Tag: utah

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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RACE #167: Snow Canyon Half Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

It was destiny.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first 6-7 miles were perfect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which was still an issue for my next race.

[CLICK HERE TO READ MY JOSHUA TREE HALF REPORT] – Link Coming Soon


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RACE #166: The Haunted Half — Provo City

I am winding down on so much right now — not only am I winding down on my 2017 race schedule, but my 180 goal as well. This was my 29th race over 13.1 miles this year and fourth to last. That’s a lot of running. Then on top of that this is the 15th to the last race of my 180 race goal.

That last one is a harder one to process than this year’s race schedule. But, here I am running my 29th race of the year and 166th race of my 180 goal. It’s hard not to get somewhat sentimental at these races — especially the ones I’ve done basically every year.

The Haunted Half is one that I have rarely missed the past few years. That includes both the Provo and Salt Lake City races. These are some of my favorite races — from the courses, medals, t-shirts and overall experience. That was one reason I loved working for Runtastic Events during the time I did, because we focused on providing top notch quality for the runners and their race experience.

As difficult as it was stepping away from the race company, I was excited that I was able to run the races — especially the Nebo Half (my favorite) and The Haunted Half races. That also meant I was going to be able to EARN the Trilogy medal. I am sure if I was still working for the company I would have been given one, but that’s not the same as EARNING the medal.

It’s a really, really, really cool medal. The design it top notch, it’s HUGE and it’s heavier than most newborn babies (slightly exaggerating). Since I won’t be in town for the Thankful 13 I had to earn it earlier and this race was the final race I had to do for the medal.

So here I am.

Since this is a Halloween race, I was planning on dressing up. But, the banana costume I bought wasn’t really running friendly. So I had to improvise. And, by improvise I mean — take the laziest approach to my costume. I threw on my Greg Gregerson shirt and just went as Greg Gregerson. That was it.

Kinda lame I know. But, it worked. And, I didn’t have to worry about the logistics of costume. A costume I’m not sure wouldn’t kill me with excess chaffing? And, that’s something you don’t want to find out.

So, Greg Gregerson it was.

I know, you kinda wish you could pull that off, huh?

I didn’t have a time goal for this race. I’ve made the switched to an effort goal about a month ago as I work toward my 100 mile run in February. I really wanted a good effort with minimal walking. So if there was any goal — that was it.

A lot of the athletes from my Addict II Athlete team were running this race in honor of Carlee whom we lost earlier this month. It’s been a very emotional month for the team and this was a very emotional race as well.

A number of wore Carlee’s name on our shoes, some ran in pink tutus for Carlee and Don ran the whole 13.1 miles dragging Carlee’s “I Can Do Hard Things” tire behind him. It was a great tribute to her. It was a very emotional run for many of us.

I started off the run with Don, Russell and a number of the teammates. We all kept close to each other for the first half of the race. At the mid way point we kind of part and I ran the rest of the race with Zack and some of the Minor League team members.

Zack was slowing down a bit around Mile 9-10 and I ended up sticking with him for the rest of the race. As fast and downhill this race is, I forget that those last few miles are TOUGH! Around mile 10 the canyon is gone and the hills come out.

The worst of all the hills is the hill at Mile 12. People complain about the hill at Mile 10.5 of Run Elevated down Little Cottonwood Canyon, but this hill is much worse. It’s longer and — just brutal.

But, the good thing is that once you get over it the finish line isn’t too far away. But, oy! It was brutal (have I said that enough?).

The effort was there and once I got to the finish line I was done. I gave a great effort. I quickly grabbed my race medal and some water before grabbing my bag and Trilogy medal before leaving. I wanted to linger, but I was exhausted and really needed food in me.

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Luckily for me there was an In-N-Out less than a mile from the finish line. I was in heaven. Ever since I started my keto diet my favorite thing after a long run or race was an In-N-Out protein style, animal style burger.

Needless to say, it was delicious. Possibly life changing.

