Tag: Fitness

O, Canada, O, Little Cottonwood Canyon, O, Quads!

My favorite weekend — or week — of the year is the stretch in July between the 1st to the 4th. It’s a celebratory week. From Canada Day to family birthdays to the 4th of July, it’s simply my favorite. Especially when you throw in the element of summer into it.

So, when I wanted to organize a group run for this weekend, I knew I wanted to celebrate Canada Day in conjunction with the run. And, as tempted as I was to make it a Big Cottonwood Canyon run, I wanted to shake it up a bit so and run down Little Cottonwood Canyon instead.

I really like Little Cottonwood Canyon, especially considering that the Run Elevated Half Marathon is one of my favorite races. But, outside of that race — I’ve only ran the canyon once. Maybe twice? But, at least once.

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The thing I love about the canyon is not just the scenery, but the downhill terrain. It’s STEEP. From the top of the canyon at the Alta resort to the mouth it’s a 3200 foot drop over roughly eight miles. That’s the same elevation drop at the Nebo Half, but that’s over 13.1 miles — not just eight miles. So, it’s definitely a quad burner.

I planned this run before I sprained my ankle and really wanted to use this as a good training run for my upcoming canyon races. But, it didn’t turn out as I initially imagined. And, as frustrating as this injury has been — I’ve found peace with the recovery.

After a few strong runs in June, I was looking forward to another good strong run. Especially down a steep fast canyon. Plus, it was just eight miles and it’d be a good long run between races.

So, all’s good, right?

Well, sorta.

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After meeting up with the group and carpooling up the canyon to Alta, I could kinda tell the run was going to be a tough one for me. My ankle was just sore. It was tender from Thursday’s run and the previous day’s nearly 11 miles of walking. I’m not 100% sure if that’s why I wasn’t 100%, but I’m sure it had a factor in it.

Even when we started running and making the descent down the canyon I could feel the terrain was too steep for my ankle. I tried different techniques, gaits and paces, but my comfort zone was much slower than I wanted it to be. So, I just tried to just lose myself in my run, playlist and the moment.

And, that worked.

I just enjoyed the moment. I took solace in the fact that my ankle is getting better. That’s why I’m going through the physical therapy. The speed and pain free miles will come back. I have no doubt about that. I just need to be patient.

It took me just under two hours to cover the eight miles. But, I had a good run — I jammed out, “cruised” down the canyon and had a few bikers and motorists wish me a Happy Canada Day.

I’ve got a lot to look forward to this upcoming month and within the next 6-8 months to worry much the present. As long as I know that I am progressing toward my goals, then I know I’m going in the right direction. Even if it’s not exactly how I saw it unfolding.

But, here’s to July, here’s to this run, here’s to Little Cottonwood Canyon — and — of course, here’s to Canada!


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 20.6 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 27.55 miles
TOTAL MILES — 0.0 miles
Race(s) this week — None.

June 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 45.2 miles
Race Miles — 65.5 miles
Walking Miles — 116.72 miles
TOTAL MILES — 227.42 miles
Races in June — Drop 13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer

July 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 8.1 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 2.1 miles
TOTAL MILES — 10.2 miles
Races in July — Utah Midnight Run, Hobbler Half, DesNews Half and Handcart Days Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 280.55 miles
Race Miles — 243.12 miles
Walking Miles — 644.27 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1167.94 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, Drop13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah and AF Canyon Race Against Cancer.


I’m feeling like a Canadian Gangsta this morning! “HEY PUNK! GET THE PUCK OFF MY LAWN! SORRY!” 🇨🇦

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Excitement or ice cream brain freeze? Probably a little bit of both with this kid?

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Ben’s getting all National Geographicy trying to catch the sunset.

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Obviously, I’m her favorite uncle.

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RACE RECAPS: The Bear Lake Trifecta

I thought about breaking these three races all into separate posts, but that just seemed overkill. So I am merging all three races into one looooooong post. So you’re getting what you get.

