Gordon Hayward. What we saw, but didn’t quite “see”.

Proudly, I was raised a Jazz fan, through the Stockton & Malone era (as a Jazz fan, I couldn’t be happier knowing I was able to see them live, and yell at the T.V. for that era).  I have seen probably the worst, the middle, and the best we have had as a franchise in Utah.  For those “worst” years, it’s teeth grindingly brutal.  How sports can impact our attitude and feelings is something I fail to understand.  It’s one of the things in our life that is so far out of our control, yet, it impacts us (maybe just me?) in ways we (I) can’t seem to control.  Feelings, attitude, our spending, agenda, if you “sports”, your schedule sometimes revolves around your team’s schedule.  We love our sports, we love our team, we learn to love our players.

Weeks leading up to this past week, I was a fairly confident Jazz fan, under the impression that Gordon was staying, and we would continue doing what we set out to do last season…bring the championship, finally, to Utah.  On July 4th, one of my personal favorite holidays (being a July 1st birthday, Independence Day immediately becomes your favorite) was side swiped, and to put it lightly, blind sided and drug out.

Leading up to this past week, unfortunately, the writing was on the wall, but we failed to see and read it.  Gordon & family gave us countless signs.  Call it as you will, maybe you see it differently, but they had plugged the idea that Utah just may not be on their radar for the 2017-2018 season.  How so, you ask?  Let’s take a look.

Example 1)

Those #stayward billboards.  Remember when Garrett Jones started the gofundme.com for these??  #stayward

Hayward interview  <— Hayward’s interview after hearing of #stayward billboard idea

Donate $ to charity, no billboard <— And here’s his noble response to the campaign.  Great move on his part to donate to an amazing cause.  As far as his future here though.. reading between the lines, was his mind already leaning to Boston?

Example 2)

The infamous social media photo of the Hayward daughter dawning the clover shirt…In June.

Future Boston supporter?

What’s with the green heart?!

Now, obviously, this is a stretch, since it’s an article of clothing, and it was from St. Patrick’s Day.  Robyn, but why did you delete it?  You know it’s the internet.

Example 3)

Boston chants Hayward’s name

Look passed the “racist” remarks by Jae Crowder.  Boston knew Hayward’s contract was nearly up.  Boston knew Hayward had ties to Stevens (we’ll touch on that here in a moment), and Boston knows, they always know, when they are nipping on the heels of bringing another championship home.  Their city has been blessed with NUMEROUS championships, whether it be hockey, baseball, or football.  They have a reputation for winning, and you can’t argue with that.  The feeling Crowder must of had, hearing the crowd chant a player from the visiting team, must have really got under his skin I’m sure, but I find it hard to believe the idea of it being tied to “racism”.  Isaiah Thomas? Ortiz?  Blount?  Butler?  Mookie?  Are any of them ever booed at games?

Come on man.

Look, I’m not trying to sway anyone from side to side, but I truly think this “decision” was made long before we knew, and probably long before Gordon truly knew.

Actually, here.  Want some sad Jazz fan reading?  Want your perspective on this from the Jazz brass?  Here’s what the Miller’s, Dennis, and Snyder went through these last few days.

Inside the Hayward deal

Ah yes, and the Stevens/Hayward past?  Was Danny Ainge looking for this reunion for the two?  Stevens was Hayward’s old coach at Butler, who from the beginning, was there for Gordon.  I get it.  The man who first saw you up and coming, could see the potential, could see the desire, witnessed the passion first hand and saw all the hard work, day in, day out, before the NBA happened.  I get it, we see it.  We understand Gordon.

Stevens/Hayward reunited

But why, why, was the exit so brutal?  I wouldn’t have guessed, after meeting this guy a few years ago in an Albertson’s (AFresh Market?), that this would be the guy who would create such an emotional roller coaster for Jazz fans on July 4, 2017.  He fit our game plan, he was a perfect role model, he grew to be our all-star, and he was the face of our club.  To drag the exit out, possibly delaying Utah the chance to make other free agent moves, this was cold man.  That Player’s Tribune article, that was heartbreaking.  Lots of time spent on that, and hopefully it wasn’t spent during the hours of the “leaked” exit rumor.  Haven’t read it?  Oh man…read below.

