Tag: run slc

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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Earning our downhill run in Emigration Canyon …


As I mentioned last week I’ve been on a kick as of late with running up and downhill. And, as many would think … yes, it’s a sickness. But, oh my heavens do I love it! The problem is I am not sure what I am more in love with … the challenge or the punishment? Or maybe just being outside running?

Either way, this past week’s run with my running group was awesome.It was exactly the kind of run that needed and wanted. The uphill run was a nice challenge and then the back run back down was an even better reward. The 10 mile run was the longest run I’ve had since the Resolution Run … which was a month ago. It hasn’t been like I am NOT running, I am just not running that FAR and my focus has been on other things.


But, the plan for Saturday’s run was to meet at the bottom of Emigration Canyon and run 5 miles up the canyon and then back down. In the past I’ve only ran DOWN the canyon so Jill and I wanted to mix it up some. Plus, I remember some runners in our group running up it back in July and thinking how crazy they were. I guess I am now that guy?

The group was a good sized and many of us met each other for the first time, but we all went our needed/desired paces, which was perfect. Not that there wasn’t any socializing, there was plenty of that. Jill, Maria and I ran together until meeting up with Jason. Then Maria left 3.1 miles up because her legs were still sore from running the Miami Half last week (we didn’t feel bad when she complained about the cold weather during the run).

But, the group mentality, at least for Jill and I, was really needed. We all caught ourselves either walking or running slower than we felt needed and then pushed each other. Jill, Jason and I also talked each other into running the Antelope Island Buffalo Run in March. It’s funny what a group mentality can make you do? Jason signed up for his first 50K and Jill and I signed up for the 25K later that afternoon once we got home.

There’s nothing quite like running peer pressure.

But, overall, the run was perfect. The 10 miles was great for me mentally and physically. I felt like my overall body got a challenging workout. Plus, the uphill just fueled me to do more and brought more excitement looking toward the running season. Getting stronger will only make me faster.


Adam Barker Photo_webNext weekend both Jill and I are planning taking a slight respite from climbing uphills and testing what it’s done for us. So we’re going for a DOWNHILL run down Big Cottonwood Canyon here in Salt Lake City. This is one of my favorite canyons to run. This is the canyon that 2 of my 5 favorite races are ran (Big Cottonwood and Vigor Big Cottonwood) so it’s kinda special and a treat to me.

As all of my training runs, all are welcome to join in. The more the merrier in my book, right? If you would like to come we are going to meet at the Big Cottonwood Park n’ Ride on Saturdya morning around 7:30am and then carpool no later than 8am or so. There will be about two groups running the canyon, those that want to do a 10K or others wanting a longer 10 mile run.

I’ve made an event page over on Facebook so feel free to RSVP and invite others! It should be a lot of fun!


ReeseAnother run that you all should do or at least support is the Reese’s Run happening on Thursday night at the Utah Olympic Oval. This is really going to be a special evening and race and it’s something that means a lot to me.

The purpose of the race is to raise money for assisted athletes in need of racing wheelchairs so they can participate in races, triathlons, etc. Ever since I met Elsha this past summer my running and life have changed for the better. I had numerous experiences pushing her and Reese during races and other training runs. I am always in awe of their determination, perseverance and love for not just running, but life.

This run is fairly simple and something you can support with or without running on Thursday. It is a half marathon ($20 per pusher and $5 per pushee), but that doesn’t mean you can only participate if you commit to running 13.1 miles. You can sign up to run, take turns pushing some of the athletes and encouraging the athletes them along. There is also a need for volunteers and you can sign up as a volunteer a well. But, even more important if you show up and just be there to cheer the athletes on that can make a world of difference.

I am really looking forward to running this with my friend Josh, this will be his first race and our first run together. In addition to Reese’s Run, we are also planning on running the Vigor Big Cottonwood in May and a couple other races during the year. I think we need to come up with a team name, especially with us having such an awesome name!

Josh Squared? Oh the possibilities!

Either way, please come and support a great cause and make some new friends. This will be a very special evening.



She was moved to a care facility this past week. My my mom and sister have been staying with her since she’s been there.It’s hard to really assess my Grandma’s situation right now. Her body is responding, but being the stubborn Greek that she is, she’s not willfully participating in the rehab. It hurts her to move and at 88 years old it’s hard for to simply push through that. So, she’s pretty much stayed in her bed.

But, she is responsive and each of us who have visited her have been to have special moments together. Sometime later this week they will reassess her and see what progress can be made. There’s a possibility that she’ll be responsive, but then there is the possibility that she will come home on hospice. Whatever the case may be I think our whole family has accepted either outcome.

The prayers for her, my mom and family have really been appreciative and felt. It always amazes me the power that even the simplest of prayers have in one’s life. They really are felt.


Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015

2015 Training Miles – 49.7 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 16.0 miles
2015 Race Miles – 13.1 miles
2015 Total Miles – 78.8 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles