Tag: trail running

Running in 2018

Sure it’s December and it’s a bit cliche to put these goal posts out. But, I’ve been writing, scheming and planning my 2018 race and training schedule pretty much since August or earlier. I’m an over planner — that’s just what I do.

I love the last couple months of the year, because it allows me to be retrospective of the past year and finalize my upcoming year’s plan. The new year brings a renewed hope and excitement that I love. It’s really my favorite time of the year — if there’s a lot of snow falling outside (that’s a whole other story).

I have a few focuses for my running and fitness in 2018. I have my 100 miler in February, my 180th race in July and the need for balance with my fitness. They’re pretty simple goals, but goals that will requirement a commitment from me to focus on the task at hand.

This month and leading into February is about preparing for my 100 mile run. I won’t lie, I’m nervous about it. I know I can do it. But, my ankle injury really derailed my planned training throughout the year. But, really, the goal is time on my feet — lots of treadmill and indoor track miles — and I am fine with that. That’s what I knew I’d be doing at this point anyways.

It’s just the mental aspect of the injury and training that makes me nervous.

I have a game plan and 48 hours to complete the 100 miles. I’m going to do it.

I am also 11 races away from my 180 race goal. My commitment to this is rather simple — don’t sign up for more than 11 races between now and the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon in July. You think that’s pretty stupid — but, in years past that’s a real struggle for me.

I am planning on running a few 5Ks and trail runs under 13.1 miles throughout the year. That’s not only to keep my 13.1 mile runs and beyond in check, but also to me balance my fitness a bit more.

With the recent success I’ve had with keto, my focus is really on diet and fitness. I want to get faster and rebuild a foundation I had a few years ago that I lost when my thyroid tanked (long story). My keto diet really gives me hope that it’s possible to do that — especially with the proper training a sub-two half marathon — a goal of mine for years.

As you will see in my weekend running schedule below, I am planning on taking at least one weekend a month off from running and doing some cross training. Not sure what that will entail yet. Whether that will be boot camp, swimming or if I’m brave enough — cycling (another long story) — we’ll see. I just feel the weekend off will help refocus me as well.

I am also planning a number of training and trail runs throughout the year. I’ll post those on Facebook when I finalize dates on that — I’ll post that on my Facebook page and the wasatch.run Facebook page as well. So stay tuned.

Needless to say, I am excited for 2018. I am excited to see where my running takes me. I am excited about my fitness and health. I haven’t felt this way in a couple of years and that excites me. I am still not 100% with my ankle, but that will come.

The focus is simple in 2018 which will hopefully lead me into some more definitive goals in 2019.

But, for now — it’s one foot in front of the other.


Road to 180

In 2011 after I ran my first half marathon, I made the goal to run 180 races over 13.1 miles before my 40th birthday. Well, I fell into running a bit more than I initially anticipated. I will be hitting that goal this summer less than a month before my 37th birthday.

My 180th race will be the Bountiful Handcart Days Half Marathon — which was my first and 100th race. I can’t think of a better race to celebrate this accomplishment at than my hometown race.

I am inviting anyone and everyone to join me that day — it’s July 21st and I have an event set up on Facebook you can RSVP at. Registration is only $40 right now — CHEAP! CHEAP! — so please join me!

Anyways, here are the last 11 races toward my 180 goal …


Race/Running Schedule 2018

As noted above the focus for my 2018 running is balance. Not just in running, but in my overall fitness. I feel like with that combination of balance and my current keto diet I’ll get where I want to be in 2019 so I can focus on some speed goals — including a sub-two half marathon time goal

January to mid-February will be heavy mileage weeks as I am working toward my 100 mile run at the Jackpot Running Festival. But, after that, my goal is to focus on about 1-2 half marathons a month with a group road/trail run and cross training weekend. And, by cross training I mean … a no race weekend other than maybe a 5K.

I have most of the weekend’s planned out — some will obviously change, especially from September to December. That’s just a BIT too far out to plan for me. There are a few variables with races and group runs that will need to play out for a couple more months. But, I have the gist of it figured out.

Anyways here is what my 2018 schedule SHOULD look like …

January

1 – Revolution Run (170)
7 – Olympic Oval
14 – Olympic Oval
21 – Olympic Oval
28 – Olympic Oval

February

3 – Sun Marathon (171)
10 – Olympic Oval
17 – Jackpot Running Festival (172)
24 – Cross Training/Rest

March

3 – March Madness 5K
10 – Cross Training
17 – Lucky 13 5K
24 – Riverton Half Marathon (173)
31 – Sugar House Park Training Run

April

7 – Run Emigration Half Marathon (174)
14 – Provo Canyon Trail Run
21 – Salt Lake City Half Marathon (175)
28 – Cross Training

May

5 – Emigration Canyon Training Run
12 – Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (176)
19 – Cross Training
28 – Memorial Day Big Cottonwood Training Run

June

2 – Vigor Solitude 5 Mile Run
9 – Drop13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (177)
16 – Mueller Park Group Run
23 – AF Canyon Race Against Cancer (178)
30 – Cross Training

July

7 – Hobbler Half (179)
14 – Run4Fun Trail Run
21 – Handcart Days Half Marathon (180)
28 – Cross Training

August

4 – Big Cottonwood Training Run
11 – Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon (181)
18 – Cross Training
25 – Mt. Nebo Half (182)

September

1 – Antelope Island/Mueller Trail Run
8 – Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon (183)
15 – Park City Trail 13.1 (184)
22 – Cross Training
29 – Big Cottonwood Training Run

October

6 – Thistle Trail Festival (185)
13 – Antelope Island Half Marathon (186)
20 – Cross Training
27 – The Haunted Half – Provo (187)

November

3 – Mueller Park Trail Run
10 – Mt. View Trail Half Marathon (188)
17 – Cross Training
22 – Thankful 13 (189)
24 – Utah Santa Run

December

1 – Utah Santa Run
8 – The Bakers Dozen Half Marathon (190)
15 – Cross Training
22 – The Run Before Christmas
29 – Cross Training


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RACE #169: Mt. View Trail Half

I had many emotions going into this race — gratitude, excitement, relievement and — yes — even a tinge of disappointment. So, let’s breakdown those emotions …

Gratitude — because Saturday not only marked my 169th race, but the 8th anniversary of the beginning of my journey. The day I decided to make up and LIVE.

Excitement — This was my 169th race, meaning I am just 11 races away from 180 goal (which I will hit on July 24th of the upcoming year).

Relievement — This was my 32nd and last race over 13.1 miles for the year. It’s been a year of many ups and downs with my ankle and health. I am looking forward to the next two weeks while I am in Europe. It will be some much needed rest before I go into the beast of my 100 mile training.

Disappointment — I’m grateful for any day, any distance that I can run. But, I’d be lying if I said I was not disappointed that I wasn’t running the 50K race instead. It was my first ultra, I’ve done it twice before and I just love it. A great beautiful challenging course.

So, yeah, those were the emotions I was dealing with before the race. But, nonetheless, I was excited to run, to see what I was capable of doing out there and just enjoying myself.

I didn’t have a concrete time goal for myself. It was mainly just time on my feet and a good effort. I was kind of expecting around four hours — which is about my average for a trail half marathon. But, I wanted to be faster if I was feeling it.

The race started at 9am which made for a casual race day morning. I still woke up by 4:30am for some reason, but didn’t get out the door until a quarter 7am. It was nice. I ate my breakfast, watched some news and blogged a bit. It felt like a weekday morning for me. I loved it.

After making the commute to the packet pickup which was near to the park gates, I saw a bunch of friend including Ruthie — who wasn’t helping me wish I was running the 50K. She is such a cheerleader and positive person that I knew I was missing out on the party.

But, I had my own party running the half marathon. After driving from the front gate of the park to Garr Ranch (about a 11 mile drive) I had a few minutes to mingle with a few of my friends — Bret, Doug, Ryan and his son Jordan — before we were off at 9am sharp.

Because we were dealing with a single track trail and there were a good 300 or so runners — I just held back a bit to let the mass of runners. I didn’t fight the runners and passing on that trail can be somewhat of a beast. So, I just took it easy for a few minutes.

I started off with Ryan and Jordan, but within the first mile or so, they were off ahead of me. Which was fine, I just used those first couple of miles to find a good pace. I felt good, so I tried to push myself just a bit harder than usual. Being my last race for the year and long run for the next couple of weeks — I decided to just put everything into it.

The game plan was easy — run the downhill, push the flat parts and fast walk the uphill. I stuck to that game plan for the most part. But, I won’t lie — there were times I lost myself in the scenery of the island and trail. I had to remind myself to refocus a number of times. It was a beautiful autumn day and I was in heaven.

I yo-you’d a bit with a girl throughout the entire race. It was her first trail run — not just race. She was a student at BYU-Idaho and decided to sign up for this race to train toward throughout the semester. She was a bit unsure about the buffalo — which we ran into a couple times along the course and she asked me to help her maneuver around them.

I’m not a buffalo expert at all. And, despite running this island a number of times — they still make me a tad nervous. But, with that said, they’ll leave you alone — for the most part. And, the best way to get past them is to run past them.

Easy enough, right?

In theory of course.

In our two encounters with the buffalo, I felt comfortable enough to stop and take a few pictures. And, for the most part they were pretty indifferent of our presence. They were pretty close to the fence opening where we needed to pass, but their indifference made it easily passable.

After the climb up the hill toward the finish line, I stepped up my pace. The trail turned into a paved trail and eventually pavement during the last couple of miles. It also helped that it was slightly downhill too. So, I just put myself in cruise control.

I separated myself from the other runners I had been running with — and I just focused on the finish line. I was about a half hour faster than I expected and I just felt great.

