Tag: emigration canyon salt lake city

RACE #143: Emigration Canyon Half Marathon

Welp, I finally got the Emigration Canyon run I’ve been wanting since at least last week. And, I can’t be any more happier with my effort AND results. It’s been a good two years since I last ran down Emigration Canyon — well okay — 18 months-ish? Whenever the Haunted Half was in 2015? Anyways — I’ve needed a good Emigration Canyon run for QUITE A WHILE.

And, I got it this past weekend.

Canyon races here in Utah have a tendency to be seen as pure downhill courses. While that may be true in some canyons and for some races — this is a different kind of race. Sure, you get some AWESOME downhill, but you’ve got to earn it first. The first 4-4.5 miles of the race are pretty much all uphill. It’s kind of a beast.

I ran this race back in 2014 so I knew what to expect. I knew it was going to suck. I knew it was going to be tough. But, I knew if I endured it well and ran it smart, the rest of the race should be a fun brisk run down the canyon.

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Even with the daunting first 4.5 miles of the race, I felt I had it in me to do really well and get the sub-three time goal, I’ve been pining for the past couple of races. I just had to be smart, be patient and keep my goal in my mind during those first few miles.

I was still trying to figure out exactly how I was tackle the climb at the starting line. I knew I was going to have to employ some sort of run/walk method. If I tried to run those first few miles I would burn out before I got to the summit. So, I had to reserve some energy, because once I hit that summit I was planning on cruising down the canyon.

So, that’s what I did. Once the gun sounded, I started doing a two minute run/one minute walk. I did that for about the first mile or so and then I did a one minute run/one minute walk. After a while it went to a 30 second run and minute and a half walk. And, when the climb was a bit too steep, it went to a nice fast mall walk.

Basically by mile 3-4 my pace was kind of all over the place.

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It was hard to gauge where I should be putting my effort and where I should be holding back so I don’t tank my later miles. So, I just kind of played if by ear and tried just listening to my body. I reached the summit (mile 4.5-ish) in about an hour and five minutes (14:27 min/mile). I didn’t know how I felt about it, but in retrospect, I was okay with the pace. Especially, considering the last 8.5 miles were much faster (.12:35 min/mile).

But, once I hit the aid station at the top of the summit, I just hit cruise control and immediately felt right at home. I was on familiar terrain. I immediately passed a couple of runners. I was a bit worried I was going out too fast — and while I thought about it, I didn’t really care. I figured my 4.5 mile warm up was enough and I’d just listen to my body the rest of the way.

Which is what I did.

I walked the aid stations and ran most of the way. There were a couple spots around miles 11 and 12 that I had to walk, but I tried to focus on my goal at hand — and that was to sub-three the race. So I pushed myself.

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The last mile was really tough on me. I was just gassed. And, part of that — meaning all — was because of fueling. I brought some Clif Bloks with me, but I figured I’d be fine with the water and Gatorade at the aid stations. The only problem was — the aid stations had only water. This threw me off, especially as we ran out of the canyon and into the warmer valley. My body needed those electrolytes.

I was worried about depletion so that is why I slowed down a bit those last couple of miles. And, because, I just didn’t have much else to give. As I turned toward the home stretch I kind of chuckled of the thought of someone carrying me across the finish line like those two runners did to the one runner in Philadelphia a couple weekends ago. But, I carried myself across the finish line and double pumped my fist when I saw the clock read 2:52:21.

I did it. I reached my goal.

And, not only did I reach my goal, but I also placed AGAIN! I was third in the Clydesdale Division! This was the second time in the past two races that I placed! This made the effort and result that much sweeter.

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As much as I am happy with the results, I know it’s just the beginning of what I want to do with my running and training. As much as I’d love to get back to my 2:08 hour PR days, now isn’t that season. I have a few ultras I am planning on running this year and ultrarunning doesn’t mix with half marathon speed training. At least for me.

But, I want to consistently get back to my 2:25-2:35 race times and I feel like I can do that with my ultrarunning hand-in-hand. It’s just a matter of continuing to train smart, continue losing weight and temper my Hashimoto’s. I know no doubt I’ll get there — and I want to be there by the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon in September.

I’ve got a lot of running coming up in the next 4-5 weeks — including my 50K at the end of the month. While my focus is on that — the Riverton Half is next week and I really want to build upon what I have right now.

Which I know I will.


Here’s to the Happiest of Birthdays to my dear mother. Words can’t fully express the love and admiration I have for her. She’s simply amazing. Besides ALWAYS going above and beyond what’s expected, she has the purest of hearts I know. She’s the greatest example of “The Golden Rule” in my life. I’m also grateful that she never told me what I could or couldn’t do in life. She never, and still hasn’t, put limitations on my abilities. Even when everyone else tried to. As tacky as it sounds, she gave me wings. She’s also taught me the value to fight. Seeing her fight breast cancer … AND WIN … showed me the necessity of faith and grit with a side of stubbornness to overcome and accomplish anything truly great. Happy Birthday Mama!

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Moana Singalong Chorus.

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Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. Hoka. And, those might be filled with race medals too.

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Weekly Review

It was a great week of running for me. Not only did I meet my race goal time, I got some really good training in. I am being coached by RYR (Run Your Race) and I got some awesome assessment runs in — along with a couple good recovery runs. I had a fast clipped 5K and all out mile run to do — and they were beasts. But, that will give my coaches a starting point to help with my race goals.

I am hoping to gain some speed, but also endurance for my ultra races coming up in the next month and year. I’m excited to start seeing my progress.

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 7.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.17 miles
TOTAL MILES — 44.27 miles
Race(s) this week — None.