When I signed up for the Trifecta back in December I didn’t know what to expect? Well, I knew I could do it. But, this was well before getting injured. But, even with my injury hanging over my head — I still knew leading up to the weekend that I could do it.

What hung over my head was whether or not I should be doing it. That’s 39.3 miles on my ankle and I wasn’t 100% sure how it would hold up? Even with that trepidation, I knew I could do it. I knew if I could do 50 miles in 16 hours or 40 miles in 12 hours … I could do 39.3 miles over three days.

But, then again — should I be doing this?

Well, I did it. I’ll let the suspense of whether or not I did end here. As you’ll see in the three race reports, it wasn’t pretty. But, I did it. And, I had quite a fun time with it all.

So without any further adieu, here are the race reports …

The first of the three races wasn’t far from the cabin that I was staying at — in fact it was probably about less than a mile away in St. Charles. With a 7am gun time and no bus to catch it made for quite a nice morning, something of a rarity for a summer race for me.

I made my way to the start around 6:30am or so just to pick up my bib number and socialize. I was quite surprised to find that most of the runners weren’t local — well — Utah runners. I recognized very few of the runners. Most of the 400 runners were Half Fanatics, Marathon Maniacs and members of the 50 State Running Club who came specifically to either run three different states or run three races in three days.

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Going into the race I felt “okay”- ish. The ankle felt okay, but I knew once I was out running that would be a different story. Especially since this course was pretty much flat. And, by flat, I mean, very much flat. And, my ankle doesn’t do well running on a flat course.

This was pretty evident once I started running. I was ready to go, but the ankle had other thoughts. So, since I had two other races after this one I decided to start slow — a tactic I usually reserve for my ultras. But, fighting a bummed ankle it seemed like a good decision to avoid further damage.

A couple miles into the race I decided to ease into a nice easy pace. But, I had a hard time finding that right pace, mainly because of the flat course and my need to push off my ankle to get any sort of pace. So, I just ended up walking most of the course.

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I won’t lie, if I am not pacing or sweeping a race, I have a hard time to walk non-trail races. But, with the combination of my ankle and three races in three days, I felt like this was very much a trail race. So, I didn’t feel THAT bad walking most of the race. But, it was still very much at the back of my mind.

By mile 10 my ankle was very much hating me. Between my ankle and the heat of the day, I was just dead. But, I worked on staying positive by trying to distract myself with conversation, my music and some podcasts. They helped, but I just wanted to be done.

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Once I got to the finish line I looked at my watch and noticed I finished in four hours — 4:00:05 to be exact. I was disappointed. But, at the same time I knew I gave what I could. I feared if I pushed myself any faster that I would have injured myself — so — I was fine with the result.

As soon as I finished running my ankle pain pretty much subsided. So, I knew I could run the next day. Plus, it was more rolling hills than this course so I knew I would be faster. I was very much in the mood for some redemption the following day.

With an hour’s drive to Cokeville for the race, the morning came quite early. But, I felt encouraged about the race, because my legs felt fresh and my ankle wasn’t cursing at me. I knew this would be a better race.

Just like the previous day’s race this was an out and back. We started near the Cokeville Town Park and made our way 6.5 miles out in cow country before heading back. I heard many people complain about these hills, but I loved it. I train on hills and prefer them over even pure canyon miles.

I could tell early on in my race that this was a better race. My ankle felt fine. My game plan was pretty simple — my trail rules — fast walk up the hills, run the down hills and run what I felt that I could do. This game plan worked great for me throughout the race. I was digging the rolling hills and I just felt strong.

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The complaints were somewhat comical at times, especially when one runner complained about the mountainous course. But, many of these runners — or at least the ones I met — were from the South or otherwise flat areas. Places where hills were anthills.

The overall feeling of this race — and all three for that matter — was lax. Very lax. And, I got that because running three half or full marathons in three consecutive days. But, there were quite a few runners that were drinking out on the course as well — beer, wine and whatnot. Including one lady, I swear I saw all three days with a beer in her hand.