The last few hundred yards I was greeted by my friend Boojah, which made me grin. She’s been fighting Stage IV gallbladder cancer. She and her husband Tim came to the finish line to cheer me in. I always love having my own fan club at the finish line. But, having Boojah there was extra special. After gathering myself and refueling a bit, Tim and Boojah gave me a ride back to my car near the ranch before grabbing something to eat on my way home.

In all, I had a blast. This was the perfect race to end my race schedule for the year. Having done 32 half marathons or longer this year — I’m ready for a rest before I go into the beast of my 100 mile training. I’ll blog more about that later. But, I’ll be taking a break from the bloggy blog for a couple of weeks while I’m on vacation.

I’m just grateful to be able to do what I am able to do. This past year has had many ups and downs with health and injury, yet I’ve done the most races than any previous year. I can’t help but feel extremely blessed.

But, I’m also ready for this break.

Right now it’s — EUROPE OR BUST, BABY!!!


MY NEXT THREE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 26.56 miles
TOTAL MILES — 45.66 miles
Races This Week — (1) Mt View Trail Half.

November 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 10.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 43.37 miles
TOTAL MILES — 92.67 miles
Races in November — (3) Snow Canyon Half, Joshua Tree Half & Mt. View Trail Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 429.24 miles
Race Miles — 466.87 miles
Walking Miles — 1166.87 miles
TOTAL MILES — 2062.98 miles
Races done in 2017 — (33) 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 Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run, Jordan River Half Marathon, The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half,  Howloween Half, The Haunted Half — Provo, Snow Canyon Half Marathon, Joshua Tree Half Marathon and Mt. View Trail Half Marathon.


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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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For the 144 …

This past week has been a VERY emotional week for not just me, but lots of people — nationwide and within my circle of friends. It’s been a week full of sadness, somberness, reflection, anger and frustration. Sometimes separately, sometimes concurrently.

It didn’t help that the week started with the news of the Vegas Shooting. I woke up at 2:45am to use the restroom and couldn’t back to sleep as I was following the updates. Not only was I checking Facebook for friends who live in Vegas, but the whole ordeal just made me sick to my stomach. Not to mention tears to my eyes.

And, then on Wednesday, our Addict II Athlete team got news that our teammate, Carlee, took a knee and lost her battle with addiction. This was a shock to the whole team. And, this has been hard to process, because of the range of emotions felt throughout the week.

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I had a couple of good runs to help with those emotions — including a 1.44 mile run I busted out on Wednesday in honor of my friend. I also had a couple good couple mile runs that were rather invigorating to be honest. Like I already mentioned — it was just a very emotional week.

During rough weeks, days, news, and whatnot my first inclination is go run. Not to necessarily escape, but to help me process what’s going on. This really started when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2012 and I haven’t stopped when life seems to dampen my spirits, breaks my heart or forecast a seemingly unknown future.

Those midweek runs helped — but, I don’t think the sorrow or frustration will go away for awhile. I’ve never dealt with a substance abuse addiction before, but I have lost family and friends to it — and it just has to stop. It has to. I hate seeing family and communities devastated by it. It’s heartbreaking — and preventable.

Over 144 people die a day in this nation from opiate addiction overdose. That’s one too many. My AIIA team has been running for the 144 this past year. So, when our teammate Carlee became one of the 144 last week — it hit home … HARD. It put a real face to this epidemic. And, I think for me, that’s been the hardest thing to process about the whole week.

My friend Lizz and I — who’s also a member of the AIIA team — decided to dedicate our hike on Saturday to Carlee. Carlee was one of the first people that introduced herself to Lizz and actually ran the AIIA 5K alongside her. So this news of her passing was just as harrowing for Lizz.

One thing that Coach Blu challenged us to do back in April was to go out and do things that the 144 would miss out on if they weren’t around to enjoy it. The response was awesome — we had posts of athletes out on runs, hikes, bike rides and races in some of the most beautiful scenery and locations. We wanted to show the 144 that there’s so much more to life than a life of addiction.

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Lizz and I chose to hike Mueller Park in Bountiful for a couple of reasons. One, I love it. Two, it’s a bucket list place Lizz wanted to hike. And, three, it’s gorgeous — especially during the fall weather. A perfect location to honor Carlee and the 144.

For a Saturday morning the trails weren’t necessarily busy. There were a few trail runners and bikers, but it felt like we had the trail almost to ourselves. And, the leaves were absolutely beautiful — something that we tried to capture with our camera, but, was impossible — it had to be experienced. So many intense colors of red, orange and yellow with green sprinkled amongst the leaves.

We hiked about 2.5 miles out before taking a couple minutes to take in the scenery and reflect on the week’s happening. It was a perfect peaceful moment in our tribute to our friend Carlee and the 144. After taking a few pictures we headed back for a good invigorating five mile hike.

