A Balance, Redefined

Salt Lake City Marathon

Recent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesAdam RW's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageWeek ViewMonth ViewYear View
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!



Member Since:

May 31, 2007



Goal Type:


Running Accomplishments:

Marathon Top 10 Finishes: 7 Bridges ('15), Utah Valley ('13), Salt Lake City ('08), Top of Utah ('07), and St. Louis ('04). Ran around the equator (24901.55) in 4,388 days.

Personal Records
Marathon 2:39 (SLC '08)
1/2 Marathon 1:12.30 (Provo River, aided '08)
10K 34:16 (Track, sea level '00)
10K 33:15 (Des 10K, aided '08)
8K 25:32 (Crack of Dawn, aided '13)
5K 16:44 (Track, sea level '00)
5K 16:07 (Running of the Leopards, aided '12)

Short-Term Running Goals:

NYC Marathon November 3, 2019 done 

London Marathon October 3, 2021 done

Tokyo Marathon 202#???...

And my largest challenge to date, raise $20,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of my cancer survivorship and in memory of those lost to blood cancer...
DONE! $26,403.70


Long-Term Running Goals:

Enjoy being a Masters Runner.

Get under 3 hours one more time...


Grew up outside Chicago and joined the blog while I lived in Salt Lake City. Now living outside Birmingham. I am married with two daughters. Wife thinks I'm crazy for doing marathons. And yes I am crazy I'm a scientist for a living...

Click to donate
to Ukraine's Armed Forces
Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 101.25 Year: 982.04
RM 090416 Lifetime Miles: 136.06
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 200.18
Nike Vaporfly Pink Lifetime Miles: 105.22
Saucony Rides Blue A #34 Lifetime Miles: 214.97
Saucony Rides Blue B #35 Lifetime Miles: 216.19
Saucony Rides Blue C #36 Lifetime Miles: 217.57
Brooks Launch Black #34 Lifetime Miles: 247.00
Brooks Launch Gray #36 Lifetime Miles: 216.24
Brooks Launch Grey #37 Lifetime Miles: 218.00
Race: Salt Lake City Marathon (26.2 Miles) 02:39:50, Place overall: 8, Place in age division: 2
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTrainer 1 MilesTrainer 2 MilesRacer MilesTotal Distance

Chapter 8

Trial of Miles


I know last year I went a little long so I’ll stick to the basics this year. For the one or two of you that may actually care about the training aspect of the prep you can now visit my blog anytime you want (arw.fastrunningblog.com). I guess the important thing is I’ve been running now for over a decade and this is the story of my eighth marathon.

Brief Catch-up

For once I’ve had a “calm” year between now and my last marathon. Except for a real rough start on New Year’s Eve things have been going smoothly with family, work, and running. I wanted to try something a little different this marathon cycle and I boosted my mileage by a bit. In fact I ended up running just over 1300 miles in the 18-wks leading up to the race, this is nearly a third more than before my last marathon and 20% more than my senior year in college. Nine of the 18-wks were over 80-miles which is a first for me as well. Sandra got me a Garmin (this is a GPS for runners) for my 30th birthday and that has helped me play with my training quite a bit. For the majority of the 1300 miles I’ve worn the Garmin and my average pace during this time has been 7 min 34 seconds per mile with an average heart rate of 146 bpm. My body held up well and I kept the intensity down to make up for the higher volume. So all I had to wait for was the big day.

This was a good year as a little after last year’s marathon the running blog announced a race team of which I was fortunate enough to get on. That inspired me to race more throughout the winter. I ended up racing 9 times between the two marathons, three of which were within 12-hrs as I participated in the Ragnar Del Sol Relay team but that is a story in itself. The other races all went well and I was putting down times near my college racing times but 8 years later and at altitude! All and all everything was in place for a great race.

