IRONMAN 70.3 St George 2013

Here is a little recap of the race and the experience of my first Ironman race.

This race was the Pro Championship race for Ironman 70.3 distance for 2013. As such, a stacked field of professional triathletes from around the world were there to test themselves in the hills and heat of St George, UT. Ironman does a great job of organizing and running their events. We arrived in town on Thursday, 3 days before the race, and the atmosphere was buzzing. It was pretty cool to see all the big-name pros in person.  It was cool too to run into Matt Reed in the local bike shop getting some last minute tuning done on his new Fuji NORCOM STRAIGHT.

I picked up my packet on Thursday afternoon. Pretty straight forward. The tricky part was figuring out what to put in each of the three different race bags; there was a bike gear bag, run gear bag, and morning clothes bag. The “race bag” concept was all new to me as this was my first Ironman event.  To add further complexity this race has two separate transition areas. The bike-swim transition area was at Sand Hollow Reservoir, where we would swim. But, the bike-run transition area is in downtown St George, approximately 35 miles from the swim venue. With some help from other athletes and friends who have done this before I was able to get my things organized and bagged-up, ready for race day.

T1 Bike Checkin

Friday we spent doing a short bike ride — just an all-systems-go ride to make sure everything was shifting, rolling, and braking smoothly. Later in the day we met up with our fellow racing teammates at Sand Hollow for a little swim. The weather was sunny and beautiful so we donned our wet-suits and did a short loop of about 1000 yards. Everything felt pretty good. The water temp was around 60-62 degrees and felt ok after a few minutes of swimming. Later that night I really wanted to get to be early but ended up going to be around 10:30… then I laid there for probably an hour or more before finally falling asleep. Having bikes and most of my gear already checked-in reduced some of my pre-race anxiety but I still had to mentally walk through T1 and T2 for the next day.  I tried to figure out how all the bag unpacking and re-stuffing of gear was going to work.

CK Team Phot

Saturday I rose at 4:30 a.m., ate my standard breakfast of oatmeal & bananas. Grabbed my “morning clothes bag” and my nutrition for the day, and headed out. Given that I probably had 5 hrs of sleep I actually felt pretty good and alert. We headed downtown to catch the bus, which took us out to the start area at Sand Hollow Reservoir. When we arrived I still needed to pump-up my bike tires and get water bottles & nutrition lined up for the race. My age group wave wasn’t until 7:54 a.m. so I had a good long time to hang-out and mingle with friends, etc. The pro waves started at 7 a.m.

The swim was pretty un-eventful. However, I was a little aggravated that I went out too hard and then was too winded for a bit. Toward the last 1/3 of my swim I had caught many of the slower swimmers from the previous several waves. It was very congested and I spent a lot of energy sighting about every other stroke and weaving in-and-out of swimmers. I’m sure it cost me some time and I ended with a 34 minute swim. I had really hoped I’d be closer to 30 minutes but 34 wasn’t bad.

Heading into T1 I was dizzy, like I always seem to be after the swim, but nothing unusual. I felt pretty good and had a SLOW T1… pulling gear out of a bag and then stuffing wet-suit, goggles, etc. back into the bag took a long time. I was in T1 for about 4 minutes. I had also taken time to put on socks (which I usually don’t do for shorter races), I knew the day would be long and hot and I didn’t want to get blisters on the bike or run sections.  Weird things stick with you on race day… one of them was the music playing as I finished the swim.  Running into T1 they had Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter blasting out.  I didn’t hear anything around me, not the cheering of my family & friends, all I heard was that music.  And it just stuck all over my brain… I was singing that song ALL DAY LONG.  By the end of the race I really was thinking, “gimme shelter!”


Heading out on the bike I felt pretty good.  This course has a LOT of climbing and they hit you with the first hill right out of T1.  I just needed to make sure to not go too hard on the hills and save some juice for the Snow Canyon climb, oh yeah, and I’d need some energy for the half-marathon run too.