The focus now is this weekend’s races in St. George and Joshua Tree, California. As you might recall I am running both the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and Joshua Tree Half Marathon on Saturday. It will be a great challenge and training for my 100. Plus, there’s the whole part where I’m running my name.

I’ll have more on that later this week.


MY REMAINING 2017 RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 4.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 17.46 miles
TOTAL MILES — 34.56miles
Races This Week — The Haunted Half — Provo

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 33.69 miles
Race Miles — 52.4 miles
Walking Miles — 89.62 miles
TOTAL MILES — 175.71 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 415.24 miles
Race Miles — 427.57 miles
Walking Miles — 1117.23 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1960.04 miles
Races done in 2017 — (30) 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 and The Haunted Half — Provo.


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RACE #165: Howloween Half Marathon

[CLICK HERE FOR MY SOJO HALF RACE REPORT]

After getting home from the SoJo Half I had an agenda — get some food and take a nap. Unfortunately, I only succeeded in one of those two. I didn’t get the nap I wanted. But, after some steak and eggs I was pretty much good to go for my second race.

This was the second time that I’ve done the Howloween Half. The last time it was held was back in 2013, but it was held in Provo and not Magna. But, with that said, I’ve done this course numerous of times, as it’s the same course as the Saltair Half. The race I did back in April.

But, I’ve never done this course in the dark.

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My goal going into the race was to fast/mall walk and to finish within four hours. The goal to fast/mall walk was to replicate my ultra pace on tired legs so I could gauge where I’m at physically. I know that sounds somewhat strange. But, with my injuries and health the past year my training has been somewhat shot.

And, the time goal was there only because I had to pick my Mom up at 10:30pm from the airport.

The race was rather small with about 30-40 runners. I like these races because there is a different feel to it. I love the chill atmosphere to Extra Mile Racing’s races. And, this race was no different.

I meandered out there and arrived about a half hour before gun time. With the casualness of the race I got my bib and shirt with ease. I waited until gun time to start, but I won’t lie — I wanted to start a soon as I was ready. Mainly, because I knew I was going to be out there for a while.

I didn’t know who was sweeping the course, but with my race plan — I knew I’d be hanging out with them for most — if not all — of the race. I was excited to see that it was my friend Jennifer Petrossi from my Addict II Athlete team.

And, we did the whole race together.

And, we had a blast.

We talked about life, keto, the Addict II Athlete team, more about life and even more about the Addict II Athlete team. This happens when you run with anyone. But, we were also out there longer than usual so we got life stories, diet plans (helps we’re keto freaks) and whatever came to mind. It was a lot of fun.

The race started around 6pm and we reached the turn around just as the sun set and we were left completely in the dark. I thought about bringing a head lamp. Heck, the prerace email stated I should bring a head lamp. But, did I?

Nope.

And, neither did Jennifer.

We tried using our phone flashlight, but it wasn’t really needed. The lights of the passing cars on the freeway provided some light. But, we really didn’t need to know where to run, because it was a flat paved frontage road.

With about three miles left to go T.J., Jennifer’s husband, came out to run us in. He had paced the 2:10 group and after he finished he came back out — crazy if you ask me. Funny when you realize I was in the middle of my own crazy.

I kept focusing on my pace and even though those last three miles were tough, they were tougher mentally than physically, which was encouraging. And, in a funny twist, that helped me mentally, because it gave me the confidence that I can do this crazy little 100 mile run in February.

As soon as we finished, we stopped and snapped a couple of pictures and then I just headed to the car. I gathered my belongings and just sat in the car for a couple minutes to gather myself. I started to ache and the stiffness of my legs settled in — it wasn’t fun.

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But, I made my journey to the airport to pickup my Mom, but in true Hansen fashion she gave me the wrong time. She came in an hour later than originally stated, so I started stretching in the car after popping a couple Aleve for the pain.

