Tag: ultra training

43 Laps.

This past week I have been focusing on mentally preparing myself for the Jackpot Running Festival. Sure it’s in February. But, attempting to run 100 miles is something I’m trying to grasp. And, as much as I still need to put in the work physically — I have to do likewise mentally.

That is one reason why I did two half marathons this past Saturday and will do it again next weekend when I run the Snow Canyon and Joshua Tree Half Marathons. And, yet another reason why I have a number looooooooong timed training plans planned for December and January at the Olympic Oval — among other places.

I’m a very visual person. I have to see the end from the beginning, otherwise I’m lost. This is how I prepared myself for my first races in the 5K, half marathon, marathon and ultra distances. And, this 100 mile race is no different.

Over the past several months I’ve visualized my laps — not just the final laps, but the beginning and middle as well. I’ve visualized the pain I went through at mile 45 of my 50 miler and tripled that in the scope of how I might feel at miles 63, 82 or 96.

That final lap is what carries me. That’s what kept me optimistic this past race season as I’ve dealt with health and sprained ankle. And, let’s not pretend that I didn’t completely freak out in August that this wasn’t going to happen at all — so why even try?

But, that final lap made me believe it was going to happen.

In my attempt to further entrench the reality of what I am going to do, I decided to calculate the laps I will need to do for my 100 miles. Barring another washout of the course — the course should be 2.38 miles (last year it was 2.5 miles because the course had to be rerouted because of the flooding).

That’s 42.0168067 laps.

And, since I’m not quitting mid-lap, that’s 43 laps. Which makes my mileage for the race 102.34 miles.

I just have to do 43 laps. That’s it — 43 laps.

I can do that.

And, instead of viewing it as 43 2.38 mile laps, I’m cheating and viewing it as mile loops. Just 43 loooooong single mile loops.

I can do that.

It’s been a tough year for me. It’s sucked. Having a sprained ankle from April that has still given me problems has been beyond frustrating. I’ve been slower than I’ve wanted to be, my training has been tougher than I thought it would — and I have had my share of doubts.

But, as my running coach has reminded me — this race isn’t about being the fastest, it’s about doing what you’ve set out to do. And, that’s what I’ve been trying to remember and keep in mind.

This is about running 100 miles. This is about doing something that pushes me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This is about doing something that was unimaginable for me to do not just 10 years ago, but even a year ago.

This is about so, so much.

And, all I have to do is run 43 laps.

43.


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RACE #162: Jordan River Half Marathon

One of my greatest learned life lessons didn’t come from my Dad, a grandparent or some guru — it actually came from Kenny Rogers. Back in 1978 — before I was even a twinkle in my parents’ eyes, Kenny Rogers came out with a song called The Gambler with this advice —

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

There’s a lot of life lessons there. Probably enough that could fill a whole blog post. But, that’s not that kind of blog post — this is my race report for this past Saturday’s half marathon. But, it’s very applicable to this race.

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In running you gotta know when to go full force, when to hold back and even when to step away. Which is something I’ve been doing a lot this past year and it’s been very humbling dealing with my sprained ankle, thyroid and whatnot (whatnot is code for depression — thanks largely to my thyroid issues, but that’s a post for another day).

I’ve had to drop races, switched distances and even DNF a race. All in all — it’s been humbling and eye opening to me. It’s made me realize many things about my running, my priorities and life in general. Again, that’s a post for another day.

But, trust me, this is all applicable to this race report.

When I signed up for this race, I actually signed up for the marathon. I planned to run the marathon. I wanted to run the marathon. But, many factors lead me to the decision to hold back and downgrade to the half marathon.

Do I think I think I could have done the marathon on Saturday?

Yes.

But, I knew that I couldn’t. My training wasn’t what I wanted. Not because I didn’t want to put the training in, but my ankle prevented me from many of the needed training runs, long runs and whatnot (that’s not code word for depression, it’s just a filler for everything else you need to do to prepare yourself for a marathon).

Plus, right now the focus is on two long term goals — preparing myself for my 100 mile run in February and get closer to my 180 race goal. I don’t need another marathon right now to get me closer to those goals. Especially since my training plan for my 100 mile run is based on time on my feet and my 180 race goal is for any race over 13.1 miles.

So why potentially ruin both goals?

The answer to that question confirmed my decision.

I am starting to turn longer miles in my training. And, much like other ultra races, the training isn’t much about pace or time than it was about time on my feet. And, because of the relative flatness of this course, my coach and I decided to slow down my pace and really focus on time on my feet. This essentially would be a training run — with aid stations every few miles and a race medal at the end.

Being a somewhat smaller race, I knew I was going to be in the back. And, I was. My friend Julie and Jenni were sweeping the half marathon course — so I basically crashed their party.