By the time I reached Snow Canyon it was getting hot and the sun was high–on the steep sections of Snow Canyon I saw several other riders who were now walking their bikes up the hill.  It was a great relief to reach the top of Snow Canyon, as now the bike was all but over; about 12 miles of high-speed descent back to St George was all that remained of the bike.  It was a good time to get some water and nutrition in me and start getting ready for the run.  I knew I was pretty well hydrated on the bike because I needed to pee for about  an hour before the bike was over.  I didn’t bother stopping until I got back to T2 and was ready to head out on the run.  A stop at the porta-potties made for a long 4 minute T2 but it was good timing :)


The run starts with about 3 miles of uphill before you get any relief.  I felt pretty good the first 2 miles but was really slowing down when I hit the steep hill going up Red Cliffs Parkway.  I walked about 1/2 of that hill.  There is a good downhill leading to the turn-around point but that meant a long climb back to the high-point before heading back toward the finish.  I took water and cola at just about every aid station and tried to keep cooling down with ice and wet sponges.  It was really hot by then, I’d guess about 85-90 and I felt like I was on fire.  The bottoms of my feet were cooking on the hot pavement.  The saving grace for this hard course is that its downhill for the last 3 miles.  I saw several friends out on the course and was able to talk to a few of them on the home-stretch.  Nearing the finish line the spectators were lined-up on the course and cheering–it was a real boost for that last mile.  I also loved seeing my family out there on the course during the day–their cheering and support takes your mind off the race and sure makes it easier to step-up the output a notch or two!

I crossed the finish line with a time of 5:43.  I was tired and glad it was over but shortly after catching my breath and relaxing for a few minutes I felt really good — it was fun to see other friends come down the finish chute and cheer them on.  Looking back I really loved this race!  The course is challenging but it never got boring.  Hills are tough but the descents afterward were a lot of fun.  I’m already looking forward to next year!


One post-race highlight was when we went out to dinner later that night.  I ran into pro triathlete Andy Potts, who was also waiting for a table.  I talked to him for a few minutes and he was just a genuinely nice guy.  I asked him about his race and he just chatted away like we were the best of friends.  Of course, I HAD to get a pic with him!  What a great ending to a great day.

IMSG 70.3 Medal

Sufferfest 2012

Ok, maybe a little dramatic but that’s sorta what it felt like in my most recent race… more on that in a bit. Let’s start with a little background. This race was the HITS Napa Valley Olympic distance on 14 April 2012. I was REALLY looking forward to this race; the location looked incredible and I was excited to have two of my boys doing the open/novice distance race that same day.

Here’s the setup: we were taking our family to the Bay Area in California for a spring-break trip. It seemed like a perfect formula to me: drive over 2000 miles with 4 kids in tow, visit family, eat Easter candy, see the sights, go to an amusement park, visit some museums, see Golden Gate Bridge, hike in the Redwoods, take in a few cultural activities, eat my daily allotment of calories in one sitting at Fenton’s Ice Cream parlor, tour the Jelly Belly factory, then try to qualify for USAT Nationals the next day. Perfect, right?! Maybe not so perfect… oh, and somebody forgot to tell me that an XL Suburban with a 4-bike rack on the back is nigh-impossible to park in San Francisco!

And no, you didn’t see any mention of any training-related activities for the 8 or 9 days prior to the race — I did get in one good run, plus one bike ride around the block to make sure the bike was operational. I guess you could say I went into this race “well rested.”

Friday afternoon we drove to Lake Berryessa to pick-up race packets – it was rainy and cold but there was a buzz in the air and race crew were busy setting up for a class-A event. After getting our packets we walked through the transition area to check things out. We were personally greeted by the president of HITS, Tom Struzzieri. What a pleasant guy – he was obviously very busy but took the time to stop and talk with us. He chatted with my two boys and told them how cool he thought it was that they were doing the race and that he had kids that do triathlon as well.

Saturday was an early morning alarm… got up a 4 a.m. as we had to pack & check-out of our hotel plus drive about 75 minutes to the race venue. HITS put on an incredible event – one of the best run, nicest events I’ve participated in; however, my only complaint about this race was there was NO hotels/motels within an hour of the race. If you wanted to stay nearby you had to camp.

Parking was a little crazy but everything went smoothly and they had assigned spots in the transition area — they even had nice little stools to sit on while you were putting on shoes or whatever during your transition.

Pre-race was more relaxed than other races I’ve been at — I guess those Californians are more kick-back than us up-tight Utah folk. The only pre-race item of note was the poor guy next to me.  While setting up my transition area I hear him breathe a long, drawn-out, “ohhhhh nooooo, I forgot my wetsuit!” just minutes before transition area closed. Oh baby, did I feel sorry for him! The water was somewhere around 53-degrees that morning!  And little did I know just how the cold water would affect me.

I was able to run a little bit and get warmed up but decided against any swim warm-up; there would be no warming-up effect in that water! The water was so cold I figured it would do more damage than good.  I donned my wetsuit and cap and headed down to the start area.  Promptly at 7:30 a.m. the horn sounded and we headed out.

It was seriously the coldest water I’ve ever swam in.  They said 53-degrees but I bet it was colder once we got a few yards off-shore.  When I was only 100m out I was already hyper-ventilating and getting dizzy; very very cold and very tough to get my breathing regulated. I could immediately feel my feet going numb and wished I had more than a latex swim cap on my head.  There were a few moments when I just about stopped and headed back to shore – I came very very close to giving up on this one.  But, after about 700m, my swim started to even-out and I felt like I could finish.  It was a very slow swim for me; probably 4 or 5 minutes longer than normal and I exited with a time of 26 minutes.

Running to the transition area I saw my wife and kids cheering me on. I wasn’t too happy at that point and all I could say was, “that was not good!”  However, what they heard over the other noise was just, “not good!”  Somehow a parent’s suffering is very humorous to teenagers and they thought it was hilarious that I blurted out, “not good!”  They were popping-off the remainder of our trip (Saturday and Sunday) throwing out a “not good!” whenever they had the chance.  “How was your lunch?”… “not good!”  “How are you feeling?”…”not good!”  “Look at that pretty scenery”…”not good!”  “Can you pass the chips?”…”not good!” — it was basically that for the 12-hour drive home.

Arriving at my transition station my feet were so cold I decided to take an extra 30 seconds and put on socks for the bike ride.  That little stool came in very handy after all!  The bike course was very hilly and it was a sea-saw ride the entire time; I was passed by others on the downhill and then I’d pass them all again on the uphill.  In the end I moved up a few places on the bike and felt good about my performance there.  The big issue was that the ol’ feet never did thaw-out.  I tried wiggling my toes while riding to get some blood flow but frankly I couldn’t tell if they were even moving — they were completely numb.

Coming off the bike I jumped off at the dismount line and promptly took a dive onto the ground, dropping my bike and sprawling out on the gravel.  I was a little surprised but my feet just didn’t work.  Luckily I and the bike were fine but I did have to focus on walking while getting used to the feeling of having no feet.

I was hopeful that running would get the feet warm but it took about 4 miles before they hinted of thawing out.  The run was quite hilly too and I had a so-so time of 50 minutes. About 5 minutes slower than I was planning on but I guess the ice-block-feet just wouldn’t move that fast.

Crossing the finish line was exciting and it’s always a little euphoric for me – I’m just so elated to be done!  Probably a little bit of the “runner’s high” going on too.  But mostly I like to just sit down, savor the moment, relax, and enjoy the rest of the day!  In the end I did not get anywhere close to qualifying for nationals.  There were some VERY fast racers out there.  Bottom line is I came away learning a few things and have some things to work on going forward.

After my race we had a blast getting the boys ready for their Open-division race.  The course was somewhat short but they had to swim in the icy water, do transitions just like the pros do, and bike & run.

The participants ranged from 4 & 5 year olds to grown men and women.  Prior to the race, the HITS race director Mark Wilson gathered all the participants together and talked with them on the boat ramp.  It was a really cool moment where he praised them for how brave they were to attempt something like this and related it to challenges in life.  He then gathered everybody in and they gave a group cheer before lining up for the start.  What made it even cooler is the fact that the Open race has NO registration fee — yes, free.  Super cool.  What a great way to grow the sport and make race day a family-oriented event.

I really have to give the HITS organization compliments on their race, their professionalism, and even their model which they call “A Distance for Everyone.”  I would love to see them do an event in Utah next year — it would be on my list of must-do races!

Canyonlands/Moab Half Marathon

Somebody told me last year that the bad weather and very windy conditions were a fluke… otherwise I don’t think I would have signed-up to do this race again. It was too windy and cold to enjoy… so windy in-fact that I found myself trying to “draft” off other runners. While drafting is common in cycling events I never thought I’d need to employ that tactic in a running race!

I watched the weather report for days before leaving for Moab; crossing my fingers that we’d have better weather and less wind this year. As the date approached it looked like we’d be in-luck and would have nice conditions.

This is second year I’ve run this race and was really looking forward to comparing my results. One thing I really enjoy is doing a race (whether it be running, triathlon, or other) multiple times so that an apples-to-apples comparison can be made. I’ve done three different half-marathons in the past few years and the perceived effort and final times have varied greatly. The slope of the course, weather conditions, and other factors have a big impact on the outcome.

We rented a great little condo near the Moab golf course; the master bedroom was very comfortable and even had a gas-fireplace! Unfortunately, the wind started during the night and the vent for the fireplace magnified the howling sound of the wind. I woke in the middle of the night hearing the howling wind and it did not make for a good night’s sleep! The one bright spot was that there were mostly clear skies in the morning — we would be lucky enough to have a little sunshine!

Weather issues aside, I was really looking forward to this event because my two oldest boys were both running it too! One of them did the half-marathon and the other ran the 5-mile event.

Paul-In the canyon

This course has two sections… the first 10 miles are in the canyon along the Colorado River. The second section consists of the last few miles after you leave the canyon and run through Moab city toward the finish line. The canyon section was much better than last year; winds were varied and it felt like we maybe even had a tail wind for a few minutes.  However, after leaving the canyon the winds were VERY strong and directly in our faces. Strong like hurricane-force winds strong. All the runners around me had their heads ducked down and were plugging along at a snail’s pace. I had to keep my eyes mostly closed, despite having sunglasses on, to keep the flying dirt from blinding me.

At the finish my time was 1:51, two minutes slower than the previous year! The positive I took away from this race was that I felt much stronger during the run and felt better afterward as well. My speed hadn’t improved but my strength and endurance had.

It was awesome to see my oldest son cross the finish line a little later and see the sense of accomplishment on his face. Finishing his first 13.1 was probably harder than he anticipated but it’s so cool to see people push themselves and do something new! My second-oldest also did a great job on the 5-mile run, he finished in a respectable time even though he took a tumble on the run and banged up his knee.

Relaxing at Finish

After the race the boys wanted to sleep… I wonder why? So we left them at the condo and Natalie and I, along with the younger kids, headed out for a hike. I’ve heard a lot about these crazy people that rope-swing from some of the large stone arches in the area and I really wanted to see it first-hand. So, we hiked to Corona Arch and were lucky enough to see several people make the jump. Wow, that is pretty amazing! I would like to have been there the first time somebody decided to try it out… how did they know they would survive?! My 7-yr-old watched and then asked when we were jumping… after I told him we probably wouldn’t be jumping he decided that is was really boring to just watch!



Dog Town Half Marathon

We headed down to St. George this past weekend for some sun and a little run on Saturday in the Dog Town Half Marathon.

The race started at 9 a.m. (which was nice because I didn’t have to get up super-early!) and the race was really well organized with a prompt start. I decided to run this race as it is part of the “runner’s series” and will be the last race I need to do in order to get a guaranteed entry into the St. George Marathon in October. Also, the Canyonlands Half-Marathon is 3 weeks afterward and this would be a good warm-up race for that — I needed to see how I feel at this distance and get an idea of my paces, etc.

The course is mostly through Coral Canyon and through some residential and somewhat rural areas — on the whole a great course with plenty of beautiful scenery to make it enjoyable. Its a downhill course but the grades aren’t too steep – there were a couple of short stretches that had a good slope but mostly gradual downhill.

I started out holding back a little but half-way in I felt really good and picked up the pace a bit. Then for the last 2 miles I pushed hard to see what I had left and finished with a time of 1:48. I was most pleased with how I felt after cooling down at the finish line — felt really good, not too fatigued, etc.

In past runs of this distance I’ve felt entirely spent at the end and feel like I’m just dragging myself across the finish line. Then I just want to nap the rest of the day. Instead, after this race, my wife and I spent the afternoon on a nice 20-mile bike ride from St. George out to Ivins area and back. We stopped at a great little place called the Icebox for some hot soup. It’s mostly an ice cream & frozen yogurt place but they had great soup in a bread-bowl and the calories really hit the spot!

New Swim Workout

Here’s a nice little swim workout I found over at TriathlonLab’s blog… queue this up for Wednesday morning!


200 m swim
2 x 100 kick, no kick board–back, R side, L side, back
4 x 100 drill/swim–50 drill of your choice, 50 swim

Main set:

5 x 200 N/S each 50 (Negative split each 50. Each 50 should be about 1 second faster than the last), 20 second rest
-45 sec rest-
5 x 100 N/S each 25, 10 sec rest
-45 sec rest-
5 x 50 build-up, 10 sec rest
-30 sec rest-
5 x 25 fast, 5 sec rest
125 kick on your back, no kickboard


200 swim EZ, your choice

Total distance = 3,000 meters

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Save a Sister 10k

Stats: Overall time was 46:53, 6th place overall men’s division.

We were in St. George with some friends and I found this Runner’s Series race in St. George.  Looking forward to doing the St. George marathon in 2012 so I need to get a few “series” races in so that I can get a guaranteed entry into the marathon.

This was a fairly small race but was very well organized, great support and the post-race food and awards were very well done.  As it was a fund-raiser and awareness race for breast cancer they did a fun “balloon launch” just minutes before the start.

I hadn’t really trained specifically for this race but I was fairly happy with my time.  It was  a general gun start (no timing chips) so I SHOULD have made my way to the front of the pack for the start… as it stood I crossed the start-line at about 30 seconds… in hind-sight this could have made a HUGE difference as a 30 second faster time would have put me 4th overall rather than 6th.

My only complaint about this race, and it’s a small one, is that the shirts were not very comfortable and were definitely designed for women rather than a unisex-type design.  Of course, it is a breast cancer awareness and fund-raiser run so it’s not that big of a deal.  I guess my wife will get a free shirt :)

Official results can be viewed [here]


Utah Half-Ironman, August 27, 2011

4:30 a.m. wake-up… that alarm seems so loud!  How do I feel? Let me think, not too bad, seems like I fell asleep before 11 p.m. last night but I was a little restless in my sleep, good news though, I’m feeling reasonbly good.  Low-back isn’t too bad either, just a little stiff (but it always is in the morning).  I’m not feeling groggy like most mornings… my mind is racing.  Oh yeah, I forgot a small towel for drying off after the swim, better grab that in between bites of my oatmea… I mean, “FUEL”   Yes, I’m fueling for the big day today.   Ok, grab my bag, one last mental check… yes, I should have everything.  Better top-off the air in my tires and it will be just about time for my ride… oh, yeah, there’s Troy now, just pulling up. 5:05 a.m., we’re a few minutes late but that shouldn’t be a problem.  Let’s roll!

5:35 a.m…. we rounded the the corner to the Provo Boat Harbor and found a long line of cars!  What’s the hold-up?  We quickly decided to hop out, grab our bikes and bags, and ride our bikes past the line of cars and into the transition area.

The transition area has been relocated from where it was last year; that confused me for a second.  No matter, half the spots are still open,  and I found a great spot on the end of a rack (more room to spread my gear) and only 3 rows from the bike in/out gate.  That will be perfect.  It’s pitch-black, lots of faint shadows mulling around in a muffled bustling busy feel.  Troy had told me to bring some light so I grabbed my LED headlamp and threw it on.  Immediately people around me were jealous… probably wondering why they hadn’t thougt of that!  These little things are what add-up to less pre-race anxiety.  I’m feeling better than I do at most races… definitely not as scatter-brained as I’ve been at a few other events.  Transition setup was quick we’re good to go; bike GPS on and signal acquired, bug-spray on, sunscreen on, chamois cream… liberally applied.  What next?  Oh yeah, marking and timing chip…

The race director just announced a delay before the pre-race meeting.  Excellent!  A little time to visit the porta-potties.  If I’m going to race hard for 5+ hours and don’t want any distractions. I’ll definitely need to make sure potty breaks are done BEFORE the race.

Time check… 25 minutes before the first wave (the pros) heads out.  Time for a little warm-up.  A short 10 minute jog, then stretch.  That should put me down to water in time to get the arms moving and get a sense of the water temp.  The legs felt fairly light and snappy… that half marathon last week wasn’t the best idea but I feel pretty good.

Time for wetsuit… a little warm for a full suit, would be nice to have a sleeveless suit for days like this.  Making my way over to the water I found my wife had arrived.  Great to see her and know somebody in that crowd is buoying me up.


Getting in the water at Utah Lake is like getting in a bath that’s been drawn and has been standing just a little too long… super-warm for a lake but not exactly “bath water” warm.  After a few laps out to the end of the dock and back I’m feeling pretty smooth & comfortable.  The temp in this suit is really going to climb after we get going.  I decided to flood my suit at the cuffs and neck just prior to start.  Water inside my suit wont slow me down but it will hopefully postpone the overheating that is sure to come sometime today.  Probably going to be close to 100 degrees today.

A lot of people seemed confused about the swim course… luckily the race director got the questions and made an announcement to clarify the course.  Two laps, should be pretty straight forward.  Finally, pros are off, a few minutes later the men 34-and-under are off, and just a few minutes later… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… bam, we’re racing people!  This is it, find a line, start easy, don’t get thrashed by the other dudes, and remember to breathe!

Getting out in front of my wave is my plan, it seems to be working ok.  Lots of the guys seem to be having trouble sighting and they’re weaving all over the place!  One good kick in the chest and solid smack on my goggles was about the worst I encountered during the swim.  A few other bump-n-thumps, those are expected, so no big deal.  Just glad no fingers are jammed, no noses broken, no goggles knocked off.

After about 5 minutes I start to get in the zone.  I love it when I settle into the pace… no matter if it’s swim, bike, or run, getting into the groove is awesome.  After settling down it’s time to just plugging away.  Several buoys later its on to lap two.  Forgot to check my time at the half-way point, by the time I checked I was at 18 minutes?!  That seems about right, I’m past half-way so that would be 30 to 35 minutes for the swim… right where I was hoping to be.

Whoa, I must be catching some of the slower people from the wave before me — getting congested again.  A few of these guys are floating on their backs?!  At least they have the sense to float & catch their breath before the start taking on water or needing to be rescued.  Wasn’t this where thy guy drowned a few years ago at the Ironman qualifier?  So glad we have perfectly calm water today!  The final buoy, almost there, and then it’s just a few hundred yards and the swim will be DONE.  Form and power now, I’m feeling really good, should be able to give some push to the swim finish.  Wup… there’s the bottom, that mossy and super-slick boat ramp.  Try to stand… no, that’s not going to work.  Race volunteers motion me closer to a mat on the bottom.  That’s better.  I’m standing, check that watch… 28 minutes?!  What the?  I’ll take it!  Heart rate is a little high, 165, but it will come down quick.  Run over to transition and I’m 29: 59.

Presto-change-o and it’s off on the bike… start the bike GPS, need to target 22 mph average to get my target bike time.  Can’t belive every time I look down I’m going 23 or 24 mph.  Alright, watch the heart rate, keep it at 145 or so… if I can keep this speed and keep the heart rate under control then I’m ok with that.


Boy, I’m glad we drove the bike course yesterday.  Construction caused a few changes and knowing all the turns let’s me focus on everything else, not the turns.  The first construction detour has those two big gutter-dips, better be careful on those… lose a little speed, don’t lose your lunch on those!  Sure enough, the group ahead of me are launching water bottles out of their cages all over the road!

I’m getting passed by a few and doing a little passing; just trying to keep my pace and not get tempted to try and hang-on to some of the faster bikers.  Feeling good and only a few light head-winds to deal with.  After the turn-around I’m feeling good about my time and how I feel; focusing on keeping the nutrition plan and staying on top of my calorie intake.

At about 35 miles my left hamstring and hip start to really bother me.  Strength still seems good  and I’m keeping the pace but just feeling really achy and tight.  It gets worse with each mile and soon I’m trying to stretch it out and get things to loosen up.  Eventually I just can’t stay down in the aero bars and I have to sit up for probably the last 10 miles.  That slows me down a bit but coming into T2 I’m feeling calm and the heart rate is even below my target.  I’m just nervous wondering how these leg cramps are going to affect the run.

After a quick change of shoes I’m in and out of T2, nothing to note here.  Definitely a little wobbly on my legs but I know that will work out in a few minutes.  Temperature is climbing now and I know it’s going to be scorching before the day is over.  The first six miles are uneventful.  I love this run course because there are several double-backs on the trail; that allows you to pass the other runners multiple times.  I pass by a few of my training buddies and it’s good to give/get that encouragement from one another.  Luckily the leg cramps that bothered me on the bike didn’t hurt so much on the run.


I had previously planned to walk at each aid station while grabbing a drink or throwing some water on my head to keep cool.  The plan worked good the first 6 or so miles but on the second lap of the run I’m starting to walk more and more at each aid station.  It’s getting close to noon now and the sun is really beating down.  I notice the bottoms of my feet are getting hot from the pavement and I can feel a blister starting to form.  At this point I’m mostly just wishing the race was over… too hot and legs too tired.  Don’t really want to be running any more.  I know miles 8-11 are going to be the hardest… finally, mile 11 and I know I’m on the home stretch.


Crossing the finish line was just awesome.  There were lots of friends and family there cheering and it really made the day memorable.  Final time 5 hours, 8 minutes.  Well… I missed the goal by 8  minutes and it was totally due to the run.  Looking back, those extra long walks at each of the aid stations on lap 2 pushed me past the goal time.  Probably could have used a few more calories during the run but I was so overheated it seemed like I’d get sick if I ate anything.


After some relaxing, cooling down, and getting some food and fluids in me, I felt pretty good.  It was awesome to hang out with friends and family afterward and watch other racers as they crossed the finish line!  After a few days of recovering I enjoyed the race even more.  The race organizers did a great job with the course, facilities, aid stations, and support staff.  Can’t wait to do it again next year!

Hobble Creek Half Marathon, August 20, 2011

Place: 228

Bib #689,  Age: 43

Total time: 1:43:09, Average pace: 7:53/M

Place: 228th out of 1,074 finishers.

This race just about didn’t happen for me… early in 2011 I was pretty enthusiastic and thought I’d love to do the Hobble Creek race again, mostly so that I could see what, if any, progress I’d made on my running over the past year. This race sells-out the morning that registration opens.  So, I jumped on it and signed up.  As the year progressed I decided to also do the Utah Half Iron-distance triathlon the week after the Hobble Creek run.  The half-iron race quickly became my focus and my “A” race target for the year.  So, as the half marathon approached I wasn’t sure I wanted to risk having too little rest and recovery before the big triathlon.  I hired a coach a few months ago and she advised that my legs would likely feel “flat” if I did the half-marathon.

In the end I decided to run the race — mostly because my mom, who is a total inspiration to me, was also signed-up and running it.  It seemed that if I just went easy and didn’t push too hard that I’d be able to count it as a good workout rather than a race and that I’d be able to recover sufficiently before the triathlon.

It was a beautiful morning and considerably warmer than last year.  Lines for the buses were terrible and we waited a LONG time to get the ride up the canyon.  All the race alumni around us commented that it was par-for-the-course on this race; “they always start late,” was heard many times that morning.  After the long, winding ride up Hobble Creek canyon and walking to the start line we heard race officials try to calm the crowd by saying 10 of 25+ buses they had contracted were no-shows.  Frankly, it wasn’t that big of a deal… at least everybody had enough time to get through port-potty lines and start the race a little more relaxed!

I decided to not get my heart rate over 150 for this race and figured that would dictate my pace and effort level.  Had to make one quick porta-potty stop on the race which cost me a few minutes.  Other than that the race was pretty easy… MUCH easier than last year.  As I got to mile 9 I realized I might actually be able to beat my time from last year.  Last year’s effort was basically everything I had… I’m not a fast runner and was totally wasted after last year.  This year I felt pretty darn good.  The few short uphill sections near the end were kinda fun… I’d been holding back and was able to motor up those little hills; passing a lot of runners in the process.  For some reason passing other runners is a GREAT feeling (even if they are some of the slower runners)!  After checking my Garmin and doing some quick math I found that if I picked it up a little bit I could come in very close to last year’s time.  I knew I should have stuck to the “this is an easy workout” plan but I just couldn’t…  So, I pushed harder for the last three miles and beat last year’s time by about 30 seconds :)

I came away from it with mixed feelings.  First, if I’d gone my all-out effort I would likely have taken several minutes off last year’s time.  On the other hand, I had probably gone harder than I should and would probably pay for it the following week at the half-iron triathlon.  The other thing that was a little disconcerting was the hamstring/sciatic pain I was having in my left leg.  The hamstring (at least that what I think it is) had been nagging me for a few weeks.  I’ve never really dealt with “injury” before and frankly I don’t really know if I injured it or what.  I just know that it has been somewhat painful and definitely uncomfortable for a few weeks.  A sports massage did seem to give some relief but it didn’t entirely go away.

Over the next two days I was happy that my legs didn’t feel totally shredded; only a little soreness and stiffness for two days… We’ll see how the half-ironman goes, I’m hoping it will be good!

Final time: 1:43

Spring Sprint 2011 Race Report

This race was a few months ago but I’m trying to catch-up and do a quick race report.

Total time: 0:34.58
Swim: 0:05:12
Run 1: 0:22:26
Swim/Run2: 0:07:20
Bib #88
Group M4044

Determined to get a great position in the bike transition area I got up extra early and decided I’d be parked, ready to go when the race director opened the transition area.  That meant I’d need to arrive at KOFPC slightly before 6 a.m.  As I headed out the door it wasn’t looking good.  I’d been watching weather forecasts all week and they had been getting progressively worse.  About 15 minutes after leaving home I was driving through heavy SNOW fall!  Fortunately the snow only lasted for a few miles and then it was back to just wet roads.  Thirty minutes later, as I neared the event venue, I exited the freeway.  Now, again, I was back in the snow and here the snow had accumulated on the ground.  Probably 6″ to 8″ of heavy, wet spring-time snow.

According to plan I was about the 2nd or 3rd person in the transition area.  I setup my things and threw a big blanket over everything in an attempt to keep them somewhat dry.

After taking care of check-in, timing chip pickup, etc. I had some time to just sit around and wait.  I talked with the race volunteers and there were suggestions that the bike portion of the race might be cancelled.  I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

The race directory finally had to make a tough call and she cancelled the bike portion; improvising she added a 2nd swim portion and a short, 2nd run section.  The race now boiled-down to this: 200yd swim, 5k run, 200yd swim, and a few hundred yard run from the pool over the the finish line.  It was a disappointing change but in hind-sight it was a good call; the bike course is fast and has several sharp turns and railroad crossings.  Crossing the tracks when they are wet would have surely caused many accidents.

The change-up of the course caused me to loose some of my advantage… feeling like the swim was too short and it was mostly a running race; my run isn’t currently my strength!  However, the last-minute change made the race exciting in a way and was great for making you “think on your feet”

This is the second year I’ve done this race and I’ve really enjoyed both times.  I’ll probably make it a tradition and see what Mother Nature throws at us next year!

In the end I was pretty happy with my results.  3rd in age group and 20th overall.

Time for a Ride

Well, with that type of weather I’d say it’s time for a bike ride!!!