Pacing for Utah Valley Marathon 2017

Had the chance to get my very first pacing experience yesterday for Beast Pacing @ the Utah Valley Marathon in Provo, UT.  I was the 4:25:00 pacer, and it was quite the experience.

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I’ve had some memorable experiences with pacers in the past who have kept me on track to meet/exceed my goal time for a race, and I thought the world of them for it.  The mind will tempt and tease you at parts in a race, thinking if you just go a littler fast for X amount of miles you’ll finish WAY ahead of your goal, and you end up huffing and puffing and walking because your body overdid it way too early.

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Being set on a specific time was at times pretty tricky.  I told everyone at the start, that at each mile mark, I would be calling out a number (ex. -4 or +2) and the meaning behind the minus and plus was we were either over paced (-) or under paced (+) and the next mile would reflect those numbers.  Started with about 22 people in the cluster, so for those first few miles, it was pretty packed together.  There were about 6 guys and 3 gals that hung by me pretty good the duration of the marathon, which made it more enjoyable being able to converse with them to make the time go by.  I had an extra salt tab about 15-16 miles in, and one of the 50 year old’s running with me was mentioning he thought he was beginning to cramp.  I passed the salt tab his direction, hoping it would ease his possible dreadful home stretch later on.  About 2 miles later, he was saying the symptoms were hardly noticeable now, and whether it have been mental or the salt tab was actually doing work, he was feeling better.

The views throughout the canyon were incredible.  I’ll never get sick of our mountain ranges here in northern Utah.  You just can’t beat them, anywhere.  I’m very biased, having lived here my entire life, but show me a flaw in our views if you can find it.  The day was a little cold at the start line, but once the race started, the cold didn’t exist any longer, and it surely didn’t take long to wish it was still cold either.  The sun would periodically hide behind the ranges, but about 80% of the race was in the sun, making for a few extra cups of liquids throughout the stations and the internal prayers to the higher powers to be gentle and prolong any cramping/exhaustion until post race.

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The last 2-4 miles are the killer on this course.  Not so much the elevation +/-, but the way it plateau’s and goes on, forever.  You stare down the road of the finish for easily at least 2 miles, wondering if the sights you see are truly even existing.  There is a building right before the finish line, with a huge banner on the top, that says “Finish Strong”.  If you are finally close enough to read it without squinting, and can see the logo of the Utah Valley Marathon on it, the overwhelming feeling of relief sinks in, knowing you did it.

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I get goosebumps just reliving all my finishes across those timing pads.  Being able to work and train so hard to accomplish your goal, something you at one point never, ever would have thought you could do, continues to be a reality, finish after finish.  All the cheering, the crowds, your fellow runners and your supporting cast, without all of them, the experience just wouldn’t be remotely close whatsoever.  The volunteers, the race directors, and the law enforcement monitoring the streets while the race moves on, there are so many hidden factors going into your big day, that I tend to overlook when I’m sitting on my couch, saying forget today’s run, I’ll just run tomorrow.  They are out there, while they could be doing anything else in the world, but they are there helping people enjoy a day they worked incredibly hard for, and they are there supporting, ensuring you have the best possible experience you can.

Many thanks to everyone who has, continues, or considers volunteering for one of these events in the future.  Ultimately, it couldn’t be done without so many moving pieces coming together.

Finish time:  4:24:04

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Loved every single minute of it.

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A week of long runs, that I’ve thoroughly missed

Being back into a pair of running shoes was something I missed for those couple of months battling through that confusing injury.  I’ll take waking up sore, and missing toenails, over watching people log miles in my daily commute, any day of the week.

I was flipping through some activities on RunKeeper this morning, looking at some of the training runs I have been able to check off for this weekends upcoming Utah Valley Marathon, and the following weekend’s 50 miler down in Bryce Canyon.  Having been off the training for so long, not quite sure how the 50 miler down in Bryce is going to go.  But, it’ll be a step at a time and worst case scenario, it goes MUCH slower than I hoped for, but the views will be an experience in itself.  I’ve personally never been to Bryce Canyon before, so this will be exciting regardless.

