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Rock n Roll Arizona 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

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: Rock n Roll Arizona Half Marathon (13.109 Miles) 01:07:31, Place overall: 14, Place in age division: 1
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance


I decided to take one last shot at an OT-qualifying time, even though I didn't feel quite ready. But that's what happens when you run out of time. I knew going in that it'd be a long shot to qualify here. The course is not ideal for a PR. It's not crazy hard, but it's a gradual uphill for 9.5 miles and it's not quite at sea level. Ideally, you'd want pancake flat and sea level. But, I procrastinated and by the time I decided to give it a shot, Houston was no longer accepting elites. So, Rock n Roll Arizona it was.

I made it quick, fly out Saturday, hit the Expo, eat food, check into hotel, wake up, race, shower, check out, and fly home. They had places to park at the start line, but I was paranoid it'd fill up and I'd have nowhere to park, so I got there pretty early. I reclined the seat and napped for 30 minutes before getting out and doing a short warmup.

The race got out quite quickly. There were several 1:03 or faster guys in the race. I was ranked 18th according to PRs. I wanted a bit of a conservative start, as I seem to race better that way. I turned the autolap off on my watch and manually took splits at the mile markers. This turned out to be a mistake as the markers were all over the place! One of them said I was running 4:09/mile pace and another 6:25/mile pace, just totally unreliable. So, I'll post the Strava splits instead.

I got out in probably 20th place with a 5:03, and it felt harder than I hoped it'd feel. I got behind Nick Hilton and another guy and tried to find a groove, we hit mile two in 4:57. That was the pace I needed. The two guys I was drafting behind slowed in mile 3 as we hit 5:03. But I wasn't too concerned yet. Mile 4 was 5:07. Now I was worried. We had dug quite a hole. Hilton surged and I went as well, but not as hard as he did (I think he ended up running 1:05:07). I hit mile 5 in 5:00. All these miles are uphill so far. Nothing too serious 5-25 feet per mile. But enough to slow you down 3-5 seconds a mile. In mile 6 I said, "It's now or never". So I surged up the hill here trying to hit a split under the required 4:57 pace. I ended up with a 4:58, just couldn't quite get the pace and wouldn't again the rest of the race.

That surge kind of did me in. It was just holding on as best as I could after that. I did pass quite a few people from 5k to 10k, but after 10k I only passed two guys and got passed by three I think. But I did beat a few guys that are already qualified with sub-1:05s. Mile 7 was 5:11, still up hill. Miles 8 and 9 were the biggest climbes, though still nothing outrageous, just 40 feet per mile, but at that point it was just draining. At one point I thought the hills were finally done and then we turned into the biggest one of the race and it just crushed my soul! Miles 8 and 9 were 5:16 & 5:17. At 15k you turn back down after a 180-degree turn and it's mostly downhill to the finish with one small hill along the way. But I was too tired to take advantage of the downhill. I ran mile 10 at 5:08 and 11 at 5:07. Miles 12 and 13 I had all but given up, just running very weak mentally. I split 5:12 and 5:14. At the end there was one guy just ahead of me and two guys trying to pass me, so I mustered up a kick and ran 4:18/mile pace to the finish to pass the guy ahead of me and hold off the others for 14th place.

I grabbed some food, grabbed my gear, walked a half mile back to my car, and drove back to the hotel immediately without lingering at all after the race. Despite all this, the OT time wasn't the only thing I missed by two minutes, I got back to the hotel at 10:02 with breakfast ending at 10:00. Dang! Since I missed breakfast, I decided to cool down afterall from the hotel.

So, no olympic trials for me. That's ok. It was fun to chase. I feel like the only real shot I gave myself was Chicago though. That was the only sea-level race where I was really on point fitness-wise and weight-wise. Today I was getting into shape, but not quite there. I am also 4-5 pounds overweight right now (holidays man!). But I feel I have unfinished business in the half marathon. I wanted to run 1:05 to qualify, but even more I just wanted to prove to myself that I could. And I still think I can, so I will keep trying for that goal.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS Miles: 2.00Asics DS Racer 10 Miles: 15.40
Weight: 0.00
From fiddy on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 08:47:23 from

The inability of rock n roll races to get basic things right is so infuriating. If you do one of their races in the future, you can find accurate mile marks painted on the road. For some reason they move the physical markers like 200m away though.

From Jake K on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 09:16:41 from

That's sort of amazing (in a bad way) that they couldn't get the mile markers correct on a day when they knew they had a bunch of runners chasing the OT standard. When I ran this race 3 years ago, every mark was right on the money. You'd think they would make more of an effort when there was more on the line.

I really liked that course (especially the last 5K!), but you are right, its definitely not as fast as a Houston-type course.

Still a pretty solid start to your season.

From Holt on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 11:54:43 from

Bumma... Way to go after it though - you'll never regret that. Keep on killing it. You're a great example to all of us.

From steve ash on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 12:30:48 from

Nice work Riley. You almost have your foot in the door on the qualifier. Like you said unfinished business.

From butlerbrunning on Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 19:41:17 from

Great efforts for the OT..If you have never ran in Houston I would book it now while it's open...It is super fast.

From jtshad on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 07:53:58 from

Way to go for it and put yourself out there. Nice effort on a tough course.

From Jason D on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 09:50:55 from

Strong effort. I didn't realize that the course had some changes to it. Not a bad place to be in late January by any means.

Rock and Roll organization does leave something to be desired (mostly the price for us commoners unless you sign up a year in advance).

From RileyCook on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 11:07:17 from

Thanks guys.

Jason, I didn't know they'd changed until you just mentioned it. I looked back at 2013 and it's similar but different start and finish locations and for some odd reason this year they added an out and back on a 50-foot climb with 180-degree turn. Why would they add that in? Weird. But it's mostly the same course, just a tad more climbing. Looks like they changed it in 2014.

From Ryan Achatz on Tue, Jan 19, 2016 at 11:42:41 from

No Regrets!

From allie on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 09:27:59 from

nice race, and kudos for taking another shot at it. the trials will be a lot cooler in 2020 with holographic rabbits and 3D printed spring shoes.

From Steve on Sun, Jan 24, 2016 at 11:53:49 from

Inspiring work you put into this Riley. You'll get this one eventually.

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