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 …
It’s no secret that I have an eternal crush on Big Cottonwood Canyon. I love this canyon. Ever since I was a child and my grandparents would take us up the canyon for a picnic to now as a runner — the beauty and majesty of the canyon leaves me awestruck. As a runner I jump on any opportunity to run this canyon I get — whether it’s a race or training run.
After I backed out of the Utah Valley Marathon a month or so ago, I decided to register for the Drop13 Half instead of simply downgrading to the half. This is a fun, fast course. And, unlike the Revel Big Cottonwood Half Marathon, 12 miles of the race are in the canyon compared to about 10 or so.
Not, that I don’t love Revel Big Cottonwood, it’s just — I love canyon miles. Being a bigger runner I love having gravity on my side. It makes it much, much more enjoyable.
Going into the race I didn’t really have a set goal. Still dealing with my sprained ankle I didn’t know what to expect? I wanted to at least come in under three hours — which I felt was doable. I still have pain in the ankle, but it’s pretty much only regelated to when I move laterally than anything.
If I wasn’t dealing with the ankle rehab I was really hoping to push 2:30 — which is what I ran last year. It’s been humbling dealing with this ankle, because I do feel like I could push that time, but the ankle hinders that. I just have to remember to be patient with my recovery no matter now anxious I am to move forward.
Race day started early — as is usual with summer races. With a 6am gun time I up at 2am and out the door by 3am so I could get on a bus for the start line at 4:30am. So, so, so, so, so early. But, that’s the beast of summer running.
After meeting up with Tim and his wife — Boojah — we rode up the canyon together. After a quick pit stop to the Honey Buckets we still had just over an hour left until gun time. The trick now was staying warm until then. Which isn’t very easy up Big Cottonwood — anytime time of the year.
While wandering around the starting line for a bit, I found a group of my friends huddled together in the Uhaul with the engine running and heat blasted to high. There wasn’t enough room for me in the cabin, but I was able to stick my face into the open window — which did the trick.
After take a quick group picture and after waiting for the majority of the crowd to cross the start line — we were off! Tim and I decided to stick together for most of run depending on how we both felt. With my ankle and his lack of miles of late — we didn’t really know what to expect? So we just we just ran together.
I felt good in the first few miles of the race. My ankle felt really good and I tried to focus on pushing myself as best as I could. It wasn’t until about mile 4-5 that I started to feel the ankle rather aggressively.
Most of this discomfort was brought on by the twists and turns in the course. Many of those turns acted much like a lateral move which aggravated the ankle. Luckily, it doesn’t cause extreme pain in my ankle, but it makes it uncomfortable enough that if I am not careful I can misalign everything about my gait and pace. Which can cause more pain and issues in the long run.
At this point I had split with Tim at the last aid station so he could use a Honey Bucket. So I just centered on my ankle, gait and pace. I cranked up my music and just watched the terrain so I could avoid uneven grades to pain my ankle.
Basically, as the course wound down the canyon my pace became more of a fartlek than anything. Which I was fine with, but it was a bit frustrating because I very much just wanted a consistent pace. But, I just focused on doing my best and pushing myself where I could.
Around Mile 8-9 Tim caught back up with me, we kept a good paced fartlek. We ended up walking most of the switchback. Even walking the switchback was tough on my ankle. The elevation drop lends itself to runners than walkers, so my quads lurched forward while my ankle got a brunt of the impact.
The last few miles were pretty non-descript and was easier for me to run. But, at this point of the race my ankle was hurting pretty bad — so any push I made to run faster was rather painful. So, I just tried to find a good pace that was at least faster than a walk.
Tim was hurting pretty good and started walking more, so with about a mile, mile and half out I ditched him. I couldn’t walk without my ankle hurting worse, so I had to keep going at my set pace. Plus, I just wanted to be done — aaaaaand — I felt like a sub-three time was still a reachable goal.
So I pressed forward like a hot mess.
At Mile 12 I got a second mind as we exited the canyon. And, I pushed myself, especially as I saw that I would be cutting the goal time close. I kept the walking to a minimum and only in areas where I felt I needed to slow down for the sake of my ankle. But, I felt like I had enough energy to make it.
I crossed the finish line in 2:56:08. Not my fastest time, but also not my slowest. And, given the circumstances with my ankle — I felt proud of myself. I could have easily taken it easy, especially those last couple miles. But, I didn’t. I kept pushing and it paid off. And, I met my goal.
