As I have said many, many, many times — my race schedule is ALWAYS subject to change. And, this week’s race plan wasn’t immune to a change in plans. I’m more bummed about the reasons why I had to make the change than the actual change.
The original plan was to run the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K. I love running the island, especially the races that Jim Skaggs puts on. I ran the 25K two years ago with Jill and have done his 50K the past couple of years as well. So I was looking forward to the adventure this weekend.
Due to some unforeseen family obligations I had to back out of the race, pretty much last minute (read: this morning). Part of the reason is that with the race starting at 9am, it would take me a good 4-5 hours or so to do the 25K — and with the obligations I couldn’t be gone pretty much all day.
But, I also didn’t want to give up a race weekend either. I’d have to rework my race schedule AGAIN — and I didn’t want that. So, I signed up for On Hill Events’ Lucky 13 Half Marathon at Gardner Village in West Jordan. Not only is it closer to home, but I’ll be done much sooner than the 25K so I can attended to my obligations.
Sure, I am sad giving up a trail race, but I’ve always prioritized family before running. And, being able to still race and attend to family is a win-win in my book. As much as I am going to miss the Buffalo Stew on Antelope Island, Joe Coles and On Hill Events do a really good job with their races and I am excited to run the course. This is a race I haven’t done yet.
This is one thing that I really, really love about Utah. We have so many quality race companies, canyons, trails and races. Our calendars are chalk full of them. And, to be able to pull audible like this on such short notice is nice.
I guess you could say we should feel lucky.
Because we are.
And, that was a terrible pun. Please accept my apologies. Seriously. I disappoint myself.
Happy Running! Wherever you are running this weekend — Antelope Island, Jordan Parkway Trail, one of the several local canyons or your neighborhood — enjoy it! Spring is here!
Okay, that should help get that out of my system for a while. I love, love, love this race. It’s a fast downhill course that just speaks to me for many reasons. The fact that it’s downhill and gravity is working on my side is the first reason. Second, because the canyon is GORGEOUS! Especially around this time of the year as the leaves are just starting to turn. And, third, because so many of my friends run it as well.
It’s kinda like the Super Bowl of Utah half marathons in my book. It’s a fun course, that pretty much everyone flies down. And, that’s what I have been looking forward to more than anything this past year. I love just letting myself go and … just run. Just let gravity take care of the rest.
Going into the race I really wanted to set a year best time. Especially considering that my two best times were running down Big and Little Cottonwood canyons. The last being two weeks ago at the Run Elevated Half. So that had been my focus and goal.
Well, I should say that wasn’t my only goal. I’m the type of person that states one goal, but really has, like, three goals. The publicly stated goal, the ambitiously secret goal and then the safe secret goal in case the first two goals don’t happen. Which really should be the equivalent to a “participation trophy” in T-Ball.
So going into Nebo my three goals were such …
1) Ambitiously Secret Goal: A sub-2:30 finish time.
2) Public Stated Goal: 2:35 or better finish time.
3) Safe Secret Goal: 2:40 or better finish time.
I guess you could say I had another goal of not to get anything past a 2:45. But, that’s really not a goal … more like an expectation. And, I figured that if I didn’t meet that expectation I probably would have wallowed in self-pity while eating really crappy ice cream and a Gilmore Girls marathon the rest of the holiday weekend.
Luckily, it never came to that.
But, I didn’t meet my first two goals either. Which, while I am not overly disappointed, I did get exactly a 2:40 finish (my timer said 2:39, but whatever) to meet that safe secret goal. I am satisfied with my goal, because I gave a great effort on the course and pushed myself the best that I could. And, really, I kinda made some poor choices and decisions that killed my chance of a better time.
Should I make a short list of them?
Even if you said no, I am still am going to list them since this is my blog …
1) I didn’t eat enough calories for breakfast (½ a banana and protein bar).
2) Going out WAY too fast on the first mile.
3) Keeping a faster pace for longer than I should have.
4) Letting Mile 9 mentally get to me.
5) Taking too long at the third aid station.
Some of those choices and decisions are unavoidable. Because sometimes at aid stations you need to retie your shoe and then go back for another water. It could have gone down smoother, but choices like not eating enough for breakfast or going out way too fast are avoidable. And, just kind of stupid mistakes.
Especially, when I knew better.
But, on the flip side I am satisfied with my time for a number of reasons …
1) I maintained a sub-2:30 pace for the first 8-8.5 miles.
2) I ran through quad soreness and kept my walking to a minimum.
3) Didn’t slow down when I realized I wasn’t going to meet my goal time.
It’s really a strange feeling, because I wouldn’t say that I am extremely disappointed in my outcome. I’m satisfied, but not disappointed. Especially when I ran a 2:37 just two weeks ago down Little Cottonwood Canyon. So how can I really be upset or disappointed with myself?
Especially when I can learn from the experience.
But, with everything that I’ve dealt with this past year with my health and I’ll take it. It’s been a struggle. I really want to take it as a launching point to get back to where I want to be health and running wise. And, looking forward a year from now I see myself there. I see myself being healthy and strong while working and setting a new PR.
Which would anything under 2:08:25. Something I am ready to tackle and work towards.
But, the focus is now looking towards this weekend’s Big Cottonwood Marathon and working towards my 50K in November. I’ve got a lot of running coming up in the next couple of months. I’m very excited about that.
This weekend I am sweeping the Big Cottonwood Marathon. This is the third year I’ve ran the marathon. I also ran the half marathon in 2013. I wasn’t planning on running any marathons this year, but since I decided to run a 50K in November I picked up a couple for this fall as preparation.
This is one of my favorite marathons. It’s organized perfectly. It’s a beautiful fast course. And, it really gives St. George a run for their money at the best Utah marathon.
Plus, this course holds a lot of great memories for me, especially last year as I ran with Jill during her first marathon …
Jill finishing her first marathon …This is one of my most favorite moments. Ever. This woman has FOUGHT to get to this moment. And, I am not just talking about the previous 26.2 miles of the race. She earned the title of “MARATHONER”
Total Mileage Breakdown for 20152015 Training Miles – 202.5 miles2015 Walking Miles – 284.6 miles
2015 Race Miles – 313.5 miles2015 Total Miles – 800.6 milesMonthly Total Miles for 2015January – 78.8 milesFebruary – 72.85 miles
March – 115.3 miles
April – 76.3 miles
May – 97.4 miles
June – 131.15 miles
July – 101.65 miles
August – 110.2 miles
September – 22.95 miles
It’s kind of hard to imagine that I am 71 races into my 180 goal. I remember the detail to each of those 71 races like they happened yesterday. Each one has taught me a certain lesson, introduced me to new friends and inspired me to keep going. Running has ALWAYS given me more than I expected and sometimes, quite frankly, than I put into it.
But, racing and running never ceases to inspire me and motivate me. No matter my mood or current circumstances. And, this race provided me that needed lift. The past couple of weeks after I ran the Deseret News Half have been rather trying for me. I’ve been dealing with a number of stupid little health issues. There was the whole diabeetus scare a few weeks ago, but it’s also been taking my body some time to get used to the steroids I am taking for my low-testosterone. Then I’ve had my thyroid meds tweaked a bit.
Basically, these little things have added up and my body has taken it’s toll reacting to it all. I’ve gained about 15-20lbs. I never wanted to find and I’ve just felt … blah. A tad discouraged and a tad worried that I won’t hit my sub-two goal by Nebo. But, I won’t go more into that, because I am going to share more about that tomorrow. I shared that basically to show you my current frame of mind.
I needed this race.
I signed up for this race a couple months ago knowing I was probably the only person from my running friends that would run or pace with me. Looking back now I kinda felt that was inspired, because I needed to be by myself during this race. I needed to be left alone with my iPod playlist, my thoughts and myself. Not to necessarily figure things out, but just to reenergize. Self-reflection has always treated me well and it was great being able to enjoy that during the race.