For a non-race weekend — this was what I needed. It was the perfect opportunity to renew my spirit, straighten the ship and refocus my priorities, heart and intentions. Me missing the St. George Marathon was the farthest from my mind.

I have a lot of running head of me before I head to Greece in mid-November — seven races to be exact. That’s a lot of running. But, I am ready for them. I’m excited for them. I’m going to be running in some of the most beautiful canyons, state parks and a National Park I’ve been dying to run. Places that I can’t wait to share with the 144!

In addition to processing the loss of one of my AIIA teammates, I also want to let you know — that if you struggle with a substance abuse addiction … THERE IS HOPE! Please reach out to others to get the help you need. Even if it’s Coach Blu or one of the AIIA team members, we’re here to help!

Life is amazing — LIVE IT!


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 12.69 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 25.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 37.74 miles
Races This Week — None

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 12.69 miles
Race Miles — 0.0 miles
Walking Miles — 25.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 37.74 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half — SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half — Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 394.24 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1052.48 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1821.89 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 Marathon, Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon, Run Elevated Half Marathon, Nebo Half, Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, Huntsville Half Marathon, Timp Elk Run and Jordan River Half Marathon


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RACE #161: Timp Elk Run

Well, let’s answer the question you’re obviously wondering — no, I didn’t see any elk.

Like none.

I hope that doesn’t keep you from reading further into my race report? In fact, I didn’t even really see any wildlife. Well, there was a dead mouse I saw at mile six. It wasn’t due to the plague — probably got ran over by a mountain bike? What a sad way to go.

Anyways — onto the other stuff.

This race was tough. It was over 3800 feet of climbing over about 13.5 miles. So, yes, it was a fourth of a mile over a traditional 13.1 half marathon. But, as tough as it was — I absolutely loved it.

I was running this race with Zack Winters from the Addict II Athlete team. This was his first trail run, so I planned on running with him and just enjoying the experience. In fact there were quite a few AIIA runners among the 25 or so runners doing the race.

Traveling to the race, I was a bit worried if I was going to be able to do it. Around the point of the mountain — I got absolutely nausea and just felt sick to the stomach like I haven’t felt for a while. I was pretty close to just turning around in Lehi — but, I kept going hoping that the moment would pass.

Well, it didn’t.

When I got to the race, I stepped out of the car and knew I was going to lose my breakfast. Which I did. My stomach felt better, but I wasn’t 100% at the same time.

I’m not sure why I felt that way — other than I just don’t eat that early or as of late until around 11am or noon with my keto diet. My stomach was just not happy with my keto food that early. This happened to me the previous two weeks — to a less extent. But, either way, I need to figure that all out, especially before this Saturday’s race.

Anyways — Zack wasn’t feeling too hot either with his stomach. But, we both decided to give it a shot. There was always the choice that we could do just the 10K if we still felt ill at the Mile 5 turn off. Which was very much on our minds.

But, luckily, at Mile 5 we felt much better so we decided to keep going. We had to keep going. Especially now that we knew we weren’t going to die.

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We were well into last place — which as usual — never matters to me. We picked up the pace a bit after we started feeling a bit better, but we were well behind the runners ahead of us. Probably by close to an hour?

Once we got to the half way aid station going into Dry Canyon we were met up by Christy (Zack’s mother) and Jed from the AIIA team. I stripped off my monkey hat and windbreaker and Jed joined us to help pace us to the finish line. I am so grateful Jed joined us, because it made a HUGE difference.

We were also joined by the sweepers — so it was a true party in the back as we hiked up Dry Canyon. This was the toughest stretch of the race as we climbed about 1,000 feet in about two miles. It was gorgeous, but it was a beast.

Once we reached Mile 9 it was a decent to the finish. Zack and I picked up the pace and took what we could take during the decent. There were a few areas that we just had to navigate carefully. Luckily, I had my hiking poles which helped a lot in the climbing and decent.

The last mile and a half was probably the hardest decent of the whole run. The pressure on my toes made it hard to navigate a points. With my big huge clown feet my toes were crammed in my shoes. It wasn’t that much fun.

But, luckily, that was just a mile and a half of the course.

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We finished in 5:45 hours — which was about 15 minutes longer than what we expected. Not bad. But, not hot either. It was a good 45 minutes faster than the Elephant Rock Trail Half from last month — so that makes me feel hopeful of my recent progress.

I’m sore, but my ankle isn’t bad. So that’s a win. Most of my soreness is in the toes and quads. Which I guess it kind of expected with the amount of climbing and descending we did during the run.

My next trail race isn’t until the Mt. View Trail Half Marathon in November — once again running with Zack. Luckily that one doesn’t include a lot of elevation change. It’s the same day as the Antelope Island 50K which I’ve done the past couple of years. It’ll be a fun race.

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But, before that I’ve still got a number of races to do — Jordan River, both Haunted Halfs, SoJo, Howloween Half and Snow Canyon. I can’t wait to tackle them — even though it’s still a lot of running.

Bring it.

I can’t wait.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 2.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.45 miles
Walking Miles — 17.78 miles
TOTAL MILES — 33.23 miles
Races This Week — Timp Elk Run.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 16.0 miles
Race Miles — 39.65 miles
Walking Miles — 83.47 miles
TOTAL MILES — 140.12 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 375.55 miles
Race Miles — 362.07 miles
Walking Miles — 1004.71 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1742.33 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, Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half and Timp Elk Run.


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RACE #156: Elephant Rock Trail Half Marathon

To say that I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this race would be an understatement. A serious understatement. And, that statement can’t be understated either.

But, basically, now as I write my race recap — everything hurts and I am dying.

What was planned as simply a fun and challenging trail half marathon turned out to be the TOUGHEST race I’ve ever done. And, considering I’ve done over 150 races — that’s saying a lot. It was that brutal. But, more on that later.

I signed up for this race because it’s literally in my backyard. Mueller Park is just a couple of miles from my front door. It’s a canyon I’ve visited numerous of times, but rarely hiked. Most trips were for campfires, campouts or mile hikes.

Even after I started running I never ventured over to Mueller Park. The biggest reason because I never wanted to venture out there alone. Not just because of the unfamiliarity with the area, but also because of my fear of mountain lions, bears and deer. At least two of those fears are legit. Anyways, I’ve just stuck to the local roads when I run close to home.

Wanting to expand my running routes I figured the Elephant Rock Trail Run would be a great way to familiarize myself with the trails and ease some of those worries I had. Sure there’s always the possibility of running into mountain lions, bears and deer — but those fears really become secondary when you know where you’re going and the distances in between.

In addition to familiarizing myself with the trails, I wanted to run to and from the race to give me a good 20 miles of running for the day. With my ankle injury I haven’t been able to get the kind of training I wanted and knowing I have a number of marathons coming up in the fall, I knew I needed a good 20 miler to prep myself for them.

But, honestly, if I knew what kind of race I was getting myself into, I would have driven myself to the race. I don’t regret it though, because Saturday’s 20 miles were some of the toughest miles I’ve ever run. Miles that left me more tired and sore than most of the ultras I’ve done.

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I set out from my house at 4:50am to make sure I had enough time to get my race packet and shirt before the 6am start time. After trekking from the packet pickup at the church I moseyed over to the park entrance where all 85 of us runners congregated. It was fun to see so familiar faces and meet the faces behind the names on Facebook. I always love start lines.

I don’t think of us realized what we were getting ourselves into, especially since this was the inaugural run. There weren’t other runners to gauge their experience with, so we were going in blind. Which sometimes isn’t the worst way to go into a race. But, I felt completely blindsided by it all.

The start times were staggered about every 15 miles. The marathoners went out at 6am, the half marathoners 6:15 and the 7 milers 6:30am. With 85 runners you’d think that wouldn’t be necessary, but I am glad they did it that way, because as soon as the marathoners and half marathons split with the 7 milers to run up the pipeline trail that trail would have been a bit too crowded.

Once I hit the pipeline I thought I was the last runner. The half marathoners ahead of me were mountain goats and gained quite a distance ahead of me. I wasn’t surprised by this, it’s almost expected that I will be last. But, it’s something that never bugs me. If it did then odds are I just wouldn’t sign up for the race.

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But, as I was dying and not quite half way up the beast I see a runner approaching me from behind. They were gaining quite a bit of ground on me. You could tell this wasn’t a struggle for them.

As they got closer I noticed it was my friend Lula. An experienced trail runner it shouldn’t have surprised me much that the climb was easy for her. But, what made me laugh and silently curse her — was she was doing this technical climb while TALKING ON THE PHONE! Here I am enduring to the end like a pioneer ready to die from dysentery and she moseys up the hill like she’s taking an escalator at the mall.

But, that hill was no joke! It was a quarter mile hike with a 800 foot elevation gain. It was brutal. As soon as I summited the blasted thing I just sat at top, said a little prayer of gratitude that I survived it and ate one of my Larabars as I enjoyed the view. I tried to capture it on my phone, but you just can’t capture those moments — they just have to be experienced.

The ascent was brutal, but the descent on the other side was a beast of its’ own. Luckily it wasn’t as steep, but the terrain was steep and extremely rocky. The technicality of the descent was exhausting not just physically, but mentally as well. I focused on my next step so I didn’t roll my ankle or biff it — it was extreme. There were some stretches where I just sat on my butt and scooted down the trail.

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Once I finally got past rocky trail and headed toward the first aid station I was spent. I parked myself on the dusty trail, ate some watermelon and Gatorade and composed myself for the next stretch of trails. I felt like I was about 7-8 miles into the beast, but I was just 3.5 miles into the race.

That was a depressing reality.

But, also an indication of how tough that stretch of trail was for not just me, but everyone.

I felt bad for the marathons because they had to tackle that same terrain twice since their course was an out and back. I couldn’t imagine climbing up those rocky trails and then down that stupid steep hill. I would have died.

With the toughest stretch of course out of the way the climbing wasn’t over. We still had about 3-4 miles of climbing to the Rudy’s Flats aid station where we’d finally make a reasonable descent toward the finish line. I power hiked most of those miles and it was tough. I had to stop and stretch because my quads were just screaming.

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I started being passed by marathoners and it just amazed me at how these runners were almost seamlessly crushing the terrain. Granted most probably train exclusively on trails, but still — these were mountain goats and I was jealous. Being the last runner in the bunch made me feel like nothing but bear bait. But, I don’t focus on that, I know if I dedicate more miles on the trails I’ll be there too. I think more than anything I was just amazed at the strength of those runners.

Simply amazing.

Anyways, once I hit the Rudy’s Flats aid station I reloaded my water, chilled for a bit and left with a bag of bananas and PB&J sandwich squares. I was severely under prepared food wise. I had my bugout pack with my Larabars, applesauce and Gatorade, but that simply wasn’t enough. I was packed for a 3-4 hour race … not 5-6.

Once I left the Rudy’s Flats aid station I was literally all down hill from there. I was 4:30 hours into the race and I just wanted to be done. So the downhill was a reprieve and I was able to pickup the pace. It was a whole different race.

Not far from the aid station I ran into Angie who was on her return trip to the finish line. She was struggling and had fallen, but like the badass that she is — was still going. We stopped for a picture and acknowledged how this course was kicking our trash before moving on.

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I really loved the last part of the race. I just focused on the run and it was infinitely faster. The last couple of miles were tough, but it was more because of the heat.

The trails are covered fairly well, but there were spots where I was just dead. But, I just wanted to be done. I was thirsty and running low on water. I had some Gatorade in my pack — which I SHOULD have gotten out — but, the effort just didn’t seem worth it. I was striving for that finish line.

When I finally reached the finish line I was greeted by Wanderely with a big hug and I just collapse in a camping chair. I didn’t want to move. I just sat and drank water and Powerade while munching on watermelon. The desire to move much was stifled by cramps and fatigue.

I’ve never felt this wrecked after a race. My 50 miler was probably on par, but after a half? Never.

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There was a breakfast provided at a nearby campground, but I waited at the finish line to see in Angie — who was the last runner on the course. I sat at the finish line and just visited with friends, it was the best way to recover because I knew I still had about a 3.5 mile run home. That’s a fancy way of saying I was procrastinating my run home.

After waiting for a couple hours of Angie we got to the breakfast that had been sitting there since about 7am — it was 4pm. But, at that point I don’t think of any of us questioned whether eating 9 hour old sausage and scrambled eggs were a bad idea or not — we were just hungry. And, it was freaking delicious.

I made it on my home around 4:45pm and in the heat of a day. It was about 90 degrees and I was dead. I was half tempted to grab a ride when Wanderely drove past, I grinded out those 3.5 miles and made it home in one piece.

I was completely finished.

Those 20 miles were seriously some of the toughest miles I’ve done. But, I’m so proud of myself. I did it.

Will I be back next year? Yes. I’ve already made that decision. Will I go for the marathon? No. There’s no way I’m that crazy.

Will I go for the half marathon? Probably? Yesterday it was a hard no. But, after sitting on it for a couple of days I want to tackle that hill again. I need to enact some redemption on that beast. But, then on the other hand the 7 mile run sounds like a better option. But, we’ll see … give me a couple of months. I loved this challenging course and the fact that it’s in my backyard.

Here’s to the trails!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 13.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 21.24 miles
TOTAL MILES — 47.34 miles
Races This Week — Elephant Rock Trail Half.

August 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 26.5 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 36.9 miles
TOTAL MILES — 63.0 miles
Races in August — (3) Elephant Rock Trail Half, Run Elevated Half and Nebo Half 

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 337.55 miles
Race Miles — 295.52 miles
Walking Miles — 817.05 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1450.12 miles
Races done in 2017 — (20) 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 and Elephant Rock Trail Half,.


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A time to stop and a time to not start …

As I am writing this, I am laying what very much feels like my deathbed. No, I’m not dying — but, I might as well be. This past weekend was very difficult for me. What started as a promising running adventure out on the Salt Flats and at Thanksgiving Point — turned into something entirely different.

I started the weekend with a mini-road trip to Wendover for the Salt Flats 50K. After a poorly chosen motel — you can see the video here — I was going to run the on Friday, drive home that afternoon after my run, recoup a bit and then run the Tulip Festival Half at Thanksgiving Point on Saturday morning.

Sure, it was a lot of running, but something it was something I felt I was prepared to do with the recent ultras I’ve done in the past six months. I was figuring the 50K would take me about 10 hours and the half probably 3ish hours because of fatigue. All pretty manageable and a challenge I was looking forward to tackling.

On Friday morning when I woke up and got ready for my race I didn’t feel anything amiss. It was a pretty standard race morning. Granted, I didn’t get much sleep the night before, but nothing unusually bad compared to other races. I was ready to run — so I went about my ritual of packing my pack, reassuring I had enough fuel and fueling myself with my standard sweet potato, banana and oatmeal.

After making the trek to the starting line at the Bonneville Speedway I started getting excited for my run. I knew it was going to be difficult — ultras always are — but, I was wanting this challenge and I was just eager to get out and run. After double and triple checking my pack again — I was ready and the gun sounded at 7am.

We were off — not just the 50Kers, but the 50 and 100 milers as well.

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Since the usual course out on the salt flats was washed over from the rain gathered the previous week, an alternate trail route was marked. So, after a few miles on the causeway we landed on the dirt trails which was a pretty simple out and back course for the 50K.

There were two aid stations for us, one at Mile 11 and another at Mile 16 — which was the turnaround. For a half marathon or marathon the numbers of stations and distance between them would be an issue. But, I carried enough fuel with me that I didn’t worry about it. I hardly do during ultras — especially when you consider you’re going to always get a feast of some sort at every station.

Once I got onto the trails, the crowd had thinned out and a just a few of us 50Kers remained. The scenery was beautiful and I didn’t mind not running on the salt flats — I was just happy being where I was. I just enjoyed the moment.

Around mile 5-6 or so I ran into Coach Blu and a few of the AIIA team members who driving out to an aid station they were volunteering at for the 50 milers. It was really nice seeing them and it really gave me a boost in my spirits, because I think so much of Coach and the team.

But, it wasn’t much later when they left that my whole race kind of went downhill.

The wind throughout the race was pretty horrendous — as it always is out there. But, there were some patches where it was hard for me to get a good rhythm because it felt like I was getting bombarded by wind from every direction. It was a headwind, then a tailwind, then a headwind and then both.

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By about Mile 7-8 I started feeling pretty nausea — I was thinking it was just motion sickness from the wind. But, by Mile 10ish the nausea got bad enough that I ended up throwing.

Thinking it was just the nausea I just forged forward sipping on my water and nibbling on a banana trying to replenish my electrolytes that I just lost. But, that didn’t help. And, I ended up throwing that up not just later.

The idea of dropping the race was now being entertain, but I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. I had never DNF’d before and there is pride in that So, I started playing mind games with see if changing my attitude would help improve my race. So, I was extra enthusiastic when other runners passed me, I turned on some music to distract me and I even tried imagine the narrative of how this race was going to triumphantly play out for me.

By the time I got to the first aid station I felt better — and had a cup of Ginger Ale to help calm my stomach, which still had some lingering effects of the nausea. After munching on some popcorn and another banana, I felt good to go. And, set forward once again.

And, once again — the nausea came back.

And, once again — I threw up.

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At this point I was pretty discouraged, because I knew I was probably going to have to pull myself off the course. At Mile 14 the race director even pulled up beside me to ask how I was doing. I lied — I said I was fine. I couldn’t make that decision yet. I still had hope that everything was going to change and I would feel better. But, that feeling never came.

So I focused on just getting to the next aid station. It was a couple miles away and also served as the turnaround point for the 50K, I figured 16 miles was pretty good considering the circumstances. So that was my focus. And, I felt that if I was going to pull myself off the course it would be there that I could make the decision.

By the time I got to the aid station I was done. Completely done. I was feeling pretty weak from feeling depleted thanks to my queazy stomach, so I made a beeline to a camping chair as the volunteers offered me food and fuel my body was quite ready to accept. I just sat down and said I was done and to just give me a minute.

After a few minutes the amazing volunteers got some Ginger Ale and half an orange down me. I contemplated a banana, but I felt the half orange was a more than enough on a stomach that absolutely hated me. I just felt like garbage. So I kept on trying to keep liquids down me because I didn’t want to absolutely dehydrate myself or get my electrolytes too low.

After sitting at the aid station for about a half hour the call to the start line was made that I pulled myself from the race. It was kind of a bittersweet moment. But, at the same time the feeling of lost pride was lost in the feeling that I didn’t care, because I felt like I was going to die. I knew I made the right decision.

Instead of being simply taken back to the starting line I requested if I could go to the next aid station at Mile 22 where Coach Blu and the AIIA were located. They were going to be out there — at what I thought — until 3pm. It turned out to be closer to 1pm. But, in that moment I just kind of wanted to be among familiar faces. So one of the volunteers took me to the aid station.

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I wasn’t there long until they were packing up, but I was grateful for the time I had with the team. Coach gave me some Alka Seltzer for my stomach — and again some Ginger Ale. This seemed to help some and made the 22 mile ride back to the starting line manageable. It was nice being able to talk to him along with Jim about my DNF, because it put a lot of things into perspective for me. This just solidified that I made the right decision.