Luckily, my ankle is feeling okay 24 hours after the race. Really the only pain I have is in my quads which is expected for a race like this one. That gives me hope for a faster recovery. I start physical therapy on the ankle next week so that will only help.
But, I have Race #148 done — and now I am focused on the Bear Lake Trifecta this week. Luckily, I am just doing the half marathon trifecta, but it will be a challenge for sure. Is it the smartest? Probably not. But, I won’t have any reservations backing out of any of the races if I feel like my ankle can’t take it.
And, if all goes according to plan I will also be hitting a milestone on Friday when I run my 150th race. It’s hard to believe this journey is just 30 races away from being completed. But, at the same time — I am excited to move forward onto some other goals in my running and life. More that I will share not much later.
Anyways — I’ll be back for the Drop13 again next year. I’ve got some goals and unfinished business to deal with on this course. I want to redeem my time and hopefully meet a new PR! But, in the meantime I’ll keep my focus on strengthening my ankle, getting stronger, faster and slimmer.
Running Miles — 12.2 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 24.14 miles
TOTAL MILES — 49.44 miles Race(s) this week — Drop13 Half Marathon
June 2017 Miles
Running Miles — 21.7 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 32.81 miles
TOTAL MILES — 67.61 miles Races in May — Drop 13 Half Marathon, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, Bear Lake Trifecta, AF Canyon Race Against Cancer
Running Miles — 248.95 miles
Race Miles — 190.72 miles
Walking Miles — 557.26 miles
TOTAL MILES — 996.93 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, Saltair Half, Provo City Half Marathon, Jordan River Half Marathon and Drop13 Half Marathon.
I’ve been looking forward to this race for quite a while. Well, okay, maybe for the last three months. I wasn’t planning on racing this weekend because I needed to get a 20 mile training run in for my marathon and ultra training. I was reserving my goal half marathon race for the year for the Nebo Half which is happening this upcoming weekend.
BUT — I do a little switcheroo, because I have a family reunion this upcoming weekend in Idaho. And, as much as I love Nebo, I kinda love my family more. Don’t ask me to gauge that, because there may or may not be that much of a difference when you’re talking about the Nebo Half.
I love that race.
So, since I wasn’t running Nebo, I decided to pick up the Run Elevated Half Marathon instead — another equally fast canyon race. I’ve been running Run Elevated for four years now — ever since it’s inaugural run in 2013. I love it. I PR’d on the course in 2013. I feel intimately close to the race — well, okay — that sounds like a bad choice of words. Basically, I know the course really well and love every bit of it.
The infamous hill — can’t remember what they call it — doesn’t phase me. I’ve gotten use to just jogging that blasted hill. It’s a pace killer, but I’ve learned it’s better to keep a slower pace up the hill then to walk the hill. Even if that pace is slower than your usual walk. Trust me — that logic makes sense to a runner.
Then there’s the whole canyon that I love — Little Cottonwood Canyon lends itself as one of the prettiest canyons here in northern Utah. It’s less traversed than Big Cottonwood and Emigrations, mainly because it’s roads don’t lend itself well to runners. They’re smaller shoulders compared to the other canyons. I’ve only ran the canyon once outside of this race.
Additionally, this is the only road race that goes down the canyon. I think it’s mostly because the community tries to limit them as much as possible — which I would understand. It is a watershed after all. All of that makes this race kind of a special treat. It’s capped off at 2,000 runners — so it’s small and intimate enough that it really feels like a special event.
The numbers felt really low though this year, which honestly wasn’t surprising. There were a number of races held this weekend. And, by a number, I mean — too many. There was besides Run Elevated — Top of Utah Half, East Canyon Marathon, High Unitas Marathon, Rivalry Relay and Lake Relay. When people point to saturation problems here in Utah this weekend is a good example. The High Uintas Marathon ended up being cancelled this past week — probably because of low registration? I’m not sure.
Either way — I really hope race directors correlate a bit better next year, because there’s still a market for these races, but you’re just going to kill yourself if you keep competing against each other like this. There are plenty of underutilized weekends for races. But, this post really is one for another day. Regardless, I noticed a difference at this race compared to year’s past.
But, to this race. So my goal — one that I’ve been trying to hit since June is that of a sub-2:30 half marathon. I try not to think too much of where I’ve been in the past. Because a few years ago — I was hitting 2:10-2:20s quite regularly. And, because of my health issues and that I’ve basically been at ground zero building myself back up. Which is fine — because I gotta get back somehow, right?
Anyways — I’ve come close to this goal. And, after not hitting it at Drop13 in June and the Deseret News Half in July — I really wanted to reach the goal at the end of summer, especially since September and October were my marathons and ultra. Speed wasn’t going to be priority — especially since that’s not my goal for my marathons.
Going into August — I felt really optimistic about my progress towards the goal. I had some really great runs and I felt stronger, especially as I transitioned my diet from the Whole30 to a Paleo 80/20 diet. Things were just clicking.
But, then about two weeks ago — I got sick. And, it just sucked pretty much everything out of me. For a good week I just didn’t get in the kind of runs I wanted to and last Saturday I got in less miles I wanted to — but they were still miles. Needless to say — I just didn’t know where I would be physically going into this race? Especially considering I was still dealing with congestion and a mild cough.
So the week leading up the race — I wasn’t sure how to approach the race. Do I just go for it as planned or do I go by feel and just push myself? Going through with the race as planned meant I’d be running with my Garmin watching my pace carefully as I ran down the canyon.
But, if I didn’t have it in me to reach the goal, the last thing I need is a constant reminder wrapped around my wrist of how horrible of a runner I was because I didn’t hit my goal. Normally, I would just say — let me stick with the 2:30 pacers and I’ll be fine. But, considering the race doesn’t have pacers — that wasn’t an option either.
I was grappling back and forth with this mentality all week long. And, it wasn’t until Friday night that I just told myself — “screw it! I’m running Garmin-less.” I just knew if I didn’t hit my goal it would have ruined my whole race. I had to run the race oblivious to the time and just go out there and with my best effort. That’s all I could ask for, right?
The morning of the race — I felt good. I did have a bit of congestion. But, otherwise I felt good. To make sure I didn’t have a coughing attack mid-race I made sure I had my inhaler. I felt good to go. I still didn’t know how my race would end out, but I was ready to take a stab at it.
After meeting up with Dith at the bus pick up I hopped on the bus with the Skinners and rode up the canyon where we hung out until the 6:30am gun time. Thankfully the weather was doable compared to a couple years ago when it was snowing at the starting line. I’ll never forget that — it was such a buzzkill. There’s nothing like getting excited for a summer race, only to be meet with snow.
Anyways — crossing the starting line I just let gravity do it’s thing. I focused on not going out too fast, because I knew how easy it was on this course. I ran the first mile somewhat fragmented. I ditched my hoodie a half mile in before retying my shoes. My legs were still a little sore from leg day on Wednesday, so I just needed to warm up a bit.
A couple more miles into the race I started hitting my stride and feeling pretty good. I just focused on my breathing, tempo and effort. It was around this time also that my two month old headphones decided to die. Well, half of them died. I suspect my headphones were a Chinese knockoff. But, that’s a story for another day.
After I settled for one ear stereo I just ran. I felt good and I just focused on my effort. I didn’t know where my pace was and while I cared, I didn’t. I just wanted to — dare I say — my best foot forward.
I stopped at each aid station to refuel. Not only did I refuel with water and a swig of Gatorade, but I brought some an applesauce packet to eat midway through. I tried to not stop too long at the aid station. I did have to stop once. And, I took a few pictures at the stops, because the scenery was just BEAUTIFUL.
In retrospect I probably wouldn’t have taken a few of those pictures. I couldn’t have held through my pit stop, but I did take a pit stop for a posed race picture. That one I probably should have ran through, because I was much closer to my goal than I thought. A lot closer.
The first 7-8 miles are all canyon miles and I knew once I was out of the canyon — it would be MUCH tougher. That happened to me at Timp, Deseret News and Drop13. But, when I was hitting the mouth of the canyon I just went into a beast mode. Mainly, because I knew it was going to get tough, especially as we approached the hill.
I ran into my friend Shaylee at the mile nine aid station as she was pulled off the course due to injury. I felt bad because I know how much she loves this fast race as well. Injuries just suck. And, this course can lend itself to some fun ones if you’re not careful.
Once we got onto Wasatch Blvd. the downhill around mile 10 was welcomed, but I knew the blasted hill was around the corner. So, I just kept at it. My approach to the hill was simple — just run it. And, if I couldn’t run it, just pretending your running — even if it’s at your normal walking pace.
So, yeah, that was basically what I did up the hill. It’s not that long of a hill, but it will kill your pace if you’re not careful. Especially if you walk. So, when it comes to hills like this one, I just keep myself in the running motion so I keep the mechanics going. I find it’s easier to get back into my pace if I do this.
Now, if there’s a science to all of that — I don’t know? But, it’s saved my races in this race, St. George and a couple others.
Once I was past the hill, there was about 2-2.5 miles until I hit the finish line. I took a quick glance at my phone’s clock and realized I was making great time. I tried to do some math to see if I was on target — I figured I was, but I wasn’t sure. So, I just ran like I was going to hit my goal.
The last two miles felt strong. Both mentally and physically. I just kept moving forward. My legs were burning, but I didn’t care. I tried to numb everything below my neck and just focus on running. It honestly felt like the last two miles flew by fast. And, I am sure if I ran with my Garmin those last two miles would rival my canyon miles. Or at least it felt like it.
During the last mile as I was making my way towards the finish line, I started getting a little emotional. It wasn’t because I felt like I was on pace or that I was going to reach the goal. But, it was from the feeling that I put everything into this run. I was feeling spent. I was feeling sore. I was feeling strong. I was feeling focused.
It was around this time that OneRepublic’s “I Lived” came across my playlist. And, that didn’t help either. It’s one of my favorite songs. The lyrics, music and message — were just what I needed as I ran towards the finish line. It’s one of few songs on my life playlists.
But, as I hit the homestretch I just hit another gear and sprinted towards the finish line. The clock said something like 2:32, so I knew I was going to be close — after considering when I crossed the finish line and all. I didn’t think I got it, but I knew not only that I was close, but that I gave it everything in me.
Once I refueled and got my drop bag I headed over to the results table and got my card. The card read … 2:31:00:03. A mere 1:01 minute from my goal. Oh, so close.
I won’t lie — I reanalyzed every pit stop, picture and aid station — because a few tweaks here and there and I probably could have gotten my goal. But, I wasn’t feeling a sense of disappointment. Far from it. I gave everything during those 13.1 miles, despite not knowing how my body was going to react after being sick the week before. Despite feeling under the weather still — I pushed forward.
Plus, it was still a year best time for me in the half marathon. How can I feel about that?
Sure there are a lot of shoulda, coulda and wouldas. But, that gets you nowhere dwelling on for a race already ran. Will I learn from it? You betcha. Not just in race plan management, but maintaining race pace and pushing through pain. There’s a lot there that I could talk about — but, really, that’s a post for another day.
I feel great about my race and look forward to breaking through that goal time — this year or 2017. Looking back at my running patterns too, I ran 2:30-2:40 pretty consistently for my first year of running until I broke into the 2:10-2:20 the following year. So, in a way, I feel like I am following that pattern. Hopefully that means 2017 will be a fast year for me. I feel confident enough that it will be if I continue working hard and pushing myself.
After the race I still had to get seven more miles in for my 20 miles needed that day. I was originally planning on running seven miles in Sandy near the finish line, but I had to get home and decided to do them at home on the treadmill.
My goal for these miles were really to simulate fatigue — and my legs were fatigued. I waited a couple hours after getting home before doing my miles — and they definitely hurt. It was hard getting into a rhythm, but I pushed through the pain and eventually found one. I really tried to visualize myself out on the course of my 50 miler going through that kind of fatigue.
I’ll tell you what — it’s been fun training for my 50, because it’s so different from a marathon. There’s so much mental preparedness I need to prepare myself for, that I look for way to do it. Whether it’s running 20 miles on a treadmill or running 7 miles hours after a fast paced half marathon — I always look for ways to prepare me for October 21.
This upcoming month is going to be the real test. I’ve got three marathons coming up — Big Cottonwood (Sept. 10), Huntsville (Sept. 17) and St. George (October 1) along with my miles this weekend and a special relay with AIIA on Sept. 24. So, I’ll be doing big, big miles — and really getting myself ready for October 21. I’m nervous — but, more excited than anything.
And, really it’s just focusing on one foot in front of the other — much like I’ve been doing since I ran my first 5K.
MY NEXT RACE
My next race isn’t until September 10th. And, I’ll be sweeping the Big Cottonwood Marathon once again. I did it last with my friend Ramie and had a blast and a half (not to mention a Slurpee). This year I’ll be sweeping with my friend Chanda — I am anticipating another blast and a half (and not to mention another Slurpee).
This will be the fifth time that I’ve ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon. Well, okay — fourth for the 26.2. I did the 13.1 once back in 2013. The funny thing is that when I’ve signed up for the race — I’ve never registered for the marathon. I always sign up for the half marathon, but I either upgrade to the marathon (like I did in 2012 and 2014) or get asked to sweep the course (like I did in 2015 and last year).
Now, I’m planning on signing up for JUST the half marathon in 2017, but we’ll see how that pans out come next year.
Anyways — there’s no real game plan for this marathon other than sweeping the course. Well, okay, I lied. The first 14-15 miles in the canyon I just have to maintain a 13 minute pace until we get onto Wasatch Blvd. for the out and back. After that — it’s just being as fast as the slowest runner. So, really there is a technicalness to the course even if I’m sweeping.
And, if you’re wondering — yes — I stop for Slurpees at Mile 20. There is a 7 Eleven at the mouth of the canyon and it’s just a crime to bypass the opportunity to grab a mid-marathon Slurpee.
I love this race — and even if I’m not running it for myself, there is nothing quite like running Big Cottonwood in the fall. Totally gorgeous and worth the registration fee. Plus, this will be great ultra training being on my feet for 6:30-7 hours. It’ll be a fun loooooong day.
This is one of my favorite episodes of the AIIA Podcast. Jed was one of the first athletes I met in AIIA and seriously, he’s one of the greatest guys I know. He helped run me in at the Provo City Half back in May and, really, he just embodies everything that AIIA stands for.
This is definitely worth the listen. I love uploading these podcasts to my phone to listen during my races or runs. Sometimes I’ll listen during my morning commute, but when it comes to the AIIA podcasts, I’d much rather be inspired out there when I’m running. Really help me connect to the message.
Sometimes I feel like I should question by sanity. Seriously. What is it inside me that THINKS running a 15 mile trail run hours after completing a half marathon is a good idea?
I really am of the believe that runners have a built-in amnesia that makes them forget past “horrible” experiences. Because, if I’ve done a feat similar to what I did on Saturday and hurt for days afterwards … why would I want to do it again?
Well … for the bling and t-shirt, right?
Well, okay it’s deeper than that.
One of the reasons why I raced 28.1 miles in one day was because I kinda had to, so I could make the Handcart Days Half Marathon my 100th race over 13.1 miles. I made the decision to make that race my milestone race about a month and a half ago and had to add a couple races to my docket to make it work.
It just happened that I had to do a couple double-double races. A couple of weeks ago I did a night-morning race which honestly felt a bit harder than Saturday’s feat. Fatigue was very much a factor during those races. At least on Saturday I got a nap in between races after a good night’s race.
But, still, that’s 28.1 miles I had to forge through one step at a time. And, it wasn’t easy. Even now as I am writing my review my feet hurt and my calves have been threatening to cramp since I grabbed my medal at the Dam 15 Miler last night. But, I also have a huge feeling of accomplishment that makes those physical pains secondary.
I did a lot of reflecting while out on the road and trail. My mind kept going back to my first few races and thinking of the biggest differences between now and then. The biggest thing is my involvement and friendships I have gained within the running community. To me that has been the biggest blessing in my running. The people I have met, befriended and ran with have all become a part of me and this little journey I have undertaken.
Luckily, I spent a lot of time running solo on Saturday, because there were a number of times I got a tad emotional about it too. I thanked God a lot for those friendships and my experiences. My mind also went a lot to my Grandma. Sunday was her birthday and she passed away just five months ago, if I had a number one fan of my running … it was her. I knew and felt she was proud of my accomplishments not just from Saturday, but in my whole effort of getting to my goal.
Anyways … this post isn’t about that. I’ll be writing more about that later this week actually. So stay tuned.
Let’s get to my race recaps.
I don’t know if I would have been able to do both races if I wasn’t sweeping Hobbler. But, sweeping isn’t easy. And, depending on the course it can be rather challenging. Since my job is to be as fast as the slowest runner that can vary from race to race.
But, sweeping is an easier recover than pacing or just running mainly because you aren’t going to complete exhaustion. There is a fatigue to worry about and for me I need to worry about my feet, because being on my feet for nearly four hours hurts my feet.
Since the race was in the Springville/Mapleton area I crashed at Jorge and Holly’s place. The original plan was to camp out in their front yard with other pacers. But, since a number of pacers found other places or just drove down the morning of the race, it was just me. So, Jorge and Holly let me crash inside on the couch.
Since the race started at 6:30am (unlike 6am for most summer races) the bus pickup wasn’t until 4:45am. This made for a leisurely morning with a 4am wake up call. Which was nice. Especially considering if I drove down from Bountiful that wakeup call would have been closer to 2am. I am really appreciative of Jorge and Holly’s generosity.
The bus ride up the canyon wasn’t a fun one for me. I didn’t realize how bumpy the canyon was and because of that I started getting some motion sickness. Not fun at all. Luckily, the drive was shorter than other races.
After hanging out at the starting line for about an hour the race was ready to begin. I brought along my back pack as my drop back, but because I was too busy talking with others I missed the announcement to get my drop back to the bus. So, I was forced to run with my pack.
It wouldn’t have been bad if it was my usual running bag, but it’s just a simple back pack with no extra straps or anything fancy like that. Luckily I wasn’t going too fast so running with it wasn’t too burdensome, it was just annoying. But, it came in handy have my full gambit of running supplies because I was able to share some Aleve and salt tablets with others.
Since I was the last runner I hung back at the starting line for the last runners to cross the starting line. This was nice because I didn’t have to wait in line to use the Honey Buckets. This is one real perk to sweeping. Of course that perk also has a downside … aaaaand … it’s safe to say that goes unsaid.
Once out on the course I kept my distance from the last few runners. I do this on purpose for a couple of reasons. One, I’ll play catch up so I get some good running in during the race (basically fartleking) and, two, usually the back of the pack runners aren’t struggling and more so enjoying the run. I’ll support where and when needed. But, the last thing I want to do is interrupt ones’ race.
For being a canyon race, the course was nothing like a typical canyon race. This meaning, there’s not much downhill. And, in the case of Hobble Creek Canyon, it’s more of a rolling hill course. Which isn’t BAD, just not a typical Utah canyon course.
The first six miles of the race were fairly well covered in shade, but once the sun came out it got hot pretty quickly. That’s where my salt tablets and Aleve came in handy. Not just for me, but for a couple others as well. I also focused on water and Powerade at each aid station. The last thing I wanted was heat exhaustion before my second race began.
The last three miles were the toughest. The sagging wagon joined up with us by mile 10 and closely followed me as I ran behind the last runner. The best part of this was the driver was listening to The Newsies soundtrack. I won’t lie, I was entertained and thankful. It was a good diversion.
During the last couple of miles I ran with the last runner just ahead of me. I could tell she was struggling some as she slowed down quite a bit. It turned out she was suffering from shin splits. Not fun. She was apologetic for being so slow, but I told her this was her race, not mine. My job was to help get her to the finish line.
Which we did.
Since we were the last runners across the finish line I grabbed my medal and beelined it over to get some french toast. The biggest perk being they gave me a WHOLE pan of it which I ended up taking home for my family. Talk about a perk, right?
After stretching out some and coming to, Jorge and I went and got our Slurpee for National Slurpee Day and I started to physically (meaning I took a nap) and mentally prepare for my next race.
I will admit, coming into the race I was a tad unprepared. Part of it was my fault and some of it was circumstantial. But, it turned out well.
After taking a nap at Jorge and Holly’s place and getting some food in me, I was ready to tackle the second leg of my adventure at Deer Creek Reservoir near Heber City. Even though I was rested and refreshed I was still worried about this second race because it was a 15 miler … on trails.
Not a good combination for speed in my book.
But, I knew I could do it and would do it.
The race began at 6pm and I had checked in at 4:45pm. But, since this was a low key race I didn’t really want to wait around for an hour. So I asked if I could start early. Which I was given the go ahead to do so. This made a lot of the anxiety I felt about being the last one on the course go away.
Jamie and I started out together and got the jump start. It might have been a little bit hotter starting at 5pm. And, it took me a little bit to get acclimated to that with salt tablets, water and some gels. That wasn’t as bad as when I almost stepped right on top of a snake. Luckily, it was just a gopher snake and not a rattler, but … still … it was a snake. And, if it wasn’t for Jamie’s keen eye I would have stepped on it for sure as it looked like a twig or divot in the middle of the course.
Ugh, I hate snakes.
It took Jamie and I just under two hours to get to the turn around point with about 3-4 runners who started at 6pm ahead of us. Jamie went ahead of me while I stayed at the aid station stretching and refueling. By this point the majority of the runners were catching up at the turn around station.
It was fun to run into a number of my friends along the course. Both as they were heading to the turn around point and back. I ran with a few of them for as long as my legs would allow it. But, after 20+ miles of running during the day the only thing I was going to be able to catch up with was a lethargic snail with a cold. And, I was fine with that.
My preparedness for this race was ruined with two things. One, I forgot my hiking pack. I could have sworn I had packed it, but alas it was right on my bed when I got home later that night. So I was forced to use my back pack again. Not comfortable.
And, two, my head lamp was dead. I tested it the night before, but when I went to use it at dusk I noticed it was completely dead. I think it may have accidentally turned on and ran out of battery? Luckily, I finished around 10pm when there was still a sliver of light left. Enough to see if I was going to step on a bunny or horse poop.
This just made me more grateful that I started an hour early.
The last couple of miles of the race were EXTRA tough. By this point I was above 26.2 miles, the most I have ran and I was just sore. I was tired. My race plan for this course was to walk up the hills and then run the down hill to give me some kind of consistency. But, mile 13-14, I was so tired physically and mentally that I forgot that game plan and I swear I was starting to run up hill and walk the down hill.
But, it was also during this time that my heart and mind seriously began to reflect upon the breadth of what I was doing. I started getting super emotional about it too. I am glad I was running alone because I have no doubt I would have looked like a hot mess.
I guess you could have called this HITTING the wall, but I am pretty sure I hit that miles earlier. This was almost like I went back to the wall to get hit again? It was a crazy experience to say the least.
But, once I got to the home stretch and saw the lights of the finish line … I was done. Just like that.
I lingered around the finish line for a while kind of bemoaning my hour or so long ride home. I won’t lie, I wish I could have called a cab to drive me home. But, after getting some water and bananas down me I mustered the strength to get myself back to my car.
After the hour long drive home I stopped by my Subway for a foot-long sandwich because those bananas and couple of cookies after the race didn’t cut it. I needed serious food. Luckily, my local Subway is a 24/7 location (how did my hometown get so lucky?) and I enjoyed myself a midnight footlong (that sounds questionable) before crawling into bed for a nice long sleep.
And, yeah, so that’s the story of the time I decided to run 28.1 miles in one day over two races.
And, the worst part about it all? I think I talked myself into running a 50K in November. Yes, a 50K. I’ve been wanting to become an ultra marathoner and of course I decided this around mile 18 or so of my miles.
I really have a problem.
But, I love it.
NEXT RACE: HANDCART DAYS HALF
THE GOAL! Well, not THE goal, but a HUGE milestone towards that goal. And, this was been a goal I’ve been leading myself up to this summer. It’s only fitting to hit my 100th race over 13.1 miles at the race that started little adventure, right?
The race is turning itself into a little party. I am pushing Elsha during the race and this past week Tim Gill signed up and is planning on running alongside us. There are also a few other friends who are planning on signing up as well. I am not sure if they’re planning on running with me. But, it’s going to be a party pre-race, mid-race and post-race regardless.
I am just really excited about this milestone for many reasons, but more so that I get to share it with my friends. The last time I ran this race I did so all by myself and by doing this with many of my friends is just a testament of how the running community has affected myself.
THE BUGOUT RUN! THIS WEEKEND!
There is still time to register for The Bugout Run this weekend. The event will be held in somewhere in Davis County on Saturday morning. Here are some more details about the run.
Register now so you don’t miss out on updates.
Oh, and did I mention that the race is FREE?!
2015 MONTHLY MILEAGE
Total Mileage Breakdown for 20152015 Training Miles – 188.0 miles2015 Walking Miles – 209.0 miles
2015 Race Miles – 213.65 miles2015 Total Miles – 610.65 milesMonthly Total Miles for 2015January – 78.8 milesFebruary – 72.85 miles
March – 115.3 miles
April – 76.3 miles
May – 97.4 miles
June – 131.15 miles
July – 36.6 miles