I did some slow miles, lots of stretching and core work to help strengthen that back. All that fun stuff.

But, I really didn’t want to miss this run — besides, I was the one who set it up in the first place. It’d be like not showing up to your own party. Luckily, I made it! And, there was a great turnout.

Most of us met at the Park n’ Ride at the mouth of the canyon at 6:30am before carpooling up. There were a couple other groups that either went at 5:30am (sooooooo early) and a few later than the main group. It was a lot of fun to get everyone together and social offline.

I wasn’t sure what mileage I wanted to do — with the factors of my back, recent race schedule, future race schedule and the like — I kinda decided somewhere between 8-10. That seemed like a good number. But, I didn’t really decide until I got to the Park n’ Ride when my friend Camille said she was doing nine miles. That seemed liked a good comparison (smack in the middle), plus I always like running Camille.

At 6:45am we jumped in the car and carpooled up the canyon. We dropped off a few at 8 miles, but the rest of us went up the extra mile. After a little more stretching of the back we headed down the canyon back to our cars.

For the first couple of miles I kept up with Camille pretty good, but I was slowing down. Part of it was my back, but it was more of a combination of my tired legs and this being my first downhill run of the year. I knew my speed wasn’t going to keep me up with Camille so I sent her ahead.

After Camille left I just plugged in my music and just zoned out. I focused not necessarily on my pace, but just not walking. I had to walk a couple stretches — not out of fatigue, but I just didn’t know if it was icy (there was actually only one sketch stretch that was icy). The last thing I needed was to fall with my back.

Even though I wasn’t as fast as I wanted — I didn’t really care. I’ve been ultra training all winter so of course I am going to still be rather slow. After the Salt Flats 50K I’ll have more time to do some speed work — speed work that will focus on doing really well at the Revel Big Cottonwood Half in September. If you’re wondering — that’s the goal. There’s a lot that will and is going into that training, but that’s a post for another day.

Anyways — the nine miles down were beautiful as ever. The beauty of this canyon is breathtaking and is one reason I love running it. Whether it’s the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half, Drop13 Half or the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon — I hate missing those races, because they’re fast and gorgeous.

I am not able to run the Vigor Big Cottonwood Half again this year, but I am excited because they have a trail series of half marathons starting this year. They’ve had smaller distances, but not the half — until this year. There are three throughout the summer and I am signed up for the one in August.

I can’t wait!

Seriously, the excitement is ridiculously high.

I really enjoyed the run. It was great being around so many great friends. I absolutely love the running community, especially here in Utah. There are so many runners who inspire and motivate me to do my best. I feel extremely lucky and blessed.

Moving onto next week — I have my 25K next week on Antelope Island. I’m rather giddy about this one for a few reasons — one, IT’S TRAIL and, two, IT’S TRAIL! I get to break out my Trekking poles, douse myself in bison repellant and enjoy an aid station full of M&M’s, salted potatoes and Nutella tortilla wraps.

Trails speak my language.

Plus, I have a number of friends running the 100 and 50 miler so I might stay for a little after my race to encourage them along. The dangerous part about doing that is the more time I spend watching these amazing runners tackle 100 miles — the more it makes me to tackle that distance too.

I’m crazy, but am I that crazy?!

Please don’t answer that.

Anyways, ANTELOPE ISLAND OR BUST, BABY!


Weekly Review

It was a tough week for miles. After throwing my back out on Monday at the Dentist office — the week was used stretching out the back and doing lighter workouts. I got about five miles of sloooooow miles in during the week. Just enough to keep my back lose.

I was worried about being able to run the group run, but manage a good — but, slow — 9 miles down Big Cottonwood. I didn’t want to overdo it because of my race this weekend out on Antelope Island. I am running the Buffalo Run 25K. I’ll be on my feet for a while during that race — so, the focus is this week will be lower mileage and continuing to stretch my back out.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 14.0 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 21.97 miles
TOTAL MILES — 35.97 miles
Races this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 17.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 41.3 miles
TOTAL MILES — 71.9 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Antelope Island 25K.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 133.65 miles
Race Miles — 83.02 miles
Walking Miles — 189.53 miles
TOTAL MILES — 406.2 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half and March Madness Half.