It was hard for me to dwell on the DNF as well, because I got word shortly after I got reception that my sister gave birth to her little girl, Eliza. This really helped me to further put this experience in perspective. I was so happy for Jessie and Scott, because Eliza was truly a blessing and miracle for them. They waited nearly 5 years for this addition.

After getting to my car and everything processing happening to me, I hopped in my car, gassed up and after making a short race recap video — headed home. I still felt optimistic about running in the morning. I felt that some rest, replenished liquids and adherence to the B.R.A.T. diet would allow that to happen.

Half way through my trip my Mom asked me to stop at the store to get some lettuce for her. Which wasn’t a big deal for me since the store is right down the street from me. I was feeling okay — sore and not too queazy. But, once I got to the store and went to get out of the car — I just couldn’t do it. I tried standing up, but felt like I was going to pass out.

I knew I needed to get some more liquids and calories in me — and not wanting to go back home empty handed I resolved to go get the lettuce along with some food for me. So after sitting in the car for more than a half hour I mustered the strength to walk into the store. I got a cart — not because I needed it for the food, but to just keep me upright.

I made a beeline to the lettuce and then got some bananas, a couple of Powerade, a bowl of cut melon and a bag of ice (to ice my sore legs and ankle). Once I got home I quickly got my stuff out of the car, gave my mom her lettuce and raced to the bathroom so I could take a shower and ice my legs before hitting my bed and refueling.

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But, it never happened quite that way. As soon as I got to the restroom I felt completely weak and it took everything in me to just shower. Any attempt to ice my legs and ankle were moot — because the focus now was to just shower, get in bed and eat something.

I never felt so ill in my life. I tried to shower and get dressed quickly, but without rushing too hard that I’d pass out. I really felt like I was going to die. Once I stumbled into bed, I drank half a Powerade, some melon and half a banana and before I knew it I was out. I didn’t wake up for about three hours. I was gone — I didn’t even move.

When I woke up I still felt extremely sick, but kept forcing liquids down. I was fevering over 101 as well. So I knew I needed to stay hydrated and fueled. I tried some melon and the other half of the banana, but that didn’t happen. So I just laid in bed for a couple more hours awake — but going nowhere.

I knew by now that I wasn’t going to be running in the morning. So I made the decision to DNS the Tulip Festival Half. Another decision that was difficult to make, but in the moment — the right one. I was bummed.

I tried getting up and watching some of the Jazz, but that didn’t work so well. After eating more of my melon bowl my stomach decided to reject that — and I threw up again. So, I stuck with liquids the rest of the night.

Even on Saturday my stomach wasn’t having anything to do with overly solid foods. I mustered down some broth, applesauce, bananas and lots of Powerade. But, my attempts at a fairly simple salad was meant with another upheaval of my stomach.

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At this point I was pretty sure that I was dealing with the flu and not just wind-induced nausea. And, that’s been the case this whole weekend. I just can’t hold anything down and I am just weaker than weak. My fever broke some, but it’s still slightly above average. Needless to say I feel like pooh.

I’m still processing this weekend, especially the DNF. And, I’ve been told by many runners that I’ll learn more from my DNF than from any other race — 5K to ultra. So I am taking that to heart and reassessing everything. I might cut back on some of my races this year — and as much as I want to hit the 180 race goal by next July — maybe I need to rethink that?

I feel that I am beyond seeing value in the quantity of races. 180 is just a number — and running is much more to me than that. That’s why my approach has been to quickly get it done with so I can move on. Maybe I need to prolong it and focus on the other goals sooner than later?

Anyways — I am sure I’ll be making some changes to my race schedule, especially within the next month. So, on races with a transfer policy I might just sell my bib to someone else? But, that’s all something I need to need decide on with a sound mind and careful reflection.

There is much more to life than just running — and racing. The addition of my niece is a great reminder of that belief. What’s a DNF and DNS compared to that? Nothing. Really, absolutely, nothing.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. I’m still planning on running the Provo City Half this weekend. I am actually sweeping it with my friend Tricia and her daughter. I am really, really, really excited about that — and then I don’t have another race until Ogden. Lots of positives on the horizon, but a lot to reassess as well.


MY NEXT SIX RACES


I’m not going to be dateless for quite awhile. Quite awhile.

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Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 10.0 miles
Race Miles — 16.0 miles
Walking Miles — 20.12 miles
TOTAL MILES — 46.12 miles
Race(s) this week — Salt Flats (DNF) and Tulip Festival Half (DNS)

April 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 23.5 miles
Race Miles — 55.3 miles
Walking Miles — 94.95 miles
TOTAL MILES — 173.75 miles
Races in April — Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half, Saltair Half, Salt Flats 50K (DNF) and Tulip Festival (DNS). 

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 205.25 miles
Race Miles — 151.42 miles
Walking Miles — 420.41 miles
TOTAL MILES — 777.08 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, Emigration Canyon Half Marathon, Riverton Half and Saltair Half.