Tag: salt lake

RACE #143: Emigration Canyon Half Marathon

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

And, I got it this past weekend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which is what I did.

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

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

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

I did it. I reached my goal.

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

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

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

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

Which I know I will.


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

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Moana Singalong Chorus.

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

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Weekly Review

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

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

Weekly Miles

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

March 2017 Miles

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

April 2017 Miles

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

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 181.75 miles
Race Miles — 109.22 miles
Walking Miles — 328.16 miles
TOTAL MILES — 619.13 miles
Races done in 2017 — New Year’s Half Marathon, Sweethearts 5K, Jackpot Running Festival, SL Tri Club Indoor Half, March Madness Half, Lucky 13 Half Marathon and Emigration Canyon Half Marathon.

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RACE #104: Run Elevated Half Marathon

104-runelevatedI’ve been looking forward to this race pretty much all summer. I wasn’t pacing or sweeping the course so this was a “ME” race. It was just going to be me, the road, my music and the best I could muster busting it down Little Cottonwood Canyon. A recipe for fun.

I really love this race for a number of reasons. First, it’s a canyon run. Gravity is my greatest ally during these races, I love just letting go and seeing where that takes me. Second, it’s Little Cottonwood Canyon. Besides Big Cottonwood it’s probably my second favorite local Utah canyon. Plus, for a runner it’s steep and if ran right can be a major asset. And, lastly, it’s organized well. It’s ran by the City of Sandy and while it might not have all the bells and whistles like most other race companies, it’s efficient in accommodating in what they have. Probably the best city owned race I’ve ran from 5K and up.

Oh, and I should also add that I loved the fact this race starts at 6:30am. This is in comparison to last week’s race that started at 8am. The earlier the better in my opinion. Especially when it’s still kinda … summer. Remember that season?

A “Double Selfie” with Miss Sonja. Yeah, she was taking one as I was taking one. We’re awesome like that.

This week leading up to the race I was unsure if I wanted to put a time goal to the race. I haven’t really tested my speed since Drop 13 in June and I didn’t want to set myself up for an unrealistic goal. But, I felt that I could push and get at least under a 2:45 … with the second goal of a sub-2:40 if I could manage it. I don’t know if anyone else does this with racing goals, but I always have the “safe goal” and then the “secret ambitious goal” that I really don’t tell anyone.

While I had that goal in mind, I really didn’t know if it was attainable? I felt it was with the downhill course. I felt good. So, I just decided to give my best effort and see what happened. Like I have since April I didn’t run with a Garmin. There are many reasons why I’ve chosen to do that, and that REALLY is a post for another day. But, I felt that if I at least gave MY best effort and fell short I could feel bad about that, because it was the best I could give.

So, yeah, that was the game plan.

After carpooling with Sonja to the bus pick up, we hopped on the bus up the canyon. Luckily, there was no snow unlike last year’s race. It was perfect weather actually. I brought my Snuggie just in case it was too cold, but really it was perfect. I was just excited, which was a good indication that I was going to have a good run.

Miss Calf Universe Susette Fisher signed my right calf for me. I have MAJOR calf envy because of her.

Starting off at the gun, I had two motivations … to do my best and not get swept. I had to average AT LEAST an 11 minute mile for my first 9.5 miles or the Saggin’ Wagon would have picked me up. I wasn’t THAT nervous about it, but I was nervous enough to motivate me to not stop longer than needed. Went hand in hand with my overall race goal.

And, I didn’t stop.

The first couple of miles really flew by as I adjusted myself to a nice easy pace. I probably went out a bit too fast, but around mile three I got myself into a groove that I maintained the rest of the way out the canyon. My quads hate me right now and I’ll be walking funny for the next few days, but the only times I stopped were at aid stations and once to take a picture of the canyon.

There is nothing I love more when I get into a grove to see and feel the miles pass by quickly. And, that was definitely the zone I was in during the race. I got out of the canyon with plenty of time to spare as I ran the first 10 miles in just a shade under two hours. I was extremely happy with that. I knew the last three miles would be tougher, especially with the hill at mile ten. But, I was just determined to fight through the last three miles.

