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Mesa-Phoenix Half Marathon

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South Weber,UT,

Member Since:

May 09, 2012



Goal Type:

Local Elite

Running Accomplishments:

Personal Records:

800 Meters 1:50.14 (Track-BYU)

1500 Meters 3:42.07 (Track-Stanford) Likely the best race of my life; converts to a 3:59.85 Mile

5000 Meters 14:20 (Track-Stanford)

8000 Meters 23:53 (Cross Country-Pre Nationals Iowa)

10000 Meters 29:57 (Track-Stanford)

Half Marathon (Mesa-Phoenix Half) 1:05:11

Marathon (St George) 2:16:09

Short-Term Running Goals:

2017 Races:

Mesa-Phoenix Half - 3rd Place 1:05:11 PR

Ogden WRC 10-Miler - 1st Place 55:46

Provo City Half - 1st Place 1:06:33

Ogden Marathon - 2nd Place 2:25:46

Long-Term Running Goals:

My main goal is just to stay healthy.  I was injured every year in my college career except for one.  I would like to reverse that trend and always stay injury-free.



I am a family man.  I am married to my beautiful wife Amy (who also ran at Weber and is quite the runner).  We have four beautiful daughters named Evelyn (6 years old), Hannah (4 year old), Nora (2 year old), and Iris (5 months).

Twitter handle: @RunnerRiley7

Instagram RunnerRiley7

I am supported by Brooks

I am a Generation Ucan elite athlete

Click to donate
to Ukraine's Armed Forces
Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
Salomon Pro Wings 2 Lifetime Miles: 161.10
Brooks PureCadence 5 Lifetime Miles: 101.85
Brooks Adrenaline 17 Lifetime Miles: 161.85
Brooks Transcend 4 Lifetime Miles: 219.45
Brooks Ravenna 8 Lifetime Miles: 225.10
Brooks PureCadence 6 Lifetime Miles: 188.10
Brooks Launch 4 Lifetime Miles: 107.50
Brooks Glycerin 14 Lifetime Miles: 101.47
Brooks Hyperion Lifetime Miles: 92.13
Brooks Caldera Lifetime Miles: 31.10
Race: Mesa-Phoenix Half Marathon (13.109 Miles) 01:05:11, Place overall: 3
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance


My goal for the spring is to run a fast half marathon time on an honest course. I've been building toward that goal since late-November and Ben, Bryant, and I have laid the foundation necessary to really ramp up our training and attack a good half marathon (under the tutelage of Stazza himself aka Irish Homer Simpson). We're really just starting into the more specific phase of the training block, but Ben and I wanted to run a half marathon before the end of the block to shake off some rust and stay race ready. Phoenix is awesome this time of year and we figured it'd be a great race to start the year off with. Also, I haven't run faster than 1:07.30 on a half marathon course that is "olympic-trials qualifier" eligible. With having a goal of running sub-1:05 (and maybe even sub-1:04) later this spring I figured it was a tall task to skip steps if you will in between 1:07:30 and sub-1:05. What I mean is the fitness may be there, but mentally it is difficult to convince yourself you can make that big of a leap and have the confidence to run the faster pace early in a race. So, I figured if I hit a good time (I was thinking 1:06) at Phoenix on an eligible course, it would give me additional confidence moving forward that I can run 1:04.

So, Ben, Ken, and I headed to Phoenix. Ken was there to hang out and have fun. He's had some back issues and hasn't been able to run, but I think this weekend motivated him to take the necessary steps to be able to get back out training again. Ken drove us to the start line and warmed up with us. We were able to give him our warm clothes at the last moment to stay warm, which was nice as it was only 39 degrees, which for Mesa is a bit on the cooler side. My goal was to start around 5:05/mile pace and see how I feel and judge and go off of that. At the start I saw Mike Hardy and Ben Bruce. So, I knew it was going to be a tough race to win.

Bruce took off fast right off the line. I moved into second after 400 meters or so and Mike was just behind me. During mile 2 Mike suggested we take turns leading/drafting. It seemed that the wind should've been a slight tailwind or at least crosswind, but for some reason it did feel a tad windy and I figured every second we can shave off will matter. So we traded leads and you did notice a difference in effort when you were drafting opposed to leading.

I wasn't sure of how fit Mike was. He certainly wasn't in 65/66 minute shape last September at Huntsville Half, so it took me a turn or two drafting before I stopped worrying about making sure he was hitting pace when he led and trusting not only his pacing but his fitness. It was clear after a few turns he was every bit as fit as me and this was going to be very beneficial to work together.

Around 10k in we noticed we were reeling in Ben Bruce. We got to within 5-6 seconds of him by mile 8. At mile 10 he looked back, saw us close, and then proceeded to run basically a 14:40 closing 5k! Haha. It was impressive to see.

