Everything Counts

Utah Valley Marathon

Recent EntriesHomeJoin Fast Running Blog Community!PredictorHealthy RecipesRileyCook's RacesFind BlogsMileage BoardTop Ten Excuses for Missing a RunTop Ten Training MistakesDiscussion ForumRace Reports Send A Private MessageWeek ViewMonth View
15% off for Fast Running Blog members at St. George Running Center!


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: Utah Valley Marathon (23 Miles) 02:17:53
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance

Well for anyone keeping score (and I am), the score is now Marathon 4, Riley 0.  Another very frustrating attempt at the marathon for me today.  But I'll keep my head up and try again.  In all honesty today was not an ideal day to try to get a good marathon time under my belt, but I should have adapted to the conditions better than I did.  Here's the rundown:

I met Bryant at 345 to catch the buses, after a night of tossing and turning.  The bus situation ended up being perfect for us.  We were on one of the last buses and got there with only 40 minutes to go.  That was perfect for going to the bathroom, warming up, and dropping our bags.  I tried to go to the bathroom twice, but couldn't go the second time.  This worried me as I usually go three or four times, so I was scared I wasn't emptied yet.  But what could I do?

At the start I got to catch up with Scott, Steve, Jon etc.  I finally met the one and only Sasha at the start as well. 

The gun went off and we were off to a good pace.  I wanted to average high 530s for the first seven miles.  I was just behind Scott and Sasha at mile one.  In front of them were the three Kenyans, Jon, Jordan Perry, Steve, and two guys I didn't recognize.  I glanced back and noticed Bryant was ten meters back or so.  Mile one was 5:33.  Sasha and Scott sped up a bit on mile two and I chose not to go with them.  I wanted to stay conservative and in the 530s.  Bryant slowed down a bit more and I was immediately running solo.  Mile 2 5:31, Mile 3 5:36, Mile 4 5:36.  Finally I looked back and Bryant was making his way up to me to work together.  I slowed a bit to let him catch up by mile 5 and we began working together.  Sasha and Scott were about 20 seconds up and Jordan had slowed to run with them as well.  Mile 5 5:42.  Around mile 6 the wind picked up and we agreed to switch leads.  I led mile 6 and Bryant mile 7.  We passed the two guys I didn't know on this stretch. Mile 6 5:37 Mile 7 5:44.  We caught up to the trio of Scott, Sasha, and Jordan at Mile 7.  Sasha asked me to take the next mile leading at this point.  But we were moving faster than them and I didn't really want to slow down the effort too much.  I did scale it back a bit and figured if they wanted to come with they could and we'd work as five, but they ended up staying back and only Bryant came with me.

The hills were starting and we scaled back pace and effort a bit.  The wind was howling in our faces bigtime at this point and the next ten miles or so were extremely windy with a constant, brutal headwind.  I led mile 8 up the hill and Bryant mile 9.  Mile 8 6:03 Mile 9 6:10.  During mile 9 I told Bryant he needed to grow a few more inches so I'd get a better draft off him.

Mile 10 was downhill but was one of the windiest of the race.  I was back in the lead and we came through in 5:39.  We were now running on concrete as opposed to asphault and my knee noticed the difference immediately. My knee has been bugging me lately, but tape has been doing the job. But it started aching here.

During mile 11 I knew I needed that dreaded potty break.  I apologized to Bryant that he'd have to work alone in the wind now as I had to stop.  I stopped just after mile 11 (5:48). 

I wanted a fast potty break, but the toilet paper would not cooperate!  The roll was unopened and glued shut.  I could not get the stupid roll open, it was so frustrating sitting in there wasting time trying to open the toilet paper!  Finally I got my hulk on and ripped like a quarter of the roll off and got what I needed...sheesh!

I came out of the potty just as Sasha was passing and Scott and Jordan had already gone by.  I think I must've been in there for 1:10-1:15 (and it could've been 20 seconds with a cooperative roll!) I immediately passed Sasha back and tried to get back in a groove.  Up to this break I was feeling awesome despite the wind, but after the break I could never really get back in a groove.  Mile 12 was 7:05.

I tried to make my way back up to Scott and Jordan who were roughly 30 seconds up maybe? I ran mile 13 in 5:56.  Running in the wind solo after a stop was rough on me.  I came through the half somewhere close to 1:17 I think.  I grabbed a gu at 13 and held it in my hand slowly nibbling it until 14.  My stomach didn't want it at all, but I knew I had to have it.  Before the race I calculated I needed 500 calories during the race and this gu would only make 200!  Mile 14 was 5:45.  Somewhere around here I caught up to Scott and Jordan. 

I had a decision now, slow down and work with them or try to get back up to Bryant.  I didn't feel great but I didn't want to slow the effort either.  So I went by them and started to track Bryant's progress.  I was definitely making ground and thought I may be able to get up to him within 2 miles and start working together again.  Mile 15 was 5:51

Running solo in the wind was starting to really fatigue me and the legs still weren't back in full groove from the stop.  I look up...am I still gaining on Bryant?  I think so.  This was a hilly mile.  Mile 16 6:06. 

During mile 17 I look up again.  Am I gaining on him? Nope not anymore he's advancing further ahead.  Crap, I'm on my own most likely the rest of the race.  Mile 17 6:11

During mile 18 my left calf started to cramp.  No no no, not again.  Crap I need a gu!  There's one at 19, I can get there.  Mile 18 5:57

I get to 19, grab a gu and drink a powerade, even though I hate taking powerade while running.  It makes my stomach upset, but I needed calories bad!  The powerade did it's job.  No, not at helping me, but at getting my stomach upset.  I have a few nasty burps, fighting off vomit and then try to get the rest of the gu down.  Mile 19 5:56

Ok, 7 miles to go. My calf is cramping bad, but I can still do this.  My knee is aching bigtime too, but nothing I can't endure.  Mile 20 6:16

Just after 20 I hear footsteps and look back to see Scott and Jordan.  I know I can't go with them, so I just give Scott a low five as he passes and say good job.  Jordan kindly says hop on and come with us, but it wasn't going to happen. 

I need water bad!  I'm getting very dehydrated, but 21 is close and the aide station there.  Mile 21 6:18.  I grab a water and it's only one fourth of the way full.  Are you kidding me? I need water! And I get like 2 ounces.  Freak!  Now I have to wait two more miles.  Oh man I need water bad.  And calories!  I've only had 300, I needed 500.  Oh man I'm in trouble.

The wheels start coming off here and the quads and right calf join the cramping party.  Mile 22 6:32.

I am still sitting in 8th but I am hurting bad.  I want to stop and stretch the calves, but no I have to get to that mile 23 aide station.  I can get there.  Don't stop.  Don't stop.  Get to the aide station, then if needed stop and get lots of powerade!  I get there just barely, but I am lightheaded and my arms are completely numb. Mile 23 6:52

I stop and drink three cups of powerade and two cups of water.  I try to stretch my calves and then attempt to run again.  But it wasn't happening.  Come on!  Run, get going again!  My legs almost give out and I stop and sit down on the curb.  Get up and finish.  Get up.  I get up again and try to walk but I can't even walk in a straight line.  I think I'm going to pass out.  I lie down on my back on the sidewalk.  Some kind half marathoners stop and give me water and gu.  They help me up and I try to go again for a third time, but I still can harldy walk, let alone run.  I'm freezing cold, despite hot temps.  I think for the first time that I may not finish.

Finally the next guy passes me, who I don't recognize and tells me I can do it.  I wish he were right.  I try one more time and nearly fall over.  I finally decide to call it quits.  I ask a bystander for a phone and for the second straight marathon I make the shameful call to my wife to ask for a ride.  Total bummer!

I cross the road to lie on some grass and wait for her.  Another bystander tells me to get up and walk.  She helps me up and offers me a ride.  I tell her my wife is coming.  She goes to her car and grabs me a drink. I thank her and walk crookedly along the sidewalk waiting for Amy.  She pulls up and gets out to help me walk and I almost cry from the combo of pain, shame, and the look of concern on her face.  We drive to the gas station and get me some gatorade and food to try to recover. 

Bryant ended up running a brilliant race and almost caught Jon for 3rd place.  I feel like I let him down by having to stop and him facing the wind alone.  Sorry Bryant if you read this.

I am frustrated and upset, but I won't give up.  I will get a win against this marathon soon enough.  One of my favorite quotes from the TV show Lost is "Struggling is Nature's Way of Strengthening".  And I definitely struggled today.

Moving forward I need to do better at taking in calories during the race.  I knew I needed 500 and I only took 300. What? Did I think the number would magically change to 300 and I'd be fine?  Dumb of me.  Second, I need to solve my bowel issues, because when I stop I have the hardest time getting going again.  I tried immodium this race but I guess it didn't help like I had hoped.

Saucony Fastwich (Green) Miles: 24.00
Weight: 0.00
From Steve on Sat, Jun 09, 2012 at 20:22:47 from

Man, have I ever had races like that. You will come back stronger. Bad day for me too.

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Jun 09, 2012 at 21:35:56 from


I think your problem is that you have a lot of midgrade fibers that lean in the fast-twitch direction. They are eager to go, but they eat up a lot of fuel. Until those develop more aerobic capacity and become more fuel efficient, you should try running marathons holding back a lot all the way to 20 miles, then turn it on and run as fast as feels natural. Today also was a really bad day for struggling with fuel due to headwind.

From AngieB on Sat, Jun 09, 2012 at 21:50:48 from

Dude I think you did awesome! Keep your head up there's always stepping stones to get to where you want to be and your well on the right path. Be patient it will come. That's what I keep telling myself.

From Fritz on Sat, Jun 09, 2012 at 21:52:03 from

Riley, Sorry to hear about the troubles. Wind, cramps, nutrition, etc...rough day. Maybe you could could mix some gus into your training to get your stomach more accustomed to it. Don't sweat it too much. It will all come together soon.

From runningafterbabies on Sat, Jun 09, 2012 at 22:58:55 from

So sorry it didn't go the way you planned. You were running great - and then the fuel issue caught up to you. I've had my own bowel issues and if this is any help to you I completely try to eliminate sugar from my diet at least 2 days before an important race and I avoid fiber and dairy products as well. This means a very bland diet consisting of refined flour products but it usually works for me. Good luck working out the kinks. You have an incredible marathon ahead of you.

From jtshad on Sun, Jun 10, 2012 at 05:55:24 from

Sorry about the issues today in difficult conditions. Your ran hard and the marathon is a fickle beast that can really just eat you up. You have a great race to come and hopefully it will all come together at STGM.

From Superfly on Sun, Jun 10, 2012 at 09:57:20 from

Sorry about the tough conditions up there. Marathons are brutal learning experiences- every time you run one something else is different.

Keep grinding at it and you'll find that magical day where it all comes together.

From Tara on Sun, Jun 10, 2012 at 10:00:50 from

Gosh, the conditions were decieving. Lots of issues with the runners out there. You looked solid coming in. Like the attitude of re-evaluating on any needed improvments. Congrats to you:)

From scottkeate on Sun, Jun 10, 2012 at 15:55:33 from

The wind, stomach issues, and dehydration make for a killer combo. You are such a gutsy runner. To have caught Jordan and me as fast as you did, you really fought through the wind. It's too bad that our paces didn't jive enough to work together. You worked your tail off to attempt to catch Bryant. Jordan and I felt like we were creeping along in the wind, but exchanging leads made a huge difference.

It seems like your biggest challenge may be your expectations for your first marathon finish. You are so fast and have such an impressive half time it's hard not to set your sites just as high for the full marathon.

Take this for what it's worth from a slower runner, but it might serve you to run a low-key marathon before St. George with the intention of a crazy fast negative split. I did this at the SLC marathon last year. It helped me to tackle the distance and feel strong the second half. My time was close to my PR when I finished, which was cool.

No doubt you'll have some impressive marathon experiences in the near future.

From RileyCook on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 08:50:15 from

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement, advice, and insight. It means a lot.

Steve: Sorry to hear about your troubles and injury. You are still the man though! And I look up to you as a person and a runner. I hope you get healed quickly.

Angie: Thanks. Hopefully reading this doesn't scare you from a marathon attempt. Despite my recent failures, I'm excited to try again.

Jeff, Clyde, and Tara: Thanks for the positive encouragement.

Sasha: Any advice on how to get those muscles more fuel efficient?

Fritz: I don't know how you are so consistent in the marathon. But the more I try to run the marathon, the more I appreciate how talented you are at.

runningafterbabies: Thanks for the advice. Funny enough, I actually tried that this last week for the marathon. I cut out sugar, dairy, and soda (caffeine). I ate a lot of rice and chicken. I will keep trying though in the future.

Scott: You actually suggested what I already was planning on doing. I am going to run a low key marathon and just go slower and focus on nutrition and just finishing.

From Jake K on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 09:40:30 from

Sorry to hear it fell apart at the end for you Riley. You've had a great spring season of racing, and the marathon is a tough beast to conquer. You'll get it right, and when you do, the days like these will just be looked back on as stepping stones. Keep your head up.

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 10:57:06 from


I would do the following to achieve the increase of aerobic capacity and fuel efficiency:

- gradually up the mileage to the maximum of either what the time permits or what you can do without injuries

- finish all long runs fast

- prefer tempo runs of 3 miles or longer over interval workouts. Still do interval workouts on occasion for speed maintenance, it is very important not to lose the top end speed while adding aerobic capacity, but at the same time it is important to teach the muscles to not go into the mode of producing power at any cost.

- finish the last mile of some easy runs at the marathon race pace or faster. This is particularly helpful on days when you are feeling sluggish, or you know you have not eaten much the day


Overall this is a matter of time. It is very common for a post-collegiate runner , particularly the one who is strong in middle distances, to have this problem for a while. In college the training tends to teach the body to throw everything into the speed with no regards to fuel efficiency. The longest distance you ever race is 10,000, and this is too short to be limited by using the fuel too fast. So you can get away with such training for the purposes of collegiate racing. But it ends up being utterly disastrous for the marathon. It takes anywhere from 6 months to a few years for the body to learn a new energy paradigm. You just need to be patient.

I do think that if collegiate runners cut back a bit on their intervals, and added a 5 mile tempo run at the end of their long runs, they would not lose anything in the 5000, their 10000 would improve, and they would not struggle so much transitioning to the marathon later on.

From Andrea on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 14:07:28 from

The marathon is tricky - just keep trying and you're bound to catch fire!

From Jake K on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 14:39:10 from

I think that is some great advice from Sasha. One of the main things the marathon comes down to is being able to run efficiently and use fuel as conservatively as possible (ie. burn fat). The tempo runs, fast finish long runs, and just simple easy mileage all accomplish that goal.

In the 10K and half-marathon, you don't really have to worry about nutrition, fluids, etc. Especially if you are running under 70 minutes. You can just run and get a snack afterwards, there isn't much limitation in terms of fueling unless you haven't eaten for a week :-) But the marathon adds in this whole other very complex set of variables. It takes time to figure out how to get it right. But I guess every time you get it wrong, you are one step closer to getting it right... right? And when you do, with your background in middle distance and half-marathons, you'll REALLY get it right and throw down a fast time.

From josse on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 14:48:20 from

So sorry for you fueling mishap, I did that to myself in my last marathon and passed out at the end. Staying fueled in a marathon is so tricky, I hope you figure thing out and just take this as a learning experience.

From RileyCook on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 15:12:23 from

Sasha and Jake: Thanks for the advice. That's some good insight.

It sounds like I'm on the right track with what you've recommended and I likely just need to give it more time and a few minor tweaks. My mileage is about as high I can usually get it without injury, though I may be able to add some if I slow down more. I've been doing 4-8 miles at the end of my long runs at marathon or even half marathon pace. I also do a tempo almost weekly of some sort.

So, I will stick to that and give it some time. And try to slowly bring the mileage up without getting hurt.

From Derek D on Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 18:24:08 from

Great recap Riley. I'm sorry the race didn't go your way. I thought your report was humble, honest, and real. The marathon can be an ugly beast. I know you'll figure it out soon.

From Kelli on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 14:46:25 from

I am reading this way later, saw the comment about it in todays race report so I wanted to see what happened.

My husband cramps up really bad and for the last two years he has taken magnesium, potassium, and calcium every day and it seems to have helped (although he had a very bad Utah Valley as well, so maybe it was just that stupid race!!) Just a thought...

BTW, I can not count the amount of times that stupid toilet paper issue has happened to me! They need to get those things opened and ready to go for the racers so we do not have to fiddle with them, it is tough when you are out of breath and shaky...I have made this comment to race directors and I think they think I am nuts!

From Sasha Pachev on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 15:30:15 from

Kelli - my answer to this problem is a) carry your own TP, b) VPB whenever possible, c) practice in training until you perfect it, and d) plan the stop out a mile or two in advance. Also, I believe if it takes you more than 20 seconds to do the job, you can hold it. So you should stop only when the whole business can happen faster than that. Otherwise just keep running until you feel confident it will be fast. The above skills have helped me very much at DesNews this year - I had to stop twice and lost only maybe 40 seconds total. Each problem mile was 5:46 without taking out the stop time.

From Kelli on Sat, Jul 28, 2012 at 15:41:54 from

I SHOULD definitely carry TP, that would be smart. And I for sure know it is a skill I need to work on! It has only been 5 years, maybe by year 10 I will have it all figured out.

From SpencerSimpson on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 15:08:44 from

great report Riley...the experience is great to understand. Very Helpful to read through this...

Add Your Comment.
  • Keep it family-safe. No vulgar or profane language. To discourage anonymous comments of cowardly nature, your IP address will be logged and posted next to your comment.
  • Do not respond to another person's comment out of context. If he made the original comment on another page/blog entry, go to that entry and respond there.
  • If all you want to do is contact the blogger and your comment is not connected with this entry and has no relevance to others, send a private message instead.
Only registered users with public blogs are allowed to post comments. Log in with your username and password or create an account and set up a blog.
Debt Reduction Calculator

Featured Announcements
Web fastrunningblog.com

Lone Faithfuls
(need a comment):