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This was something I (obviously) haven’t seen at Utah races. But, then again I probably wasn’t looking for it since many of the out of state races I’ve done have been HUGE 20,000+ runners kind of races. But, the alcohol wasn’t as shocking as the smell of weed I smelt around the midway part of this race.

But, I just laughed it off.

Then again that was probably just the secondhand smoke?

Okay, all joking aside, this seemed to be a tougher race on the runners out there — well, except for me. I can’t tell you exactly why, outside of the rolling hills and better terrain. But, I also think I was a bit more loosened up than the previous day and that lent a lot to my performance.

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I ended up finishing nearly a half an hour faster than my previous day’s time, which really made me happy. I was trying not to worry about time during these races. But, I felt the need to push myself when I needed that push — and to have my ankle and body respond left me encouraged.

The ankle didn’t give me any problems, some slight discomfort here and there, but nothing like the previous day’s race. This was one reason why I pushed myself a bit more during this race.

Going into my last race I didn’t want to expect, but having such a result made me excited for Saturday’s Utah race.

Waking up on race day, I knew this was going to be a tough day. No my ankle was fine. But, I was just tired. Not just because I was up until after midnight recording a podcast with my friend Andy, but my body was just tired. And, I was feeling the effort I put in from the previous day.

Unlike the previous races, this race was a bussed race. Along with a few of the pacers, I helped get the runners on the busses to the starting line. It wasn’t that difficult, but it felt like herding cats at times. But, after coordinating the rides with the bus drivers and everything I hopped on one of the last buses to get ready for my race.

On the way out to the start, I was just feeling tired. When I heard that there was a change to the course and that there was going to be more trail miles than planned — I just knew it was going to be a long day. This was cemented when I started to run at the sound of the gun and my legs just hurt.

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Even though I was spent, I decided to give myself a couple miles to warm up. But, that didn’t seem to help much. By the time we got on the dirt trails, I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I didn’t want to be running, I was tired and I just wanted to be somewhere else. So, I turned off my music, turned around and just started talking to people.

And, that made the world of difference. I just had to turn around my attitude to salvage my race, and this is the quickest way I found to do that. Just talk..

I met a group of African American ladies ranging from DC to Georgia. Most of them were Half Fanatics and we just chatted about our experiences during the weekend. They all hated the course from Wyoming’s race — which I loved. And, they all were bemoaning the trails. But, at the same time — we all just talked and laughed together.

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I stuck with two ladies pretty much from there on out. After about 4-5 miles on the dirt trails we got back to the road before getting onto some paved dirt trails. It was somewhat back and forth during the first 6-8 miles of the race, which I was fine with. I was too busy chatting away with my new friends.

I was sore throughout the race. Luckily, not my ankle — just everything else. I wanted/needed a nap to refresh my body. I was just tired. The weather was pretty much overcast which helped, but the later miles were done in the sun, which made for hot temperatures. I was ready to be done, but any attempt at running was met with reminders from cramping muscles or painful shin splints.

So, I just kept walking and distracting myself with conversation.

Once we got to the finish line, we all hugged and took pictures together — and then i just collapsed with a bottle of water and my two new medals. I knew eventually I’d have to get myself back up and ready to journey home. But, I decided to stay for a bit and cheer on some of the finishers.

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It wasn’t a pretty race, but I did it. I made some great new friends and I still put on 39.3 miles on my legs. I was spent. I headed back to the cabin, took a shower and put on some fresh clothes before leaving town.

I was done.

It might not have been what I expected back in December, but I was done. And, I was proud of the accomplishment. In fact, I really would like to come back again in 2018 and run with a little redemption in mind. I want to run faster. I want to redeem my slower times and prove that I can do three races in three days much faster.

But, we’ll see later on. Right now I just want my legs and body to recover. I’ve got some long anticipated running to do down American Fork Canyon this weekend.


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 4.5 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 24.23 miles
TOTAL MILES — 68.03 miles
Race(s) this week — Bear Lake Trifecta — Idaho, Wyoming & Utah

June 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 26.2 miles
Race Miles — 52.4 miles
Walking Miles — 57.04 miles
TOTAL MILES — 135.64 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 — 253.45 miles
Race Miles — 230.02 miles
Walking Miles — 581.49 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1064.96 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.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


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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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It’s time to bet big … on myself

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”

Beyoncé

When I started running, I had no idea where I was going. I started because I wanted to lose weight and I knew it would help me in that goal. But, beyond that, I had no idea where it was taking me?

Less than a year into my weight-loss journey my trainer, Kevin, challenged me to run a 5K in the midst of a plateau. He gave it to me as a challenge to work towards. So, I put in the work and ran my first 5K. It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t fast. But, I did it.

But, then something happened. I looked at my results and said — “I can do better.” So, I set out to train for another 5K. One that I could run that would be faster and much, much prettier. And, I did.

So, I just kept running trying to improve. This lead not just in the desire to run faster, but longer. Soon, I had my eye on a 10K which naturally lead to a half marathon.

Training for my first half marathon — I thought THIS would be it. This is the crowning achievement of my running career. The thought of running any further — especially a marathon — was unfathomable. I wasn’t a REAL runner, so I couldn’t possibly do that.

Well, after I ran my first half marathon in July 2011, I ran another and another and another. I got faster and actually enjoyed running 13.1 miles — then I started entertaining the thought of doubling that mileage.

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And, before I knew it I was registered for a marathon. A FREAKING MARATHON! That race distance that only REAL runners run.

Once again, I thought this would be my crowning achievement in running. When I crossed the finish line I could cross off the accomplishment on my bucket list and go back running half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. But, then something happened — I signed up for more marathons. And, before I knew it, I had run a total of three marathons by the end of the year.

By this time I had a goal to reach 180 races by age 40. So, I kept training and running. Along the way, not only did I enjoy the accomplishment of racing, but I made countless friends and created many enduring friendships. Running was changing my life in nearly every faucet of my life.

But, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It’s been quite tough at times, actually. Whether it was dealing with my Mom’s breast cancer, the death of close family members or battling my own health issues — the common denominator has always been — running.

Running wasn’t a way to escape reality, but a time I could deal with reality. Running gave me time to process the challenges. It gave me moments of reflection, motivation and inspiration. It was leading me where I wanted to go.

Nearly three years ago I started having problems with my thyroid once again. The health issues took me through a roller coaster of emotions. It was frustration being as active as I was — and feeling fatigued and slower. Not only that but I was slowly gaining weight after a years of maintenance.

But, I didn’t let (or want) those issues to stop me. They couldn’t stop me. I had a goal at hand. Plus, I knew if I stopped I would signaling the white flag of defeat — which I could never do.

So, I just kept running.

I was much slower. And, it took a harder toll on my body, especially in regards to my stamina. But, I was now one of the last runners to finish, but I kept going.

Around this time I looked for ways to keep me motivated. I knew just running wasn’t enough. I had to do something new — something that scare and motivate me all in one.

And, since I knew I wasn’t getting faster, I started looking at longer distances — ultra races. I knew a number of ultra runners who spent their weekends in Utah’s backyard and it always appealed to me. But, running anything longer than a marathon didn’t.

That lack of appeal eventually subsided and I found myself registered and committed to running a 50K. So, despite everything going on with my health — I trained for the 50K around a schedule of marathons and long runs. It wasn’t easy, but I did what I needed to do to prepare myself for the race.

When race day came I was lucky enough to run with some great friends that helped me get through those 30-something miles on Antelope Island. The last half of the race was spent trying to meet cut-off times, dodging stubborn bison and battling the dark after my headlamp died.

But, I made it. And, I earned the title of ultra runner.

The accomplishment felt like crowning accomplishment of my running journey. After spending over 10 hours running 30 miles of dirt trails — I couldn’t think of any reason why any sane person would do anything longer.

Then I remembered — I wasn’t sane.

Within a few months I got talked into running a 50 miler. I wish I could say it took a lot of convincing, but it didn’t. It was the first time I formally met Blu Robinson and Jed Jensen from Addict II Athlete and they casually talked about the 50 miler like a novice runner would about a 5K.

And, like any long distance race I’ve run, I found myself registered and committed to running the Pony Express Trail 50 Miler. The biggest selling point was that each runner was required to be assisted throughout the race. Meaning, I had a car stalking me — stocked full of fuel, water and food throughout the whole race. This basically translated to me that I wouldn’t die.

My training for the 50 miler was no joke. It was tough. I did a number of 20 milers, including one on a treadmill in the middle of the night. Not to mention a number of marathons specifically laid out to help prepare me for my 50 miler.

Once race day came I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I relied on my training and just focused on the goal at hand — getting to the finish line.

There were a lot of ups and downs — physically, emotionally and even spiritually. But, after nearly 17 and a half hours — I got to the finish line. I reached my goal — I ran a 50 mile race. I did something I felt at times nearly impossible, even just days before the race.

But, I made it.


“If you think you can — you can!”

Ronald Reagan

I really fell in love with the longer distances — for a number of reasons. Not only did I love the physical challenge, but I really learned a lot about myself. I learned a lot about pain. Because that happens a lot during an ultra race.

I never cried as freely and openly as I did at mile 45 of my 50 miler. But, I learned how to process the pain I was feeling — and control it. Being able to manage and control pain is a remarkable feat and I believe a true test of one’s character. Ultra races were becoming great teachers to me.

Since that 50 miler, I have run a couple more ultra races. A couple weeks after that 50 miler I ran the Antelope Island 50K once again (cutting off nearly an hour on my time — mind you!), in February I ran 40 miles in 12 hours at the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival in Las Vegas and then there was my ill-fated Salt Flats 50K that I DNF’d last weekend. But, if I didn’t fall ill with the flu I would have tackled that beast!

My favorite ultra race so far has been the Jackpot Running Festival, I like the idea of a timed race on a looped course with the goal to see how many laps you can do within that time. Not only do you get an aid station every two miles or so, but you’re literally competing with no one else — but, yourself.

Jackpot has a number of timed races — a 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour race. They also had a 100 miler, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K, but most of the runners did one of the four timed courses. The winner of the 48 hour race managed over 210 miles.

Yeah, you read that right.

In fact there were nearly 30 runners who ran over 100 miles, including six runners who ran over 150 miles. Mind boggling numbers if you ask me.

I read all of these results as my legs were still recovering from my 40 mile run — and I couldn’t shake the feeling that “I could do this” from my conscience. Every time I dismissed the thought — it just came back stronger. Even when I reminded myself of the pain I experienced at mile 45 of my 50 miler — the feeling remained.

So, I did the only logical thing that came to mind — I signed up for the 48 hour race in 2018.

Yup.

I signed up to run my first 100 mile race.

Typing this makes it feel very surreal to me, even a couple months after doing so. I am running a 100 miles. The thought makes me want to pee my pants out of sheer terror and excitement all in one emotion.

I’ve kept my registration relatively private since February. I’ve told a couple of close friends and family members. Heck, this is the first that my parents are hearing of this news. It’s just been a lot to process and this is a HUGE goal and milestone for me.

I still have my doubts about my ability. And, I am sure others do too. Heck, my parents definitely do, because their fear of my running is that one day my legs will fall off.

But, I have to at least try. I have too.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I have to try.

I’ve journied so far from my first 5K — heck, from the couch itself — that I can’t stop myself now without trying. To borrow a phrase from a favorite song of mine, “If you never try you’ll never know, just what you’re worth.” (Fix You, Coldplay).

When I stepped on the scale back in 2009 to start my weight-loss journey, I started the journey accepting failure — and success. I didn’t know where my decision that day would lead me. I accepted the consequences to my decision to LIVE my life. And, it’s lead me here.

I don’t see this decision any different. I am accepting the possibility of failure with the determination of success. I don’t know what lays ahead for me in the next nine months — but I’m going to find out. I’ve got a training plan in the works that I fill will give me the chance of success come February.

The motto for the Jackpot Ultra Running Festival is “BET BIG. RUN LONGER” — it’s something that’s on their shirts and medals. And, it’s something that I took to heart during my run this past February — especially since I signed up for the 48 hour race.

I feel like I am betting big with this goal. I am betting big on myself. Because, this is a gamble. There’s no guarantee of success, but there’s also no guarantee of failure either. So, I’ve got to place my bet.

But, unlike casino gambling, I can control more variables to my advantage. I can control my effort. I can control my training. I can control my preparations — both physically and mentally. And, I can control the odds come race day. But, with a goal like this, it’s going to take much more than this — in essence, I am not just betting big on myself — I’m going all in.

So, all in it is!

As a reminder of this goal and the needed commitment and dedication I’ve been running with a poker chip on me since I registered for the race. Every run — training and race — I run with it on me. I’ve tucked it in my pocket, but I really should make a necklace out of it to keep it on me better.

But, it’s just this little $100 souvenir poker chip that reminds me of not just the 100 mile goal at hand, but the bet I’ve placed upon myself. I might be a cheesy little emblem, but in the three months that I’ve been running with it — it’s been my reminder to keep going, keep pushing and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t dare say that this will be my one and only 100 miler. I’ve learned from my past that’s just a temporary lie I tell myself on occasion. But, I don’t know? And, I’m not worried about. My focus is simply on the journey in front of me.

This is a journey of a thousand miles. I know it will get daunting at times and there will be doubts. There will always be doubts. But, I know if I just focus on that footstep in front of me, it will take closer to my goal and a place I once dreamt possible.

It’s just up to me to take that next step.


“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.”

Stephen King

RACE #145: Saltair Half

Going into this race — I wasn’t having a very good week. Last weekend during the Riverton Half I started having a little pain in one of my molars. I didn’t think too much about it, because it was cold and I just have very sensitive teeth.

But, this was the same tooth that my dentist couldn’t work on because he couldn’t get me numb. It needed a crown, but he just couldn’t do anything with it. So, he filled what he needed to do and felt that we could wait a few months and try again. He didn’t feel like it was close enough to my nerve to worry about a root canal.

Well, it got to that point of needing a root canal.

By Sunday evening it was throbbing and I couldn’t chew on that side at all. I knew I was going to need a root canal. So on Monday I called my dentist and he ended up referring me to a endodontist to do the work. But, the endodontist couldn’t see me until Wednesday. So that left me with about three days of dealing with the pain.

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Luckily, my dentist gave me a prescription for some Lorotab. It helped. But, I won’t lie, I kinda hate that stuff. I hate the drowsy feeling and with most pain medications I always get itchy from it. But, come Wednesday I was BEYOND ready for the root canal.

I was beyond surprised how quickly and painless the whole procedure was. I was zonked out and didn’t feel a thing. Sure, my jaw hurt for the next couple of days, but by Friday I was feeling 100% — or close to it.

I’m telling you all this, because it’s framing the context of this run. The past week was brutal on me. It shot my planned workouts and runs I wanted to get in — I got only two miles of running in and FAR less walking miles than I like. The week just sucked.

So on Saturday morning I was just ready for this run. I knew it was going to suck. Not only did not I get the wanted training in the past week, but the course isn’t my favorite — especially when it comes to speed. It’s an out and back flat course along the frontage road running west to east along I-80 in Magna.

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I’ve done the Saltair Half a number of times before — so I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew I wasn’t going to be fast, I knew it was going to be tough on me mentally, but I knew I also needed the miles and it wasn’t race toward my 180 goal.

So there I was in Magna at the Great Saltair ready to run.

Despite having only 38 runners for the half marathon the race had pacers — many whom I know. The sweeper was Julianna who I’ve ran with countless times. With that few runners I knew we’d probably be hanging out a lot during the race — if not the whole race.

I had a feeling I was probably going to be the last runner, but I didn’t care. I’ve stopped caring about that where I finish years ago. As long as I do my best for that day and finish, I am happy.

Once the gun sounded Julianna and I started off together. We walked a good part of the first two miles — mistakingly keeping pace with one of the slower dualathletes. We picked up our pace once he turned around at the 5K turnaround, but I won’t lie — it was more like a run/walk for a bit. Something that would probably make Jeff Galloway proud.

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Early into the race I noticed that there weren’t any port-a-potties along the course. Like none. In the past there had been at least one at the aid stations. But, there weren’t any — which made me a little anxious. Even if I don’t use it, I know if there isn’t one — I’ll end up needing it.

I tried to not think much about it and just enjoyed the company of Julianna. Once we got to the turnaround point we met up with another runner who was walking at this point. She wasn’t feeling well and had just tanked out. I felt bad for her, because she really could have used a restroom.

After walking with her and Julianna for a bit, I decided to pick up my pace and go ahead. I wanted — well needed — to run. So, I sprinted off around Mile 8. Well, it wasn’t much of a sprint. I didn’t have much spring in my legs, but I decided to keep my walking to a minimum and just push myself past my comfort level.

I felt really good about my last five miles even though I knew I was well past my sub-three semi-goal. But, this race wasn’t about a time goal anyways — it was my therapy from a tough past week. It was my therapy away from the stress of the past week. And, it was my therapy helping me to mentally prepare myself for my 50K in a couple of weeks.

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The last couple of miles were brutal. I had no spring whatsoever — and on a flat course — it shows. My sprint was a mall walkers pace. But, I pushed myself through that pain, kept my walking to a minimum and just kept focus on the finish line.

And, I made it.

I made it in 3:26:11. Not my best time. By far. But, I wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t necessarily happy with it. But, it was what it was — therapy.

After being handed my medal and a bunch of bananas (you gotta give it to them that they know me!) — I hopped in my car and just headed back home. On the drive home I reflected on the run and how tough it was on me. And, how difficult this past week was on me mentally and physically. I was proud of myself for pushing through it all and doing the run. Because it wasn’t easy.

And, now my mind is fully on my 50K in a couple of weeks. Luckily, I don’t need to rely too much on my speed. The speed I was at during this race is probably even a bit too fast for my 50K. So, as discouraging as my time might feel for my half marathon — I feel good about where I will be physically during the 50K.

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The next couple of weeks I am just focusing on my workouts and runs. I’ve been working out at home the past couple of months — well lots of physical therapy exercises for my back (which is a non-issue now) and my sprained ankle. But, I am going to get back into my boot camp workouts at my gym and add some more weight training.

Plus, the good thing about training for my 50K is that I am technically tapering. So with PrepperCon this weekend my runs don’t have to be long. I am going to do five miles on Friday or Saturday — on top of the mileage from walking around the convention. I’ll either run around the Sandy area or just hop on the hotel treadmill. Either way — it’s no 20 miler.

But, I am excited for the next couple of weeks. And, as difficult as this past week has been, it’s nice to be able to acknowledge it, process it and then — move on.  Which I am doing now.

SALT FLATS OR BUST, BABY!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


When I think of Easter, I often think of my angel Grandma — or Yia Yia. She was (and still is) a rock in my life. Her sense of humor, her love of family and her belief in me will always be a hallmark of her legacy. But, it’s one of the Greek Orthodox Easter traditions that she passed onto us, that I will always remember, do and say. In Greece, a common Easter greeting between one another is Χριστός ἀνέστη! (Christos Anesti) Meaning … Christ is Risen! But, instead of the greeted responding with the same greeting they reaffirm that saying with Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! (Alithos Anesti) Meaning … Truly He Is Risen! Since her passing over two years ago, I ponder much on that saying. It is because of Him that I know I’ll see my Yia Yia again. It is that victory over death that we will ALL rise again. I am grateful for this Easter season and for what it means to me personally, for my family and us all. I stand in reaffirming to all that Christ has truly risen! Happy Easter!

