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Relay del Sol, leg 1

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Member Since:

Feb 10, 2007



Goal Type:

Local Elite

Running Accomplishments:

I was an 800/1500 runner in high school and college, with PRs of 1:55 and 4:08. I've run as fast as 16:15 for 5k and 1:20 for a half, but my bests in recent years are 17:07 5k (Dec. '11), 37:40 10k (Jan. '12), 1:23:49 half (Sept. '08), 2:53:12 marathon (September '10), and 4:45:06 50k (March '10).

Short-Term Running Goals:

Late 2015/2016 races: 

— Seattle Soltice 10k (Dec. 19)

— Nookachamps half marathon (Jan. 16)

— Toyko Marathon (Feb. 28) 


I'm an editor at a newspaper in Bremerton, Washington and head coach of the Bremerton Jaguars youth track and field team.

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Traveling (and mainly preparing to travel) meant last week was very low mileage, so it felt good to finally get to Utah with some time. The weather did me a favor and it was wonderful when I arrive, and Paul and I ran the landfill loop in the afternoon. Running 7 min. pace was comfortable, which was very encouraging since I hadn't run in that temperature (about 65 and sunny) or with someone else in a few months. My wind was a little shot, likely because of tiredness from travel and the elevation gain. I usually run at sea level, Logan is 4,000 feet. 

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Unfortunately the nice weather didn't hold, and I chose to run in the afternoon instead of morning, when of course it had just started raining. But Paul and I made it through the canal trail and up to first dam from downtown on a nasty day, I'm not sure what our pace was but it was good with me. I was trying to get my legs and mind calibrated to 7 minute miles, just to be sure I could hit that since it was my estimate for Relay del Sol. Even though the weather was lousy, running with Paul and without the stress of returning to work or anything was great and very helpful mentally. 

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The big pre-race run through Providence with the team. I believe this distance is accurate, but you guys correct me if I'm wrong, it's been awhile since I've done that loop. The run felt good, it was awesome to run with Paul, Jon, James, Cody and Dan, and just those few miles had me very excited for the relay. Incidentally, at this point of the week I was approaching what has been my usual mileage, and at elevation. My legs felt fine, though my body was a little rundown and in the back of my head I was telling myself to save some energy for del Sol. 

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We got out of Logan and the snow to Phoenix, where the weather was perfect. We met Clyde at the hotel and put in around 6 miles (Paul did a few extra on his own) through a park in Scottsdale. We even pushed a bit, running 6:40 miles. I think the sunshine was encouraging me. Definitely felt ready to race after that. Paul and I soaked our legs in the hot tub for awhile after the run to relax, then got to bed early to rest up.

Race: Relay del Sol, leg 1 (5.4 Miles) 00:00:00
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Clyde, Paul and I got up early in Phoenix and ran a few miles, I did about 5. Real easy pace, my legs felt good for the race. My biggest concern at that point was having enough juice to get through all three legs, since my base probably wasn't quite what it should have been. Then we rested for a few hours, got adjusted by the chiro, and drove out to Wickenburg.

At 6 p.m. I led off after a short warm-up. The weather was about perfect, 65 or so with a bit of a tailwind. I felt a little pressure for a good leg since it'd be obvious where I left our team. Looking at the others at the start I figured Google would be the competition. I planned to start with the Google runner, see what his pace was over the first mile and then settle into something comfortable. He started strong and I stayed with him, ended up right on his shoulder until about the 2 mile mark. I heard his teammate call out 6:10 to him, which made me feel good since I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard at that point. He stretched out a lead on a short uphill climb right between 2 and 3 miles, and had about a minute lead on me then. I tried to keep a steady pace, and it helped that the course headed downhill just slightly for the next two miles or so. My only complaint was that the highway was pretty busy, I was hit with gusts from semi trucks a few times. But I didn't die or feel any need to back off, which was encouraging, and the pace ended up being around 6:02/mile for 5.4 miles, much faster than I anticipated I would run. I was winded, but ready for the other legs after a short cool down.