Hayward’s Player’s Tribune article

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In closing, tough deal anyway you look at it from a Jazz fan.  Did we lose time to land potential free agents to fill the gaps?  Did we do all we could to keep Gordon on the team?  No matter what Utah did, was there truly any way to actually keep him here?  Maybe we won’t ever know?

For now, as Jazz fans, we accept it, love it or hate it, and look to the future.  If you haven’t caught any footage of our boy Donovan Mitchell in the summer league…

Mitchell’s bright Utah future

Let’s not forget about Rudy…

Gobzilla highlights

Fellow Jazz fans, we’re going to be ok.  Boston just acquired an incredible player in Hayward.  But, we have a young core of talented players, and our future sure is bright.  #takenote

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.

Drive Road Rally 2017

Cars.  Speed.  Adrenaline.

Saturday mornings should involve all 3 of the above, in any order.  But, they are the most effective when all 3 are involved, having one missing, especially the cars, is crucial.

I had the opportunity to co-pilot with my brother, who owns a modified Subaru BRZ, on a Poker Run rally through northern Utah, and it was nothing but an amazing adventure from start to finish.  The lineup ranged from Nissan’s to Audi’s, and Volkswagen’s to Ferrari’s, with some of the coolest, most down to earth car fanatics we’ve ever met.  Everyone who brought their investments had their vehicle looking in tip-top shape.  Specks of dust were nowhere to be seen inside Luxe Auto Spa in Salt Lake City, Utah.  They pampered all the attendees with breakfast, coffee, and gift bags for the rally, home run on their part.  The facility was incredibly maintained, and the staff were beyond caring and courteous, even valeting the participants vehicles when they arrived for the event.  If you ever have dreamed about car heaven, the mental images I am left with, I’m guessing are relatively similar to it.

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The rally started from Luxe Auto Spa, and the first checkpoint was Rockwell Time in Woods Cross, where they held a 50yd sprint contest, and the winner would receive a free Rockwell watch.  Each checkpoint you arrived to, you would pull a card from a deck, and the staff would mark inside your pamphlet your card selection.  At the end of the rally, the attendee with the best poker hand, ultimately would win the rally.  The concept is fascinating, giving everyone an equal chance to win, even if their car isn’t the fastest to the next checkpoint.  I think everyone’s mindset going into the rally was, “I’m not going to exceed the speed limit today, I’m just going to roll with the squad.”  Well, the thing about that is, is the squad had differ…..nope, we all did the speed limit.

From Rockwell Time, we made our way out to the Ogden Canyon, with a little pit stop at the bottom of Trappers Loop for some photo ops.  After getting some shots, and time to stretch the legs, we continued on to Five Guys in Park City.  The drive through the canyon was on point.  The views were spectacular on the day we were blessed with, and the cars enhanced the scenery in the best sort of ways.  Synchronized and packed together, the rally provided random travelers a glimpse of automotive enthusiasts out enjoying their worldly passion with others who share the same interests.

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After grabbing some lunch, the next checkpoint took us to Saratoga Springs, where it gave everyone the opportunity for a few more photos, recharge with fluids, and filling up their thirsty vehicles.

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My brother and I had left a little bit earlier than the rest of the group to head to the last and final checkpoint @ the Utah Motorsports Campus in Tooele.  We were somewhat obeying the traffic laws, when a random mishap caused a 6-7 inch piece of my brothers front lip of his car to completely remove itself from the vehicle.  We pulled the car over and removed what we could from the front bumper so there wouldn’t be any further pieces removing themselves from the car going forward.

The last and final checkpoint was reached, and the crew finished the day with some go-karting at the campus.  Best karting around, as it’s on an actual tarmac track, so you’re actually gripping the corners without slipping around on the floors of those indoor tracks.  Unless you like feeling like you’re on the cast of Tokyo Drift?  You want top shelf karting?  Put this on your bucket list.

My brother ended up pulling together a flush on his card pulls, awarding him a very top notch trophy and an amazing set of gold foil cards encased in a hand carved box, with insane detail and craftsmanship.

The rally director and staff did an amazing job with this event, leaving everyone with lasting memories and a smile I’m surely stayed locked in for the remainder of the day, at least.  If you’re in the northern Utah area, and are looking for a road rally that is guaranteed to not disappoint, look no further.  Head over to their Facebook page Drive Road Rally and thank me later.

Well done Drive Road Rally, we hope to see you again soon.

More photos below from the Drive Road Rally:

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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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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!