Throughout the race I kept checking my breathing and tried to stay in tune with how my body was feeling. Each mile that went by with another mile at 5:00/mile pace was encouraging, but also a bit of unchartered territory. My mind kept saying "Ok, ok this is fine, but let's make sure we can handle this pace before thinking of doing anything that might make us blow up". So I was pretty content to keep rolling off low 5:00s/high 4:50s. Then at 10.5 miles Mike started moving. It was as if he mentally thought to himself that it was now or never if he was going to break 65 and get the time bonus. It took me a few seconds to respond. He got a gap, and I luckily made the decision quick enough, before my body made it for me and slowed down, to respond and go after 64:xx. What was there to lose? I had never been this close and it was worth it to give it a shot.

Mike and I both closed very well with him keeping that 4 second gap essentially the rest of the way. I looked up toward the end and saw the finish line, looked at my watch and saw 64:30, I pushed hard, looked again and the line looked still 30-40 seconds away and my watch now read 1:04:40. I pushed for another few seconds and then realized it just wasn't quite going to happen. I crossed in 1:05:11, a new PR (and faster than any downhill Utah course I've run). Ben Bruce won in 1:04:33 and Mike Hardy was 2nd in 1:05:07. I was pretty happy with the result, it was on the very high end of what I thought was possible on the day (I had thought 1:05-1:07 was the range the race could fall in, as it was hard to determine my fitness). Ben finished 6th in 1:09:40, a good strong race for him and it bodes well for his half marathon times moving forward.

Splits: 5:02, 5:01, 5:00, 4:58, 4:57, 4:59, 5:01, 4:57, 4:56, 5:04 (49:58 at ten miles), 4:54, and 10:18 for the last 2.1 which is 4:51/mile pace.

Brooks PureCadence 6 Miles: 15.90
Weight: 0.00
From steve ash on Sat, Feb 25, 2017 at 20:13:18 from

Wow.. Smokin fast time Riley. Very nice.

From Holt on Sat, Feb 25, 2017 at 21:00:38 from

Dang! Way to go!

From Burt on Sat, Feb 25, 2017 at 21:30:46 from

Nice to meet you today. Great run.

From Eugene on Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 15:31:26 from

Great work Riley! If every 4 months you get just one second faster in the half, by early 2020 you should have that trials time! :-)

From allie on Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 17:33:38 from

congrats, riley. this is well deserved after putting in such consistent and hard work all winter. you went for the step and got the leap -- that should give you a lot of confidence for your spring goal.

say hi to homer for me.

From RustyTF2 on Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 17:49:42 from

Way to go Riley! PR on a flat course- that is something special!

From josse on Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 20:59:58 from

Well done Riley!

From jtshad on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 13:35:46 from

Wow, amazing! Congrats on the big PR and great race. Looking to really make a splash later in the year. Great job.

From RileyCook on Wed, Mar 01, 2017 at 09:34:05 from

Thanks all! I'm really happy with the result.

Burt, good to meet you too, I'm super jealous of your "winter" weather!

Eugene, unfortunately once the window opens the new half qualifying time will be 1:04 now, not 1:05. So, still some work to do, although I am very confident I can hit the marathon time.

Allie, thanks. It does give me some good confidence moving forward. I'll say hi to Homer in between his donut eating for ya!

Taylor, thanks bro! It's not pancake flat, it does drop 140 feet from start to finish, but it's under the amount to still count as a qualifier, same as Boston or CIM.

Steve, Dave, Josse, Jeff thanks guys for the comments and support!

From SpencerSimpson on Wed, Mar 01, 2017 at 11:38:11 from

Unreal Dude. Fantastic. Proud of you bro. MIH

From Mike M on Thu, Mar 02, 2017 at 06:43:39 from

Hey Riley,

Awesome report. It really resonated with me when you said, "What I mean is the fitness may be there, but mentally it is difficult to convince yourself you can make that big of a leap and have the confidence to run the faster pace early in a race."

Fun read!

From RileyCook on Fri, Mar 03, 2017 at 10:03:35 from

Spencer, thanks buddy! Good to see you blogging again. We miss ya on here!

Mike, thanks. Looks like you had a stellar race yourself. This looks like a big year to come for you.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 17:13:51 from


Congratulations! This is very good progress. I am happy that you are starting to see yourself as a 63 minute guy. Definitely having run low 65 on a Trials' eligible course now helps in the cause, but you had to see yourself that way before you entered the race.

Now I think the most important element of your training is sleep. If you could just find a way to sleep in doubles...Look for remote work opportunities...

That, and of course, you need to train with a vision of 63. So basically you hit 4:45-4:50 and try to trick your mind and body into believing that no matter what anybody says or how crazy this may sound or how bad it hurts or how hard you are breathing, you can hold this for an hour. If you succeed in convincing the mind, the body overtime will grudgingly adapt.

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