Tag: southern utah

RACE #167: Snow Canyon Half Marathon

A few months ago this weekend was very much an unknown variable. I wasn’t expecting on racing, but I wanted to. There wasn’t a half marathon in Northern Utah, but the Snow Canyon in Southern Utah was — and it’s a favorite of mine. So with some urging of friends I decided to make a quick trip of it.

I figured adding another race this year would help alleviate my race schedule in 2018, especially leading toward my 180th race in July. I really want to focus on speed and strength and I know that will happen by not racing or running long distances every weekend. I have done over 30 half marathons this year — and it is too much for me.

Despite wanting to run less, after I signed up for the Snow Canyon Half Marathon I found out that a group of friends were also doing the Joshua Tree Half Marathon in Joshua Tree, California that same evening. This intrigued me for a couple of reasons … one, because it’d once again alleviate my 2018 race schedule and, two, being Joshua Snow Hansen, I wanted to run my name for the day.

(Joshua) Tree Half Marathon.
(Snow) Canyon Half Marathon.

How many people can claim that they’ve been able to run their name before? I had to do it. I had no other option.

It was destiny.

The plan was to carpool down with my friends Julianna, Crystal and Chris on Friday afternoon in order to grab our race packets, run Snow Canyon Half on Saturday morning and then book it to Joshua Tree in time for that race, do it, drive back to St. George that night and then home on Sunday morning.

It didn’t quite happen that way. But, it was still an adventure and a half that you’ll get over the next two posts. Because, it turned out not quite the way I thought it would. But, still enjoyable and fun.

When we arrived in St. George on Friday evening, we made our way to the race expo and then went to dinner at Pizza Pie Cafe. Since most of our car was on keto — we ate salad and then the toppings of the pizza. Yes, we left the crust. But, for $10 and all-you-can-eat pizza — it was perfect. And, much better than buying one pizza for $10-$15 and doing the same thing.

We crashed at a condo that night and we were out the door for the first race by 6:15am. The plan was for the faster runners to come back, shower and change. Then they were going to bring me my change of clothes where I’d take a hooker shower in one of the Honey Buckets before the 5+ hour drive to Joshua Tree.

After waiting at the start of the race for about an hour, we were off just a few minutes past 8:30am. I felt good. My race plan was similar to my race plan two weeks ago when I ran the SoJo and Howloween Half Marathons. I wanted to trash my legs on the first one so I had fight through the stiffness, pain and fatigue during the second race.

Knowing the course and that the first couple of miles were a bit of a climb, I took it a bit easy until we got to Snow Canyon, then I just let it rip. The downhill windy roads through the canyon were fast, awesome and downright gorgeous. I stopped a couple of times to take obligatory pictures, but for the most part I kept a good clip.

The first 6-7 miles were perfect.

Since being on keto I’ve been running with a hydration pack filled with Powerade Zero — mainly for the electrolytes. After I keto crashed at Run Elevated in August, I haven’t wanted to take the chance of doing it once again. It’s been nice to have, especially when I get hungry, because I’ll pack a few almonds or whatnot in there as well.

I kept sipping my Powerade Zero throughout the first few miles and I was just enjoying the race.

But, around Mile 9, I hit a wall. Or a wall hit me? Either way, I got super nausea and threw up. This was the fourth race I’ve thrown up at while on keto. And, I still haven’t figured out exactly why? Part of it I reasoned is because I am not used to eating breakfast before 11am (I do intermittent fasting) and the food I eat before and during my race that early just doesn’t settle well.

I also thought the nausea could have been from squeaky cheese I ate before the race. But, whatever the case was — I was having none of it. After throwing up at Mile 9, I kept throwing up. I threw up six additional times during the race.

I don’t mind throwing up, but I hate throwing up in front of people. Especially out in public and during a race. The last thing I wanted was another runner, race official or random stranger to stop and ask me if I’m okay — or pull me off the course.

The nausea would come in waves. I was fine for the most part, but it seemed like when I’d slow down or stop at aid stations the nausea would come back. It was nerve wracking and disappointing, because I really wanted to be pushing myself a bit harder than I was after Mile 9.

I tried to throw up in convenient places — Honey Buckets, sandy areas, drains — anywhere were people wouldn’t be walking. When we got to the Entrada Golf Course, I made an effort not to barf on the golf course. It’s a REALLY nice golf course and if I learned anything from my Mother as a young kid, it was not to throw up on nice things.

But, once we passed the golf course — I threw up.

My only worry about throwing up that much during the race was replenishing my fluids so I didn’t dehydrate. But, the more I did, the more it seemed to make me feel. Which was so odd.

Once I got to the finish line after mingling a little bit with Curtis and Laura Eppley and some others, I felt the wave of nausea come once again. Having worked many finish lines and seeing many runners throw up — I just couldn’t get myself to that point to do it around SO many people.

But, I sheepishly went to a volunteer standing near some garbage cans and politely asked if I could throw up in it. I’m laughing about that now, but I really hate throwing up in front of people.

After one last episode of the barfs, I finally felt good. I drank my water and felt settled. I was really surprised at how much I could throw up, especially on a stomach that I thought was empty. It almost made me wonder if I had a second stomach I was unaware of?

Either way, I found some shade under a tree to chill for Julianna and the other come back so I could change. After waiting about a half hour, they came with a change of plans. There was no time for me to take my hooker shower. One of the runners we were going to down to Joshua Tree got sick and ended up in the ER to replenish her fluids

Something that made me worry a bit, because — did I need it too?

Either way, I felt fine now. So I just focused on drinking my Smart Water and refueling in time for Joshua Tree. Which was an adventure that provided me with a few more answers as to why I was nauseated.

Which was still an issue for my next race.


A post shared by The Runcast (@theruncast) on

RACE #115: Bakers Dozen Half Marathon

115-bakersdozenLooking back at my races this past year it’s been quite the adventure, especially considering this was my last race of the year. Especially when you consider that I have ran over 30 races — a handful of 5Ks, marathon, Ragnar, a 25K, a 50K and some 26 half marathons. Lots and lots and lots of running.

It’s been a fun and trying year for me — especially with my stupid health issues. But, I haven’t let those issues deter my goals. Sure my speed goals have had to take a back seat, but I’ve been inching closer to my 180 goal month by month and week by week. I have just 65 more races to do in the next five and half years. That’s really just 13 races per year until I turn 40.

Very doable.

Something I could easily knock out in about two years — but — won’t. The goal is to now pace myself so I can focus on more time and distance goals — i.e.- sub-two half marathon, more 50K trail races and an eventual 50 miler. But, I’ll blog all about that later. That’s not the whole point of this post — it’s of course all about the Bakers Dozen Half that I ran this past weekend.

This has been a race that I’ve circled on my calendar for the past several years — for many reasons. The main reasons — because it seemed like a lot of fun and — well — it involved cookies, donuts and cake, while running. What not to love about that? Plus, Cory Reese, the race director, is one of my favorite local runners and running bloggers. He’s such an awesome guy and beyond hilarious.

All great reasons to run.

I carpooled down with my friends Mindy Heaton and Cevan Skinner — and since we didn’t want to make a weekend of it we drove down and back in the same day. We left northern Utah around 2am and drove through central and southern Utah to Hurricane. There were some sketchy areas of extreme dense fog and snowy roads, but Mindy was a great driver and we made it to the race unscathed.

The race consisted of a 3 mile-plus loop around Hurricane. A gorgeous part of Hurricane I might add. It was part paved road and part trail. To complete the half marathon you had to run the loop four times. And, on every lap you had your “aid station” of donuts, cookies, cakes, etc. that you could eat. For every pastry that you ate one of the volunteers would mark your arm.

Since I was running sick I didn’t really feel too hungry for anything — I did manage to get down five pastries. They were mainly mini-cupcakes and some mini-sugar cookies. I know I could have probably packed down more pastries than that, but I’m totally okay with just eating five.

On the other hand there were other runners that ate 50+ pastries. My friend Chris somehow got down over 60 pastries! 60!!! How in the world? I would have severely struggled getting down just 10. Baffles me. But, really, it was all done in the spirit of fun and celebrating another great year of running.

The race wasn’t timed and it’s probably best that it wasn’t. It wasn’t my best race — coupled with my stupid cold and the wind on the course, I felt fairly slow. The wind was pretty consistent throughout the race. Since it was a looped course I got both a tailwind and headwind. The tailwind was appreciated, but as expected the headwind — not so much.

However, I can now say for certain that I understand how Hurricane got it’s name. I felt like I was running through a hurricane at some points throughout the race. It was pretty bad. At one point I lost my Nemo hat — and that’s something since I’ve got myself a big head

But, I still had a lot of fun. I was able to run with a number of friends, enjoy the scenery and moment. Sure, it would have been better if I wasn’t sick, but that didn’t deter me from having a fun time. I will definitely be back in 2016. And, this time I’ll pack down more than just five pastries. Not 60, not 50 or 40 or 30 — but, maybe 10. Maybe.

Anyways, after the race we packed ourselves back in the car and headed home after raiding Alberto’s for a breakfast burrito. It was the perfect way to balance myself after a sugary filled race. Delicious and well deserved.

But, now the focus is on 2016 and my upcoming goals. As I mentioned earlier I will blog about that later. This week will be all about The Joshby Awards before a two week hiatus. Come January 1st — I’ll be back sharing my new year’s focus, goals and new blog design.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of my 2015 running adventures, it’s been quite an adventure. And, without you — this adventure to 180 would be pointless.

Here’s to my 2015 races and a new year! 2016 here we come!


Cevan ruins everything. #eagerbeaver

A photo posted by Joshua O. Snow Hansén (@kindaqwerty) on

This is the proper way to photobomb someone else’s selfie. #justsoyouknow #bakersdozenhalf #race115 #running #utah

A photo posted by Joshua O. Snow Hansén (@kindaqwerty) on

There’s a reason why they call it Hurricane. Cuz’ it be windy. #hurricaneiswhereitsat

A video posted by Joshua O. Snow Hansén (@kindaqwerty) on

Geez, I hope they turned off their @garmin! #runnerproblems #bakersdozenhalf #race115 #running #utah

A photo posted by Joshua O. Snow Hansén (@kindaqwerty) on



For the fifth year in a row — which, really sounds so weird — I will be running the New Year’s Run Revolution at the Kearn’s Olympic Oval. This was my fifth half marathon WAY back on New Year’s Eve 2011. I know that doesn’t sound very long ago — but, in running years it makes me feel ancient … mmm’kay?

This is actually one of my favorite races that I look forward to each year. It’s not so much the course — because you’re basically just running in circles for upwards to five hours. But, because you’re running together with friends the whole time. And, since you are running around a track, you get to see your friends pretty much — every lap.

Back in 2011 when I ran this for the first time — I didn’t know ANYONE. Like, literally, didn’t know anyone and just went solo. And, it kinda sucked — I won’t lie. But, over the years as I have immersed myself more into the running community it’s been TONS of fun. Because, really, it’s the only race of the year that you’re running with EVERYONE! That everyone from the from the gazelles to the turtles. It’s just a lot of fun.

This year I am going to be pushing Josh Twelves — aka — Wheelz. It’s been a while since we ran together, because of one reason or another. But, since he doesn’t do very well in the cold this is the PERFECT race for him since it’s all indoors.

But, like every year the goal will be to get at least a half marathon worth of laps in during the five hours. I might do more, we’ll just see how I feel after 13.1 miles. I wanted to do more last year, but barely eked out the needed 47 laps — because I found out I ran with the flu.

It’s just going to be a party and a great way to kickoff 2016.


Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 259.5 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 522.05 miles
2015 Race Miles – 480.65 miles
2015 Total Miles – 1262.2 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  110.2 miles
September – 115.69 miles
October – 164.7 miles
November – 148.95 miles
December – 55.2 miles


  • As I mentioned on Friday, I am toying with the idea of rebranding the blog — including the name. Regardless of what I choose, I will be changing the layout and graphics. I’ve had the same layout the past couple of years and it’s just time for a change.
  • I have the name down to about two names — sticking with Running180 or going back to PhatJosh. For those who have followed my journey since 2010 — that was the name of my first blog. I still own the URL and I am debating going back to it. And, who knows — maybe I’ll go with something completely new? Chime in if you have an opinion.
  • I just noticed that between January 1st and May 7, I only have two half marathons planned — and I am not planning on any more, in fact maybe less? If you’re wondering which two, they are the Run Revolution and The Zion Half Marathon.
  • The reason why I am doing that is because I am planning on following a half marathon training plan to before the Provo City Half (May 7) to help me lose weight and get faster. I will have more of that plan come the first of the year. But, basically, I’m following a Galloway run/walk plan.
  • This is pretty much the coolest thing — I’ve been following Derek’s journey on Facebook and I just love his attitude as he works towards his goals. As the article states he’s an inspiration to MANY, including myself. Makes my speed bumps meaningless in the scheme of things.
  • I could have used this about a week ago — oh well, still good advice.
  • If you’re in the hunt for a good laugh — this should do it.
  • This never gets old either.
  • This is one of the many reasons why I love running — we’re such an odd bunch of people that running in a suit for a world record actually seems sane.
  • Since I am not running many races next year, especially earlier in the year I am planning on volunteering and supporting other runners. One of these ways is by making signs for along the course. This should give me some ideas.
  • I missed this story from Boston earlier in the year — but I kinda love it. I probably could have lead the first — 5 steps? Still pretty cool!
  • I pretty much know the answer to the question being stated in the article — no marijuana won’t make me a better runner. It might help with my carbloading, but I don’t see much benefit from it. Other than though — I like the picture associated with the article.


RACE #112: Snow Canyon Half Marathon


I know I gush a lot about my races — especially about the scenery and courses. But, this race — takes the cake. It’s such a beautiful course. The scenery and course instantly became one of my favorites. There is a reason why Runner’s World named this one of the best half marathons in the country. Well organized, great volunteers, beautiful course and scenery that can’t be replicated any other way than experiencing it in person.

I might be slightly biased about the scenery — because the red rocks of southern Utah are my happy place. I’ve always been fascinated with them — ever since I was a kid. It one of the many reasons why I went to school at Southern Utah University — I’m completely drawn to the red rocks.

Okay, now that I am done gushing about my love affair with the scenery and red rocks — to the race.

I decided to run this race about a month ago. Though it’s been a race I’ve wanted to do for the past couple of years, I just never had a reason to do it — until this year. I signed up for the St. George Runner Series to guarantee me a spot into the St. George Marathon in 2016. The requirement for the series is to basically run two southern Utah-based races. Since I was running The Bakers Dozen Half Marathon in December — I decided to hop unto this race so I could meet my requirements before the end of the year.

And, well — because I wanted to run it as well.

I carpooled down with my friends Jason and Tammy Henry. Well, I shouldn’t say carpooled — it was more like third-wheeled it. It reminded me of my dating life in High School. We stayed at a small hotel just on St. George Blvd. — nothing too fancy. We didn’t really need anything fancy because the trip was a — sleep, run, eat and get home — kind of trip. It met our needs and didn’t have bed bugs — a questionable stain on the ceiling — but no bed bugs.

In the morning we made the 10 minute drive to the high school for bus picket up the canyon. I won’t lie — I kinda like the later starts this time of the year, because it feels like a mosey to the start line, but I also wish to get started early — so I can finish earlier. But, a 8:30 gun time was not TOO bad.

The race was bigger than I expected. But, I guess there were 2,600+ runners — soooooo — it was a big race. It took me a few minutes to get across the starting pad. But, it wasn’t as bad as the St. George Marathon. That one feels like you’re waiting in a port-a-potty line of runners with stomach issues.

The goal for the race was two fold. I was hesitant to put a time goal to my race, because I haven’t ran my own race since Nebo in early September. But, I wanted to shoot for a 2:35-2:45. But, I was fine not meeting that as long as I gave it my all during the race. I just wanted to do my best.

Starting off I was a bit worried because my shins were having none of it for the first couple of miles. But, then again, I knew it was a slight incline from my experience running the St. George Marathon — once I hit Snow Canyon then I knew it was going to be faster. But, those first two miles were difficult. But, I fought through it — knowing I just needed to warm up.

Once I hit the canyon it felt like a completely different course. Not only was the course more downhill, but the scenery was completely beautiful. I had to stop at certain moments to capture a picture. — I was just in awe. Complete awe. So, I just kept my head high, cranked up my music and just ran.

Of course with occasional stops for pictures.

Between miles 3-7 — I felt great. Like superb. I was in a groove, enjoying the world around and just thanking God for the ability I have to run. But, in the midst of that euphoria I got distracted and accidentally took a Gu along with Gatorade at the same aid station. For some runners — this might not mean anything, but for me — the  combination taken together — kills me. It causes really, really bad stomach pains and just makes me super sick.

This incident wasn’t anything different.

About mile eight — it really hit me. I was kind of in a panic, because I knew there wasn’t another bathroom until mile nine. I had to stop and walk — stretch — knead out my stomach — just doing something to make the pain go away. I even tried to push through it. But, that didn’t really work for me. Luckily, no accidents — but mile 8-9 had a horrible time and once I got to the port-a-potty that took another 7:30 minutes off my time.

If you’re wondering — yes, I timed my bathroom break. Strange? Probably. But, if you’re a runner you’d understand.

Anyways — the break kinda took me out of my groove, but I was determined to finish strong. Sure I was about 8-10 minutes off where I wanted to be, but I wasn’t going to let that defeat me. I was going to fight the last four miles. So that is what I did.

After my break I lost the group of runners I was running alongside with — well it wasn’t a group of runners I knew — just the people at my pace. I knew they were long gone and at this point the field was rather thin. So to stay motivated I had to make a game of it for me. So, I tapped into my inner-Ragnar and decided to go for “KILLS” aka runners in front of you that you pass along the route.

And, well, it worked.

I passed eight runners in the sparsely crowded field. And, it really helped. I still somewhat slowed down from where I wanted to be — but I fought to keep going. Physically and mentally.

During my last mile Jason came back to run with me and I was really appreciative of it. I was kinda spent by that time. My legs were shot from the fartleking — especially from passing the runners during the last four miles. But, I kept going forward and sometimes that’s all that’s required, right?

I was met by my friend Tricia at the finish line who took some video and pictures of me crossing the finish line. She also grabbed water, bananas and string cheese for me at the finish line. I was famished and I was so appreciative for the gesture. But, can I also say how good that string cheese was after the race? Seriously — I’m in love with post-race cheese.

But, then again, I am also in love with cheese, period. But, that’s a story for another day.

After showering and cleaning up at a friend’s condo — the Henry’s and I grabbed some grub (breakfast burrito for me — naturally) and then headed home. It was the perfect quick getaway. It was a great race experience. One that will definitely bring me back there in 2016. Seriously, I am in love with the race.

But, it was also a great gauge of what I need to do to get myself back to where I want to be with my running. My official time was 3:01, but I count 2:53 with my bathroom break. Regardless, my goal is to get back to consistent race times of 2:20-2:30 by the middle of next year. And, that will come with my weight-loss program along with a planned half marathon training program starting in January.

I haven’t decided which training plan to do — but more than likely I’m going to follow the Galloway Training Plan. I haven’t tried that training plan yet — and I already have the book and supplies to do it. So why not? I think I could really benefit from a good run/walk program.

But, all of that I will save for another post for another day, probably a future Fight4Phat post?

With that all said — I’ll be back in 2016 — I’m hooked.




DUH! DUH! DUH! The hour is ‘nigh — well, actually, it’s pretty much now. Since my 50K is less than a week from now. I am all kinds of excited and full of nerves. By this time next week I will have earned the title of Ultra Marathoner. Pretty nifty, eh?

I am excited about this race for a number of reasons — not only to earn that title. But, because of whom I am also running alongside with. My friends Jason Henry and Tim Gill will be joining me on the journey. And, honestly — couldn’t have asked for a better pair of friends to tackle this race with. Both are positive and encouraging guys — who would do anything for anyone. Plus, they both have wicked sense of humor — so we know our 50K won’t be boring — like — at all.

This week we’ll be finishing up our race plan, but really the goal is to just finish. We have 10 hours to complete the race — and I am not too worried about meeting that goal. Obviously, it’s nothing to be blasé about — but I’m confident that’ll be done within 10 hours. The goal is just to finish — have fun — and not get gored by a buffalo. Easy enough, right?

But, I’ll have more about the race on Friday’s post. But, right now — I’m just focused on taking deliberate deep breaths.

It’ll be epic.


Total Mileage Breakdown for 2015
2015 Training Miles – 246.75 miles
2015 Walking Miles – 436.8 miles
2015 Race Miles – 413.6 miles
2015 Total Miles – 1097.15 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  110.2 miles
September – 115.69 miles
October – 164.7 miles
November – 39.1 miles


RACE RECAP #77: St. George Marathon


Alright folks, I think I am finally ready to announce a Michael Jordan retirement (meaning … I’m announcing that I am retirement, but in all reality, I’ll be back in about 18 months or so). I’m done with marathons. Completely done. This was marathon #7 and I think I’ll leave it at lucky #7. You know, I’ve gotta finish while on top (twss).

Now with that out of the way … I had a blast! I will always LOVE this race. Always, always, always! It’s a challenging yet rewarding course. Whether it’s the thousands of signs along the course encouraging runners or the sheer beauty of the natural red rock scenery surrounding you. There’s Veyo Hill, Snow Canyon and the valley going towards St. George. It’s probably my favorite course in Utah.

Snow Canyon in 2012. This alone brought me back in 2014.

And, that’s saying a lot considering how many awesome canyon runs we have, especially in the autumn. But, to me there is nothing more beautiful than the red rocks of southern Utah. It’s home to me. I spent three years in college in southern Utah and fell in love with it.

This weekend’s visit brought back a lot of memories for me. Especially the one time my friend Lola and I went to elope in Vegas, but ended getting as far as the Denny’s in St. George. This was even after I talked to her Mom and she … sorta … welcomed me into the family. And, one thing you need to remember about that story is that none of us drink. All you have to do is meet Lola and you’ll completely understand.

So, yeah, back to my running.

Me, Adrian and Jorge in route to St. George!

I carpooled down with my friend Jorge and Adrian on Friday afternoon. It was pretty much a party. We talked about running, the end of the world and even more about running. We even took a pit stop in Fillmore for some Costa Vida for a burrito. I was skeptical about going with the burrito since I was running, but since it was lunch I knew that my system would have enough time to process it (my Mom is going to hate that last sentence).

Once we got into St. George we went straight to the race expo. I love race expos, especially when you know you’re going to be dropping a lot of money. Well I’d like to think I was going to drop a lot of money, but in reality I spent $5 on gels and ended up winning two t-shirts. Heaven knows I need more t-shirts. But, I still took them gladly. Hey, don’t judge.

Trainer Kevin and I at the starting line.

I stayed with Trainer Kevin and his wife for the night. He was running the marathon as well. I haven’t talked much about Trainer Kevin as of late, but he is a mission friend of mine and my first trainer when I started my weight-loss journey. He’s a great guy and friend and I owe him A LOT for helping me get started. I also blame him for my running addiction. He challenged me to a 5K four years ago … and now look where it’s taken me? DANG YOU KEVIN!

Anyways, after a 4am wake up, I ate my pre-race breakfast of a banana and sweet potato. I don’t know what it is about sweet potatoes as of late, but I am addicted. It’s the best thing before a race. All, I do is nuke it and eat it. No butter, no sugar, no salt … just plain. Just writing about this makes me want to make another one. But, seriously, it’s heaven.

The race underway and the crowd unmoved. It took me 10 minutes to get to the starting line.

Once Kevin and I got to the buses and up to Central at the starting line we had about 45 minutes before the race started. So I did my routine of trekking it to the port-a-potties. I knew I wasn’t one of the first buses up there so my port-a-potty was “used.” And, by used I mean … NASTY! I’ve never really gagged in the port-a-potty, but I was afraid I was going to lose my sweet potato. But, this is just reality, right? (again, my Mom is going to hate this paragraph).

The race was delayed a half hour though, because apparently there was a bus that broke down on it’s way to the starting line. I didn’t know this at the time and I won’t lie … I was slightly annoyed after being delayed at the Big Cottonwood Marathon. I also a TAD bit more nervous because of the cutoff at the Snow Canyon Parkway. It was slated for 1pm, but thankfully they moved that 1:30pm. I only wished Big Cottonwood did that. I know that takes the cooperation of the community and law enforcement, but still … it would have been nice.

Gorgeous views of the marathon.

Anyways, as we got going I really felt great. And, I really mean great. I felt strong, I felt good and I felt optimistic that I might even get a PR (faster than 5:39). I started the run off slowly, knowing I couldn’t burn myself out too quickly. My goal was to run strong, walk the aid stations and walk (a mall walk pace) Veyo and Ledges. I knew those two hills could potentially kill me, so I wanted to run smart and technical.

The first seven miles were awesome. I was enjoying the run and once I got to Veyo Hill I flirted with the idea of running up it because I felt THAT good. But, I knew I had to stick to the game plan … soooooo … I did. After the aid station in Veyo (which by the way was my favorite, such great community support!) I walked up the hill. No problem whatsoever.

The citizens of Veyo out in droves supporting us marathoners right before we tackle Veyo Hill.

But, once I passed the hill and I started running, my calves started cramping. I was fine when I was walking, but everytime I tried to run each calf would just cramp. It was frustrating. I tried massaging them, I tried stretching them, I tried swearing at them … I tried everything. So I just sped walked as best as I could.

It was frustrating and humbling, because mentally I felt ready to conquer this beast. I started worrying about being swept off the course. I knew I had to get to mile 23 to avoid that and I was only at mile eight. I was slightly freaking out.

So, at the aid station at mile 9 I got some icy hot on my calves. It didn’t work. I had a nine year old boy apply the icy hot and it didn’t really do anything. I don’t think he used enough … plus … he couldn’t obviously massage it in as I needed (those last few sentences sound really awkward … don’t people get arrested for things like that?). So the pain and cramping kept happening for another few miles.

Slightly bummed.

By this point I was just upset. I was mad at my body, I was mad at Costa Vida the night before (sorry Costa, love you!), I was mad at my sweet potato, I was mad at myself for possibly too fast. I was trying to find A REASON why this was happening. I wasn’t in a good place and it was affecting my mood and my run. I knew I had to change my attitude if I had a chance to redeem my race and finish strong.

At this time Pharrell’s “Happy” turned on my iPad. Almost immediately this helped changed my mentality. So instead of listening to once, I ended up looping on replay because I had to beat that mentality into my head. And, it started working.

Once I got to the mile 13 aid station I got a great calf massage and I felt great. I also downed some caffeine and electrolytes and I could feel the change. I started picking up my pace and the cramps weren’t there … so … I picked it up more and more and just went with it. I felt go good I ended up listening to Happy for five straight miles. I didn’t dare mess with my mojo.

And, by this time in the race it helped a lot that the route moved more downhill. Once we got into Snow Canyon I just kind of put myself in cruise control and enjoyed the run. I once again felt great and I was extremely grateful. I didn’t want to be swept.

Thank goodness for the panoramic picture of the iPhone. This will bring me back again.

I knew that I wasn’t going to hit my goal time and I knew that I probably wasn’t going to hit my backup goal time (6 hours), but I just kept at it. At Ledges I once again walked the hill and made a couple of friends along the way. They were two sisters that were too funny! They kept the mood light and fun and before we knew it the hill was done. Once again I picked it up and felt great.

One of Braydon’s sign along the route.

But, then around mile 23 as I was approaching the cut-off I hit a wall. A nasty wall. Mentally, I was fine, but my feet started killing me. I knew I had lost a toenail in my left foot and I had blisters on both feet. Each step just killed me. I mean KILLED me. So, I just started walking. My intention was to walk a bit and then start running again, but every attempt just ended as quickly as I started to run.

Luckily at this time I ran into my friend Cevan and his wife. They too were DONE. So, the three of us gingerly walked the rest of the way. It was frustrating for me again, but I felt great about how my race unfolded, even if I finished it walking. Just the fact that I rebounded so early on to run strong made me not feel bad about the race. That’s why when I finished with a personal worst, 6:53:02 … I didn’t feel that bad. My time didn’t tell the whole story.

The post-marathon aftermath. We all tanked our races, but still had a great experience.

As quickly as I finished I had enough time to grab some chocolate milk and a couple of ice cream sandwiches before Jorge, Adrain and I were off on our back home. And, of course we stopped to Costa Vida in Cedar City to refuel. I could have eaten two plates of nachos, but instead with another burrito (safer choice on a road trip).

It was a quick trip, but it was fun. It was character-building, it was inspiring, it was beautiful and it was … just … what I needed.

But, as much as I loved it … no more marathons until at least 2016. In fact, I might just make my marathon for 2016 the St. George Marathon. I know this won’t be my last St. George Marathon, it’s too good to pass up. Plus, I have a little redemption business in store for the future.

Onto the half marathons that catching that elusive sub-two time!


NEXT RACE: Pink Series Park City Half Marathon (October 11th)

Total Mileage Breakdown for 2014

2014 Training Miles – 495.5 miles
2014 Walking Miles – 119.65 miles
2014 Race Miles – 360.65 miles
2014 Total Miles – 975.8 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2014
January – 100.0 miles
February – 100.0 miles
March – 130.0 miles
April – 140.5 miles
May – 108.65 miles
June – 83.3 miles
July – 93.75 miles
August – 118.2 miles
September – 88.55 miles
October – 27.45 miles