I tried to just focus on my pace — not so much the running pace, but the kick in my walk. Transitioning from road to ultra training is a different mentality, because they’re different beasts. I’m excited for the transition — something I probably could have done a few weeks ago? Either way, here I am.

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I had a blast with Julie and Jenni. We fartleked the course, encouraged the marathoners running past and just had a blast. It really was a nice change of pace and mentality. Something I needed.

Somewhere around miles 7-8 my legs started to ache. I’ve had this issue the past couple of month or so. It’s not horrible, but uncomfortable for my long runs, training runs and races. Since Julie has been doing keto since January I used the time to pepper her with questions during the race. She suggested the aches were just the body still getting used to the keto diet — it was teaching my body to not rely on the carbs and insulin to fuel my body.

This made sense.

The transition has been easier in the past few weeks, but recovery is tougher and my mid-week workouts are hit and miss. Some are great and some are just miserable. But, I need to remember that I am retraining my body — a body that has rigorously worked out fueling with carbs over the past 7-8 years.

Patience. Patience. Patience.

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And, really, for me, that’s hard to practice. If I’ve learned anything over the past 2-3 years, especially THIS year, it’s patience. Patience with my health issues, patience with my ankle, patience in my training. There’s a point where you just get sick of it and want to move on — but, there in lies the need for the lesson.

I focused on my fueling the last 5-6 miles. I had my Powerade Zero with me and had to remind myself to drink it a few times. I had no need for my emergency applesauce packet, thanks in large part to the weather. The cloud cover was perfect and a nice change of pace from the heat of the summer.

The last couple of miles we were joined by Jason Henry. Jason is one of my favorite people, we ran our first ultra together a couple years ago at the Antelope Island 50K. He and his wife are just the kindness, nicest people. He’s been dealing with running injuries as well, so I haven’t seen him in a while. It was nice to have those few miles to catch up.

The last half mile I ran ahead of the group to finish with a good strong effort. I finished under four hours, which I was shooting for — nothing to write home about, but for the training and time I needed on my feet — it was what I needed.

The ankle wasn’t horrible either. There was some soreness, but the pain on top of my foot — nonexistent. Which I think kind of confirmed my belief that the ankle pain was more to do with that, than with my previous ankle injury. And, right now, as I write up my race report it doesn’t hurt — so that’s good.

I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks. I don’t have a race this upcoming weekend — it was suppose to be the St. George Marathon, but that’s not happening. So, I am planning on doing some time on the trails up here in Bountiful on Saturday. I am going to hike Mueller Park with my friend Lizz. To add some miles, I’ll probably run to the park and back home (which should add about 5-6 extra miles to the hike).

But, after that I am pretty much a running fool up until I leave for Greece. I have The Haunted Half in Salt Lake on Oct. 14th, both the SoJo Half and Howloween Half on Oct. 21st, The Haunted Half in Provo on Oct. 28th. And, then in November I am running both the Snow Canyon Half and Joshua Tree Half on Nov. 4th and then the Mt. View Trail Half on Nov. 11th.

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So, yeah, lots of running before I leave Greece on Nov. 15th.

I am looking forward to it. I am sweeping a couple of those races, so it will be great training for my 100. Especially on my double race days. I think those days will be great training, better than a marathon or 50K could do for me right now.

I’ll blog all about that training and my upcoming races in the next couple of weeks. But, I have 162 races down and 18 more to go!

The end is ‘nigh!


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 6.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 22.72 miles
TOTAL MILES — 41.82 miles
Races This Week — Jordan River Half.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 22.0 miles
Race Miles — 49.75 miles
Walking Miles — 106.19 miles
TOTAL MILES — 177.94 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Half.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 381.55 miles
Race Miles — 375.17 miles
Walking Miles — 1027.43 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1784.15 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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More miles going around in circles …

I’m kinda ready for this winter thing to pass. Seriously. Being regulated to treadmill and indoor track running is starting to make me slightly nutty.

Well, okay, that wasn’t what made me nutty. And, that’s a whole post for another day. There’s simply no time to explain that all today.

Anywho … I’m just ready for spring. I don’t run outside in the snow or in below freezing temperatures — there’s too much risk for me to biff it (which I am known to do). My body really doesn’t do well in the cold anyways — so staying inside is best for me. For now. But, I am really itching for some spring weather.

Since last weekend’s long treadmill run was an emotional disaster for me. I decided the treadmill was out for my long run. I’ve survived a few two miles run. But, I just don’t feel like I have 15, 10 or 5 miles on the treadmill in me.

I just don’t.

I didn’t have a specific distance or time goal for me this weekend. Should I have? Good question. But, since race day is about three weeks away, I knew I needed somewhere around 10-20 miles. But, after already have a number of 20 and 15 mile long runs — I felt like I could afford a long distance run based on feel.

