Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Snow Canyon Half Marathon, new 10k and half pr.

Ok the Snow Canyon half marathon is my favorite race of all time, it was my first half marathon, and I have set a pr on it every single time I have run it trimming my time by 40 minutes in 2 years on the course. I love it so much I actually talked Justin out of running the really big free marathon and Katrina as well out of that race to run this race instead. I look forward to this race all year and it is always a race I want to go for a big pr on.
My training has been a little off since the marathon as I pushed myself so hard with marathon training and triathlon training that I have had a little struggle wanting to run anything more than 25-30 miles a week in the last month and a half. I felt a lot more confident going into this race last year but knew that I could get a pr with a good race. Also I made the mistake of doing my last 4 miler on Thursday in shoes with nearly 1000 miles on them which made calves hurt. I commute to work a couple of times a week on my bicycle and I turned a pair of old running shoes with nearly a 1000 miles on them into my biking shoes. I use cages on my pedals and my shoes would keep coming untied and wrapping around my pedals nearly causing me to wreck as I couldn't get my foot out with it wrapped around the pedal. So I bought yankz that you just cinch up and don't tie and put them on a old pair of running shoes. When I got home from work on Thursday I knew I needed to hurry as my wife needed to work at 6pm so I forgot to change out my shoes in my hurry and used my really old shoes. This wore out my legs a little but I figured oh well nothing you can do about it. This week has been a little crazy as it was my little boys third birthday on Monday and then trick or treating on Wednesday just made it a hectic week. Yesterday morning I left for work an hour early so I could get off a little earlier to pick up my packet and it may have ended up saving my life. Since I was leaving earlier I took Bluff and the Blvd roads normally a lot more traffic crazywise when i leave at my normal time. Normally when I leave at my normal time I go down Dixie drive and get on the freeway to avoid the traffic, its a little longer route but takes less time with the less traffic. But leaving earlier I went the shorter route as there is less traffic that early. As I am driving up the BLVD I get a complete blowout (it looked like someone shot my tire with a shot gun). Had I not been leaving early to get my packet after work I would have taken my normal route and been on the freeway when I got the blowout this meant I would have been doing 75 MPH instead of the 35 when the tire blew. Running saves your life in more ways than one I tell you.
So here I am at 7am in a Maverik parking lot trying to put on my donut. I am parked on a slope as I was afraid to drive the car any further and all of a sudden my car falls of the jack. I realize its because I am on the slope and not wanting to drive any further but needing a flat surface I decide to inch up on the sidewalk and change the tire there. The car falls off the jack a second time and I examine the jack and realize I bent the jack when it fell off on the slope. So now I am like crap and call my boss as I know he should be on that end of town on his way to work to see if he can bring me a jack. Some random stranger offers a hydraulic jack and I get my tire changed and drive it up the street to Big-O to get a new tire. Evidently my alignment was off and it wore the inside of the tire to the threads which caused it to blow and my other front tire was really close to blowing as well. So 2 new tires and 3 hours later I finally get to work. This means I was not able to get my packet early and by the time I got it it was nearly 7pm. It also meant as I was so late getting there I also didn't get a race shirt as they run out of both mens L and XL shirts. They did take your name and said they would mail you one. I picked up mine and Katrina's packet (she got a shirt guess it pays to be a skinny minnie) and got home around 7:30. This meant I didn't get to sit around and chill like I had wanted too. I got to bed around 11pm after finalizing my new running playlist for the race. Katrina was picking me up at 6:45 to give me a ride to the buses. I initially was going to just ride my bicycle to the buses as my wife had to work at 11 and needed the car and was going to drop Oliver off at the grandparents on her way to work. But as I had Katrina's packet she just agreed to pick me up as my house is only like a half mile detour and I am only about 3 miles from the finish line. Funny thing is I forgot to set my alarm but since I get up at 5:50am everyday anyways I woke up at 5:55 regardless. I had set out all my stuff the night before including a couple bags of Gu for Justin and Katrine. If you come see me for a race you get a bag of GU LOL i gotta get rid of em somehow (I got an entire diaper box of them for volunteering for the ironman 1000's of them and I rarely use GU (I used 0 today, just ate a bonk breaker and had a gatorade before the race). So come see me for a race and a bag of GU.
Get my morning business done and get a text from Katrina that she was a little early so gather everything up and head out for my ride. I took her some trick or treat candy because I felt bad her house didn't do candy and she funningly had the same idea and brought me some fruit snacks her healthier treat. We get there and meet up with my friend and head to the start. It is a little cold at the start and have to stand around for 40 minutes. I decide to use the restroom but screw those porta potty lines so for the first race ever I go find me a bush to pee so much better. I know its not going to be a great day as I am feeling a little tense and tight usually a bad sign that it is not going to be my day running-wise. I know there is nothing I can do about it so I make a decision most runners would think was a crazy race strategy (I suggested it to Katrina for her race and she laughed at me). I know I am tense and tight but I also know how the course is laid out and know if I wait too long to make my move I will not pr with how I am feeling for the day. All the best downhills happen in the first 7 miles and if I want to pr I will need to take advantage of those hills. So i decide to go out at 1:45 pace and run 8 minute flat miles as long as I can. I know I will likely blow up with how I am feeling that day but also know I should be able to hang on to a pr. I am thinking heck best case scenario is hey I get the 1:45 but I know its unlikely with how I feel that day. I am running pretty good and come in to the 5k point at 24:45. I get passed by batman at this point and the 1:45 pacers which is odd because I was on a 1:45 pace all the way to mile 9. I hit the 10k point at 48:25 a pr by almost 3 minutes for a 10k which also means that second 5k of the race was ran in 23:40. It also means I ran my very first sub 50 10k ever and set a new 10k pr and nearly set a 5k pr as I my 5k pr is 23:05. This is what I knew I needed to do if I was going to pr because I know how hard the second half of the race is having run this race the last 2 years.
My shoelaces drove me crazy the entire race, I had to tie them 3 times and I can't remember the last time I had to retie my shoes in a race. I didn't want to stop or slow down to tie them so I would run a mile before tying them when I hit a aid station so I could get a drink and retie them. I really don't like running with my shoes untied that I found out it made my ankles hurt but I didn't want to stop. When I hit mile 9 aid station I decided to stop and retie my shoe one last time and actually walk the aid station and get a gatorade and water in me and do a little walk. Bad bad bad bad idea when I started back up I could no longer hit the 8 minute miles. I had been right at a 8:00 pace at the mile 9 station and hit it at 1:12xx. But after my little break I found all I could muster anymore was a 9mm. I knew pretty quick a 1:45 was no longer going to happen so i decided to just make sure I pr and hopefully go sub 1:50. The last 4 miles were pure misery but I knew I just needed to hang on. I finally crossed the finish line at 1:50:46 which is a 1:09 pr and I am very happy with it. I hung around at the end with Justin and we went and got our drop bags and loaded up on goodies (he finished in 1:40 he has gotten so fast last year he ran it in 2:07 and his first half marathon a year and half ago in 2:27) while we waited for Katrina to finish (she took my advice she won't admit it though and went for a sub 2 and did awesome and got it). It was then I got to scar Katrina for life and I hope the bag of Gus offset the scarring. At some point my tape came off my left nipple and I was about a mile away from having a full on bloody nipple. Luckily it was only slightly bloody but I am sure her getting to see my bloody nipple ruined her We hung around for prizes and I danced for my dinner. I got up on stage and danced to win me and my wife dinner and cramped up from it LOL advice to others do not funky dance after a pr half marathon it will not end well Katrina laughed that she should have video taped it, I felt bad she didn't get to win a prize but I guess getting to see me dance is prize enough.
She gave me a ride home and I took a quick shower before having to walk up to get my son from the grandparents house. Ok that 3.5 mile walk sucks after a race I will tell you that. My wife had dropped off the stoller off but about a half mile from our house Oliver wanted to get out and run and I can't deny the kid running. So even though hes not a very fast runner I had to run the last half mile home way too early to be running gall darn it. All in all a great race and still my favorite race of all time. A 10k pr, my first sub 50 10k, a half marathon pr and nearly a 5k pr, and free dinner for me and wife at a place I love to eat what more can you ask for. My Splits Mile 1: 8:02 (good start pace, not going out to fast) MIle 2: 8:08 (still doing good not going out to fast) Mile 3: 7:53 (starting to speed up went through the first 5k in 24:45) Mile 4: 7:37 (second fastest mile of the race) Mile 5: 7:41 Mile 6: 7:34 (fastest mile of the day, went through the 10k at 48:25 and the second 5k was a 23:40) Mile 7: 7:48 (still doing good) Mile 8: 9:09 (this was one of my shoe lace related problems as I stopped at the 7.7 aid station to tie it and it came loose less than a half mile later arghhhh) Mile 9: 8:01 (still doing good but this is where I stopped tied my shoe, walked the aid station and couldn't get back up to pace but came in at 1:12xx for the first 9 miles right on pace) Mile 10: 8:54 Mile 11: 9:36 Mile 12: 9:07 (tried to speed up to make the sub 1:50 which I failed at) Mile 13: 9:36 last .15 (course was slightly long everone got 13.15-13.2 depending on how you ran the tangents) 8:57 pace/