March 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 44.1 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 110.52 miles
TOTAL MILES — 180.82 miles
Races in March — March Madness Half and Lucky 13 Half Marathon.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 0.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 2.7 miles
TOTAL MILES — 15.8 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 181.75 miles
Race Miles — 109.22 miles
Walking Miles — 328.16 miles
TOTAL MILES — 619.13 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 and Emigration Canyon Half Marathon.

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RACE RECAP #73: Emigration Half Marathon


If you follow me (or stalk me … I don’t judge) you know that Emigration Canyon is one of my favorite places to run. It’s truly a magical place. Well, okay, not purely magical, but I’ve had a number of magical moments in the canyon … my first marathon, the Haunted Half, the past two Deseret News Half Marathons and COUNTLESS training runs down the canyon towards Liberty Park. I practically live there.

As you can clearly see, both of us TOO excited to run!

In April, Sport-Am was planning on having the Emigration Half on April 5th, I got signed up and was running to run it with a number of my friends … Janet, Becky among others. But, for whatever reason the race was cancelled. So, when I saw that they rescheduled for August 30th a couple months ago I was determined to run it. The problem was I was registered for the Porter’s Half Marathon that same day.

With a little bit of ingenuity I swap my entry with a friend. She took my Porter’s entry and then just signed me up for the Emigration Half. It was perfect. Plus, I conned Becky into running with me, even though she was going for a sub-two at Nebo next week. She told me she was going to walk the first three miles, which I was fine with because I was planning on either PRing or at least sub-2:15ing at Nebo next week as well.

RA group selfie pre-race!

The race started near the Mountain Dell golf course at the base of the canyon and dam (Becky forbade from telling dam jokes). There was only one bus driving up and it was a $5 drive from Research Park at the U to the starting line, so instead Becky and I just carpooled to the starting line which was actually pretty nice. Which probably cost us $5 worth of gas. So it really was sixes.

We had about 45 minutes until the race started and Becky ended up falling asleep in the car while I stood in line to the four port-a-potties at the starting line. Then we ran into Brook from the running group at the starting line (she actually parked right behind us) and of course this occasion was marked with a selfie. Otherwise it never happened, right?

The PO-PO following me mid-race …

The goal of this race really wasn’t speed and Becky and I didn’t have a specific time goal. We kinda planned to walk at least the first three miles and any up hills and then take the downhill fairly easy. We really didn’t want to ruin our Nebo time for next week. Since we’ve been preparing for it since June.

Almost immediately after the gun sounded we were pretty much in the back of the pack. The course almost immediately started with uphill running and did so for the first four miles. We ran the first mile or so, but quickly decided we shouldn’t waste our legs on this much uphill … sooooo … we walked. I felt no shame in walking because I knew once we got to the top of Emigration we had all downhill from there.

Sometimes you just need to stop and take pictures of the flowers.

Becky and I thought we were probably the last two people on the course because we had a cop cart kind of tailing us. But, we were far from the last runners. There was this little old man in his 80s that was trudging along waaaaaaay behind us. We never waited long enough for his to catch up with us, but we both wanted to adopt him. He wore a red and white singlet, running hat and Texas flag patterned running shorts and just shuffled along. What a trooper.

We kind of felt somewhat embarrassed for going so slow, every aid station we came up to we kinda laughingly apologized because we knew they must of waited awhile for us to come. But, at a few station we stopped to take our time to drink water and take our gel packs. We even stopped and talked to the volunteers for a bit as well, telling them about the little 80 year old trudging along and what not. I even helped one volunteer pickup trashed cups off the road.

Can you see how we treated this race?

Poor bird. Too bad it wasn’t alive for this selfie opportunity.

I did the same thing last year during the Layton Half Marathon. It was the week before Nebo and I knew I didn’t want to trash my legs because I was running Nebo the following week. Soooooo … I walked a good portion of it, while still pushing it at certain points. I normally hate walking during races, but I am not compromising Nebo.

The downhill of the race was MUCH better. We ran most of the way with a few walk breaks. Stopping again at aid stations and shooting the breeze with the volunteers. It actually was pretty fun.

I also stopped to take a selfie with a dead bird on the side of the road. I felt bad for that little bird. He was just laying there like he must of fallen out of the tree or something? Of course while taking the selfie a group of bicyclists saw me and asked if I was okay. What do you in a situation like that? Oh, I’m fine, I’m just talking a picture with a dead bird? Yep, that’s what I did. Truth always prevails. I can only think about what they thought of me from that reply?

I have problems.

Brook, Becky and I with our bling! Brook PR’d on the course! WOOT!

Once we got out of the mouth of the canyon we ran past the Hogle Zoo and This is the Place Monument Park towards Research Park at the University of Utah. We weren’t the last runners in, in fact we passed a few on the way down the canyon. But, once we got to the finish line the “festivities” were pretty much over. Luckily for us they kept the inflatable finish line infalted and we were able to still get some Gatorade, Danish Bear Claws (this is a first at a race … which is brilliant if you ask me) and bananas. It was perfect.

Despite finishing in 3:15 hours it still was a perfect little tune up for Nebo this upcoming week. My legs aren’t trashed, but tired. Which is great for me. And, 13.1 miles is still 13.1 miles no matter how fast or slow you go. I’m just grateful for the ability I have to run, especially with great friends like Becky.

Now the focus is ALL about NEBOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!


Total Mileage Breakdown for 2014

2014 Training Miles – 483.25 miles
2014 Walking Miles – 94.5 miles
2014 Race Miles – 280.8 miles
2014 Total Miles – 858.55 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2014
January – 100.0 miles
February – 100.0 miles
March – 130.0 miles
April – 140.5 miles
May – 108.65 miles
June – 83.3 miles
July – 93.75 miles
August – 118.2 miles