Since I was anticipating the first weekend in February to be rather cold and snowy — I decided to run at the Olympic Oval again. Running the Oval can be rather monotonous, but I actually really like it during the winter. You can lose yourself in the laps and just run. Much, much easier than running on the treadmill.

I really feel like I have to work to distract myself on a treadmill. On a track you’re actually going somewhere — granted in circles — but you are going somewhere. Plus, if you’re running with other people you’ve got actual conversation — which is the key to surviving track running.

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Anywho … a number of running friends and I showed up at the Olympic Oval at 6am to run the track. The track was open from 6-10am in the morning because there was a track meet from 10am-1pm. Knowing this kind of ruled out a 20 mile run for me. But, I knew in the four hours or so I could knock out where between 13-15 miles.

So that was kind of the goal.

I wasn’t worried much about time or distance. Like all of my ultrarunning — I just wanted to do my best and focus on effectively using the time on my feet to it’s best use. So I loaded up my Spotify playlist with my music and just decided to go for it.

The track was rather busy, besides being joined in the morning with Robert Merriman, Jimbo, Karen, Tine and others — there was a big ROTC training or testing going on as well. A good hundred or so cadets were on the track doing a mile and high testing. I wasn’t envious. It really reminded me of my mile and a half training in Junior High.

Not fun.

But, I had good conversation throughout the four hours. I spent a few laps with everyone and it was just fun to catch with them. It really made the time go by faster than usual.

I ended up cranking out 13 miles in three and a half hours. I felt good throughout the run. I felt stronger than my last run there. And, I think part of that is my diet. I have felt quite the difference the past couple of weeks. Especially this past week as I eliminated a few extra foods. But, I will post more about that later this week.

Anyways — I have the Sweetheart Days 5K next Saturday. I am running that with my niece. I am pretty excited to run it with her. This will be our second 5K since October. I might run 3-5 miles more at an easy pace to amp the miles up. But, we’ll see — I am hoping the weather is good so I can just do those miles outside. And, if that’s the case — SCORE!

But, with the Jackpot Running Festival in a couple of weeks I am just focusing on tapering a bit and just focusing on my workouts and diet. Since it is a timed race I am not worried about finishing, but I would like to run at least 35-40 miles in the allotted 12 hours. And, like my diet, more on all of that later this week — maybe even next week?

I am just getting excited to run and get into the swing of my spring races. It should (and by should, I mean it will) be a lot of fun.


So, um, my 5 year old niece adults better than me. #calliekoko #adultchild

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RUNNING MILES

81.0 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

89.47 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

183.57 miles


Jackpot Running Festival

As I mentioned above my current training is pointing toward the Jackpot Running Festival in Las Vegas over President’s Day weekend. I am being joined by Jill for an epic ultra adventure. I seriously, I can’t wait.

This is a looped course. It’s a 2.38 mile loop around Railroad Lake — just outside of Henderson. Both Jill and I are signed up for the 12 hour race — meaning we have 12 hours to run as many miles as we want/can. Our goal is to not just run an ultra, but we want to get at least 35 miles in. I’d like to see if I could push 40 miles. But, we’ll see about that.

Anyways — we got an email this past week from the race with a video of the 2.38 looped course. It’s not the sexiest video out there on YouTube, but it got me really excited for the run. I have no doubt I will get to know the course quite intimately.

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


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Running miles and miles and miles while going nowhere fast …

Aw, treadmill running. I hate it. But, you know what? I also kind of love it. But, I hate it. Well, to be honest, I hate that I love it. Because I hate the treadmill.

[I’ll let you wrap your mind around that last paragraph for a second].

I guess what I am trying to say is this — under any other circumstances, I wouldn’t choose to run on the treadmill. But, during the winter when it’s snowing, freezing and being all together miserable — I’m inside running. Whether that’s on a treadmill or on an indoor track. More often than not — it’s the treadmill.

Which, honestly, I am not totally against. How and why? Well, it’s great mental training. I mean, awesome mental training. Last summer when I was training for my 50 miler I ran one of my 20 milers on the treadmill — in the middle of the night. Yeah, you read that right.

The thought was that if I could run 20 miles on the treadmill at a time where all I wanted to do was sleep — then I could run a 50 miler under any other circumstance. And, I guess I proved that theory correct, because I ran that 50 miler despite my circumstances in the last five miles or so.

So, since I am training for the 12 hour run at the Jackpot Running Festival over President’s Day weekend — running treadmill miles help prepare me for 12 hours of 2.3 miles of a looped course. At, least that’s the thought.