Saint George Marathon 2012, getting close to sub 4.

The short of it I ran 4:18:14 today at which is a 40:41 marathon pr from last years Saint George marathon and an an 1:13 minute improvement over Sand Hollow in March plus while I ran a positive split it was a vastly improved positive split. My first marathon positive split was 28 minutes, my second marathon's positive split was an hour and one minute, this marathon I only ran a 12:06 minute positive split. Plus the wall officially moved from mile 20 to mile 24 this time. I still got a lot to learn but I did much better in everything today from pacing and just running a smarter race.
Now the long of it. My training hasn't been what you would call optimal because my main focus has been getting ready for a half ironman coming up next May plus my very first Olympic Triathlon that I did in September. When I signed up for this race back in April I had intended to try and train to run a sub 4 and get my running mileage up to 50 a week average. But when I switched goals to be more focused on triathlons then running I wasn't sure what to go with come race day. My typical weeks were 40 miles running, 40 miles biking and 2 miles swimming for 3 weeks then a cutback in running to focus more on biking the 4th week. I would do just 20-25 miles running that 4th week, 80-90 miles biking and still 2 miles swimming. I did have a really great tune up half in July of 1:51:55 that made me wonder if sub 4 might still be possible. Most of 20 mile long runs were kind of in the realm as well but I knew I would need to run a perfect race if it were to even be possible. I did 19.4 in 3:10, 19.4 in 3:30 (I had a 24 hour flu and this run you can chalk up to dizzy idiocy as I shouldn't have run it) and 20.3 in 3:19. I also ran the first 14.5 miles of marathon course in 2:19 coming into the halfway point at 2:08. So I wasn't sure what I should do. Three weeks before the marathon I did my very first Olympic triathlon which was my A race for the year and had a pretty good race but afterwords I realized how run down I was. All the training for months on end had run me into the ground so I was determined to have a very restful taper. I even took my vacation last week so I could sleep in everyday and get rested for the race. It did seem to help as my energy level was much better this week instead of the state of exhaustion I have been in the last couple of weeks. I literally made myself manic this week not sure what pace to set on. I debated and debated with myself if I should try for sub 4. So much so I actually printed two wrist bands with splits for race day, the left wrist was my sub 4 eff this lets go for it band and my right wrist had a more conservative 4:05 and 4:10 splits on it. I literally had no idea which goal I would go for even up to the moment the starting gun went off this morning.
I picked up my packet and enjoyed myself at the expo for a couple of hours. Last year I bought an extra marathon t-shirt as for some reason they think long sleeve shirts are a good idea in the desert this year I decided I wanted a hoodie instead (I love it, has the STG marathon logo on it and 26.2 right below the pocket). Because as a no longer fat man I get freezing cold all the time now. I played a small game of Marco Pollo with Katrina at the expo but could never find her (and yes I did walk around the expo hollering put Marco). Last night I met with Katrina (redsparkle) and me and her husband Asa had dinner together at Brick Oven Pizza. Justin was going to dinner with another of group of runners so it was an intimate FE just the 3 of us and a crazy little toddler. My wife had a root canal on Thursday so wasn't up to dinner but I think she wanted a couple hours of quiet time so I took Oliver with me. I think I might have cured Asa and Katrina from wanting kids for a couple of years with the little bundle of dizzy craziness I brought along (think of me bundled into a little 3 foot package of crazy haha). I went home and laid out all my marathon stuff and was in bed my 9pm with an alarm set for 4pm. Me and the running group were all meeting at 5am to ride the buses up together so I opted out of the early bird prizes and having to sit for 2 hours at the start this year for just and hour and I am glad with how cold it was at the start (fatman get cold now). I did wake up at 2am and could not go back to sleep so much that I almost got up and said screw it and was tempted to just get on the 4am buses anyways.
I have been so nervous and manic the last 2 days I have constantly felt like I was going to throw up. Debating over paces and splits and strategy was driving me insane. I made my breakfast and got out of the house at 4:40 am and got to the start at 4:50am to meet my people. We rode the buses up together but I promptly lost everyone the moment we got there. So I just kind of walked around and actually went and huddled around a campfire as I was cold (this made me happy if its so warm you don't need the bonfires at the start you are in big trouble in a couple hours). I lined up just in front of the 4:00 pacer still not knowing what I was going run. I finally said I am driving myself crazy why don't I just run what is comfortable and I will look at my time in a mile or two. I turned my music up to ear drum shattering levels to drive all thoughts out so I could just run and not worry about it. the very first time I even looked at my watch was at mile 2 and I was at a 9:13 average pace evidently what felt comfortable was the 4:05-4:10 more conservative approach. I was like ok I am ok with that, that will still be a massive pr lets run the conservative race and have a good race for once. I hit the 10k marker in 56:xx (for some reason it never posted my 10k splits but I did look at my watch). I stayed conservative all the way up to Veyo where I decided to try my running coaches advice. He had advised me my strategy of running 1/4 of Veyo Hill (550 feet gain in a mile) then walking 1/4, then running 1/4 and then walking 1/4 was probably a little too laid back and that I should do 1/4,1/8,1/4,1/8,1/4 and reduce my walks. I was feeling pretty good and it seemed like a good strategy that way I would still conserve energy on Veyo but not lose as much time as I had been losing in training (I trained with the 1/4, 1/4 strategy). I ended up doing 1/2 run, .15 walk, .15 run, then .15 walk so much less walking then I had done in training. It seemed to help as I wasn't too tired at the top and I didn't lose as much time getting over the hill.
The next 4-5 miles are still pretty uphill until you hit the true downhills of the course. So I was staying conservative and it was working, I walked through the aid stations to get small rests but the hills didn't bother me at all like they did last year. I took an s-cap and a GU at mile 5, mile 11, mile 17 and then was taking oranges near the finish. I hit the 13.1 marker at 2:03:04 perfect. I don't think I have the endurance to run a big negative split so I wanted to get as close to an even split as possible and that put me at a 4:06 right smack in the middle of the 4:05-4:10 I was shooting for. i figured I might have a small positive split and end up closer to the 4:10 but I was ok with that. I did pretty good through Snow Canyon and all the way to Ledges. I was feeling good but it was at this point I was like how the heck did I ever finish two marathons at 95+ degrees. It was only 70 and we had a nice 4 MPH tailwind the first 7 miles but I was like I am freaking hot as heck. I started to dump water on my head at this point. I came into the 30k split at 2:55:14. Again perfect as that had a projected finish time of 4:06:27. I did lose a lot of time on Ledges though as I had always planned to walk a portion of it (this was the second hill I was going to do a run walk strategy up). At this point I was way more tired then Veyo and I just wanted to walk the way up that darn hill. I had to force myself to run portions of it. I figure I lost a good 2-3 minutes on that hill (I will check my splits on my garmin later too tired to go downstairs and get it right now). But I was still feeling good and I was like I can still do the 4:10 that lost couple of minutes will be fine. I was still in a good mood and I like to high five all the little kids when I run past them so I am so happy when they have a crowd as it gives me a little boost. We had lots of little kids to give high fives to coming through town. I was starting to feel the exhaustion setting in around mile 21 but I was still doing pretty good.
It wasn't somewhere between mile 23 and 24 that the cramps set in. These are those muscle spasms craps I used to suffer from doing half marathons in the beginning and what I have suffered from my first two marathons. So it became run until the cramps come on then walk until they subside, rinse and repeat the last couple of miles. We come up on aid station 24 and a guy is handing out ice cold coca cola. He wasn't an official volunteer or an aid station some guy out just handing out ice cold coke. That dude deserves a medal and like a billion hugs. I never thought that a coke would taste better then a gatorade in a race and was wondering why the ironman chose the coke over gatorade when I volunteered for it but that thing hit the spot. Was freaking delicious. Just shortly after that Justin catches up with me and I was like what the heck are you doing behind me (he was shooting for a 3:38 a 1:50xx pr from his marathon in July he still set a 1:17 pr in the race though). I guess he started way more in the back then me and while it took me only 5 minutes to get across the start line it took him 12. He said he passed me on Veyo but I had just passed him back probably didn't notice as I was enjoying my yummy ice cold coca cola.
So we decided to run the last 2 miles together. We were both hurting pretty bad and I was cramping up pretty bad (in new places too last year it was just my calves this year it was my calves and thighs). So we would run until I cramped then walk until they subsided. About a half mile before the finish I went to take a walk break and he decided to go on without me. I took a small walk break and then realized I had actually been running slower then I needed to stay with him as I actually was able to speed up and catch him even despite the two walk breaks I took. I probably cost my self 2 minutes there by running slower than I needed to on my run segments but I really don't care it was so nice to run with someone when your just hurting like that. And we ended up finishing together (he did beat my by 7 minutes because he lined up so far in the back) so I was happy with that. I am happy with the race and I am glad I went with the conservative approach I cannot even begin to fathom what my positive split would have been like had I went out aggressive. It would have probably been like last year or even worst like Sand Hollow in March.
At the finish line was my son, that always makes me happy my wife wasn't sure if she was going to make it this year as she hasn't felt good at all the last two days. I love seeing his smiling face at the finish line. My dad brought me a gatorade again at the finish line something other then lemon line he rocks I get so sick of lemon lime by the end of the race. We walked around and I loaded up on ice cream to take home (LOL I took like 6 ice cream bars to put in my fridge) last year I was grumpy and took nothing from the finish line but sweet ice cream for a week. My wife has a finish line video I will post it later. If you read all that you rock too, not as much as that dude at mile 24 or my dad with his fruit punch gatorade but you still rock.