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2017 Ogden Marathon with my better half

What a beautiful day in Ogden, UT for a marathon!

A race, that last year was easily one of the worst marathon experiences of all time, to yesterday, being one of my favorite marathons ran to date.  The morning was pretty chilly after we got off the bus at the starting line, but it was less crowded in the waiting area around the fires than in previous years.  Might of had something to do with the last few years weather being unpredictable, cold, rainy, and very comparable to the Armageddon.

My wife and I were able to start and finish this marathon together, finishing with a time of 4:04:01.  We stopped and took a few pictures along the way, ran at a pace to hold a conversation, and were able to actually enjoy the views without huffing and puffing and hitting a wall while attempting to set a PR or BQ.  At the finish line, we jumped into the air and landed on the finish pad at the same time.  Hopefully the photographers at the finish line were able to capture this special moment for us.  Below is the photo our family was able to take of the two of us finishing.

Home run Ogden, thanks for the memories.

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Ogden Marathon 2017

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Well… here goes nothin’.

My little brother had bought a full marathon bib, and due to an injury, he is unable to run the marathon this year.  It’s sad, because I know he wanted to redeem himself from when he tried to run it 3 years ago and had a bad outing.  He asked if I wanted to swoop on it and give it a go, I told him no, but he said yes, so no meant yes, and now I have his entry.

Two weekends ago I knocked out twenty miles, and 12 this past weekend to taper, so we will see how all this goes.  I haven’t been on any kind of schedule due to my walking boot and injury since the beginning of March.  My runs have been hovering in the 8:30-9:30 minute mile range, and the leg still just doesn’t seem right.

YOLO.

When you can, it sucks. When you can’t, it’s suckier.

It has nearly been 3 weeks since I put any miles down onto the pavement, and it’s been quite the revelation.  There were times in the past where I was able and pain free, where I would look at a training schedule and curse at the weekly mileage, trying to make excuses as to why I didn’t want to run ALL the miles that day, or why the weekend run took so long.  In the last 3 weeks, it was all I could do to stay off my injured ankle/leg.  I would see people running down the street to and from work, and I would be so envious of what they were doing.  My wife, who is training for her 1st Boston Marathon appearance at the current moment, is logging miles left and right, and me sitting idly by is excruciatingly painful, physically and mentally.  I went on a short jog today with Boscoe, our Catahoula dog, and it was his first legitimate jog outside of 2017.  He really did quite well @ 9min mile pace, but currently he is wiped out laying on the floor.

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I’ve taken things I enjoy doing for granted.  3 weeks really isn’t that long of time, but it was enough to make me miss the time I spent running.  Not just the running aspect, or the exercise, but the mental escape.  With all the little worldly things going on in one’s brain, it’s nice to check out and have control of nearly everything.  Thoughts, feelings, brainstorming, ideas, scheduling, tasks, upcoming events etc.  I didn’t quite understand how much I banked on those 5, 8, 15 mile runs to get everything in order and dissect my next few days.

I have been to my doctor and an athletic trainer/myotherapist to get my leg/ankle assessed.  Doc has me on a steroid for a few days to see if its just inflammation in my ankle.  Sean Wayne, who works with Active Myotherapy down in the BDO in Ogden, kind of opened my brain into a completely different area of assessment and recovery.  My ankle is still pretty painful, but where I was having pain in the middle of my leg, he was saying it’s contributed from my calf and hip.  Not sure if my gait is all of my issue, or the hard pavement, but my right leg was once again shorter than my left.  The last time I had it set back into place by another therapist.  This time, Sean used massage to loosen the muscles up that have become adjusted from the running.  I remember standing up from the table and feeling almost zero pain, had I been alone I may have cried due to have only been experiencing pain for the last few weeks.

Self assessing is such a horrible road.  How much reading and researching I did on what it could/may have been, from a stress fracture, tendon tears, sprains, it was depressing knowing I have signed up for a couple races and I feared I wouldn’t be able to run this spring.