I haven’t ran many looped races other than the Revolution Run and Cory Reese’s Bakers Dozen Half Marathon. And, to be honest with you — it’s almost an exclusive trail running thing. Which isn’t bad. But, you see it with a few races in southern Utah within the state — but hardly (if any) up here in the SLC area.

And, there’s probably reasons for that — mainly because we have AWESOME wilderness and trails around the state with plenty of distance to get a 30-50 mile race in. So, these 6, 12 and 24 hour races are fairly non-existent here in Utah — which is kind of a bummer, because I actually like the idea of seeing how many miles I can get within a certain time limit.

But, anyways — enough about that.

I am running Jackpot with Jill for her first ultra and I really couldn’t be more excited. I am excited to he a part of this moment. It was fun being there in 2014 for her first marathon and it will be equally, if not more, fun to be a part of her first ultra.

Having a goal race of this magnitude during the winter months is something I am glad I have. Because, it helps keep me focused. Winter months are hard on me — between the lack of outside running, Seasonal Affective Disorder, short days and — well — the stupid snow — it’s hard to stay motivated.

This past week was tough on me, not being able to get to my 5:30am gym class because of the snow (it took me 30-45 minutes to dig out on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday). And, while I got my miles in and a few home workouts (including the time shoveling) — it just isn’t the same as working out at the gym.

But, after running 15 miles on the treadmill on Saturday any thought of feeling unproductive were swept away. That was tough. Thankfully, I had some good shows DVR’d otherwise I probably would have been a mess by mile 5.

Throughout my run I kept reminding myself that these are “mental miles” and that I need to focus on that rather than speed. As much as I try to focus on “time on my feet” and “mental miles” … I always go back to speed (and the lack thereof). But, speed isn’t my goal right now. It’s about stamina and endurance. It’s about finishing what I started — and just doing it.

That’s the focus.

Plus, I’ve got quite a few races between now and June. I have 19 races before July 1st — including two marathons and a 50K. The goal is to improve my times, but finish them. Especially my longer distance races. Then from July to September the focus is increasing those times with more speed training so I can perform well at the Revel Big Cottonwood Half.

At least that’s goal at the moment.

There’s a part of me that still wants to run the marathon, but I haven’t run the new half marathon course yet — and I want to fly down the canyon because of how fast it looks. Especially since I won’t be running the Nebo Half again this year.

Welp, I am one week closer to Jackpot. And, 15 miles closer as well.

Next week I am planning on another 15-18 miles before tapering some before the February 18th race.

I can’t be anymore excited!

VEGAS OR BUST, BABY!


This kid needed no coaching in taking a picture. He's a natural. #chubbingtatum

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He's doing SnapChat. He's six, he's too young for that, right? #snapchatbabies

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For not having kids, I sure have quite a distorted sense of Dad Humor. #ineedalife

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My niece asked me to draw an eagle, so I gave her a lesson in American history. #muricaaaaa

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RUNNING MILES

63.5 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

71.71 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

148.31 miles


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Running around in circles — with a bunch of my friends

After a week of being sick and feeling like crap — I was looking forward to this past Saturday. I needed this run. I needed these miles. I felt like a bum the whole week, so I needed a little redemption — and I feel like I got it.

A couple weeks ago after running the Resolution Run, Jill and I decided that we needed another indoor run. Mainly for two reasons — one, it was inside away from the snow — and, two, it was primo training for the Jackpot Running Festival — which is a looped course. While miles are important to the training, what kind of miles are of even more importance. And track training miles are just perfect for this kind of race.

I won’t lie — track miles, just like treadmill miles, don’t thrill me much. I would much rather be running down a canyon or along some trail. But, during the winter you won’t often (if ever) find me outside in the cold doing looooong miles. Last week’s half marathon nearly killed me and I just don’t find running in the cold “FUN” — I just don’t.

Plus, I’ve fallen on the ice and snow too many times to know that me, my running shoes and the outside aren’t a recipe for success, fun or productivity. So the treadmill and/or indoor track are my ‘go to’s’ for running in the winter. Plus, I can watch Netflix while running on the treadmill — so there’s that.

Anyways — enough about my hatred of winter running.

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Knowing I had some long miles to do this week, Jill and I decided to run the Utah Olympic Oval. So, we decided to invite a bunch of our running friends (to make it more bearable) and just crank out the miles.

I wanted to crank out 20-25 miles for the day, but I wasn’t sure what my body was capable of after a week of being sick. But, my ultra training isn’t about the miles — it’s more about time on my feet. I’m never going to win an ultra race or even place — so why worry so much about pace and miles? Especially, when my goal is to simply just finish?

So my focus in training has been time on my feet.