I tried to convince Dave to get this shirt. But, he declined. At least for meow. #walmartventures

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It’s National Dentist Day … naturally, I’d be celebrating it here. #nationaldentistday

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Sadly, none of these dispense cotton candy. #nationaldentistday

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RACE #130: Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

Marathons are tough. They’re such a different beast compared to other distances. That’s why I’m in awe of those who can go out there and do one every weekend. I do one and it just takes everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — out of me. But, oh how I love them.

I remember when I sign up for my first marathon (July 2012) I thought it was going to be my first and only. Then I got into the St. George Marathon via the lottery. Then, I signed up for the inaugural Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon because I wanted to qualify as a Marathon Maniac. And, by the end of the 2012, I was a three-time marathoner. Trust me when I say — I didn’t expect that going into the year.

It took me another year to run my next marathon. But, I spent 2013 just running half marathons and working on my speed. Which isn’t a bad thing. I just needed a break and I wanted to focus my goals elsewhere.

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After running three marathons in 2014, I would have spent 2015 and probably this year just doing half marathons, but my goals have gone beyond the marathon. First with becoming an ultra marathoner last year after tackling a 50K and then this year training for my first 50 miler. I’ve used my marathons the past two years basically as training runs for my ultras. How many runners can say they get a fully supported training run with a medal and shirt to boot?

The past couple of years I have swept the Revel BC Marathon to aid my ultra training. Sweeping a marathon is excellent ultra training, mainly because you’re on your feet for hours! Last year I finished in 6:45 hours or so. And, I was expecting about the same again this year.

It’s a tough course to sweep because for more than half of the marathon you just want to fly down the canyon and then in the second half you just want to be at the finish line. But, for as long as you’re out there on the course you’re beyond supported by the race. Revel is truly a top notch organization. Whether it’s the support van or volunteers cheering on the last few of us runners — they do it right. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to come back and sweep the course again.

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Well, there are many reasons beyond the organization and training miles. There’s the whole canyon, the downhill course and numerous friends running it as well. I’ve fallen in love with this marathon since it’s inaugural race and never plan on missing it because of all those factors. In fact, this is their fifth year and I got a special mug for being a “Legacy Runner!”

And, that’s something I am very proud of — not just in the title itself, but what it means to be able to run all five years. That’s a lot of training and effort. I’ve run four of the Revel BC marathons and one half and each race means a lot to me, because I’ve had some remarkable moments at this race. None other greater than running with Jill during her first marathon back in 2014. That moment still brings a tear to my eye.

So being a Legacy Runner means a lot more than a mug and special bib to me. It’s about the training, effort and memories I’ve had with this canyon and race since 2012. This race and canyon inspires — and that’s why it’ll ALWAYS be on my race schedule.

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But, anyways — to the race.

On Friday evening I met up with Jill and Mark to met up with some friends from New Hampshire for a pre-race dinner. They flew in for the race to not just run it, but to FINALLY meet us in person. We’ve been Facebook friends for quite a while, but just never met in person yet. I’m glad we changed that, because David, Stephen and Nicole were everything we expected … and more. It was a great evening.

I carpooled down to the marathon with Tim the morning of the race. It was an early wake up call — 2:30am is just so ungodly. But, I got some caffeine down me and was ready to go. I didn’t have a lot of nerves building up to gun time, because I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to be a long day. I knew I was going to hurt. I knew I was probably going to get some kind of awkward sunburn.

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But, I looked forward to everything else. The time spent with my sweeping partner Chanda, the time spent with once strangers and many other adventures. That’s the beauty of not just sweeping, but running. No matter how familiar the course may be — the journey is unknown until you trek it.

After waiting for most of the runners to cross the starting line so we could use the bathroom without a line, Chanda and I started off the race meandering down the canyon looking for some blankets to keep up warm. Guardsman Pass is pretty chilly and we were frozen so the discarded blankets were a nice gift for a couple of miles.

We didn’t really run into other runners until about mile four as we looped around Solitude before making the long descent down the canyon. That’s when I met Natasha — she was running her first (and she claims only — I still don’t believe her) marathon. We started talking and we ended up running most of the race together.

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A little further down the canyon — we ran into my friend Nick and he joined our party as well. We had quite the party going on. We had a few marathoners that came and went, while others stuck with us throughout most of the race. And, we had a blast.