So, universe, you win.  By throwing a life curve ball my direction, you have presented a very real situation to me, first hand, on no matter the weather, how tired I am, how many miles the training log says to do that day, or just my poor attitude, buck up, suck it up, lace it up.

*UPDATE 4/23/17*

I have been in a walking boot for nearly 3 weeks.  The pain that was present was affecting my normal walking and I finally tossed in the towel.  At the current moment, there is still a little bit of pain in the medial shin and ankle, but nothing quite what it was back on the mornings in Hawaii where every walking step was like someone was pushing little needles into my ankle.  I did go on a 3 mile treadmill run on Friday night, and an amazing 4 mile run yesterday morning that was very slow, but like I’ve said before, just being on the road was such an incredible moment.

Off the blog for a bit, back for more.

Haven’t logged in in quite some time to log any news/updates.  So far for 2017, we have a couple things in store thus far:

I will be a pacer for the Utah Valley full Marathon on 6/10/17, which will be a fun little experience.  I’ll be working with Beast Pacing for the event, anywhere between 4-4:25hr is what I am slated for with them.

The following week, will be the 50 miler in Bryce Canyon, in which the training starts tomorrow!  Just got done typing up the training schedule for it, and boy is it amped from a marathon training schedule.  It’ll be different to add in a mini long run the day after the long run on Saturday’s, so we will see how it goes.  Total weekly mileage for the schedule ranges anywhere from 43-76 miles, 54 miles IN THE FIRST WEEK!  Hoping for the best, looking forward to new challenges and milestones for 2017!

REVEL Big Cottonwood Canyon marathon 9.10.16

The 2 minute bathroom break that will haunt me..

Well, had this one on the radar for a few months now, sure came up fast.

First glance at the elevation chart, your knees begin to ache just thinking about the initial drop for the first few miles.. but like most elevation graphs lately, when the hills rear their ugly head, they are unexpected and you pay for it dearly.

Race gun time was 0645 today, little bit of a chill, but perfect start to a race.  Bigger pool of runners than the races we have been running lately.  When the clock started, just watching the crowd flood the gate was the kind of stuff you get out of bed for in the morning.  What a rush!  Hundreds of people with the same exact goal, run the fastest time their body will allow them to run.  Around mile 4, I was running by a fellow who called out my name, turns out it was a buddy I went to preschool all the way through high school with, named Bert.  Bert ran this race last year and ran a 3:03, but he was hoping to sub 3:00 this year.  We chatted a bit, caught up, talked about how horrible the Ogden Marathon was this year, but I told him I was going to start slowing my pace down because I was getting kind of greedy with my average pace. . . but actually I was getting winded from talking ha.  He took off, and I didn’t end up seeing him again til about mile 21-22.  I never checked, but I’m sure he hit his mark for the day.

Miles 22-25 were horrific.  I was fine on air, fine on hydration, but my body was trying to call it quits on me.  My legs were tightening up, knees cooling like concrete, and then my brain began attempting to take over and convince me to walk.  I was watching my watch tick away minutes faster and faster every single step I took, and my goal time of a sub 3:05 was getting dimmer and dimmer.  It wasn’t until about mile 24 that I began to realize the time I seeked before the race started was out of the question, but with an old PR of 3:32, I started to talk to myself and dropped all the woes and sorrows on the side of the road and picked the pace up to finish strong.

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Running through the finishing gates was exciting, having set a new PR, a PR that years ago I never would have thought I’d be able to run what I did today, was enough to put a smile on my face.  I was pretty pissed off for a bit while I waited for Lacey to cross, knowing I was SO close to getting my BQ time, but when I saw Lacey cross @ 3:27 and achieving her goal and getting her BQ time, I was overcome with joy and happiness, knowing how thrilled she must be with her progress and accomplishing a goal that months ago was a wish, and today became reality.

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I’ll find that BQ someday soon.  But until then, I’ll enjoy the moment and remember my personal journey and how hard I have worked for moments like this.

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Finish time: 3:09:46