There could be arguments of the contrary, but I figured it’s gotten me where I want to go — it’s working just fine. Especially considering that I cut like a half hour off my 50K time at the Antelope Island 50K from 2015 to 2016.

I didn’t know how long I was going to be on my feet on Saturday, but I knew I wanted to be on my feet for at least six hours and run at least 20 miles. So, I decided to get to the Oval when it opened the track at 6am, so I could be done around noon. The idea was to get six hours of running in or until I got to 20 miles.

I didn’t get running until 6:15am after prepping myself up. I started off a bit apprehensively, because I forgot two of the most important things to my running — my surgical tape for my “moobs” and my BodyGlide for my thighs. I knew I was going to be in trouble, because chaffing is not kind to me. And, it wasn’t once again on Saturday — especially when I hopped in the shower.

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As I started running around the track some of my friends started joining me and the others on the track — Robert, Mary, Susette, Brain, the Gabicas and so forth. It started to turn into one big party. My favorite kind of running.

I ran a few laps with Robert — and talked about his ultra training. He’s running his first 100 miler in March on Antelope Island. A distance that amazes and frightens me. As daunting as my 50 miler was for me, I can’t imagine doubling that distance, because it’s not simply like you’re doubling your efforts in training, running and prep.

I also took a number of laps with Jill and then Susette as she was pushing Jill’s kids in a running stroller. It was fun to catch up with Susette. We’ve been friends for almost five years now, but our running kind of split after she started running more and more ultras — including 100 milers.

Then around 9-9:30, Jim joined in on the fun and did most of the last of the laps with me. I was glad to have Jim there, because my legs were starting to feel pretty heavy. The first three hours of running I was doing 2:1 (running: walking) sets. I felt good for the most of it, but honestly, I should have do 2:1, 1:1, 2:1, 1:1, etc., etc., etc. sets like I had at the Resolution Run a few weeks before. I came out too fast and strong and it started wearing me out earlier than I wanted.

The last three hours were pretty tough, but I knew I could fight through it. My legs were feeling heavy and then I started feeling my chaffed thighs cheering — and killing — me on. But, I knew I could and would do this. It really was just a matter of mind over matter. That’s all ultrarunning is, is just training your mind to be tougher than your legs.

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Having Jim there was great, because we can talk — and do talk — about anything. That’s one of the reasons why he is a co-host on The Runcast. We talked about everything from his new Hoka OneOne shoes, the Los Angeles Chargers, how much I hate the LA Dodgers, Jim’s sexy radio voice and how much we want to learn how to ride a Zamboni.

His divergent presence was a godsend.

As I approached the six hour mark I wasn’t at my 20 miles yet. I was about two miles or less from the mark. I was tempted to almost call it good, but I couldn’t do it. Most of the other runners were gone — including Jill and Susette. Robert was still there but stayed to take pictures and get a few last laps around the track. So, it was just me and Jim.

But, I kept going. I had to get that 20.

So I cranked them out.

It wasn’t pretty, but it took me about another 20-25 minutes, but I cranked them out. And, before I knew it. I was done.

20 miles. Done.

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After such a crappy week of feeling like crap, I felt extremely happy to be done with the miles. The feet were sore, my thighs and nipples were in agony and my legs were achy, but I did it. And, that pride makes up for all of that pain. Especially knowing that I was one week closer to Jackpot. And, that’s what counts.

I have one more six hour run to do on February 4th and once again — I’ll be back at the Oval with Jill. And, of course, friends are invited as well. I even started a Facebook event for the occasion. And, if you’re wondering — yes, you’re invited. Just RSVP or plan on coming! I’d love the company.

One more month until Jackpot! WOOHOO!



RUNNING MILES

32.00 miles

RACE MILES

13.1 miles

WALKING MILES

34.62 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

79.22 miles



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RACE #133: Red Rock Relay Park City

Man, I am winding down towards my 50 — which is happening NEXT week. It’s hard to believe I am almost there, especially after running three marathons in the past month. I just want to run that 50 and get it done with.

This past weekend as part of my “tapering” miles, I ran the Red Rock Relay with Team Addict II Athlete. This was a race I’ve been looking forward to for most of the summer. Ever since I’ve joined the team back in May it’s helped change my mentality just in my running, but life. A lot of their principles are what I’ve held true in my journey — and without going into a lot of that here, I will be sharing my story on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of months.

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This was the first time running the Red Rock Relay. Most of my relays have been Ragnar with one being the Rivalry Relay some 5 years ago or so. I love relays for many reasons — but, more than anything it’s a great way to just meet people. Something I absolutely love to do — I guess you could say after running my second favorite hobby is meeting people.

There’s something about being cramped in a car with 5-6 other runners and running anywhere from 50 to 100 miles — all day and sometimes all night. You really get to know people in this setting. It’s like scout camp for grownups.

But, I was really impressed with the Red Rock Relay. Very well organized, not too overcrowded, very well marked (I have a fear of getting lost in any race I run — even if I have over 130 under my belt … call me irrational) and gorgeous setting. The Heber Valley setting is just gorgeous. It’s such a shame that so many of us Salt Lake and Utah Valleyers take for granted what is literally in our backyard. It’s just beautiful.

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For those who have ran the Ragnar Wasatch Back would be familiar with a good portion of the race. The RRR course loops around the Valley from the Homestead in Heber City and back via Park City. This includes the infamous climbs and descents of Deer Valley and Guardsman Pass.

As you will see below, my legs were in Heber City and then that infamous Guardsman Pass descent. Normally running down Guardsman Pass I would worried because of how brutal it can be on your legs (especially quads), but I’ve ran parts that leg during Ragnar the past two years (and three years ago I ran UP it when the course went the other way). So, I am very familiar with the hill — and I actually really kind of love it.

But, I had a blast during the day. I got to know a few of the team members better. I share a little bit of that below in my leg reports. But, I am truly, truly grateful for what AIIA means to me and has changed my approach to my goals and running this past year.

Here are my leg reports …

Leg 3 of 12 (Heber City to Heber Valley Girls Camp)

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I love hills, but I hate them. But, I swear I love them. Okay, hills give me a mix of emotions. But, really, in the long run — I do them, because I love the sense of conquering them. No matter what the elevation gain may be.

This leg was no different and as you can see from the elevation chart — it was pretty much a gradual up hill climb. I knew what to expect and after running three marathons in the past month — I knew I’d be fine. Especially since I survived Veyo Hill last weekend.

The one thing that was difficult for me though was the temperature. I didn’t want to take off my hoodie or beanie cap. It was cold. Not only were we up in the mountains, but it was the middle of October — summer is basically dead. So I decided to at least start the run off in my hoodie and beanie cap thinking I’d ditch them a couple miles into the run.

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Well, I ditched the hoodie about three miles into the run, but my beanie stayed with me — pretty much the whole day. Luckily I wasn’t overly sweaty, but by the end of the day that beanie smelt like death. But, it sure kept me warm.

Anyways — the leg wasn’t that bad as I weaved through Heber City and towards the exchange which is close to a girls camp. The home stretch is basically that — a looooooong stretch of road. And, where most of the climbing happened. It wasn’t THAT bad, because I just zoned out, pressed on and rocked out to my music. It was perfect.

I did almost lose my cookies about a mile and half from the exchange when I ran past a dead deer. It wasn’t the sight of the dead deer that did it, it was the smell of dead deer that made me want to upheave that morning’s banana.. Luckily, none of that happened. But, still … yuck.

About a half mile out I was joined by Jed who ran me into the exchange. I was grateful to be finished. I grabbed a water and a bag of grapes and just chowed down. It was a perfect snack/refuel.

Leg 12 of 12 (Guardsman Pass to Homestead Resort)

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Originally, I was going to run Leg 9, but seeing that it had a lot of climbs and knowing we would be pressed for time I asked Coach Blu if we could trade. Mainly, because I know I’d do better with downhill. He gladly agree. Which I am grateful for considering I am afraid my request nearly killed him.

Well, I exaggerate … slightly.

Leg 9 was a brutal trail leg of cardiac ups and downs. It took Coach about an hour and 45 minutes to run the 7+ mile trail. No joke it would probably have taken me much, much longer than that and I would have gotten lost and/or eaten by a bear.

Again, I exaggerate … slightly.

And, needless to say I owe Coach BIG TIME! I told him I would make it up to him at the Pony 50 next week. How I am going to make that, I am not sure yet? I just know I owe him.

When I made the request to switch I just saw the downhill course, I didn’t know it was Guardsman Pass down to Homestead — which for those who have ran Ragnar, know it as Ragnar Hill. The beast of all beasts. I ran part of this leg the past two years and three years ago — ran UP it. I much prefer the down hill way of tackling it.

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But, you have to tackle the hill the right way or it will eat up your legs. The trick is to not simply run down the hill, you have to kinda waddle or zig zag like you’re being chased by a bear.

As much as it can easily eat your quads, I really love the run. The view is second to none — well, okay, I say this about a lot of the places I run, but it’s true. I love running through the thicket of aspen trees, catching awe inspiring views of Heber Valley and just putting my speed into cruise control. As much as people love running UP this hill, I like going DOWN the hill.

Since I was the last runner I started this portion around 6-6:30pm or so — I wasn’t looking at my watch. But, right around the setting sun. I really wish my camera could have caught the light shining on the orange, yellow and red leaves — but, every picture I tried to snap of them just didn’t give it justice. I just ran trying to remember the view with my heart (okay, that sounds really sappy, but it’s true).

About half way through my run I was joined by Jed and then a few miles later by Ryan. I was thankful for their company. This is one thing I’ve really grown to love about the AIIA team — nobody runs alone. I love this concept and belief. It’s really one of those binding qualities that keeps the team close.

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Jed was the one who ran me in during the Provo City Half in May and I can’t even tell you how many other team members he’s ran with and helped to the finish line. Jed has one of the biggest hearts I know. After running with him and hearing more of his story it’s easy to see. He’s been in a lot of dark places in his life — but, he’s replaced that with light (listen to his story on the AIIA Podcast). Especially with being a light to others.

I have mad respect for Jed.

Spending the last couple miles with both Jed and Ryan was sublime and easily one of my favorite running memories to date. It’s hard for me to put into words how grateful I am for this team. I don’t believe I stumbled upon this team by chance. And, I’ll write more about this later, because there’s a lot I want to write, but feel constrained to do it here — I’ll also be a guest on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that.

Anyways, we finished around 8pm or so at the Homestead with the rest of the team. We may have been the last team, but that didn’t matter. What mattered is that we finished what we started … as a team. It may have taken us all day, but we did it.

And, for that we’re all champions.


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I haven’t posted the past couple of Addict II Athlete podcasts here and there’s a reason why … I wanted to post both parts of Coach Blu’s story. These two episodes are simply amazing. Coach Blu is amazing. And, whether or not you have struggled with addiction there is a lot you can take away from Coach Blu’s story.

I am not going to give any of it away — just listen …

Listen to “Coach Blu’s Story” on Spreaker.

Listen to “Coach Blu Story Part 2!” on Spreaker.


NEXT RACE

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I can’t believe that this is NEXT WEEK! I’ve got a lot of emotions going through my head, but honestly — most of it is just excitement. I don’t have a lot of fear or anxiety — yet. I’m sure that will come sometime this weekend or next week, or maybe somewhere around mile 1, 2, 25 or 40? I don’t know? I’m just ready to do it.

I’ll be posting a bit more about it this week and next. Mainly some of my thoughts and feelings about tackling this beast. So stay tuned for that. But, this week it’s just running a few three milers, doing a few circuits and then the Frightmares 5K on Saturday with my niece. Nothing too strenuous. My body is a little sore from all the running the past month so I need to let me mend enough to be ready for next Friday.

But, I am winding down for the year and I am glad. I’m feeling a bit burnt out lately — which thankfully — isn’t new for ultramarathoners. And, I think that’s why I am just so eager to run it. I just want to get it over with and under my belt. I have no doubt I’ll get there.

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Very humbled to have joined “Team Addict II Athlete” for this relay. I couldn’t have asked for a more encouraging, uplifting and motivating team to run with. Whether it shouting words of encouragement as I ran or getting out to run with me during my last leg — I was touched. I’ll be sharing my story on the AIIA Podcast in the next couple of weeks. Addiction and recovery come in many different forms and I’ve had my struggles and test of faith. Needless to say, no one goes about it alone on the team and NOBODY runs alone! I felt lucky to spend those 15 miles out there around Heber Valley with the team! #redrockrelay #race133 #running #messintoamessage #eraseandreplace @redrockrelay @addicttoathlete @joshruns180 @josherwalla

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This kid doesn’t have to do much to capture your heart. #chubbingtatum

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RUNNING MILES

235.5 miles

RACE MILES

302.78 miles

WALKING MILES

1180.97 miles

TOTAL MILES TO DATE

1719.25 miles

MILES TO GOAL

947.75 miles



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#FitnessFriday: GOING BIG!

I was kinda debating if I was going to blog today. I won’t lie — after Labor Day I just kinda stopped. Sure, I had two posts. But, one was my vacation pictures and the other was an update 2017 race schedule. Nothing that really constitutes a true blog entry.

Anyways — I’ll just say that the lack of posts is because I was on blogcation. Yes, that sounds good. But, really, it was. I had the chance to spend some quality time with family, doing a little running and prepare myself more mentally for this upcoming month of marathons.

I did a little running this week, but pretty much kept it low because I am a bit nervous overdoing it before the marathon, especially considering I have the Huntsville Marathon (aka The Full Monte) next week. I’ll probably do a shake out run next Tuesday or Wednesday, but focus just walking throughout the week in preparation for The Full Monte.

We’ll see. Really depends on how I feel come tomorrow, Sunday and probably most all of Monday as well. But, the fact I am sweeping the course helps. I do have to maintain a 15 minute mile coming down the canyon — which is doable — but, other than that, it’s just being as fast as the slowest runner.

But, with this 50 mile training most of it is just accustoming myself to being on my feet for a loooong time. And, sweeping will do that for you. It’s great preparation. I swept the Big Cottonwood Marathon last year to help prep me for the Antelope Island 50K for that very reason. I am expect being anywhere between 6:30-7 hours on my feet tomorrow. It’s not easy. But, it’s sure fun.

And, if I am feeling extra adventurous I might try to mow the lawn which is another hour. But, that just seems like too much cruelty to put my body through. Which means — I probably should do it. Besides the lawn is looking a bit shaggy.

Luckily, I am not sweeping the course alone. This year I am running with my friend Chanda along with the support vehicle the race provides — which is mainly for injured runners, etc. It should be a party. But, like I said, we just have to make sure to get everyone down the canyon on time or that support vehicle will sweep them off the course. Something every runner wants to avoid.

But, anyways — I can’t wait! I am pumped! Besides seeing all of my usual running friends, I get to FINALLY meet one of my friends from the far away land known as New Hampshire. He flew in to run the half marathon with Jill and Tim. If I wasn’t using this race as a training run, I totally would have joined them. I am pretty jealous, because that might be the party of the year, right there.

Anyways — 26.2 TOMORROW! 26.2 NEXT WEEK! 26.2 IN FOUR WEEKS! 50 IN LESS THAN SIX WEEKS!

YEAH RUNNING!


130 - Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon

I LOVE THE BIG COTTONWOOD MARATHON! Tomorrow will be the fifth time I’ve ran the race — well, okay, fourth time, because I ran the half marathon back in 2013. And, here’s a funny tidbit — I’ve never actually signed up for the marathon when I registered for the race. Every year I’ve signed up for the half marathon and then upgraded to the marathon (except in 2013 of course). I should probably use that as a personal trivia question or something, huh?

As mentioned above the game plan tomorrow is to sweep the course with my friend Chanda. We have to average a 15 minute mile down the canyon and then bring in the last runner after that. I am also planning on a mid-race Slurpee somewhere around Mile 23. Heck maybe even Mile 19 if I am dying. Or why not both? Possibilities are endless.

I’ve had a number of special memories from this race — from nearly setting a PR in the half marathon, setting a PR in the marathon and then running with Jill for her first marathon. This race has been the backdrop to a lot of special moments for me. That’s one reason why I’ll always come back. I’ve got to. It’s MY race down MY canyon.

And, if you’re wondering — yes — I am planning on just running the half marathon in 2017. Sooooo — the odds are pretty good that it’ll end up being the marathon at this rate! HAHAHA!

BIG COTTONWOOD OR BUST, BABY!


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PHATGRAMS

Shhhhh … I snuck my apple sauce snack on the bus after the gym. #ieatlikeatoddler

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I’m 99% sure I’m sitting behind Captain Kangaroo on the bus right now. #icantbewrong

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Whenever I am at Michael’s, I end up here. #always

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2017 race schedule

Yesterday I blogged a bit about my 2017 race schedule … you can read all about that in depth here. But, I thought I’d share the schedule here in detail as well. Anyone else running any of these races?

139. New Year’s Half Marathon — January 7, 2017
140. St. George Half Marathon — January 14, 2017
141. Salt Lake Tri Club Half Marathon — February 25, 2017
142. March Madness Half Marathon — March 4, 2017
143. Lucky 13 Half Marathon — March 18, 2017
144. Tulip Festival Half Marathon — April 29, 2017
145. Provo City Half Marathon — May 6, 2017
146. Vigor Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — May 13, 2017
147. Ogden Half Marathon — May 20, 2017
148. Ragnar Wasatch Back — June 2-3, 2017
149. Drop 13 Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — June 11, 2017
150. AF Canyon Race Against Cancer — June 24, 2017
151. Hobbler Half — July 8, 2017
152. Utah Midnight Run — July 14, 2017
153. Deseret News Half Marathon — July 24, 2017
154. Timp Half — July 29, 2017
155. Parowan City Half Marathon — August 5, 2017
156. Skyline Half Marathon — August 19, 2017
157. Run Elevated Half Marathon — August 26, 2017
158. Nebo Half — September 2, 2017
159. Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon — September 9, 2017
160. Park City City Trail Half Marathon — September 16, 2017
161. Huntsville Half Marathon — September 23, 2017
162. Frightmares Half Marathon — October 14, 2017
163. Haunted Half SLC — October 21, 2017
164. Haunted Half Provo — October 28, 2017
165. Snow Canyon Half Marathon — November 4, 2017
166. Thankful 13 — November 23, 2017

I should be about 14 races away from my 180 goal in 2018! I’m aiming for that to be the Handcart Days Half Marathon. Should be a fun 18 months of running!


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