The only hitch was that a couple weeks before race day I came down with a cold after visiting a children’s museum with the family but at that point all I had left to do was rest anyway. This was actually fortunate because it gave me the excuse to sleep a little extra and skip a few runs. I ended up getting nearly 8-hrs of sleep every night the week of the marathon and the previous week I was able to get ahead at work so that marathon week was not that stressful. The night before the race the founder of the blog and the race team, Sasha, spent the night. Sasha came by after the expo, we chatted about running for a bit and then both went to our own pre-race routines.

The Race

At 5am I got up after a decent 7-hrs of sleep and then spent an hour getting ready. During this time Sasha and I checked the weather and were disheartened to learn the forecast hadn’t changed, we were going to be facing a 20+ mph headwind the first half of the race. The good news was that the temperature was decent 45°F at the start with no precipitation (it had snowed twice earlier in the week). Going into this race I had placed a number of goals out there. The number one goal was to better my previous personal best by 5 minutes and run a 2:35, however I knew that the weather would have to behave to accomplish that. So I had to go to my back-up goals. That was to run within two minutes of 2:40, finish in the top 10, and keep my effort between 170-180 heart rate (HR).

Sasha and I then made the 7-min commute over to the start to meet up with the other two bloggers running the race. This short commute and general calm attitude of the weekend definitely made the pre-race seem surreal. Also, having done so many training runs on the course really made the race seem like just another run. I got to the line with only about 10 minutes to spare and met up with Kory and Dave (both fellow race team members) as well as some other local racers. I was hoping to work with them for some of the race but as you will see the weather played its part and people had to run their own races.

After the usual prerace fanfare there was a 10 count to the gun and we were off. I stayed back off of Sasha and some of the faster guys as I knew I didn’t want to burn too much in the first 7 miles as they are some of the hillier miles. During the prep for the race I took advantage of Sasha’s course tool from the blog. This is a program that allows you to map out a race and then it uses elevation data to adjust each mile for an even effort pace. Meaning if you want to run a 2:35 marathon which comes out to 5:55 per mile you may have to run an uphill mile at 6:15 pace but a downhill mile at 5:30 pace. So throughout this report I will refer to my predicted splits and actual splits.

The first mile I was still with Kory and some of the elite women. Bill Cobler had pointed out one of the top women who had run a 2:40 on this course the year before and I wanted to work off of her if at all possible. There were three women in the elite pack and then some of us “sub-elite” guys. It was a nice crowd considering that even though this mile was downhill it had a good wind to work against. The predicted split was 5:42, we hit it in 5:47 not bad. The next mile had some uphill and still into the wind target was 5:56, we hit it in 6:01. I was happy about this as I knew one of the biggest mistakes in the marathon was to go out too fast. During the next mile I knew I was going to get to see Kaitlyn and Sandra and they were right at the 2.5 mile mark cheering me on in the shirts Sandra had made that said “Run Daddy Run” and “Run Adam”. I knew the climb to the 3 mile mark was not fun, as I’d run it easily three dozen times over the last four months, so I just stayed with the pack, target 6:15 hit 6:05. So I was back on 2:35 pace. Also, I was about to hit the fastest downhill mile of the course, at this point I started to move away from the pack and for the next 17 miles was more or less on my own. This is fine for me as I do most of my training runs on my own anyway. Mile 4 target was 5:22 and I hit 5:23, the best news of this was that I was feeling fine.

The next two miles are also aided and I got to see both some neighborhood friends and Kaitlyn and Sandra again. First, Shirley, Brian, Clara, and Owen were just past the 4 mile mark and then Sandra and Kaitlyn were at the 4.5 mile mark. This was a good stretch and there were a good number of people out to cheer us on. We then headed into Sugarhouse Park; this stretch has two climbs in it the second of which is not fun. Mile 5 target was 5:35, I hit 5:33 still a nice effort. Mile 6 had the climbs and was only supposed to be 6:17 and I was a little overzealous in a 6:01. Just out of the park Kaitlyn and Sandra were there again and hooked me up with some Gu and water. After that point we split off from the people running the half marathon and started up another hill. All during this time (from mile 4 on) I was watching Dave and Matt (a runner I don’t know) trade breaking the wind. I was jealous of their teamwork but didn’t want to put in a surge at that time to catch-up, I figured I would try and close the gap by mile 9 and see if I could work off of them after that point. Mile 7 target was 6:14 with two hills and I hit it in 6:07. However, the next 6 miles were more or less directly into that 20 mph wind. Mile 8 is a straight stretch and all I did was watch Dave and Matt. I knew the elite women pack was not far behind me so I just got into the zone, tucked my head, held in my arms, and tried to block out the wind. Mile 8 target was 6:05, I hit 6:28. At this point I decided I was not going to watch my pace anymore. To my credit I didn’t, I only glanced at my Garmin for a few splits and to check my heart rate but more or less was able to block pace out of my mind and just run on effort.

Mile 9 I knew was a tough one. There is a half mile climb up Keller Lane (Bill aptly named Killer Lane) and then a good two miles of “easy”. So I backed off a little on the climb target 6:21, hit 6:20. Turning onto 2300 E, I could see Matt start to pull away from Dave but Dave was still out of my reach. I started to reel him in hoping that me catching him would help fuel him against the wind. Mile 10 target 5:48, hit 6:09. I could see the clock about to click 1 hour and knew I was off pace but still feeling pretty good. I actually caught Dave right at the mile mark. I could tell he was in a little trouble but I mumbled something to him and he was able to tuck in behind me for the next mile. I was hoping that he could stay with me until the 13 mile mark and we would then be able to take turns down the hill but him having pneumonia for a couples weeks just a week or so prior to the race prevented that. To his credit he still had a GREAT race considering everything… Mile 11 target 5:36, hit 5:54 and I was on my own again. Mile 12 isn’t too bad except for the wind, target 6:00 and hit 6:10. The only consolation at this point was I knew the worst of the course and weather was about to be put behind me.

Mile 13 is the hardest mile on the course by elevation change and it was the most direct into the wind of all the miles. However, I knew Kaitlyn and Sandra were waiting for me at the turn down 6200 S. Target was 6:22 and I only mustered a 6:43, not bad. Sandra handed me a second water and Gu and it was time to head down the hill. Sandra actually had the other people at the half way mark all cheering my name as well. I could hear people close behind but would not look back. I just focused on Matt and tried not to let him extend his lead on me. Since mile 10 he had put another 20 or so feet on me and was maybe 100m ahead. I tried to relax down the hill with only a cross wind to deal with but it was hard to convince the legs that it was time to switch gears, target 5:47 but just managed a 6 flat. I wasn’t gaining on Matt but he also wasn’t putting any distance on me either. Miles 15 to 18 are more or less on an expressway. This is a long stretch and with a tailwind for the first time during the race, I felt like I was baking in the sun. I was starting to get worried about hydration but as I had taken at least of sip of water at EVERY water station I knew that couldn’t be the case. I took a third Gu at this time but very slowly “chewing” it. Mile 15 target was 5:36, I hit a 5:54. At this point I just wanted to hold on to mile 18 when I knew it would be the full tailwind and mostly flat. Also, Kaitlyn and Sandra were waiting there for me. So I just locked my gaze on Matt and tied an imaginary rope to his back. Miles 16 and 17 were meant to be in 5:45 and 5:44, I hit 5:56 and 5:58. All this time I actually did not look at any of these splits, I didn’t want any numbers to get in my head and just kept watching my heart rate to make sure I was staying over 170, which I was. This is a completely new strategy for me as it was my first marathon wearing a heart rate monitor but it was working well. Mile 16 was the first time during the race that I felt my legs but I kept telling myself only 1 more hour, 1 more hour, you can do it!

I ran around the corner to see mile 18, Kaitlyn and Sandra. Sandra let me know I was in 12th place at this point and handed me my third water and 4th Gu. This Gu did not go down well but it did not trip me up. I knew all I had to do was keep the legs moving. I also knew that Chad was waiting at the 20 mile mark and that would help. At this point I also noticed that for the first time since mile 10, I was gaining on Matt. I could also hear people behind me and that made me want to push that much harder. Sandra actually has a picture and two of the women were only about 50 m behind me and Kory just behind them. Target for 18 was 6:00 and I hit a 6:08.

Mile 19 I was feeling the leg fatigue but the rest of me was still rearing to go. This was a great sign as in most previous marathons I was “done” by mile 17. Target was 5:53, hit a 6:05. Then to my surprise and relief I saw Chad he turned around and stayed a few feet off to the left or ahead of me. He gave me an update that two of the Kenyans had dropped and that he thought I had a good chance of catching Matt. I knew this had me in 10th place and I was eager to not come in right at the gun but I didn’t really feel like I had a surge in me. Mile 20 target was 5:50, hit it in 6:04. All during this time I was still not looking at splits just trying to hang on, trying to reel in Matt, and listening to Chad’s words of encouragement. Mile 21 I could tell something was seriously wrong with Matt as he walked through a water stop. I could also see another runner (not sure who) that was a causality of the wind from the first half. Matt passed this other guy and then I passed them both. To Matt’s credit he was dealing with a severe calf cramp. As I passed I could actually see his calf muscle spasm. I knew this put me in 8th place and that really lit a fire in my body. Mile 21 target 6:00, hit 6:15. The next mile was just maintenance, 22 target 5:54, hit 6:00. All during this time Chad continued his encouragement.

The next mile we caught the tail end of the half-marathoners. They were on ~mile 10 and we were on mile 23. For the most part this was not a problem. Chad also did a great job of yelling out that there was a marathoner back. Most of them moved but they were spread out enough that the weaving was minimal. During this mile we headed into Liberty Park. This was fine except that someone was making breakfast and all I could smell was bacon and I actually got a little nauseous. The great news was I could see the start to the 5K and knew the finish was within reach. Mile 23 target 5:55, hit 6:11. I actually saw that split and wasn’t thrilled with it but since my perceived effort was that I was just walking and I thought Chad was just being nice when he kept saying good pace it was actually encouraging that it wasn’t slower. Chad continued to try and lift my spirits but I really felt spent. Mile 24 target was 5:48, hit 6:05. I little better but now we turned up the last hill. It hit my legs like a ton of bricks. Don’t get me wrong this is the slightest of hills but it HURT. Target for mile 25 6:01, hit 6:19. Now only 1.2 miles to go. I started trying to yell at myself. I knew I was slowing but I didn’t know by how much I hadn’t looked at the mile 25 split. I also knew the elite women couldn’t be that far behind. I kept yelling come on you can do it. Chad was getting the half marathoners to cheer for me and there was finally a little more downhill. Mile 26 target was 5:50, I hit 6:18. I was spent. However, the last turn into The Gateway Mall and the entire crowd cheering gave me that final “sprint”. I couldn’t believe I did it but when my eyes focused on the clock and I saw 2:39 click by, I said to myself there was NO WAY I WAS MISSING A SUB 2:40 AND SPRINTED WITH EVERYTHING I HAD LEFT. I lifted my arms in victory and barreled through the finish line. Last 0.31 in 1:47 or 5:45 pace. The marathon is actually 26.2, my Garmin had 26.31 amazingly close considering it is done by satellite. My official chip time was 2:39.50 a 30 second PR!!! My average heart rate was 178. Later I’ll post a table like my MP workouts but for now my splits are all above.

At the end of the finish shoot I actually felt pretty good. I said congrats to Sasha. I then went and thanked Chad for all his help. Then I went to find Kaitlyn and Sandra. They congratulated me through the fence and then I was taken by someone to the elite tent. I was interviewed on camera, first time for that (later that night I got my 1 second of fame as they used a sound bite from that interview on the local Fox news). I then went and briefly congratulated the woman’s champion who came in less than a minute behind me, briefly congratulated Kory but did not see Dave. The next day I found a nice little top ten table in the local Tribune. One cool fact is that of the seven people who beat me only two of them are not paid athletes! To celebrate Sandra and Kaitlyn presented me with Again to Carthage, the sequel to Once a Runner and then after a nap and a walk around the mall to stretch the legs we went to dinner at Tsunami for some SUSHI!

Overall, I did not make my 2:35 goal but I more or less accomplished everything else I set out to do. Could have I pushed harder? Maybe a very little the last two miles but I don’t think so. I feel fine now but I should, I trained for it. My legs don’t like stairs too much today but I’ll be good to run again before the week is out. Thank you to all my family for their prayers and all my friends on the blog for their support and comments. Many a day during the winter months when it was below zero snowing and 5:00am in the morning I only got out the door because I knew someone would be checking up on me later in the day on the blog. Thank you!!!

Mile Target Actual % off HR Total Pace for Total Ascent Total Descent Net Change Total
1 5:42 5:47 -1.4% 167 5:47 2:31:31 46 200 -154 -154
2 5:56 6:01 -1.4% 175 11:48 2:34:35 165 209 -44 -198
3 6:15 6:05 2.7% 181 17:53 2:36:11 202 72 130 -68
4 5:22 5:23 -0.3% 177 23:16 2:32:24 25 276 -251 -319
5 5:35 5:33 0.6% 179 28:49 2:31:00 49 137 -88 -407
6 6:17 6:01 4.4% 180 34:50 2:32:06 180 190 -10 -417
7 6:14 6:07 1.9% 182 40:57 2:33:16 159 170 -11 -428
8 6:05 6:28 -5.9% 179 47:25 2:35:17 204 160 44 -384
9 6:21 6:20 0.3% 178 53:45 2:36:28 217 78 139 -245
10 5:48 6:09 -5.7% 179 59:54 2:36:56 91 182 -91 -336
11 5:36 5:54 -5.1% 178 1:05:48 2:36:43 54 136 -82 -418
12 6:00 6:10 -2.7% 179 1:11:58 2:37:08 89 114 -25 -443
13 6:22 6:43 -5.2% 177 1:18:41 2:38:35 223 150 73 -370
14 5:47 6:00 -3.6% 176 1:24:41 2:38:29 133 248 -115 -485
15 5:36 5:54 -5.1% 173 1:30:35 2:38:13 109 140 -31 -516
16 5:45 5:56 -3.1% 173 1:36:31 2:38:03 48 94 -46 -562
17 5:44 5:58 -3.9% 175 1:42:29 2:37:57 56 92 -36 -598
18 6:00 6:08 -2.2% 175 1:48:37 2:38:06 73 85 -12 -610
19 5:53 6:05 -3.3% 176 1:54:42 2:38:10 59 70 -11 -621
20 5:50 6:04 -3.8% 176 2:00:46 2:38:12 56 74 -18 -639
21 6:00 6:15 -4.0% 177 2:07:01 2:38:28 70 47 23 -616
22 5:54 6:00 -1.7% 181 2:13:01 2:38:25 56 88 -32 -648
23 5:55 6:11 -4.3% 179 2:19:12 2:38:34 81 69 12 -636
24 5:48 6:05 -4.7% 180 2:25:17 2:38:36 63 104 -41 -677
25 6:01 6:19 -4.7% 180 2:31:36 2:38:53 162 98 64 -613
26 5:50 6:18 -7.4% 182 2:37:54 2:39:07 117 146 -29 -642
26.2 1:14 1:47 -30.8% 184 2:39:41 2:39:41 162 65 97 -545
Total 2:34:50 2:39:41 - 178 - - 2949 3494 -545 -
Diff.   4:51

Pace 5:55 6:06

Diff.   0:11

Night Sleep Time: 0.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 0.00Weight: 0.00
From Little Bad Legs on Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 13:53:01

Great job! Can't complain about a PR!

From Superfly on Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 13:54:52

Good job Adam. Way to dig out a sub 2:40 with the wind.

From cody on Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:26:16

Nice job Adam!

From Andy on Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 14:59:32

Great job. A PR with this much wind is amazing. Can't wait to read the full report.

From josse t on Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 17:55:19

Great job a pr in the spring, and in the money as well.

From josse t on Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 18:11:15

So I guess the money was top 5 but I still think you did amazing.

From Chad on Sat, Apr 19, 2008 at 20:52:49

You ran like a champ today, Adam. You never gave up and kept pushing through the toughest miles in the race. It was inspiring to watch and fun to see it up close.

From Dave Holt on Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 11:48:02

You ran the very best race of the day today! Great job. You looked SO strong as you blew by me, and I knew you had set yourself up for a great race. But I didn't think you'd catch Matt! Nice Job! You should really be proud of this one.

From James on Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:10:24

That training paid off with you being able to run a sub 2:40 with on a windy day like that. Way to PR, and I am looking forward to the report!

From Adam RW on Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:46:07

I'm working on the report now. I wasn't able to really get to it last night and Kaitlyn just woke up from her nap so we are heading out for some family time but I promise I will have it posted later tonight...

From Bonnie on Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 16:52:40

Great Job Adam!

I am very happy for you, a PR under less-than-optimal conditions is a true feat!! It just shows what great shape you are in!


From johnr on Sun, Apr 20, 2008 at 20:54:36

Nice work. I guess those 60 x 400 really paid dividends!

John R.

From Jon on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 09:05:20

Nice job, Adam. We have been waiting all weekend for this full race report. From what I saw, your slowest mile at the end was still sub-6:20, and you were still breaking 6:00 sometimes, so it seems like you paced well and did not hit the wall. Awesome job with the wind, PR, sub-2:40, and top 10 finish! You passed 4 people in the last 8 miles! Awesome race.

Now it's time for a good recovery, then ramp up again for WBR and a full summer!

From jody on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 09:23:27

Congratulations! You ran a very smart race. To PR on a day like Saturday is fantastic!

From jtshad on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 10:09:46

Congratulations on a solid race and hitting your goals (sub 2:40, top 10, new PR!). Way to run a smart race, I wish I could have been there to run with you (but I liked the beach even more!). Nice race report, it kept me enthralled. Looking forward to running with you at Ogden?

From Ian on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 10:26:04

Congratulations, you've ran a great race, well done on the PR and a good exciting race report.

From Dave S. on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 13:41:31

Adam congrats on the sub 2:40 in tough conditions. An 8th place finish in that competition is awesome. Your report was an exciting read.

From Tom on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 13:59:00

Congrats on a super race effort!

From Brent on Mon, Apr 21, 2008 at 22:36:56

Adam, 500 commando points for the PR and another 500 for doing it on a darn tough running day. Cool race report. I cheered you when you came down the final stretch. Great run.

Stay Kool, looking strong, B of BS Rools out

From James W on Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 09:11:33

Congrats on a PR in less than optimal conditions. It sounds like with your training and the effort you put into this, had there not been a 20mph headwind the first 1/2 of the race, you would have come much closer to your goal of 2:35.

From Adam RW on Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 09:28:51

Thank you everyone. I really appreciate your support. I am also glad that you enjoyed the race report. I like writing them up. I can't wait to get on a faster course under better conditions to see what I'm now truly capable of doing...

From Lybi on Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 09:45:39

What a great race! And what a great race report. Thanks for taking us along for the ride! PR on a TOUGH day, and not an aided course at that. I wonder what this effort would equal for a non-windy day on the St. George course.

From Adam RW on Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 13:33:28

Lybi, I had a peak and not even taking the wind into account Sasha Science would predict a 2:33, so maybe sub-2:31-30... I can't wait to give it a try.

From wheakory on Wed, Apr 23, 2008 at 13:36:33

Adam RW - your an tremendous athlete and you really pushed hard in the wind to reach your goal and get a PR. What you accomplished in the conditions was impressive.

I feel so bad I couldn't run with you... I really don't know why I fell behind. I don't know if I was conservative, over-trained or just did have it. I enjoyed meeting your family, and hope to race again in the near future.

Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator
Featured Announcements
Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):
Recent Comments: