Sunday, November 6, 2011

Transition from Mid Distance to Half Marathon - Jason Holt

I had surgery on my Achilles tendon June of 2010 and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to deal with in my life. Six months before the surgery I began having problems with it. I began cross training hoping my pain would go away so I could still compete but it never did. As I was preparing for this surgery I remember the doctor telling me that it should work but he had no idea if I would ever be able to compete at the level I was before. To me, that was a shot in the foot because I have been running since I was 12 years old. For the next year after my surgery I had to do rehab everyday for about an hour and I did it very diligently, not even knowing if I would ever be able to compete at the college level ever again.

In November of 2010 I started running again and it was one of the best feelings in the world to be out doing what I loved to do. By February when we had Indoor WAC championships I was able to take second and run a 1:53. As I crossed the line I was disappointed because I thought I had too much left in my kick, so I set the goal to be WAC outdoor Champ in 2011 track season. I completed that goal and went on to run a 1:48 three times in the outdoor season. One setback was that in the outdoor season I had to drop out of many workouts because of pain in my achilles tendon. I was still taping it so I would not feel as much pain as I did before. During the outdoor season because of the continued pain my miles were not more than 30 miles a week. I tried to run a few 1500 meter runs and I was able to compete for 1000 meters at a great pace but then would struggle the last 500 meters. The only bad thing about my past track season was that I was undefeated until the Regional meet. My coaches never took me to a large meet so I was not use to the faster competition and the different strategies that some runners had compared to my own.

As the track season ended I decided to take off time to get completely healthy and be able to run 100 percent healthy and not have to tape my Achilles as I did the entire track season. As I started to train again I decided to start at low miles as most runners do and then build up and eventually run half marathons. As I started running again with zero pain I became super excited and pumped to race again. I set the goal to run the Top of Utah half marathon which would give me about a month and a half of training; not a lot but enough to be able to race and feel good about it. Training was hard to get use to compared to track workouts and never having any runs over 7 miles. Now I was running long runs at 12 miles and doing tempo runs for 6 miles. My mile repeats were quick and hard to stick to as the rest was very short.

The night before the Top of Utah half marathon I got to bed around 11 and woke up about 4:45. When I woke up I was very nervous as I had never run one in my entire life. I knew I could run a decent time so I set the goal to be between 1:07 and 1:12. It was a large gap but I had no idea what to expect my time to be because I did not know how my body would react to the miles and the downhill. I took the energy gel in between miles 7 and 9 and it gave me the stamina to continue on at a good solid pace. I ended up finishing the race at a 1:08 and I was very proud of it but could definitely feel the soreness as I finished. A month later I ran the Layton half and it was flat and very cold but was still able to run a solid 1:12 by myself.

The transition from running the 800 meter in track to the half marathon was difficult but with a lot of motivation and determination it was possible. The miles were a shock at first but once I got use to running the longer distances I did not mind it that much. I ran cross country in college so it was not that much of a shock as I thought it would be. One of the hardest parts about the transition was that my coach wanted me to be running 6 minute miles every single day. To me that meant no day was an easy day, every day I had to push myself. At first I couldn’t even accomplish this but by the end of my marathon training my body got use to the pace and it became habit. The funny part was that even in college my runs were not that fast, usually only one day of the week.

I have finished my training for half marathons as I have completed two of them now and I am training for the 800 meters once again. My miles will stay around the same and I won’t start lowering my miles to peak until around April or so. My miles are around 40 or 45 and I will start doing more speed work instead of longer tempo runs like I have been doing in my marathon training. This last year I ran a 1:48 with no more than 30 miles a week and now that I am a 100 percent healthy I think I can improve my time by a substantial amount. This is the reason I am still racing and cannot give up on competitive racing. I feel that I have not yet reached my full potential in the 800 meters. Over the past few years I have became much smarter in racing tactics and my kick has improved tremendously that I think I can still run a personal best this upcoming track season. One of the most difficult things that I have seen in this transition is the mental challenge of pacing. I have to be in the mindset that I am running for a longer period of time at a slower pace rather than only having two laps on the track.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Top of Utah Marathon

Utah Elite's own Allie Scott will be racing this weekend to defend her title at the 2011 Top of Utah Marathon in Logan.  Coming off an early-summer stress fracture Allie has been successfully regaining her pre-injury form with a strong showing at the Timpanogos Half Marathon where she finished in 2nd place.  Logan's Herald-Journal wrote a great preview article looking at this year's field in the men's and women's race:

Look for her at the front of the women's race on Saturday!  Good luck Allie!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Utah Elite Signs Two New Athletes

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – At the beginning of its second season, Utah Elite has added two new runners to its impressive assemblage of Utah-based runners.  Jason Holt, a native of Fort Collins, Colorado, and Nate Ogden, originally from Chico, California, join the team with impressive track and cross-country credentials and coming off of notable careers in the NCAA Division I ranks.  Utah Elite is an elite, post-collegiate team created to support Utah’s great pool of distance-running talent in a sport which offers little to no assistance after college.  The Utah Elite roster currently includes athletes from all of Utah’s six Division I schools. 
As a former BYU standout, Nate Ogden consistently found himself in the top tier of the NCAA long-distance ranks.  His 2010 outdoor track season included ending the season with the 31st fastest time in the country in the 10,000m (29:12) and the 34th fastest in the 5,000m (13:52).  Perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments of the 2011 track season was his victory at the Notre Dame Alex Wilson Invitational (13:51) which placed him 23rd on the NCAA descending-order list.  After a successful career at BYU, Nate is planning on entering the road-racing scene and taking on the famous St. George Marathon this fall.
Jason Holt was a valuable asset to the Aggies of Utah State over the past few years where he finished his senior season as the WAC champion in the 800m in both indoor and outdoor track.  Despite focusing on the mid-distance events at USU, Jason boasts impressive range with national-caliber PRs from the 800 (1:48) to the 10k, running a 30:12 for 10k at the NCAA Mountain Regional Cross-Country Championships at his hometown in Fort Collins, CO.  Jason’s goals for the upcoming year includes trying his hand at the half-marathon distance over the next few months then transition back to the track in the spring to look for a qualifying mark for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 800m.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fritz in the Salt Lake Tribune

A great piece was published in the Salt Lake Tribune over the weekend on Utah Elite member Fritz Van de Kamp on his victories on the road and his victory over cancer.  It's a great story, definitely worth a read.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Brad Osguthorpe - Utah Valley Half Marathon Winner!

Race Day – Utah Valley Half Marathon.

Woke up around 4:00 am, had a little piece of toast with some honey on it with a glass of water. Really didn’t feel too hungry and not much of an appetite. Left the house around 5am and drove down the canyon to the start line. Arrived at the start about 5:20, did a nice warm up and then some stretching along with some strides then off to the start.  Going into the race I wasn’t too sure how it was going to play out.  I wasn’t too sure if I could go under the time bonus of 66 minutes. I had confidence in my training but wasn’t sure if it was enough. Always seconding guessing things. The night before, I ran into Seth Wold at the check-in and he gave me an update on who would be running the half marathon; it was a great field with some talented runners including team members from Utah Elite. I knew it would be a fast race after seeing the field that morning. I was thinking there at the start line, "just hang on and enjoy the ride." The weather was perfect, no wind, temps were in the high 40’s to low 50’s at the start. It felt like it was going to be a great day no matter the outcome.


We're off and away!  For the first few miles I felt a little sluggish, somewhat tight, and couldn’t find a rhythm. The first couple miles were around 5:14 to 5:10, I thought to myself, "there is no way I am going under 66." There was a pack of about 4 or 5 of us for the first few miles: myself, Fritz, Kyle and Brandon. Kyle and Brandon were out front leading the pack and they looked great. At about mile 4 or 5 it was down to three of us.  Kyle, Brandon and myself. Kyle put in a nice surge going down hill around mile 5 and I fell back a little bit and wasn’t sure if I could close the gap. I fell back about 20 yards or so then closed the gap around 6 miles. The legs and body finally started to feel smooth and I was locked into a rhythm. Kyle started to slip off the pace and Brandon started to put a gap on me. I finally closed the gap and was able to catch Brandon around mile 10, I think. (I am sorry I don’t have any splits my watch was not functioning or it was an operator error). I started to wonder if I was ever going to close the gap.  Brandon looked great and was running smooth. I just had to stay positive and stay close. I just kept rolling along and getting closer and closer to the leader. 

Finally, I was able to reel in Brandon around mile 10 and we ran together for some time. I felt pretty decent for where I was in the race so I decided to keep pushing the pace.  Then around mile 11 I started to put a little gap between Brandon and myself. From that point on I hoped it was the right decision to pick it up. I knew for sure Brandon was not going too far and it would turn into a battle at the end. So I just keep pushing and didn’t look back until the race was over. I was more concerned about the time and wanted to make sure we were under 66 for the bonus. Finally I saw the finish line clock in sight , I was going to break 66!  Wait, I am almost under 65! I was ecstatic when I heard the finally time of 1:05.2. I crossed the finish line and was so excited to be done and for the time and was also excited to see that Brandon went well under 66 also. Huge thanks to Brandon for pushing the pace and pulling me along, what a great runner, very talented. He ran a awesome race. Nice job to the Utah Elite athletes in that race also, they ran great. What a great day, new pr for me.