Once I got home it didn’t take long for me to crash after a quick shower and a small meal. I was dead. And, I was out within minutes. It was a long day, but worth all the pain and effort.

Now to do it again in a couple weeks.

Oy!


MY REMAINING 2017 RACE SCHEDULE


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 8.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 22.09 miles
TOTAL MILES — 56.29 miles
Races This Week — SoJo Half & Howloween Half

October 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 29.69 miles
Race Miles — 39.3 miles
Walking Miles — 72.16 miles
TOTAL MILES — 141.33 miles
Races in September — (4) The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half, Howloween Half, The Haunted Half – Provo

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 411.24 miles
Race Miles — 414.47 miles
Walking Miles — 1099.77 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1925.48 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, Jordan River Half Marathon, The Haunted Half – SLC, SoJo Half and Howloween Half.


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RACE #164: SoJo Half

Sometimes I make good decisions. Sometimes I make bad decisions. But, often, I make really bad decisions — yet somehow turn out to be good all along. That pretty much sums this past Saturday for me.

I haven’t done a double race day or two within less than 6-12 hours of each other for quite a while — back in July of 2015. Or about 63 races ago. Oy, that seems so long ago.

Anyway, I chose to do it again (and I will do it again in a couple of weeks) for a few of reasons —

  1. It’s good ultra training
  2. It helps get me closer to my 180th race so I don’t have to do many back-to-back race weekends in 2018.
  3. I wanted to.

I haven’t done the SoJo Half Marathon since 2013 so I was kinda excited to do it again. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I don’t do that well on flat-ish courses. But, I wasn’t running it for a PR or year best time. I was running it to prepare myself for February.

My goal going into the race was to get as close to three hours as possible. With my recent injury, energy levels and training — this would be a stretch for me, especially considering this wasn’t a canyon race and didn’t have the luxury of letting gravity help me along the way.

The morning of the race was pretty uneventful. I made my way down to the finish line where the packet and bus pickup was around 5:30am. Once I got my packet I had about an hour before the last bus left for the starting line so I sat in the car to stay warm. I knew the starting line was going to be cold — and I didn’t want to wait for the gun time too long.

After hoping on the bus I met a Facebook friend Ashleigh — I always love meeting new friends, especially ones that have only been digital friends up to that point. Our conversation mainly centered around keto and what’s worked for me, her and her husband. Though I’ve been doing keto now for just over two months, I still feel very new to it. So talking with others about their experience with it is something I enjoy and need.

After getting to the start line I headed inside the University of Utah Medical Center where a group of runners huddle inside to stay warm and use some of the restrooms. Honey Bucket didn’t deliver the needed amount of port-a-potties so the lines to the bathrooms were fairly long. To make sure runners had the chance to use the restroom the race was delayed about five minutes as well.

Once we were off and running I decided to just keep a good efforted pace. I wasn’t too much concerned with my timed pace as I was with the effort. Just as long as my legs were tired and sore by the end of the run, I’d be happy. I wanted them to ache for the night’s race.

But, I knew if I focused on getting close to a three hour time that’d do the trick for me.

The first 2-3 miles were fairly uneventful as we meandered around Oquirrh Lake and made our way toward the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. There we were encountered the largest and — really — only sizable hill of the race. I walked the hill. Well, fast walked it like a gold mentalist in the Senior Olympics.

After taking a quick picture at the top of the hill with the temple, I made the descent down the hill on the other side. It was glorious. Gravity was very much my friend at that moment. So I let it guide me for as long as it’d allow me.

Around this time I noticed a lady in front of me a hundred yards or so ahead of me. She was dressed in a pioneer costume of sorts and I told myself — I’ve got to pass her.

But, she wasn’t a very easy pass.

She kept a good pace with me and this somewhat frustrated me, because I just wanted to pass her. I told myself — I’ve got to beat the pioneer woman — so that my focus. I felt that if I consistently kept in front of her for a mile or two she’d eventually start walking and then I could lower my pace a bit.

But, nope.

She kept a good pace. It wasn’t that she had a long stride, in fact it was quite the opposite. She ran with small quick steps. Somehow they made up the difference in my long legged strides in the same amount of distance?

Either way, after another couple of miles I was determined to pass her. We yo-yo’d quite a bit and around Mile 5 she got ahead of me. I was sore in my attempt to keep up with her. I cursed her unknown name for the next couple of miles until I had to stop to use the restroom at the Mile 7 aid station.

It was a hard decision to make, but I really didn’t want to pee my pants in pursuit of her, so I made a quick stop of it. But, as soon as I got out of the Honey Bucket she was way ahead of me. I was bummed. I thought the pioneer woman got the best of me.

But, I didn’t want that to deter me. There was still a little less than a half of the race left, so I wanted to give myself the chance to catch up and pass her. I had to give the effort, otherwise I’d always remember this race as the one time I was out ran by a pioneer.

It wasn’t going to happen.

So for the next 3-4 miles I kept a good pace going. My legs were sore from the efforted push — exactly what I wanted — to catch up with the pioneer woman. I kept her within my sight for the most part.

I noticed her starting to take short walking breaks so when she did, I pushed myself a little bit faster to make up the distance. I did this 3-4 times between Miles 7-10. By Mile 10 I had caught up to her and we were almost neck to neck.  But, I didn’t to stay that way, I wanted to create distance between the two of us so I just focused on that push.

By the last couple of miles I was ahead and once we ran onto the Jordan River Parkway Trail I glanced back momentarily to see where she was located. She was walking down the hill toward the Parkway aid station — and I knew I had her. If she was going to walk a downhill, she was probably going to walk the Parkway.

I regrouped myself a bit at that point — stretched a bit and downed some of my Powerade Zero — before going back to a good running pace. I was spent, especially from my effort to catch, maintain and pass the pioneer woman. I desperately wanted to walk, but I tried not to.

I knew I was close to the finish line, so I tried to push myself as much as I could. I only took a couple glances back, but I didn’t see signs of the pioneer woman. This made me happy.

I kind of chuckled to myself just thinking that in this race of marathoners and half marathoners the most competitive race didn’t determine the overall winner or an age group. It was a race that no one knew about — not even the pioneer woman herself. Yet when I crossed the finish line I felt like I won the race.

Once I was done, stretched out and refueled I did find the pioneer woman and we talked briefly. She thanked me for pushing her as she tried to keep up and ahead of me. I chuckled and said, “Likewise! You did great out there!”

So in the nature of winners and losers — we both won. We both provided each other with a goal and we probably killed ourselves too much in the process. But, you know what? I’m glad we did.

With my legs sore and near death I was ready for a nap and meal before my second race of the day.

[CLICK HERE FOR MY HOWLOWEEN HALF RACE REPORT]


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RACE #160: Huntsville Half Marathon

It’s hard to put this race into words. It was a tough race. A race I’ve done before — including the full last year. But, Saturday just wasn’t my day and it was tough for me — physically and emotionally.

I had such a great experience running the Huntsville Marathon last year that I decided to sign up for it again this year. The plan was to use it again for my ultra training — including my 100 mile run in February. But, my ankle had other plans — so I downgraded to the half marathon instead.

After spraining my ankle in April my training and running was just derailed. It really took a toll on my plans, aspirations, training and morale. It’s been tough being slower than what I know I am capable of running. I’ve dealt with that the past couple of years, but this year it seems like that my best now was my worst case scenario just a couple of years ago.

So, yeah, this year has been a struggle for me — to say the least.

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Going into this race, I knew it wasn’t going to be my best race. I knew I probably wasn’t going to sub-three. And, I knew it was going to be tough. So, I really just wanted to go into the race and just have fun. Fairly simple enough, right?

But, as much I say that, there are times — especially lately — that I say that, but do want to push myself a bit harder and further than what I should be doing right now. And, that was me on race morning. I want to feel like I am flying once again.

Race morning I felt pretty good. After carpooling up to Huntsville with my friends Rob and Joey. I hopped on the on the bus with Rachel, Jonathan and London and hung out at the start line for a good half hour before gun time. The later start time (8:30am) was kinda nice and I think that added to my mood.

But, needless to say, I felt optimistic.

My friend Monnica Skinner was pacing the 3:00 half marathon time so I decided to stick with her as long as I could. The best case scenario was the whole 13.1, but knowing my limitations I would have been happy with half of the race. Luckily for me, I was able to stick with her for the first 5 miles.

I really enjoyed those five miles with Monnica. I love the Skinners — Monnica, Corey and Cevan. They’re always a great conversation that ends with a laugh. If there was a saving grace from this run — it was those five miles with Monnica. I really enjoyed them.

But, around mile four, I knew I was going to be slowing down. My right foot started hurting — it wasn’t so much my ankle as it was the top of my foot. I’ve had issues with it since the Mt. Nebo Half about three weeks ago. I don’t think it’s serious — but, there’s some tendonitis going on and it’s just not fun.

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So at Mile 5 I let Monnica keep pace and I slowed down to stretch my foot a bit. I tried to keep up my pace and did pretty good for about another mile, but the foot was just in pain and I slowed down quite a bit.

Between miles 7-8 I just walked. I would stop periodically to massage my right shin and top of the foot. Feeling a bit embarrassed and not wanting another runner or race official to stop and ask me if I was okay, I would untie my shoe quickly and then retie it in between massaging the foot.

I must admit I’m laughing about that now — not the sore shins and foot, but the way I tried to disguise how I was feeling. I knew I could finish this race — regardless of how slow I was going to end up being. I didn’t want to be pulled off the course or asked if I was okay every time a race official drove past me.

This was also around the time I became frustrated with the situation. But, it soon grew into a frustration of the past year of running, my ankle and training. I let doubt creep and that just didn’t help things at all. I really took myself to a not so good place mentally.

I am not sure exactly what got me into that place, because I haven’t gone there before. I think part of that was because I was feeling down about having to downgrade from the marathon and a bit of anxiety about the training for my 100 mile run in February. I do worry if my ankle will be ready by then — and I think I dwelt on that a bit too long during this race.

I knew that I had to get myself out of this funk, so I just tried to get my mind off of it. Which is much easier said than done when you’re running by yourself. So I tried focusing on my music, singing out loud (that stopped quickly), playing the “I spy” game and just running from fence post to fence post.

This helped a little bit, but once I got to Mile 11 — I just kinda focused on getting done. I knew I was going to be well over three hours, so now it was just about finishing strong. And, really, this helped get me out of that funk.

I focused on passing runners in front of me and kinda of making a game of it. The foot was sore, but most everyone in front of me was walking so I knew I had it in me to at least power walk past them at this point in the race. So that’s what I did.

Of all the miles during the race those last two miles actually seemed like the fastest ones of the day. It was the distraction that really helped. I just wanted to be done and having that goal helped me get past a lot of those self defeating thoughts.

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I got to the finish line in 3:31:28 — definitely one of my slowest races. But, it was hard to celebrate it beyond finishing it. Almost immediately after I finished I just wanted to move past the race. It really helped having a number of friends at the finish line because they helped bring me back to why I love this sport so much.

Being able to chat with Elsha, Robert Merriman and his family, the Skinners and many, many others put myself in a good place. They were a great reminder that not only were my frustrations and obstacles minor in the scheme of things, but that I will get back where I want to be. I really just need to show more patience and do what I need to do with my physical therapy.

I’ll get there.

But, that doesn’t mean I am not nervous about my 100 mile run in February. Because, I am. But, I know I can still do it. I am not at that point of absolutely not being able to do it. If there is a moment where I hit that, I’d rather have it happen during the run instead of months out from race day.

But, that’s a post for another day.

I am looking forward to this weekend’s race. It’s a trail run that I’ll be running with my friend Zack. After this past weekend’s race the trail race will be a welcomed different change of pace. It should be a lot of fun.

As difficult as my day was out on the course — I really do love this race. I’ve done the full and half marathon before and it’s just a well run race. The city gets behind the race and it was kinda fun being greeted by musicians along the last 3-4 miles. There was a bagpipe player, country singer and an accompanying guitarist, a cello and someone playing clarinet or some other kind of wind instrument — it was kinda cool.

I definitely want to run this race again — especially the marathon. The canyon is absolutely gorgeous. And, the first 17-18 miles of that marathon are some of my favorite miles of any local race.

So I want to be back.

I will be back.


MY NEXT FIVE RACES


Weekly Miles

Running Miles — 8.0 miles
Race Miles — 13.1 miles
Walking Miles — 28.87 miles
TOTAL MILES — 49.97 miles
Races This Week — Huntsville Half.

September 2017 Miles

Running Miles — 15.0 miles
Race Miles — 26.2 miles
Walking Miles — 65.69 miles
TOTAL MILES — 106.89 miles
Races in September — (4) Revel Big Cottonwood Half, Huntsville Half, Timp Elk Run & Jordan River Marathon.

2017 Miles

Running Miles — 373.55 miles
Race Miles — 348.62 miles
Walking Miles — 986.93 miles
TOTAL MILES — 1709.1 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 and Revel Big Cottonwood Half.


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Looking Beyond 180 …

It’s hard to imagine that I am just 21 races from hitting my 180 goal. I knew this day would come, but when I made the goal — I honestly thought I would be pushing 40 a BIT closer than I am now. If you’re keeping track at home — I turned 36 just last month.

When I realized that I was going to hit this goal MUCH sooner, I decided to hit my 180 goal at the Handcart Days Half Marathon in July of next year. Not only was this my first half marathon, but it’s in my hometown and a part of a celebration that has a lot of meaning for me. It just seems perfect.

So that means I have 10 months to finish these 21 races and hit that goal. I am excited for that journey and whatever it brings — it’ll include my 100 mile run, a couple of marathons and some fun trail and road races.

But, I am also beginning to look beyond my 180th race. Some people have already been asking what will be after the 180? 300 races? 500 races? Will I go into triathlons? Will I focus more on ultras? Or just stop like Forrest Gump?

What?

Honestly, I want to be more ambiguous with my next journey. I don’t want to focus on the number of races as I want to focus more on the adventure. An adventure of collective goals — from PRs to destination races to destination places to run. If I’ve learned anything from the 159 races that I’ve done so far it’s that there’s so much more joy in the adventure than anything else.

I want more of that.

I thrive for adventure and I am excited to embrace that with more tenacity in the coming years. And, as I am reclaiming my health and thyroid, I look forward to getting faster and hitting some of those PR goals I’ve wanted to hit for the past few years.

Not only do I want to hit that sub-two half marathon time, but I still also want to run the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon and of course — run at Walt Disney World (already got Disneyland covered). There are a lot of places around the country that I want to run. Places that don’t necessarily require a race bib either — the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate Bridge, the National Parks here in Utah and the Salt Flats.

My plan is to take the next 4-6 months to come up with a bucket list of locations, races and other running goals I want to accomplish after I run my 180th race next July. I’ve made a similar list before, but I want to fine tune that — and probably shorten it a bit (it was about 50 items long). But, I then want to get to work on it!

I am always up for new races and places to run, so if you’d like suggest places to run — PLEASE! Just leave a comment in the comments below. And, of course if you have some fun and unusual goals I should attempt — I’d love to hear them too!

Running has been good to me. Really good to me. There’s been ups and downs over the last 6-7 years of my adventure so far, but it’s the people that keep me going and out there on the road or trail.


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