Tag: revel big cottonwood half marathon

Running in 2018 …

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my road to 180 races. My 180th race will be July 24th — pretty much SMACK in the middle of the year. So that means I’ve got January through July pretty much covered — but, what about the last half?

What’s after my 180th race?

That’s a good question.

While I am trying to figure out my 2018 race schedule, I’ve had a couple focuses — one, my 100 mile run and, two, not doing as many back-to-back race weekends of a half marathon or longer. I know that if I am going to faster, especially during my half marathons, I am going to have to scale back on the long races.

I don’t anticipate myself PRing next year. But, I am wanting to use 2018 to set the foundation to PR in 2019. Well, I shouldn’t just say PR, but to break my long time goal of sub-two’ing a half marathon. That’s the goal.

To work on that fountain, I plan on not just scaling back on the races — but, focusing on doing two races a month. Ideally, a half marathon and a trail race, a month. This would be on top of shorter training runs on the other weekends. Runs that I want to vary between a canyon downhill run, trail run and challenge run (a mentally challenging run — run uphill, midnight all night run, etc) — but, I’ll blog about that later.

I just want to challenge myself, get faster and mentally stronger in order to attempt and achieve my goal. A goal I’d love to meet at either the Nebo Half or Revel Big Cottonwood Half in 2019. Something that seems rather doable for me.

But, 2018 will have to set that kind of success up for me. So, while I am scanning UltraSignUp, UtahRunning.com, Running in the USA, RaceEntry.com and other registration websites I’ve come up with tentative schedule for 2018.

Remember these are only races 13.1 miles or longer. I am sure I’ll have a few 10Ks and 5Ks planned throughout the year. Also, races in bold are ones that I am registered for already. And, there are a few in the later months that are planned on a projected date.

So, yeah, here’s my schedule …

1 — Revolution Run, January 1, 2018
2 — Sun Marathon, February 3, 2018
3 — Jackpot Running Festival, February 16-18, 2018
4 — Strider’s Winter Circuit Half Marathon, April 7, 2018
5 — Salt Lake City Half Marathon, April 21, 2018
6 — Provo City Half Marathon, May 5, 2018
7 — Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, May 12, 2018
8 — Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, June 9, 2018
9 — AF Canyon Race Against Cancer, June 23, 2018
10 — Canyon to Canyon Half Marathon, July 14, 2018
11 — Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon, July 24, 2018
12 — Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, August 11, 2018
13 — Mt. Nebo Half, August 25, 2018
14 — Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, September 8, 2018
15 — Park City Trail Half Marathon, September 15, 2018
16 — Corner Canyon 25K; October 13, 2018
17 — The Haunted Half – Provo, October 28, 2018
18 — Mt. View Trail Half Marathon; November 10, 2018
19 — Thankful 13, November 22, 2018
20 — The Bakers Dozen Half Marathon, December 8, 2018

If you are planning on running any of these races or would love to suggest other races for me to do, please comment below! I love discovering new races!


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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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Because “Those who matter don’t mind” like at all …

Before I go into this story and experience I had while running the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, I want to make two things clear — one, I don’t want or need sympathy. Mainly, because I don’t need it. I know my self-worth, my capabilities and potential. And, second, I reluctantly share this because I’m sharing this not for attention, likes or shares — I’m sharing it because I once didn’t know my self-worth, my capabilities or potential. I share this because I know there others — who struggle with these feelings of inadequacies.

This past year of running has been frustrating for me. I’ve been dealing with a sprained ankle that really killed a lot of my intended training. At this point of the year I really wanted to be back consistently running a 2:30 half marathon time. But, that just never happened.

I am fine with that — I’m at the point of my running now that the focus is on the Jackpot Running Festival and running 100 miles in February. I’m far more concerned with my focus on weight loss and overall fitness than my pace. I just want to do and give my best during any given run.

This morning I ran the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon. This is one of my favorite races. I am a Legacy Runner — which means I’ve run it each year since the inaugural race in 2012. I’ve done the marathon four times and the half marathon now twice.

The marathon course holds my PR that I set during the inaugural race at 5:39 and my fastest time during the half was a 2:10 half the following year. On the flip side I’ve swept the course the last three years averaging around a 6:45 to 7 hour plus marathon time. I tell you all this for preference to my experience this morning.

Going into the race this morning — I knew I was going to be slow. I was suppose to sweep the course again, but my foot doctor didn’t want me to do the marathon — neither did my ankle. So, I decided to keep my Legacy streak alive and run the half marathon. It probably wouldn’t be pretty — but, I was going to do it.

So going into this week’s race my goals were simple — do my best, push myself without injuring myself and have fun. A goal that’s been repeated a lot this past year. And, I am fine with that.

Needless to say, I had a blast. Even before the race started — I had a lot of fun chatting with friends, running into online friends and just getting ready to run. If there’s one thing that keeps me running after the past seven years — it’s the relationships, it’s the people. I don’t honestly don’t know how committed I would be not just to running, but my 180 goal without those relationships?

But, that’s a post for another day.

Throughout the race it was fun being stopped by other runners to say hi. Most whom are a part of the number of Facebook groups we’re a part of. Even when the marathoners caught up while in the canyon many said hi — and I even got a couple of pictures with them. It was just a lot of fun and it made the fact that I was slower than I hoped or wished for — a non-factor.

Around half way through the race I ran with Amanda and Michael Bjarnson for a good 3-4 miles. It was a blast just laughing, joking and making friends. Amanda being 34 weeks pregnant was going along slowly as well. But, her timing had more to do with bathroom stops than her speed. Even being extremely pregnant she’s a very strong runner — she beat me soundly at the Nebo Half a couple weeks ago.

After we got out of the canyon we parted around Mile 10-11 (Amanda had to the use the bathroom — surprised?) so I just kept going. I just bunkered down, tried to find a good pace and just get myself to the finish line.

The last stretch of the course is along Ft. Union Blvd. in Cottonwood Heights and while technically downhill like the course — it’s more technical than the canyon miles. Around Mile 11-12 a slight hill leads to a rather steep decline that at the end of the race is tougher than it seems. I was no exception.

My ankle was feeling the strain of the latter miles and after making that slight climb and then downhill — I had to stop and walk for a while to stretch my ankle and recalibrate for the home stretch. Nothing out of the usual as of late.

As I was lost in thought while focusing on my ankle a Mazda Protege in the far left lay rolled down his window and started yelling something at me. I took an ear bud out and immediately understood what he was yelling at me. And, it wasn’t anything pleasant.

I’m not going to go into the particulars of what he said. I feel like it’s irrelevant to the story. But, needless to say, it was a profanity ladened and fat shaming tirade — basically telling me that I shouldn’t be walking or out there because of my size, especially if I was going to walk.

There was a moment it got to me — a slight moment. There was a moment of anger — a slight moment. And, there was a moment I wanted to bark back something — a much longer than a slight moment. But, I knew from experience that no matter what I said — it wouldn’t matter.

I was surprised I kept my cool because his tirade lasted a good 25 yards as he fought through the traffic. I am sure his anger was rooted in not expecting or wanting to be stuck in traffic. I would understand that frustration. But, to target a runner and berate them? I felt more sorry for the guy’s patheticness.

But, I wasn’t going to let his words get to me. Ten years ago or so — oh, yeah, it would have gotten to me. Totally gotten to me. But, today was different.

As ugly as his words were, they meant nothing to me. I quickly thought back to the previous 11-12 miles — I thought about the friends I spent time with, the runners who said hi and the laughs I had with a number of them. THAT. That, erased any doubts his words could have bred.

I thought back to my previous 158 races and those friendships and experiences I’ve made. Sure, I’ve had faster days. And, I will have faster days ahead of me — I’m not worried about that. But, the support group that I have around me — couldn’t be stronger. I’m grateful for that — truly, truly grateful.

I share this experience because I know his words could have gotten to other runners. They’re also words that I’ve sadly heard before shouted from a passing car while out on a run. I’ll never understand people’s need to put others down. But, I hope that those who get derogatorily yelled at understand — that they belong out there.

We all belong out there.

Like I said earlier, I don’t want sympathy for this experience. I don’t need it. But, I share it because I hope that we can all be a little bit nicer, be a little kinder and a whole lot more understanding toward everyone. We’re all in this together — so why make it harder for others? Support, lift up and inspire. Is it really that hard to do? Even if it is for you — just don’t say anything at all! Didn’t we learn that lesson from Thumper’s mother?!

I’m just grateful for the support around me. Without it I could have had a much worse experience. So, please — just be nice to others. Don’t make life harder than it needs to be.