Thanks to all the volunteers. Thanks to 26.2 also. I also had a little extra motivation to run well today, my wonderful support group (my family) was there to cheer me on. They were at every mile yelling and encouraging myself and others to keep it up. It was also very inspirational to have my brother Stevie there, those who know him know why. I am very fortune to have such a supportive family and wife, I think Jenny stress a little more then I do on race day. Big thanks to my beautiful wife, she is so supportive and my 
biggest fan. So thankful that my mom, sister, and her husband (and baby Aspen) also my sister-in-law were able to come down and support me, thanks guys you rock, thanks for all the

Friday, June 10, 2011

2011 Utah Valley Marathon and Half Marathon

I would like to start off by mentioning that the Utah Valley Marathon has been very great to work with in getting a lot of our athletes into their amazing race this year.  Hyrum Oaks has done a great job at assembling a quality field and has always been very supportive of the racing aspect of the event.

I am very excited to have more than half of the squad racing in this year's event at either the half or full marathon distance.  Initially there were to be 2 Utah Elite teams for the X-Country Scoring portion of the half but because of injuries everyone will be racing individually.  Here is who to look for on each side:

Stefanie Talley
Kristen Ogden
Mary Ann Schauerhamer

Brad Osguthorpe
Karl Siebach
Fritz Van de Kamp
Bryant Jensen (marathon)

Good luck to everybody involved!

-Nate Houle
Director, Utah Elite

Monday, May 30, 2011

Stefanie Talley Race Report - 2011 Zion's Bank Ogden Marathon

First of all, I have to agree with Fritz about the "cool" VIP bus ride up to the start line!  I was planning on riding up in the yellow school buses, shivering in the cold for more than an hour and trying not to choke on toxic smoke fumes when I did try to find some warmth by the fires.  So I was almost "giddy" when I found out I could sit on a nice warm, roomy bus until 6:40 am and have a bathroom only steps away!  It was nice to finally meet Fritz, too.  I've been really impressed with all he's accomplished in the past year.  Glad we were both feeling "on" and able to repeat with wins.
    Ogden is my favorite marathon course (of the 2 courses I've run!).  I love how it is broken up into different sections (1st canyon, around the lake, "hill", 2nd canyon, parkway) that make it more manageable for the mind to cope with.  I kind of knew going into the race that I would probably not be seriously challenged.  The other two top ladies were planning on going out in 3 hour pace for the first half and then seeing if they could negative split.  My training hasn't been quite as 'sharp' this spring as it was last year so I honestly just wanted to be sub 3 and hopefully around 2:55-2:56.  In my two years of experience with it, I think Ogden can be a tricky course.  A lot of people "blow up" on it for some reason.  Going out too fast can definitely be a big mistake but I don't believe it has the kind of negative split potential that St George has either.  So, with that in mind, I usually try to set my goal for as close to even split as possible.  The first 8 downhill miles were wonderfully relaxed and easy, as usual.  The weather was amazingly perfect. I tried to run with guys when I could and enjoyed the entertaining aid stations :)  The next section around the lake was a struggle for me last year.  I remember thinking many times then that I would not be able to keep this up for another whole half marathon!  But this year, my running continued to feel smooth and rhythmic and controlled right through the halfway point.  I won't go into all my mile splits (I kept missing mile markers anyway) but I was about 1:25:30 at the half mark.  Then came the "big hill" at mile 14.  It didn't really bother me much.  It was actually nice to have a short, 7 minute challenge to focus on (instead of the gloomy thought of 12 more long miles to go!).  I did start to worry after the hill that maybe I had been overzealous in my first half split but as soon as I started the next downhill section into Ogden canyon I felt like I could handle it til the end.  Though it began to get more uncomfortable, this canyon section was a lot of fun and I got to see quite a few people I knew, including Allie in her very bright orange vest at mile 21 :)  The pace through here still felt "uncomfortably comfortable".
  Then came the parkway stretch... even more painful and esp challenging for me mentally.  But it is also my favorite part of the race.  I ran at Weber State (many years ago) and this 2 1/2 miles along the parkway always brings back some great memories of doing mile repeats here during the cross country season :)  It's nice to half all the half marathoners along the course at this point cheering and distracting me from my increasing fatigue.  Of course the last mile of this course is the worst.  It seems soooooo long.  I was proud of the fact that I was able to keep my last 3 miles of the race all in the 6:30's.  When I finally broke the tape, I had this weird sensation of "emotion" come over me and I felt like I wanted to cry.  I didn't- but I came close.  I've never felt emotional like that before.  I think it was partly due to realizing that I had run faster than last year and I wasn't expecting to do that :)  I broke my own course record from last year, finishing in 2:51:48.  My second half was 1:26:18- so, close to even.  It was my easiest marathon win (second place was 10 minutes back) but with the struggles I've had in my training leading up to this point, it was a welcome "lucky break".  That's what I love about the marathon.  It can be so unpredictable.  Of course this works both ways (good & bad)!  But I love that there are so many factors and variables- not just pure training and mileage.  It's fun when your heart and mind can triumph over your body (and stomach!)  :)