If you look closely at this trash bin from the Mile 9 aid station you can see some runners know how to party.

I know this is a tangent, but I have to mention that at the Mile 11 aid station my life was changed. The volunteers were handing out oranges along with gels and water. In my state of hunger I took one of the orange wedges … and … it was COLD! Like, straight out of the ice cooler cold. It changed my life. I don’t know why more races do this? But, cold oranges during a hot summer race is life changing!

Okay, I just had to get out there into the universe.

Back to the race.

The last three miles were difficult, but I just kept going and having done the right twice before I knew what to expect. There’s a lot to be said about being mentally prepared for a race in that regard. When you know what to expect it’s WAY easier to tackle.

The #$@& hill! It’s really not THAT bad, but it can sure kill your pace, especially after grooving down the mountain for the first 10 miles.

As I turned onto Highland Drive and then to the finish line I took a glance at the clock and noticed I came in around 2:37! A time I was ecstatic with! But, that ecstasy was short lived when I looked at the finish line and saw that my friend Dith was handing out the medals!!! At first glance I ripped off my shirt exposing my pink sports bra and gave her a BIG hug before she gave me my medal.

She mentioned she wanted to be there, depending on how she felt. I didn’t expect to see here there just for the fact that she started her chemotherapy yesterday. But, she wanted to surprise us and it was very much an emotional treat to see her there ALL smiles.

I told her afterwards how I kept thinking about her throughout the race, especially during difficult stretches of the course when I wanted to slow down or stop. I couldn’t help but think of her, my Mom and other friends and family who have and fight now the horribleness of cancer. How can I quit or not fight through my fatigue or pain, when Dith has NO option but to fight … FOR HER LIFE?!!?

I love this FIGHTER! Such a treat to see her at the finish line and have her hand me her medal.

That brought a lot of emotions back from my Mom’s battle with cancer. And, like my Mom, Dith fights with tenacity, grace and faith. Cancer sucks, but it sure also helps put things in perspective.

Anyways … yeah, 2:37. I feel great about that. It gives me something to build on for Nebo. As of right now I am shooting for a 2:35. But, I’ll talk more about that in the next couple of weeks leading up to the race. I am just happy with my effort and at the end of the day that’s all that matters, right?



I am hoping to start this new little “thing” with each race recap of some thoughts I jogged down while on my run. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of writing down those little moments of inspiration that only seem to come during a run. Some are personal and others or most are just in general that usually deal with my current frame of mind.

So take it for what it’s worth and hopefully you find worth or inspiration from them …

“Your legs will carry you, but your heart will get you there”

“One’s tortoise is another one’s hare”


Pre-race banana … Slurpee. #becauseslurpee A photo posted by Joshua Snow Hansén (@mejosher) on

It’s not every day you get your calves signed by a legend. #putherinthecalfhalfoffame #runelevated #race104 #running

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Yeah those were all mine after today’s race. #mcgriddles4eva A photo posted by Joshua Snow Hansén (@mejosher) on



The next race is happening this Saturday along the Murdock Canal Trail in Utah County. I am sweeping this course which is probably a good thing since it’s sandwiched in between this Run Elevated and Nebo. The legs are still pretty sore from Saturday’s run so I am looking forward to the easier course and effort. It will be good prep before going gung ho again at Nebo.

I haven’t ran this race yet, so I am also excited to try something new. It’s a technical course and a fairly new race, so it should be a fun adventure. I am assuming it’s going to be a smaller race compared to most so my sweeping pace might not be at a walking pace. Which, I am not totally against.

But, we shall see! Still excited to run regardless of circumstances.


If you haven’t caught the second episode of The Utah Runcast yet, check it out here. Look for a new episode next Wednesday!


Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 195.5 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 263.45 miles
2015 Race Miles – 293.3 miles
2015 Total Miles – 752.25 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2015
January – 78.8 miles
February – 72.85 miles
March – 115.3 miles
April – 76.3 miles
May  97.4 miles
June  131.15 miles
July  101.65 miles
August  78.8 miles