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Race: Relay del Sol (9.6 Miles) 00:00:00
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I'm estimating that distance because it's hard to say how much I warmed up and cooled down each time. Some were more than others, and in some cases it was along a pitch black road and I don't have a good gauge of distance. My second leg was 4.4 and third was 5.2 miles.

I got about an hour of sleep at the major exchange and started leg 2 around 1 a.m. We were ahead of pace, which helped me mentally to know everyone was running strong at or below the estimated pace. My legs had tightened up, and that was my biggest fear going into the leg. The weather again was pleasant, cold enough to need warm-ups but not so cold that I'd need pants during the run. I wore a thin long sleeve and was a little too warm. The leg started on a nice gradual downhill on a quiet highway. I saw few cars the entire run, and passed up one team. I wasn't sure if I could hit close to 6 min/miles again, but I figured at least I could go out strong on the first two miles, before I hit the hill. I cruised for awhile, probably close to that initial pace. I reigned in my pace a bit on the long hill, but that was probably as much from losing focus as it was from the incline. It's harder for me to stay in touch with my pace at night like that, my mind tends to wander when I'm in the middle of an Arizona desert under a full moon with no light or sound for miles. But I tried to keep up some sort of push. Looking back I should have surged earlier, the final mile mark came earlier than I expected (again, I partially blame it on the hour) and I had enough to really surge after the last turn, even though that was the biggest hill I had. I ended up at 6:33 minutes/mile for 4.4 miles. Not bad, I wasn't delirious, and I had something in the tank for the third leg. I cooled down with Jon when he warmed up at the next exchange, while waiting for Dan to finish.

I grabbed a quick nap in the car after the major exchange, maybe 40 minutes. That was all I'd get since the sun was coming up by the time we were at my next exchange. My legs were fatigued by that point, but some of that feeling was just tightness from the van ride. Andrenaline made up for that, however, when we heard how much Van 2 had gained on Google overnight (nice work there boys). As we stood there waiting with the Google runner I knew it'd be fun and that mindset would help me be able to pour it on to stay close. I got the baton from Cody maybe 150-200 yards back (somebody correct me if I'm wrong there, that's what my sleep-deprived mind remembers). The Google guy (I think his name was Dan), took off at a pace I was comfortable with. He was probably feeling it too. I was able to maintain about an equal pace with him for the first mile, kept him right in sight. I figured if I kept him there for the first two miles I could start to catch on the last three. The sun was up, which energized me, and it wasn't hot yet. I started to gain ground on him before mile 2, when we headed around the lake on a trail. We took a weird detour off the course (short version: a woman went the wrong was and we followed her instead of the other way around, though we eventually met up with the correct course anyway. It may have shaved a bit off the distance, but at least both of us did the same thing.) Then we hit a few rolling hills through neighborhoods. I felt like I was gaining ground on the uphill portions, and got to within about 75 yards or so. But my surges on the downhill didn't get me much ground, and he kept that lead. The last mile my legs were shot and just didn't have the gas for a last strong surge to catch him. But I tried to run in strong and not lose any ground. I may have picked up a few seconds, and I felt good about keeping us in the race. That last mile is definitely where the lack of speed workouts did me in. If I would have done some workouts this spring more than the little tempo I did, perhaps I would have had a better surge. My time was 6 minutes/mile for the last leg, which was 5.2 miles. I was burnt by then, my hamstrings felt like rocks, but it felt awesome.

Overall, the race was a great, great time. Thanks to you guys for letting me join you, it was so good to see everybody and compete like that. Since my training hasn't been great up to this point, I credit the good times to being inspired by the old Logan running group. Seeing what I'm capable of also has me excited to get back into regular training. I'll write more about this later, but I'm planning to run a 10k and then half in the next two-three months as time trials, see what I can do. Thanks to everybody, especially Paul and Sasha for logistics and helping pull it together, Clyde for the room, and whoever else did stuff I've forgotten by now.

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