About half way through the canyon I (FINALLY) got to meet Larry Macon — one of the many legendary Marathon Maniacs. He was running his 1757th marathon that day. Yes, you heard that right — 1 – 7 – 5 – 7. Amazing. And, such a humble guy about it too. Larry and I talked for a quite a while about our journeys and love for running. We talked about the places you’ll go when you just focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

I could probably write a book about the depth and conversation that Larry and I had during the race.

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During our run down the canyon, Chanda and I focused on not just bringing everyone along the course, but getting us to the mouth of the canyon. There was a four hour cut off before the support van would pick you up and drop you off at the mouth of the canyon or wherever us sweepers were.

I wanted to avoid that as much as possible and for the most part we kept everyone out on the course. We had to maintain a 13 minute mile to hit the cut off time at Mile 18 — where the mouth of the canyon was. Once we got out of the canyon it was basically home free. We still tried to maintain a 13 minute mile so all our aid stations were supported, but the goal was to just get everyone to the finish line at that point.

The hardest part of the marathon is definitely the four-mile out and back right after you exit the canyon. You’re on cloud nine at that point after 18 beautiful canyon miles — and then — it’s flat with hardly any shade. It’s tough, I won’t lie. And, not only that, you confront the “Mile 20 Wall” on that stretch as well. It seems like everyone ahead of you on that stretch of road is going in slow motion.

I’ve really learned to hate that out and back.

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But, once you head back towards the mouth of the canyon around Mile 22 hope is regained as you know you’re on the home stretch. And, like I’ve done in year’s past — I once again stopped for a Mile 23 Slurpee at the 7 Eleven on Ft. Union and Wasatch. It is seriously the best decision to make at that point not only in the race, but in life. The Slurpees gives you a jolt of energy and cools down the core to make the last three miles bearable — and give you a second wind.

After getting my Slurpee and a few ice cold waters for some of the other runners — the race started pulling on course support. I knew it was coming and that’s one reason I bought the waters (along with bringing some with me in my backpack) so I wasn’t too worried. Plus, there were plenty of other gas stations along the way — if things got dire. We just had to stick to the sidewalk.

During the last couple of miles, Chanda and I were joined by three others. I took one group ahead while Chanda walked in with the last marathoner. They were starting to tear things down, but thankfully kept the finish line up until Chanda came in with the last runner. A great sign that Revel is ran by runners. They understand the importance of the finish line.

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Even though we were the last runners to cross the finish line, all of the volunteers stopped working on what they were doing and greeted us enthusiastically at the finish line. This sweet volunteer who handed out the medals made me laugh when she asked me if I did the marathon or half marathon. I wasn’t sure if she was joking, so I just jokingly replied — “I sure hope it was the marathon!”

It made her laugh.

I didn’t get much time for the accomplishment to sink in before I hurriedly went on the search for my drop bag. I stayed long enough to share sweaty hugs with the finishers and Chanda before beelining it to the car. It was nearly 2pm and we had a 3pm flight to catch to Jackson Hole for dinner with some friends. So it was mad dash to shower, eat and recoup.

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But, on the plane ride to Jackson everything started to sink in. Not just the soreness in the leg, but what I had accomplished and those I helped accomplish. Marathons are not easy regardless of your pace. And, one could argue that a 7 hour marathon is a different kind of tough — not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

Marathons require a lot from you — and repeatedly so. There are many walls to break through, many mind games to be played to keep you going and a lot of faith to just put one foot in front of the other. I am proud of everyone who sets out to tackle the distance, because you’re never the same person when you stand at that finish line.

Not only did I come away with these lessons last Saturday, but I came away from the race with a renewed excitement for my 50 miler. I know it’s going to be hard. I know it’s going to be exhausting — both physically and emotionally. But, I also know I have the capability to dig deep and keep moving forward.

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I wish I could jump on that trail now and tackle those 50 miles — but, I still have plenty of training miles ahead of me. I’ve got my marathon in Huntsville this weekend and then of course the St. George Marathon in a couple of weeks. And, let’s not forget the Red Rock Relay, Frightmares 5K and the AIIA Team Relay as well.

I am hoping to come away from each those races and experiences with similar lessons from Saturday’s marathon. I am sure I will. Especially if I keep my eye open for them, I’ll find them.

I just got to keep moving forward.


131 - huntsville marathon

In preparation for my 50 miler, I decided to sign up for the Huntsville Marathon a week after the Revel BC Marathon. I’ve never done two marathons within 7 days of each other. I’ve done two in 14 days (Revel Big Cottonwood and St. George in 2012) and that was stupid. So two in 7 days? I’m going to be hurting.

But, that’s the point. I’ve got to get used to the fatigue — and push through it. Going through fatigue training and just being on my feet is some of the best training I can do for my 50 miler. So that’s why I’m doing Huntsville this weekend.

I am kind of excited about this course. It’s a fast course and pretty much downhill the whole 26.2 miles. That will keep me going in the later miles. Yet, another reason why I chose to run Huntsville. You’ve got to love a course that allows gravity to help you along the way.

My original game plan was to go out on a half marathon pace for the first 13.1 miles to beat up my legs for the second half. But, I think I might change that? After my race weekend I felt the need to just bust out. But, since I was pacing and sweeping the course I had to restrain. I want to test myself and just let go and run.

But, I’m not sure if that’s a good decision or not? Either way, it’ll be tough and some great training in preparation for this 50. And, if all else fails I’ll just focus on getting one foot in front of the other. And, that should make St. George a lot of fun if that’s the case.

Isn’t running such a great adventure?!

PONY EXPRESS OR BUST, BABY!!!

132 - st george marathon 133 - park city red rock relay 134 - pony express trail 50


2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

223.0 miles

RACE MILES

235.3 miles

WALKING MILES

1069.83 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1528.13 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1138.87 miles


12788035_1688827578069562_373889742_n

This is an awesome episode of Addict II Athlete’s podcast. We’ve heard Coach Blu interview a lot of the athletes, but he’s turned the mic around and is sharing story. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

One of the reasons why Coach Blu can reach and touch so many lives is because he can offer something very people can offer — empathy.

Don’t skip this episode of AIIA — trust me. Give it a listen …


Sweeping the @runrevel BC course. Not an easy task! Sure, it’s a party. But, we had to make sure we hit our pace in the 18 canyon miles, but then bringing everyone in between miles 18-26.2. It’s extra important to me that everyone finishes, especially when it’s a marathon. Many times I’m running with newbies and the last thing they should feel is discouraged because they’re one of the last to finish. Marathons are tough! They’re tough! And, I love watching then finish what they started. It inspires me. But, you never know who you’re going to meet, who you’re going to inspire and more importantly … who’s going to inspire you! It’s hard to say no to sweeping a marathon course, because it’s life changing. I know that sounds cliche, but it’s truth. You get to know a lot, about a lot of people, you get the opportunity to help many achieve unrealized dreams and you get share your love for running. See, that’s why sweeping a marathon is a misnomer. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s still 26.2 miles and it’s still work, but … SO REWARDING! #race130 #runrevel #bigcottonwood #running #pacing #sweeping #runyourpace #ryrpacers #fitness #runspiration #goals #health @josherwalla @joshruns180 @runrevel

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Josher, you just ran 26.2 miles, what are you doing next? I’M GOING TO JACKSON HOLE! #jacksonholebound

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That’s either a forest fire or the world’s largest smoke signal. Someone call Guinness. #jacksonholebound

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My two loves got married. Candy + Bacon. #alwaysandforever #candybacon

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After yesterday’s marathon this is basically “The Stairway to Hell” #ispeakonlytruth

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Monday, Monday — meh.

This past week has been kind of a wash. It started off great with my birthday — and then I just kind of died. Not literally, but pretty much became worthless by Wednesday night. I’ve been battling a cold and nasty cough and have been under the influence of NyQuil pretty much 24/7.

Not fun.

But, I did manage to still run 14 miles on Saturday.

Runners are a funny breed. We could be on our deathbed, but if we need to put 14 miles in to prepare for our marathon — we’re going to do it! So, yeah that was me on Saturday. I felt like crap, but I HAD to put 14 miles.

Plus, I had made plans to run down Big Cottonwood months ago — so I couldn’t ditch on BC. We’re like BFFs. Plus, Jill and I were planning on running the canyon together and we too are BFFs. If I didn’t run — I’d be letting down two BFFs. I just couldn’t do that.

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I wanted to run 14 miles down the canyon, but decided to break it up because Jill was planning on doing 10. So, the initial plan was to run 10 with her and then do four out and back miles along Wasatch Blvd. — depending on how I felt. I really didn’t know how I was going to feel after 10 so I wanted to play it safe.