Now, I’ve had this race on my radar for the past couple of years. I’ve seen it on numerous race calendars and everytime I am tempted to sign up for it … I kinda pass by it for a number of reasons. For one, the website that’s associated with the race is a mess. Being a communications major there are many things on the site that put you off (dead links, old information, etc.) and make you somewhat skeptical of the legitimacy of the event. It really feels like the site is maintained by someone with little to no knowledge about HTML or website knowledge.
I hate criticizing seemingly little things like that, but as a runner you want to know that if you sign up for the race they’ll hold it and not run off to Costa Rica. Public image is important. BUT, after talking to a couple of my running friends about the race they informed it was a good little race and that the race director has been doing it for the past 20+ years. Reason enough for me to do it, I guess?
The race itself really is one without any frills. The race director is exactly what you would picture based off the website. He’s doing this race more for the love of running than to just make money. He’s very laid back and just a great guy.
If I didn’t get that sense of his personality I would have been a taken back when he grabbed a box of Clif Bars, cut them in half and dumped them on the hood of a car (not his car, but some random car at the starting line) offering them to runners who wanted them. I snobbish runner within embraced the moment and just laughed. I loved his character and reasons for doing this race. If this happened at a bigger race like Salt Lake City or Big Cottonwood then I would a tad unimpressed.
But, really was, what it was.
The race wasn’t chipped time, which wasn’t a problem for me. I just went off my Garmin. I was also somewhat familiar with the course because the Provo City Half Marathon follows much of the same course. The whole course follows the Provo River Trail with a little jaunt back up past Bridal Vail Falls to make sure you get the 13.1 miles in for the race.
It really was a beautiful run and one that was perfect to kind of zone out and get lost in thought. The aid stations, which I was worried about, were well staffed and provided both water and Powerade. I brought a couple of gel packs as well which worked out perfect. I was really impressed with the quality of the race based on my incoming perceptions. It was actually quite perfect.
I finished the 13.1 miles in 2:31:08 which I am happy with. I really just wanted to push it. I knew I would probably struggle a bit (which I did), but I just wanted to give my best (which I did as well). The result gives me hope as I work towards Nebo. I feel like my goal isn’t so much a sub-two then it is to do my best. And, if my best is a sub-two, a PR, a sub-2:10 or a sub-2:20 then I will be extremely happy with that. I still have no doubt that one day my best will be a sub-two. It just might not be in a month.
But, I’m going to prepare for such.
After the race I was also able to meet a few new friends from my running group, which was a great way to end the race. I love meeting new people and making new friends. That to me is the essence of running for me right now. It’s not so much of the mileage as it is the relationships. But, that’s a post for another day as well.
There weren’t any race medals for the finishers, but they did have a spread of pancakes, watermelon and bagels waiting for us which was MUCH appreciated. We did get a cool t-shirt at the finish line and a framed picture of Bridal Veil Falls. I must admit I’ve gotten anything like that after a race, but I really didn’t mind, I was just happy to enjoy the run.
Looking forward … I am excited for the next month of running. This week our running group is running down Big Cottonwood for our last long run for the Big Cottonwood Marathon. Then I am racing the Run Elevated Half Marathon (August 23), Emigration Half Marathon (August 30), Nebo Half (September 6) and then the Big Cottonwood Marathon (September 13). It’s going to be fun and I know with constant racing I’ll also be more consistent and get stronger. Maybe I can get that sub-two sometime in one of my four races in October? We’ll see?
But, instead of getting ahead of myself, I need to remember that it’s one foot in front of other.
2014 Training Miles – 464.75 miles2014 Walking Miles – 56.65 miles
2014 Race Miles – 254.3 miles 2014 Total Miles – 775.7 milesMonthly Total Miles for 2014January –100.0 milesFebruary – 100.0 miles
March – 130.0 milesApril – 140.5 miles
May – 108.65 miles
June – 83.3 miles
July – 93.75 miles
August – 35.5 miles