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This is the Utah way of saying … “I’m ready for summer, but I’m not sure if it’s here yet.”

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With a mug like this, Adventure’s First Stop™ is usually the bathroom.

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Teaching young Tatum the ways of the Hansen Egg Challenge. He's a natural.

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Weekly Review

As mentioned above, this wasn’t a good week for me — physically, mentally or emotionally. The root canal and tooth pain really threw me off. But, this upcoming week I am looking to make up for all of that. I don’t need huge mileage — because of my upcoming 50K — but, I want to get at least three good runs in, on top of the time on my feet that I’ll spend at PrepperCon on Friday and Saturday.

It should be a much better week. It’ll be physically demaning and a bit hectic, but that’s what makes it interesting — right?

Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 2.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 21.61 miles
TOTAL MILES — 36.71 miles
Race(s) this week — Saltair Half.

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 45.63 miles
TOTAL MILES — 90.93 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K and Tulip Festival Half

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 187.75 miles
Race Miles — 135.42 miles
Walking Miles — 371.09 miles
TOTAL MILES — 694.26 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 and Saltair Half.



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A whole lotta ughs …

The past couple weeks have been tough. Heck, this past month has been tough on me. I’m not using it as an excuse. But, I’d sure like a break or two once in a while.

I’ve been trying to get myself into a groove with my running and fitness and it just hasn’t materialized the way I envisioned it. Granted, I did meet my sub-three time goal a couple weekends ago during the Emigration Canyon Half Marathon. But, that’s about the only success I feel like I’ve truly met.

I’ve been dealing with bad backs, sprained ankles and this past week — a root canal. An expected root canal. My tooth started hurting during my race last weekend and then by Monday morning it was throbbing in pain.

I couldn’t go to my regular dentist, because this was the same tooth that they couldn’t get numb. So they referred me to an endodontist so they could knock me out to do it. And, that wasn’t cheap. But, that’s a whole other story for another day.

I finally got my root canal yesterday — and it really just killed my week.

But, despite all the road blocks, I’ve been trying to keep on track, even if my runs are short and my workouts shorter. And, for the most part — it’s working. I’ve lost about 10lbs. this past month. A lot of that has to do with my diet. So, that’s progress.

I thought of mixing up my diet and routine again, but I think I am going to stick with what I planned this past month. One, because I wasn’t able to get into a good groove or it and, two, I think I can see bigger improvements with a better focus. I’d really like to lose about 30lbs. and I feel like this is a good road. Especially for my thyroid.

I’m going to get a good run in tonight before my race this weekend out in Magna. I’m hoping for a sub-three. But, I’m not sure if I want to push it TOO hard since I’ve got my 50K coming up in the next couple of weeks. But, honestly, I think I’ll be fine. I think the variables that will determine my result really will be my ankle and back.

The focus right now is all on my 50K on the 28th of this month. I am a bit worried about it with my current mileage the past couple of weeks. But, honestly, I know I’ll be fine. The race director knows I’ll be a bit slower — 10 hours or so. It’ll be fun and that’s my only goal (besides finishing).

Plus, the 50K will be good training for my upcoming marathons in Ogden and Utah Valley. Along with my Bear Lake Trifecta races. I’m going to have a crazy spring and early summer schedule, so kick starting it with a 50K is an usual and — I think — good way to launch my schedule.

I won’t lie — I do worry about my back and ankle a bit. But, honestly, I think I’ve cared and rested both well enough that they shouldn’t be a factor. But, it’ll be on my mind for sure — I just don’t want to downgrade from the 26.2 to 13.1 if I can avoid it. But, that’s my last resort and something I don’t really want to entertain right now.

Anyways — I’m focusing on Saltair right now and focusing on getting my groove and consistency back. I just want to pull some big weight-loss numbers in the next month so I can go into marathon season lighter on my feet.

At least I know I’m on the right track.

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.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


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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GET THAT GLUTEN OUTTA MY FACE!!! 🚫🍞

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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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