Because of a funeral that Jill had to get to we decided to meet earlier than the 6:30am meet up time — we opted for 5:15am instead. WAY too early, but again, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to run down Big Cottonwood with Jill. But, I guess it’s not that early considering most summer races require you to catch a bus by 4am. Still — sleep matters.

Mark drove us up the canyon and dropped Jill, me and the kids off 10 miles from the mouth of the canyon, while he drove up to Solitude so he could put 13-14 miles in. I didn’t come prepared for the cool weather — having been 100 degrees for what seems like three months, I just assumed it would be rather warm — but, that was just a lie I told myself. It was cold. Autumn is coming.

It took both Jill and I a couple miles to warm up. Which is typical. But, oh, how I wished that I wore long sleeves. I can’t complain too much though, running in the fall is my favorite. Just as long as I am prepared.

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For the first half of the run Jill and I took turns pushing her kids. But, after getting an ache in her side I ended up taking them for the last half of the run. I laughed the few times runners and bikers encouraged “our little family” to keep running. Jill and I just busted up laughing. I do have to admit though, having the kids there probably kept most bikers from cussing us out like runs past. But, that’s a story for another day.

It was a great run. And, when we got to the end I was spent and decided to not do the four miles there. I would save them for later at home. Which I did on the treadmill — while watching the Olympics. After driving Mark back up the canyon to fetch his car we all went to the 7 Eleven for a post-run Slurpee.

A much deserved Slurpee.

And, my first in over three months.

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Overall, I don’t what to think about this upcoming week. I didn’t start my new diet in force because I was sucking down Gatorade and cough drops. Too much sugar and fake sweetener. I would start today, but I don’t start diets on Monday (personal rule), so I’ll start in earnest on Wednesday (because I plan on blogging about it on Wednesday) when my health should be closer to 100%.

Now, what does this all mean for Saturday’s race? I don’t know? I don’t know how confident I feel about getting that sub-2:30 because of the past couple of weeks of training? Plus, being sick with this stupid cold and congestion — I don’t know what it’s done to my body? I feel like I should be 100% by race day, but will be I completely ready to push that needed pace?

I don’t know?

I don’t know?

I don’t know?

I guess, I’ll just have to do it to find out, right? I don’t know if there are pacers for Run Elevated so I’ll be doing this solo with my watch. I’ve got to average a 11:22 minute mile. Granted this is down Little Cottonwood Canyon — so that’s doable for the first part of the race. I’ll just have to keep that up outside of the canyon for the remaining 4-5 miles.

We’ll see?

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I really feel like it’s still doable. But, there’s that nagging pessimist in the back of my head telling me I blew it the past couple of weeks. I really hate that guy. He’s kind of a jerk. So, maybe I just need to tell him to shut up?

That actually sounds like a good plan.

Because, this really will be my last chance at a sub-2:30 this year. Because, after Run Elevated I am moving into my marathons and ultra marathon miles. I guess I could try to do a sub-2:30 at Snow Canyon, but that’s two weeks after my 50 miler — doesn’t sound smart?

Either way, I’m just going to plan for it, will myself towards it and give it everything I have next Saturday. That’s all I can really give myself, right?


Runcast - Podbash Banner

Hydrate Wearable Photo 5 (1)

This is a pretty cool podcast. Jorge and I are joined by Jeff and Devin from Hydrate talking about — HYDRATION! If you remember last episode Jimbo passed out in church due to hydration issues. Jeff and Devin share their new product (pictured above) that will athletes and runners alike keep hydrated, but elevate their performance as well.

In addition to talk about the new Hydrate product, we’re also giving away an entry into the Layton Marathon (October 8). But, you have to listen to the podcast to get the code!

LISTEN NOW …


RRR-20-coupon


 

WEEKENDGRAMS

Dez kids. #misscalliekoko #chubbingtatum #unclejoshertime

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Everything about these are disgusting and patriotic. #hotdogsconfuseme #cheesedogsquarepants

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I’m not a fisherman, but we’re BFFs this weekend … #imdying #notsocommoncold

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Taking shots before bedtime. BLARGH! #ivegotsthecold #killmenow #actuallydont #sendmestuff #likemorenyquil

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2667in2016

RUNNING MILES

207.6 miles

RACE MILES

192.9 miles

WALKING MILES

981.52 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1382.02 miles

MILES TO GOAL

1284.98 miles



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