Goals are dreams with deadlines. Stop dreaming! I took control of my life and with the help of many wonderful people I was able to lose 135 pounds in 11 months. Set a goal, tell everyone who will listen, and stick to your plan. You can do it!!
I held back at the beginning and ran like a wild man at the end. The last 4 miles were 7:56, 8:12, 9:15, and 7:40. Compared to last year when I ran 12:58, 10:07, 10:55, and 9:02 over the same stretch.
It definitely helped to know the course this year. I was actually behind my time from last year (when I finished in 8:06) at the 11 mile mark. Learning to not go out too fast is paying dividends. That and downhill running practice. There were two specific sections I wanted to improve on. Sinners Pass to Pacific Mine is all downhill and rockier than all get out. Last year I was passed by probably 20 people and I didn't pass a single person. This year I was passed by no one and I passed 4 people which felt good. At the Pacific Mine turnaround I was less than 2 miles behind Krissy Moehl which had me second guessing my pacing since she is a beast. A really nice beast too. She mugged for pictures with me and Brian Davis during the pre-race and asked us how OUR race went at the end! (Yes, Brian and I ARE that fat when we are standing next to her too!)
The other section I specifically wanted to improve on was from the Tunnel to Hidden Peak. I was dreading this section prior to the race because it really sucked the life out of me the previous year. As I approached the tunnel aid station, I met Cami and Zach who had hiked down from Hidden Peak which was a huge boost. Ironically after worrying about this section before the race the one thought floating around in my brain that helped me relax was this quote. "Remember this is fun, it will be over before you know it so soak up every minute and remember you are one of a lucky few." --Jim Milar (advice given to Stephen Jones at Wasatch 100 in 2011)
My sentiment at the time was, "for those of you fortunate enough to join me on the course, either as a runner, pacer, or crew, look for me. I'll be guy with the big-ass smile just happy to be 'one of the lucky few' out for a fun run in the Utah mountains!"
Recalling this put a smile on my face and gave me new life right at the moment I needed it most. I asked Cami and Zach if they wanted to run the tunnel with me so the 3 of us went hollering down the corridor just being goofy. That was big mental lift for me and I think they had fun too....until the trail headed straight downhill under the Peruvian chair lift. They basically gave me the 'well good with that' send off which made me smile even bigger!.
After exiting the tunnel it's only 3 miles to Hidden Peak. But the section has a ton of loss and gain. The last mile in this section is #27 in the race and it has 1,155 feet of gain. It is also basically the last real uphill section so nearly 100% of the 11,200 feet of gain is complete after 27 miles. I did mile #27 last year in 28+ minutes and got passed by a bunch of people. This year I did it in 25 minutes which included a 2 minute aid stop so I guess I cut 5 minutes off the climb as well as passing 6 people along the way.
This picture was taken just as I approached Hidden Peak after the beastly climb. When I passed the woman on the left holding the baby, the baby was crying and the little boy looked like he had had a long day already. I thought I might distract him by talking with him and get him to relax. I asked him if he was waiting for his daddy. He immediately settled down and held his mother's leg quietly. I assured him that I was sure he was coming up soon after me which brought a smile to his face. I stepped the 10 feet off the trail to where he is standing and asked him if he wanted a high five. He was stoked that someone took the time to talk to him and give him some attention. We high-fived and as I turned to continue up the hill I could see Michelle and all 4 of our kids at the top of Hidden Peak. The exchange with the boy and seeing my own family broke what little emotional strength I had at that moment. It truly was the highlight of the day.
Seeing Michelle and the kids at the top was another huge boost right when I needed it. Last year I was a mega-grouch at that point and I made sure to say thank you and attempt to give sweaty man hugs this time which they graciously declined. The final 5.2 took me 49 minutes. It has 300 feet of gain, 3,400 feet of loss with more boulders and rocks than you can imagine in the first mile and a half or so. I cut over 10 minutes off my time from last year in this section with good first half pacing and a little focus and practice on the downhill. I cruised into the finish with a time of 7:31:38 which was a 35 minute improvement. We stayed at the finish line to cheer in our friends Jeff Black and Brian Davis. After Brian finished he told Karl Meltzer it was one heck of a race! I jumped in and said, so you'll be back next year Brian? Brian had some inappropriate things to say to me at that moment, which was super funny because it was literally seconds after he had just finished the hardest race he'd ever done. Karl chuckled, patted him on the back, and said Don't kid yourself dude...you'll be back! Which I am sure Brian will.
The day following the race my car was stolen with everything we owned (it was subsequently recovered and driveable but all of our stuff was gone). Most of the numbers here are just from memory since my Garmin was one of the items I lost. Sadly, I also lost my PI N2 Trail shoes that I wore exactly 2 times and had 40 miles on them. Stuff can be replaced though and the things that truly matter were safe and sound. It broke my heart to see my 8 and 10 year old so scared though as I tried to juggle the police and fraud department at our credit card company Sunday night. Through the quick actions of my credit card company the people responsible were arrested while I was still filing the report. This is a picture of everything we owned at the moment. Glad we were all safe and great to see smiles in such a difficult situation.