Swiss Days 5k, where I set a personal worst :)

Ok it was slow on purpose because I was running it with a 2 year old and I think I ended up carrying him for over a mile plus I am pretty sure I ran backwards for a 1/4 mile to a 1/2 mile.
So we decided to make the Swiss Days a family 5k every year we probably jumped the gun by a year because Oliver who turns 3 in a month was unable to finish but he did have a blast. I am not sure of their thinking and timing on this race as it is a week before the marathon but if I were running it I think I would have a good chance to AG (Justin took 3rd in our AG with a 22:16 and we are about the same speed and run a lot of race together with similar times) as it seems not a lot of the super fast run it with the marathon next week. I am one of those I didn't want to injure myself with just a week to go so it has just become a family fun run to do (it was my wives first ever 5k today). The race starts at 7am and you have to shuttle in my 6:30am but the race is less than 5 minutes from my house so it sucks but at least you don't have to drive that far to get there. It still meant waking an almost 3 year old up at 6am who gives you that what the frak are you thinking look do you know what time it is (I think he would do better at an 8am or 9am event).
So we get everything together and get out the door for the shuttles. My sister in law was also doing the race for her weight watchers as her first ever 5k and because she also gets a discount on her health insurance by doing a 5k. So we met up there with her at the start where they do this crazy aerobic workout before the race. I thought it was crazy 2 years ago and I still think its crazy now (this was the 3rd race I ever did in 2010). We line up all the way in the back and we take off. My sister in law stayed with us for maybe the first 1/4 mile before she ran on. Oliver was having a ton of fun running with everybody but about mile 1 he began to poop out. So I picked him up and carried him the next half mile or so (you think running is hard try doing it carrying 40 pounds). I was trying to keep us away from the sweep van (well i don't think they swept anybody but it was a cop car at the end of the race following us). My wife got a little grumpy with me when she had to run to catch up but at least I got a good lead on that darn sweep car. It was at this point Oliver got a second wind and I put him down and he took off again, it was funny to see him with a second wind. I was running backwards at this point (do they give awards for the person who runs the biggest portion of the race backwards because they should as I probably ran 1/2 mile backwards) to urge him on and he was chasing me. He tired out again around mile 2 and I ended up carrying him so more.
He did pretty good he probably ran half of the race to maybe 2 miles. What was funny is after the race while we are waiting for the raffle (we won 2 free shirts and a hat with our 3 bibs) he is running around all crazy like. I think a later start and he could have finished the race as he definitely had plenty of energy after he woke up. He didn't get to win youngest racer because I carried him about a mile of the race (a little 2 year old girl did run the whole thing she was back there with us and pretty awesome) but he had a blast and so did I. I think our time was like an hour, my watch kept auto-stopping because I forgot to take off that feature and I kept stopping to help him it said 2.88 in 53:xx but I think we were closer to an hour so yeaaaaaaaa new personal worst. Final time ended up being 1:01:19.

Kokopelli Olympic Triathlon, my first Olympic

I don't think i have ever been this nervous for a race in my life, not my first marathon, not my first half marathon which I was completely unprepared for, not ever. If something goes wrong in the middle of a lake its not like you can just start walking its like ok now we are going to drown.
My training has been good, I have been getting 40 miles a week on the bike for 5 months now with every 4th week doing a super long bike ride of 50 miles. Of course my running is strong I could run a 10k in my sleep and I think I have done so. My swim training has been ok my bike training was definitely better but my swim can still use some work. I have been doing two swims a week (I will increase that to 3 maybe 4 for half ironman training after my marathon cycle is over) with an Open Water Swim on Wednesdays and a pool swim on Fridays. What cost me is it seemed every time I skipped a swim it was my OWS because my wife was working that night or just the logistics of getting out to Sand Hollow Reservoir. This meant I had 5 OWS but none above 1000 meters, where my pool swims would be typically 1650-2000 meters which might have saved me as I could easily swim the 1500 meters and probably swam 2000 today during the race more on that later. The most grueling part of training was also fitting in marathon training at the same time. It has left me completely burned out the last couple weeks and I have smartly taken extra cutback weeks and didn't do much this week with how fried I am. I have never looked forward to a taper more than I did this one, there were weeks when I was completely exhausted with all the extra training. But I have felt fantastic the last 2 weeks and even had a great 20mile run last Saturday (20.3 miles in 3:18xx) and one of my most amazing runs on Tuesday ever which I should share with you sometime. I think this was due to 2 cutback weeks I took that were unplanned one for my birthday at the end of August. So I spent most of Friday in a very nervous state. It was an anxiety that had me on pins and needles and a little scared. I picked up my packet after work and got marked for the race so I didn't have to worry about it in the morning. I even bought these little shoe ties that make it so you can cinch your shoes real quick and save time in transition. My main reason for buying them though was I use cages instead of clipless and my shoelaces tend to get untied and then wrap around my pedal very dangerous as you can't get out of the cages with your shoelace wrapped and this would allow me to not have to worry about that anymore.
So I get home and set up all my race stuff for in the morning so I don't have to worry about it. I make a bag to take with me and holy heck does a triathlon require way more stuff. Wet suit, bike helmet, bike gloves, nutrition for transitions, water and gatorade for first transition and of course the garmin, run shoes, running shorts and tech tee. I set my alarm for 6am as transition opened at 6am but my wave didn't start until 8:15am. No reason to be super early because I was already marked figured that would get me out of the house by 7am and to the race by 7:30 with 45 minutes to spare. I woke up at 5:30am though, its been awhile since I have woke up for a race before my alarm went off. All that morning before the race I felt like I was going to vomit I was so nervous. I got my breakfast in me despite wanting to vomit the whole time and got all my morning stuff done and was out of the house at 6:50. Its about a 30 minute drive to the race start. So I arrived at 7:20 and felt a little foolish here I am with my bike riding in my trunk of my car and all these people have the nice bike racks with the super fancy carbon fiber bikes and I am on my mid-level road bike that I love and that did kick some arse during the race though.
Now they don't let you park in the actual state park (this is at Sand Hollow Reservoir part of a state park) but actually down on the road about a mile away. This is completely fine as I am early enough the hike into the transition area I figured would be a nice little warmup oh but I had another warmup coming a horribly unexpected one. So I get in and set up my stuff in transition and am chatting away with the other racers when at about 7:50 am I realize I left my goggles in the car. I keep a separate swim bag with my goggles in them so I can hit the pool or the lake to train and even reminded myself on the drive to get my goggles out but totally forgot with all the nerves. If it had been anything else I would have said screw it and done the race without but I hate swimming without my goggles. So I take off to run back to the car for a nice 2 mile warmup run to get them. I grab them and head back to the start as everyone is filing down to the water for the first wave. I was in the second wave. In my rush to get my goggles I forgot to put my anti-fog drops on them another thing I reminded myself on during the car ride. Well first wave is off and we are told to get in the water. There weren't too many in our wave a nice big group but not a huge group that I was going to get trampled at the start. I line up or swim up in the back not wanting to interfere with anyone knowing I am not the fastest swimmer. But just before we start the guy starting the race makes everyone back up now your bumping and jostling and its crazy.
We take off and I am doing good, got a good swim going on and staying with the pack for the most part but they are separating a little and with it being a smaller pack I quickly find myself on my own. My goggles are completely fogged up and we are swimming into the sun. I did ask about the logistics of where we go before the race. We were supposed to keep the orange buoys to our left and we would hit a green buoy for the sprint turnaround then another green buoy for the Olympic turnaround. We were then to swim 50 meters to the left and go around an orange buoy and then keep the orange buoys to our left on the way back. Pretty simple huh except with fogged up goggles and swimming alone and into the sun I was soon lost as I could not see the next orange buoy for the life of me. Then all of a sudden I got a kiyaker by me saying you need to go around the orange buoy and I am like what fraking buoy I don't see a buoy. I guess I had swam 25 meters over and was starting to come close to the lane people would be heading back in. She keeps tell me you need to swim around the buoy and I kept informing her I cannot bloody see a buoy what fraking buoy. Eventually I do see the buoy and get back on course. But its not long before I got another kiyaker saying you need to swim around the buoy, what fraking buoy. This kiyaker was a little better at directions with swim right, swim left and found the buoy a little easier this time.
About at the sprint turnaround the wave behind me catches up with me with all my deviations to course. Now I didn't get swam over at the start but dear lord those guys don't even bother to swim around you in the middle of the lake I got swam over many times and actually slowed down so they wouldn't drown me. I don't know if they just couldn't see me because of the sun but I would never swim over the top of somebody 750 meters into a race. I managed to get lost a 3rd time and again swim around the buoy and the what fraking buoy game was played. I am starting to wonder if I will ever see the turnaround at this point. It was at this point I was all alone again in the middle of the lake, no kiyakers around either and I started to yell where the frak do I go, somebody tell me where the frak do I go. I am treading water completely lost and then all of a sudden I see the green buoy. Oh you sweet green buoy, you beautiful gorgeous, wonderful amazing, sexy green buoy. How I want to make sweet passionate love to you right here in the middle of the lake. I am going to hump the crap out of you. Ok I didn't but how sweet that buoy was because it means I get to head away from the sun and not have to swim into it anymore. I make a break for it and this is when the third wave catches me I don't care I have found the green buoy and am swimming again. Because I was so lost and was constantly having to try and sight I ended up swimming most of the first 750 meters with my head above the water. Now I can see the buoys and I am not heading into the sun anymore and can start keeping my head down and under the water. I would just pick the next buoy on the horizon and make a beeline for it. So freaking easy right. Well it was on the way back. My goggles did eventually get so fogged up that i stopped with about 2 buoys to go to unfog them a little and sight the next buoy. And all of a sudden my leg starts to cramp something fierce because I am treading water now and did something weird when I stopped to get my goggles fixed. A kayaker comes over to help me and had he tried to pull me out of the water when I could finally see the shoreline he might have got knocked off his kayak, no way after what I had been through was I getting pulled. I work the cramp out and let him know I am ok and make a beeline for the gorgeous shore ahead of me. All in all the second half of the swim went great. I am glad I was in the habit of doing way more than the 1500 meters in training though as I am sure with all my random wanderings I swam 2000 meters. Swim time 1:00:12, about what it takes me to swim 2000 meters not the 35-40 minutes it takes me to swim 1500 meters and what I was hoping for the race.
Get out of the water and out of my wet suit pretty quick. I am glad I bought those shoe things as it made getting my shoes on a cinch. Grab my gatorade and a little water and a powerbar and start walking out of transition. I then break into a little run for the mounting area and wow what a weird feeling that is after swimming for an hour. Pull on my gloves and get on my bike. I am little slow in T1 as this is completely new for me. T1 4:14 but most people took about 4 minutes for T1 the leaders did it on the other hand in about a minute. Something I can easily work on with more races. Feels great to be out of the water and on my bike. I already start to pass a few people, all that bike training seems to have come in handy as I remember my first and only other triathlon a sprint tri where I was easily one of the worst bikers that day. About mile 4 you hit nemesis mister el diablo. If you remember from some of my race reports like Hurricane half or Sand Hollow marathon nemesis is a 561 foot climb in about a mile and one heck of a brutal hill. And man does it takes it toll on you, I think my average bike pace slipped to 12 MPH by the end of the hill that i would get back above 14 by the end of the race. I was tempted to walk up but that felt like cheating to me we are on the bike leg I need to bike up this hill. So I kept chugging away and biked right up it. Didn't see anyone walking up it on our way up but it seemed everyone I passed on the way down was walking their bike up it.
This is where I found a racer I never ever want to race with again, simply one of the worst racers ever etiquette wise. She would not keep a steady pace at all and I swear I would pass her and on that hill just a little while later she was passing me right back. At one point I am passing another lady and she goes to pass me back and makes the rude comments your supposed to stay to the right and not ride beside someone unless passing. I wanted to knock her off her bike she really irritated the heck out of me (she also p!ssed me off really bad during the run too). Here I am on this huge steep climb trying to pass someone so no I am not going to go shooting by them, she actually passes us in between the other rider and me arghhhhh. I did meet a nice biker on the race though she commented that it looked like we would be race buddies after we switched positions a few times. I saw her on the end of the run as I was coming up on mile 4 and she was heading out to the 3.1 turnaround and she commented I knew you would beat me I couldn't keep up with you on the bike uphills made my whole race. Everything was out and back for the race, swim, bike and run. So it was always nice to hit those turnarounds and know you were halfway through a leg. I only got passed by the super fast sprinters during the bike and passed almost all the other bikers made me feel good about my training. It was a tough course with tons of hills so I was happy with my time. as we are riding back down nemesis I am flying pass people on these carbon fiber bikes and here I am on my aluminum mid range bike. I was like fatman on a downhill let the gravity do work haha. Bike portion 1:28:00 a little slower than wanted as I had hoped for 1:15 but it was a tough course and I was happy with it. Hit T2 not really much to do except rack my bike, and discard my helmet. I do waste a little time because I got to scoot all the bikes down because some jacktard put his bike in my transition spot. T2 1:57. Hit the run and I am feeling it, its starting to get hot and its been a long day already. I am just trying to stay at about a 10:45 pace as I know that is about all I have in me right now. Get to aid station 1 or mile 1 and ignorant horrible race lady is back, she takes 3 waters, 2 to pour on herself and one to drink so I don't even get a water. I really want to trip her. She again continues with the crazy pace, I am running an even pace but since I am walking the water stations and she is running them she keeps getting in front of me, Then it just becomes my goal to catch her before the next aid station so I can get a water or a gatorade before she snags them all. I hear a lot of way to go Patrick from people and I am not sure who any of them are (and no our names aren't on our bibs, somewhere along the line I have become a local race celebrity somehow honoring all former fat people everywhere). The run goes good but again the course is not friendly we are back on the bike course and lots of little hills that just sap you.
So nice to hit that last turnaround and know all you got left is a 5k. My pace did slip a little at the end as I start to run out of energy but I was happy with the run for the most part. take off for the finish at a dead sprint (even had a race official come up to me afterwords and congratulate me on my strong finish). Run time 1:08:45 (about 17 minutes off my 10k pr but hey I was tired LOL). Final time 3:43:07. I learned a ton, first off I need to work on open water sighting and be better prepared prerace. I can easily make the half ironman swim cutoff as its 1:10 for 1941 meters and I did that today I am pretty sure but I won't make it if I am getting lost again in a race. The swim does need to be my focus. Also I think I should work on transition 1 as I can trim some time there, Also I need more bricks my legs gave out on me a little near the end plus I think I need to start doing swim to bike bricks as that would help too. Loved the race, got a cool medal and a first timers pin (not officially my first triathlon but it sure the heck felt like it).

Parowan Half Marathon, sandbagging can be fun.

Ok I had no intention of doing this race after finishing Bryce Canyon three weeks ago which was my tune up half for the marathon. But some running friends talked me into it and I decided to treat it like a long run as I needed 13.1 for my long anyways this weekend. This would be the very first race I have paid for that I went in with no intention of trying to pr (I won a 5k back in May that I didn't try and race as well but that one was a won race). I figured since it was an impromptu race with no intention of PRing I would honor my bet with Angel at the same time and wear a skirt, alas this didn't work out but I will include the story and pic anyways. So I went to the DI (Deseret Industries its a Mormon goodwill store in Utah) Friday night and found a bright pink skirt.
I got some really strange looks when I held it up to myself to see if it looked like it fit. I chose it because it was pink and because it had a tie string I figured if it was too big I could tie it. I didn't try it on because man I could see those DI people kicking me out or calling the cops on me haha for trying on a woman's skirt. Well I woke up at 4am to get ready to go glad I wasn't driving as we were car pooling as the drive was about an hour a way. I put on the skirt and it fit but it was so tight there was no way I was going to be able to run in it so I had to ditch it. My wife told me after the race even though it said it was an L that it was a size 11 and evidently I am not a size 11 whatever that means haha (why do women gotta compliment things why isn't a 11 a size large) and that I should have gone with a waist band. She showed me a pink skirt i can wear that she has that I can wear on September 29th for a 5k I am doing. Oh well i was even going to run shirtless today in the skirt as a joke a pink skirt and no shirt oh and it would have been so funny had I been able to do it with how the race unfolded. Imagine getting passed by a guy only wearing a bright pink skirt in a half marathon. So we get in line for the porta potties and I lose Justin but after I am lining up for the race start all of a sudden my Uncle comes over who was running the race and gave me a hug. He didn't even tell me he was driving down (he lives in Loveland Colorado and its like a 6-7 hour drive for them) and running the race because I said there was no way I was doing it on facebook. He tells me he wants to beat his time of 1:59xx is all and I should have told him just stick with me then haha as I am getting pretty good at pacing a 2 hour half. So off we go into what must be the single worst road ever imaginable on the face of the planet for 3 miles. It was this hard packed country mountain dirt road with rocks jutting out of it all over the place. Then couple in the fact that the race has a 2700 foot drop much of it during the early miles on this craptastic mountain road and I am thinking dear lord what did I get myself into.
The whole first three miles I am weaving in an out trying to find a non crappy portion of the road to run on and trying not to faceplant because of all the rocks. It was also extremely humid so I am like sweating bullets as we are up in the mountains running next to a mountain stream that made me think I am running in some kind of swamp. So I kept pulling back my pace and slowing down. My typical half mile splits were low 9's and 9:15's and even one 10:08 for the first several miles. Oh and a side not trying to slow down on huge steep downhills and avoid rocks makes ones balls hurt and also my shins were just killing me from the crappy road. I was so ecstatic at mile 3 when we finally hit some paved roads. Granted it was country paved roads that were only slightly better than the dirt roads as you now no longer had to worry about the jutting rocks. It was about here that I started to speed up a little dropping my half mile splits into the high 8's. I was really enjoying myself and having a good time on this nice mountain run that when I hit mile 5 and I was feeling fantastic I decided to drop the hammer a little. This is where all my long runs seemed to come in to play and the fact that I took the first 5 miles so conservatively. Evidently everyone else must have hammered those fast first 5 miles despite the crappy road conditions. During the next 7 miles it was like fish in a barrel after I passed one runner after another as my times started to dip into the low 8's. I was running with the 9 minute crowd running 8 minute miles. I literately had an image of myself standing over a barrel full of fish with a shotgun in my hand just blowing them out of the water over and over. I must have passed 50-60 people the last 7 miles and got passed by no one. I was like you better not slow down or walk because I am coming for you. It was an absolute blast and I felt so great. Best part of it was it was after the vicious downhills so I didn't even trash my legs as it was just a nice sloping downhill at this point.
I caught my uncle at mile 7, and finished 4 minutes ahead of him even though he must have been quite a bit ahead of me as he left me when I was taking the miles slow. I was in such a jovial mood I was kidding with the crowds, at mile 10 we were passing a line of cars that had been diverted for the race and I challenged some of the cheerers in the car to a race and I beat their car in the traffic haha. I also passed my favorite shirt at this point as on the back of it it said you just got passed my a fat man. I so want one of those shirts i even commented to them as I passed them that I loved the shirt and they were getting passed by a former 400 pound fatty. My finish time was 1:58:00 flat and my third sub 2 half. My uncle came in at 2:02 and Justin came in at 1:42:34 freaking sandbagger I have no idea how he ran this race 2 minutes faster than Bryce. while yes the race is more downhill I found the tough technical aspects of the first 3 miles and even the country road aspect up to 5 or 6 making it a way harder race. I feel great no soreness and I basically took it as a great training run for STG marathon as I need to do that in back to back halves to get my goal of a sub 4 and I think i can do it I was still running great at the end and passing people. I trimmed my first 5 mile pace which was a 9:15 all the way to 8:51 at one point and just slowed and enjoyed the last 2 miles in town. Oh and it was so much fun to pass so many people I might need to line up in the back one of these days haha Clearly half marathons are the races I am best at.

Bryce Canyon Half Marathon, a new shiny pr after months of struggles

Ok after doing a half marathon and or a marathon every single month from October to March I kind of hit a wall and was losing touch with racing. My races weren't getting better they had become stagnant and I had lost a little love of racing. So I stopped racing after my disastrous marathon in March and just went back to focusing on training. The idea was I wanted to try and run a sub 4 at STG marathon this October so I was going to try and be more focused in what I was doing. This meant adding speedwork once a week with the running club and focusing on my training. Well in May they announced that the local ironman was going to go from a full to a half next May. Now the Ironman has been a dream of mine since I started running but I knew that I was at least 3-4 years away from even contemplating one if not more. I knew I needed to master the marathon first as well as each of the disciplines before attempting one. But the half on the other hand I knew I could do in a years time.
Another worker at my job managed to get us sponsorships through my employer so it was on. This meant scrapping my goal of trying for a sub 4 as I knew I needed to start triathlon training right away. I had just purchased a road bike so I decide to alter my training completely. I was still going to train for the marathon in October but I was also going to spend at least one hard core week each 4 weeks doing some bike training and cutting back on the running. So I devised a 3/1 week 40/40-20-80 plan. This consisted of me running 3 weeks of 40+ mpw in addition too 40 miles biking for those three weeks. On the 4th week I cut back my running drastically to 20 miles and then upped my biking for those week to 80+. I also cut one of my 2 rest days and turned it into a swim day and then added a double in the middle of the week for another swim day (this has been my open water swim day). So not having raced in 4 months and completely altering my training I had no idea what kind of running shape I was in so I decided I needed a tune up half marathon to gauge myself and then set my marathon goal in accordance to that half. The idea was I would run a July or August half marathon then set my marathon goal as double plus 20 for goal A and double plus 30 for goal B.
Races dry up here during the summer as it is the desert and we get really hot. That left me with 3 options the Bryce Canyon half, the Parowan half and or the one I ran last year the Washington County fair half. Well I scrapped the County fair one instantly as it was the poorest planned half I ever run as it was set up as a relay. The Parowan half was an inaugural last year and I heard some negative things about it like them running out of water. So I decided on the Bryce Canyon half. I regretted this almost instantly as I had not looked into the logistics of it at all. I thought it was like the Parowan half which is an hour drive and starts at 8am meaning get up at 5 and hit the road by 6 easy piecy. No this half is a 2-2/12 hour drive with it starting at 6am and I have no clue how to get there. So last week I started to look for a hotel room hoping I could still get one but the only rooms I could find were more than a $150 for one night. I really didn't want to spend that much for a race so I was still just thinking about riding up in the morning and leaving at like 3am to get there (which would have been a disaster). Justin was doing it too and Tuesday he texted me asking me if I wanted to do some downhill warmups on marathon course for it Wednesday morning (Bryce Canyon is a fairly downhill race so we planned on running the most downhill portion of STG marathon from ledges to Bluff also it had a similar start to Bryce with the first mile being uphill then going into downhills). I had planned a mini taper for the week of 5-4-3 T-W-TH. He wanted to do 6-7 and I told him if I did it I would want to do 4-5. So we agreed on 5 (ended up being 5.4). So we go up on course and I think we ended up pushing each other and I ended up running the thing with a 8:08 pace way to quick during a taper week and he did it with a 7:52. So it ended up being a tempo run. Well Justin ended up offering to let me sleep in their tents up there as they had rented a camp site. I figured this was a good idea as then I could drive up Friday after work and be right at the start line for the race.
On Tuesday the summer cold hit our house (I got it, my wife got it and my son got it). I was mostly recovered by Friday but I was in that area where you are just worn out and really just need some sleep but then Friday the 13th came with lots of rain and during the middle of the night the AC unit went off in the computer room from all the lightening and power glitches heating the room up to 116. That meant I ended up at work several hours early on Friday still sick and now extra tired. I figured it would be ok as I could leave an hour early and go home and grab a nap before having to drive up. So we get home and we are laying down (family nap time is awesome) and the power goes off at our house. This meant no nap for anyone so we decided to just go pick up dinner and I would leave at like 6:45. I am glad I decided to leave early too as the drive nearly made me want to drink. My phone needed to download an upgrade for my GPS so I figured I could download it on the way and pull over in Parowan and load my maps there. Well I get to Parowan to load my maps and whammo zero cellular service like nothing at all. So luckily I had loaded some google maps and decided to follow those. Problem is driving with no voice GPS means you miss turns easily as I missed the turn off the freeway and had to backtrack down and was about to lose my mind. But in one of those small world moments my wife had found out that her boss at work was Justins sister in law and that she was too running the half. So I get a call as she called my wife for my work cell which is what I was using and they actually managed to guide me. By the time I get there it is pitch black though and raining. We decide to just hang it in and go to bed as it is nearly 10pm now. I had brought two sleeping bags one to use for cushioning which honestly did nothing at all as we were sleeping on the ground in a tent. A couple hours in I decided too double up the second sleeping bag which helped a little but is very odd as your hips are lower than your back so it hard to get comfortable. So another night of miserable sleep and with a back that is killing me dang the ground is hard I am glad we have beds and mattresses. We set out alarms for 4:30am which was ok as I was mostly awake anyways not having slept well at all. We do our morning business and head to the start line. For the race I had three goals, A sub 2 hours, B pr and C if I was up to it shoot for sub 1:50. I had talked to them last night and was told the best strategy for the race was to go out at the pace you wanted for the first 2 miles as it is mostly uphill for the start and then try and bank time the next 5 miles as you have some steep downhills before getting 5 miles of rollers to finish the race. I went up and talked the 1:50 pacer and he actually stated that was what he was going to do. They planned to run the first 2 at 8:30 then sub 8 for the next 2 and then settling into a pace of 8-15-8:30 depending on where they were in the rollers. I decided that was a good strategy and tucked in right behind them and said if I wasn't feeling it I would drop back with the 2 hour pacer. Well the first 2 miles hammered me, I am a notoriously slow starter and those 2 miles just hammered me. I let the pacers go somewhere in between miles 1 and 2 as I averaged an 8:36 for the first 2 miles. Justin passed me about a mile an half on his way to an awesome pr of 1:44xx 13 minutes faster than his February pr and 42 minutes faster than he ran Bryce in last year as his first half ever.
Well just as you get to the top of the hill at mile 2 you see a sign that says %8 grade coming up. They weren't kidding about the downhills from miles 3 and 4 were they. So I just start flying down the hills and actually banking time like planned. Next thing I know my average pace has gone from a 8:36 to a 8:10 and there is the 1:50 pacers all over again. At mile 3.5 I had one of my best moments ever. I have constantly got comments and accolades for being the former fatman running but never gotten many as a runner. Well this lady at mile 3.5 asks me hey you ran Dogtown half right I was trying to beat you the entire time and you just kept managing to stay in front of me and I could never catch you well I was determined to beat you next race. Made my entire race to get recognized as a runner not a former fatman (oh and I beat her by a minute today haha) So I tuck back in behind the 1:50 pacers again as we take the next 3 less steep downhills. I wish I had looked at my watch at this point as I am sure I set a 10k pr as when i did look I was at 52:10 in 6.4 miles and my 10k pr is 51:11. I decided I didn't want to give back any of the time I had banked by walking the water stations. So I decided to run the water stations and man I think I spilled as much gatorade on myself as I actually managed to get in me but it was working and I was staying with the 1:50 pacers. Well about mile 7 the downhills end and the rollers begin and this is when I first start feeling the effects of being sick all week and the lack of sleep the previous two days. My back is killing me from sleeping on the ground and I am like suck it up buttercup if you don't get a sub 2 half I will freaking stab you. I mean I could run 10 minute miles at this point and still get a sub 2. This is my thought process through much of the rest of the race. Shut up you run you sorry sack of sh!t run or I will beat you with a baseball bat. I did decide there is no way I am going to make the pr if I don't allow myself to walk the water stations and I make the decision I am going to sacrifice my chance at the sub 1:50 for a pr instead. I am flagging a little and I just need that little boost and to get some gatorade in me rather than on me. So I decide from aid station 8 on that I will walk them and get some gatorade. I actually still keep the 1:50 pacer in sight until mile 9 but at this point I feel like I have been beat head to toe with a baseball bat. At this point I think I ended up running the gutsiest 4 miles I have ever ran in my life. I was hurting, I was tired, I was flagging but by god and baby Jesus was I going to pr if it killed me. My thought process became a math problem to distract me from the pain I was in. It was ok I can run 11 minute miles and still run sub 2 and 10 minute miles and get a pr. Ok now I can run 12 minutes for sub 2 and 11 minutes for a pr. It was a constant math equation just to keep myself moving (oh and I never went much above the low 9's all the way in anyways). The same lady I saw at 3.5 asks me where we are at 1:30 in as she wanted a sub 2 and I am like we could walk it at this point and still likely get a sub 2 we got 2.3 miles to go in 30 minutes. Those last miles were me just gutting it out refusing to quit, refusing to not pr no matter how tired I was no matter how much I hurt. I wasn't going to walk eventually I got to the point where I am like listen here I don't care about a sub 2 I don't care about even a sub 1:55 your time is going to say something like 1:51 or I will beat you to death while you sleep now start picking it up and running faster you sorry sack of sh!t. Finish time was 1:51:52 completely spent and but I still manged the last .1 in a 7:36. I just walked around in a daze after that I was completely and utterly spent and then it began to rain in earnest and now I am shivering and cold and wet as we stayed around to cheer on the others of our group. Justin's father in law came in at 1:52 (he used to be a former high school teacher of mine another small world moment), his brother came in at 2:31 and then we waited for my wives boss who finished in 2:50 (I thought she did great as this was her first half and she wanted sub 3 as she had never run one in training faster than 3:15). So we are all soaking wet and freezing cold and they have a hot tub on the camp site so we all went and soaked in the hot tub so awesome and then my friends father in law cooked us brunch before we drove home (didn't get home until 2pm). I mean it was an awesome race and I don't think I could have done a single thing better than I did. For the conditions I think I may have run the best race I have ever run in my life and I gutted it out not letting myself quit when I wanted to. Plus I made smart decisions I think if I had tried to hold onto the sub 1:50 I would have ended up missing my pr I was still far enough ahead that I would have gotten a sub 2 but not the pr. They tried talking me into parowan in 3 weeks not sure if I want to do it but it was so nice to go out there and run fast and I would like to see what another day brings me crap now I am contemplating it. my splits 8:27 8:48 (the second uphill mile took a toll on me) 7:36 (start of the 2 steepest downhills) 7:51 8:13 8:06 8:22 8:38 (start of the rollers) 9:14 (first walked through aid station, I lost about 30 seconds a mile by walking through the aid stations and they were like 1.5 miles apart) 9:01 8:57 9:30 (toughest of the last rollers and my slowest mile of the day) 8:41 (told myself to suck it up buttercup you got a mile to go and you better get a 1:51xx) last .1 7:36 Final time: 1:51:52

Sand Hollow Marathon, one of my worst races ever.

I will start off with full disclosure as there somethings I haven't mentioned here not want to get all the derision that I know would come from mentioning these things. I will also say this is a race I should have DNS or at worse DNF instead being too stubborn to admit defeat I finished it in agonizing pain.
First with the disclosure when I ran my 21 miler 4 weeks prior to the ace I hit the stoplight about a mile from my house and had to wait for it to change to cross the street. I nearly passed out at the light I was so dehydrated when a massive dizzy spell hit me. So if anyone is wondering why I felt I needed to hydrated so much the last week before the marathon that was one of the main reasons. I lost 12 pounds in two days, got sunburnt and so massively dehydrated I nearly passed out from that single 21 mile run that I decided I needed to do something so it wouldn't happen again. Then two weeks prior to the race I was struggling to finish 6 mile runs, three of them in a row in fact it took a massive toll on my confidence and had me severely questioning this marathon. I think it was my body's way of telling me it needs a break and that the marathon was not a good idea, I wish I had listened. I will not be running this week at all, I am going to listen to my body its been almost 2 1/2 years since I took an entire week off and I think I need it both physically and mentally.
So I have been absolutely scared spitless about this race for weeks now, I never let on thinking I could just power through it but the marathon will humble you and I am very humble right now. At 3am last night I woke with a massive cramp in my calf that hurt so bad I actually woke my wife when i scream out in pain. I got another one at 5am but managed not to wake my wife for that one. I really nearly bagged the race at that point but my pride got in the way and I still went ahead with it. I woke up at 6am and did all my usual things, got some breakfast, used the facilities and made it out of the door just shortly before 6:40 which is perfect as the race started at 7:30. Got there around 7:10 and getting out of the car I was extremely stiff and nearly DNS one more time. Funny thing is when the race started everything felt fantastic around mile 4 I had never felt so good in a race before. Since I was feeling so good I decided to go with plan A that was to run the easier half of the race in a 2:08 and then run the harder second half in a 2:14 walking most of the massive hill at mile 18 and just planning to lose that time and still come in with a 4:22 or a 10mm. I noticed about mile 7 my nipples were killing me as I had not taped them. At the mile 9 aid station as I was walking away with my gatorade I saw they had Vaseline not wanting to go back I said perfect I will get some at mile 11. At mile 11 I stopped and applied some Vaseline to my very sore nipples by this time and I noticed when i tried to run from the aid station that my knee had locked up while I was applying the Vaseline.
The ITBS in my right knee which hasn't bothered me since January was back in full force. It was ok at first when I ran but when i walked through the water stations it would hurt so bad. At mile 13 I got some more Vaseline and again from stopping my knee locked up again. It took me a minute to get going but I managed to finally get going again. I was actually behind the pace I wanted at the half way point I think i was at 2:12 but I was fine with that I decided I wasn't going to try to make up time and instead just stick to the plan and just try and keep it around a 10mm and only walk the water stations. At mile 15 I decided I would try some icy hot for my knee and some more Vaseline for my nipples. I was hurting quite a bit and it made my mind all fuzzy at first I tried to apply the icy hot with my gloves on. then I almost left my glove when I did remember to take it off. This extended stop only made matters worse, mile 16 was beyond miserable I was all alone there was no one else around me and my knee was hurting quite horribly. This is the point where I decided I didn't care about a pr anymore and just wanted to finish, I had just endured 5 miles of torture and wanted something to show for it. This was also the first time I decided to walk (the 16 miles before taking a walk break is the single longest I have ever done). I actually was still on pace for like a 4:25 at this point and had been doing so fantastic.
The next 2 miles were a mixture of gallowalking whenever my knee hurt. I stuck to the plan still walking up the massive hill wanting to conserve energy for the downhills at the end which might be the only reason I even managed to finish. It was about mile 18 I ran into Justin who had friended me on facebook this week as I post on our local running center and marathon facebook pages. We actually talked quite a bit and he told me how he had gone out too fast and how he had crashed and burned at STG last year finished in 6:16 and having to go to the medical tent for saline. He also ran Mesquite in 5:41 in November. I told him I would help him get to a sub 5 because at mile 19 even after walking the massive hill we were still on pace for like a 4:40 and could do like 11-12mm to the finish and still get a sub 5. We actually did really good the next 3 miles all the way up to mile 21, we were talking and keeping a good pace. It was at mile 21 after we left the aid station I realized I could not run anymore my knee hurt so bad but I really wanted to finish and I didn't want to hold him back so I told him to go on ahead without me. Sadly he must have gone out too fast as I caught up with him at the mile 23 aid station and two runners were pouring water on his head and he had to bag it and take a ride back to the finish line. I wish he had just walked with me because we would have gotten him a pr walking. Those last 5 miles were the single most agonizing miles of my entire life. But after 10 miles of pain dear god I wanted to finish. I walked the entire last 5 miles as my knee just wouldn't let me run at all. Every time I passed an aid station I kept thinking about bagging it and taking a ride to the finish like and just DNFing I hurt so bad. At mile 22 I was nearly in tears it hurt so bad but I kept plugging away I swear I checked the mileage every .05 the entire last 4 miles. Only 3.9 to go ok now only 3.85 to go now only 3.8.
I finished but with a miserable time of 5:33:45 and I really wish I had just dnsed or even dnfed. I had to sit in my car for like 40 minutes before I could even drive home (my wife didn't come out since it was so far away and we only have the one car). When I got home my knee hurt so bad I couldn't even lift it to take my shoe off and my wife had to do it for me. Feel free to deride me and call me stupid, this is who I am, sometimes I wish it could be different but that's who I am. If you ever wonder how I lost 220 pounds, that is how I am too stupid and too stubborn to know when to quit. I am an all or in person, I give it my all if I fail I fail there will always be tomorrow and tomorrow I will succeed. I still plan on training to try and run a sub 4 for STG in October using Hudson.
I have never been so humble in my life.

Saint George Half Marathon 2012, the end of my pr streak.

Up until this race I had run 16 consecutive prs (I threw out a 5k on a short course and the Hostess half as that was a unique course eating twinkies). This was one of those tough races where you find yourself humbled and realize all streak must end sometime. The Saint George half marathon was is like %75 uphill and raining and just not a friendly course, this course chewed me up and spit me out. Normally I would go through the details first but I am going to jump to the end of the race instead and the best thing about running it first.
If you remember my race report from last year I suffered massive muscle spasms and cramps and waited in line for over an hour to get a massage. So after sticking around and getting my official time (miserable 2:06:08 but more on that later) I look over and the massage tent doesn't have a line. So I am like sweet I am so going to get a massage even though I wasn't really cramping or any pain (my knee did not hurt the entire race). One benefit of it raining no lines for the free massages. The Chiropractor, I found out that he is a Doctor and a Sports Chiropractor that specializes in athletes and runners asks me what area I'd like to focus on. I tell him my it band has been acting up and I like to do my legs mostly. So he starts the massage and then asks me after a little while if I have lost some weight. I tell him that I have lost 220 pounds and he lets me know that I have a hip imbalance. He explains that because my body was so used to carrying so much extra weight (remember I went from a size 58 pant to a 36 that's nearly 2 feet of less belly I have now) that my pelvis is having to realign to adjust to not carrying so much weight which is what is causing my it bands to hurt.
He then explained how the it band starts in the hips and runs through the knees and because my pelvis is realigning that is why I have a hip imbalance and what is causing my it bands to hurt. He told me I should do some hip strengthening and lateral exercises to help it out. This explains why all conventional wisdom on it bands has not worked on me because I am not having them because of conventional reasons but because I lost so much weight. This is why the it strap didn't work for me and actually made it worse and why the back massager works really well for me (he told me that and my foam roller are great ways to alleviate the tension as my pelvis realigns). This also explains why my left it band just magically seemed to get better because my pelvis was done realigning for the time being. If you remember when my right it band started hurting 3 weeks ago it started hurting in my hip first then my knee started to hurt. So now I know what is wrong and my insurance kicks in next month and I am so going back to this doctor. Ok on with the rest of race report. If you remember from last year I almost missed the start of the race because of traffic getting there and then having to run into cracker barrel to throw my wallet at my wife (she no longer goes to races with me alas). So this year I decided to leave a little early and in my rush to get out of the house earlier I took my ipod but not my headphones so this would be my first half sans music (I have done a 5k and a 10k sans). It was raining really hard this morning. In Saint George and the desert we get two kinds of rain the torrential downpour that last for like 30 minutes max or the steady constant drizzle that can go on for hours. It was doing the torrential this morning but during the race it switched the constant drizzle.
Get to the race and just chill in my car as its cold and raining. Am torn if I want to wear my hoodie or not with it being cold and rainy outside. I decide to wear it and ditch at an aid station so I get out and go walk around for like 30 minutes just to stretch my legs as I don't want to do a conventional warmup not knowing how my knee is going to go and add extra miles onto it. I decide just before the race starts that I have regretted having the hoodie the last two races and go drop it off in my car and exchange it for my beanie instead which can be stashed in my pocket. I line up with the 1:50 pacer and check that she is going to be doing a 8:25 pace, I lost her long before we hit mile 1. This is the largest half marathon in Southern Utah and there was like 2000-3000 runners which meant we went out slow and at one point the 1:50 pacer took off to get up too pace and there was too many people in front of me to even try and keep with her but I wasn't feeling it anyways and a 9mm was about all I had in me today. The first 7 miles were all uphill, then you got a few small downhills then the last 6 miles were either flat or with a slight uphill. The course just chewed me up and spit me out. Keep in mind because of my knee issues I haven't had a quality run in since the first of the year. I know you don't lose a lot of fitness in 2-3 weeks but couple that with the fact that the course was brutal and I just could never get moving very well. At the first aid station the 1:55 pacer paced me, I tried to catch up to him but I just didn't have it in me so I just let him go and was trying to stay in front of the 2 hour pacer. Also around mile 3 I got passed by two clowns, one with a bright rainbow colored wig, which is worse getting beat by a 13 year old or a clown? The hills were just beating me up at this point it was around mile 5 that the 2:00 pacer caught up with me. I hear him commenting to his other pacer that they are a minute ahead of pace so the runners must just love running hills. I wanted to beat him with a stick.
I stayed with him for a little while but mile 6 had the worst hill of the race and I just kind of lost him. Now not running with music is very very interesting like sometimes I worried some runners were going to hyperventilate they were breathing so heavy. And some of the snip-its of conversations you hear is quite fun. After mile 7 you get one nice downhill then the rest is kind of flat or a much smaller incline at this point I am just done and beat up. If this was one of my long runs I might have just called it quits as I was completely trashed at this point, soaked and wet and completely miserable. It was at this point I wish I had some music to take my mind off the miserable weather. But I just kept going knowing there is no way I am going to pr or even get another sub 2 my goal just became to not get passed by the 2:05 pacer (I didn't see him so I don't know if he fell of pace as I finished 2:06:08). No kick at the finish but my knee didn't hurt the entire time so I am going to be grateful for that. I ran a better race stopping to eat twinkies ever couple of miles just last month.
I feel very humbled right now, which is funny as I ran this race last year in 2:20:20 on a much easier course. But I am glad I know what is going on with my it bands know and it totally made the race worth it.