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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: Chicago Marathon (26.219 Miles) 02:26:25, Place overall: 50
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTotal Distance


I really felt prepared for this race. I wasn't very nervous and just knew that I had done enough work to get a favorable result. I wasn't sure if I'd hit my A goal of 2:17:59, but I was certain I could give it a run for its money, and if not I would still wind up with a PR. But the marathon has a mind of its own and had other ideas in store for me.

I met Ken, Janae, Emily, Jasmine, and Kathryn (the Utah representation) at the corner of Michigan and Wacker and we headed down to the race. It was probably 3/4 of mile and we jogged about a half mile of it. We got through the gates and checked into the American Development Tent. They told us that they were taking us out at 7:00 to the start line (15 minutes before what we were told before the race via email traffic). This was a bit frustrating; as we had to rush to use the bathrooms and warmup, plus we had to strip down our warm clothing and be in our racing attire for a half hour. Luckily it wasn't too cold and staying warm wasn't as big of a problem as I thought. But they didn't take us to the start line, instead they lined us up and we just waiting until two minutes before the race started to get to the starting line. So there was never any point to making us leave the tent a half hour early and stand on our feet in a line for 28 minutes.

I forced my way up to the front and started just behind 1-2 guys. The race was off and a lot of guys went out pretty fast. I stay controlled and by mile 3 found a guy that looked like I could use to draft off of. Another guy joined us and they were running side by side and I filled in behind. It was quite windy out there and I was going to draft as much as possible. Within a few miles we had a pack of four and then it grew to about six. We briefly discussed and everyone was shooting for an OTQ, so this was the group.

The guy leading was going a bit fast though in the early miles, but I decided a few seconds per mile too fast was better than running alone. Plus with the drafting off him the effort was likely going to be similar either way. This pack stayed together with 1-2 guys dropping back around 10 miles. We slowly picked guys off and kept moving up. Going South had the strongest winds and I just tried to stay behind someone the whole time. I really didn't do my fair share of leading with this pack, but no one seemed to mind so I just kept back.

A little before the half I had a mucous buildup that I started gagging on and I concentrated really hard to hack it up without starting my gag reflex.  I managed it successfully and felt good again. By the half the pack was stringing out and mile 13 was slow, so I moved up with one of the leaders in the pack and we got back on pace, but it was only four of us left. We came through the half in 1:08:49, right on pace and I felt I could manage another sub 1:09.

I took a gel for the first time right after the half. I felt decent for the next few miles, then I started to get nauseous and I also had another mucous buildup (not a good combo). I pulled over and threw up during mile 19. I lost the two guys remaining that I was working with and I couldn't catch back up. This was a bad time to run solo as we were headed South again and the wind was quite strong and temps had risen into the 60s. I ran another two miles or so at a decent pace and then threw up again. A PR was theoretically still possible with just 6:00-flat miles, but I just couldn't do it. I had lost too much fluid and my legs just wouldn't go. I was quite miserable.

I finished the race in 2:26:25 (1:17:36 second half). When I finished I got really light-headed and my face and arms were tingling. I got dizzy and started wobbling pretty badly. A volunteer grabbed me and held me up/helped me walk about a quarter of a mile down to the medical tent. There they kept me for over an hour. I kept trying to get discharged, but I was shaking from being cold and I couldn't walk at all. So they wouldn't let me leave. They finally laid me down and covered me with 5-6 blankets. After almost an hour and a half they finally let me leave the medical tent and I went to get my gear. I also saw Janae in the medical tent, they had brought her in on a wheelchair. I saw Emily and Jasmine at the American Development Tent after and they hadn't raced the way they had hoped either and we just kind of shook our heads and wondered why everyone of us had a pretty bad day. I found Amy shortly after that and we walked back to our hotel.

So, it was a frustrating day. I felt pretty dang good minus the stomach issues, which are really big issues. I had problems in the past with runner's trots in marathon, but I seem to have that solved and traded it in for this even worse problem. I threw up after both Morgan and Top of Utah marathons in similar fashion and I threw up during one of my 25 mile long runs in training. I don't know what it is. I didn't take gel in Top of Utah, only water and still threw up right after I finished. I need to go see some kind of specialist that can help me figure out what's going on. Any suggestions?

Splits (these are based on mile markers and are about 5-6 seconds per mile slower than what gps would've given):

1st Half: 5:12, 5:14, 5:08, 5:09, 5:14, 5:11, 5:17, 5:13, 5:15, 5:19, 5:16, 5:18, 5:23

2nd Half: 5:15, 5:14, 5:14, 5:20, 5:22, 5:41, 5:36, 5:54, 13:35 (missed split this is 2 miles), 6:31, 6:33, 6:29, 1:22

Brooks Adrenaline 15 (Orange) Miles: 1.00Brooks Pure Cadence 4 Blue Miles: 26.70
Weight: 0.00
From RustyTF2 on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 08:11:04 from

Sorry things didn't turn out well :( The feeling is still fresh in my mind and it sucks. I'd see a gastroenterologist about those GI issues. I don't know if there are any that specialize with athletes out there. Good luck figuring it out. You've still got a couple OTQ chances! Ps was Rex shields one of the guys you ran with? You have similar split I think. He also had a disappointing day.

From RileyCook on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 08:34:21 from

Taylor, I've never met Rex nor do I know what he looks like. But he certainly could've been in the group. He wasn't one of the two that did most of the leading though, they both had several people cheering for them so I learned their names that way, both local I think.

From Tom Slick on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 08:44:40 from

tough day at the races, congrats on a great time dispite the physical problems. How does this time effect your OTQ ? Will you make another attempt at a OTQ ?

From Holt on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 10:05:33 from

bummed for you Riley. You deserve a great race! You certainly have worked hard enough for it... Unfortunately, sometimes it just doesn't go that way. Get that stomach stuff figured out and don't ever give up!

From butlerbrunning on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 10:14:11 from

Sorry about your race Riley. Hopefully you'll get it all figured out. I know every time I think I've got the marathon figured out it throws something else at me. It's frustrating knowing your fitness is better than what it shows on race day. Keep after it and never give up.

From josse on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 10:45:44 from

I have this same problem and have seen doctors many times, they alway come up empty handed (except that I'm hypoglycemic). I have figured out on my own that I was severely magnesium deficient and getting it up has help stabilize my blood sugar. I got a lot of helpful info from a website called the magnesium miracle. Look into it, it's a pretty easy fix.

From scottkeate on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 14:05:44 from

I feel your disppointment for the tough race and not understanding what was taking place in your body to cause it to rebel the way it did. You are one tough dude, a fierce competitor, and all I can say after a race like this is that you went after it. I have a ton of respect for your commitment and your drive. Hat's off to the endurance builders, the speed work, and the long miles.

I vote you find a 1/2 in about a month and let out some runner rage :)

From Sasha Pachev on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 14:42:59 from


Try experimenting with the diet. Start with the basics. Fruits, vegetables, grains in abundance, meat in moderation. Avoid overly processed foods. Do not eat things that make it uncomfortable to run a couple of miles at 6:30 pace 15 minutes after eating them. Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. You might need to draw some hard lines around what you will or will not eat - it is easy to get drawn into eating like people around you which is often not the best. A common justification is that some super-runner X eats all kinds of stuff, but I put this in the category of the drunk Superman joke - he could still fly even when he was drunk, but when a poor fellow tried to follow him he fell to his death.

There can be another issue involved - overworked heart. When the heart is working at the limit sometimes the symptom is nausea and stomach discomfort. The best treatment for that is balance in training, good sleep, and a heart-friendly diet.

From SlowJoe on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 19:33:46 from

Riley, no suggestions I can think of but congrats on a good race. Throwing up just makes it impossible...just not an indicative race. Seems like something that, once you iron out, will be a blip and you'll be back to insanely fast times and PRs.

Look forward to better - nice job.

From Matt Schreiber on Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 19:53:13 from

Bummer on the stomach stuff! Seems like a touch race with that, the heat, and the wind. Way to gut it out.

From RileyCook on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 15:50:59 from

Thanks for the comments and input everyone.

I think it may be as simple as I'm dehydrated in these efforts. I take as little water as I can and maybe it's just not enough. Dehydration can lead to nausea and vomiting I think. In the race I took a water cup at almost every station but only drank one ounce tops each time. I do that to avoid GI distress, but it's probably not enough. And on my long runs I don't take any water.

Maybe that's the problem with the throwing up. I don't know. But the mucous buildup is still an issue and could be food related. But I am pretty vigilant on what I eat before the race. I'll keep searching and trying new things until I get this worked out, it's destroyed way too many performances that could've been great.

From Trevor Baker on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 17:07:40 from

I believe it's your hydration more than anything else. I wouldn't see a doc about this, I've had GI issues for years until I found out how to manage and train my body to handle taking in more fluids. Of course initially when you are taking in more fluids your body will have issues and not cooperate and continue GI issues, but as you train your gi system, it will get better. I can't take big amounts of fluid at once and I sweat prob more than any runner you've seen so bad combo for endurance running but for example for st George last year, I calculated out my sweat rates and planned intake accordingly 24 oz every 4 miles and I couldn't just chugg it, I sipped the 24 oz bottle down over the course of two miles... So yeah I carried a bottle with me for half the race, but I got through it.... As temps decrease I needed less fluids so other marathons I only needed 24 oz every 7 miles... Same 2 mile intake thing.. Try experimenting with that before going to a GI doc... Just an opinion...

From Jason D on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 20:38:43 from

I was hoping that magic number would pop up in my text messages, or a sub-2:20 PR would have been good too.

Is it too early to ask what you plan to do next? Maybe you don't want to think about that and I'll just keeping followin' and see.

From RileyCook on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 21:13:47 from

Trevor, did you ever have any issues with phlegm buildup when dehydrated?

From Trevor Baker on Tue, Oct 13, 2015 at 21:44:56 from

Yeah, not from the lungs but from deep throat for sure. I wouldn't say it was like green and yellow infected stuff but thick micousy saliva I couldn't even spit it out.

From jtshad on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 12:48:06 from

Nice job going big, sorry about the issues. You still ran well and showed your character despite the adversity.

From Fritz on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 15:17:37 from

Riley, How hydrated do you think you are before the race? Starting two to three days before a race I start drinking considerably more water to the point where my urine is almost clear. Then the morning of the race I continue drinking up until about an hour before. This seems to work for me because I don't ever drink much during the race, and maybe I don't sweat as much as others. Whatever the issue is I hope you find some solutions. Considering your talent and work ethic this seems to be the only thing holding you back.

From Sasha Pachev on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 15:58:30 from

Fritz, Riley:

I recall a funny incident prior to Top of Utah 1999 (first year they had it). I was paranoid about hydration due to bad experiences in the past and kept drinking on and on as we rode the bus to the start. Then I had too much liquid in me and some of it had to come out. I realized if I waited any longer the consequences would be tragic. So I asked the bus driver to stop. The runners clapped and cheered as I reentered the bus.

My thoughts on hydration are that if you find yourself needing to worry about it, it is a health issue, likely not something a regular doctor can diagnose - he knows how to treat humans but has little experience with deer/moose/antelopes. Until that health issue is resolved, though, you will not run your best marathon.

For me that health issue got fixed in a way I still do not fully understand. In 2001 I ran 2:33:20 in TOU, I did hit the wall moderately, and I did have to worry about hydration/nutrition. In 2002 the health issue was worse - 2:37:40, fairly hard wall, and I felt terrible after the race. Sometime in 2002 I asked a friend who had served in the same mission with me to give me a blessing. He specifically mentioned diet in the blessing. It took me some time to pick up on it, but I eventually did. It was not the diet alone, but somehow by 2003 the health issue was gone. My stomach became strong enough that it could handle regular food while running, so I figured I would just eat during the race what I normally eat for breakfast - oats, soymilk, and bananas. Not sure if I needed it but that was what I ate (at mile 16). There was no other intake during the race except for a sip of water at 23. The time was 2:27:46, my current TOU PR, no real wall, just some loss of furor, slowest mile was 6:06.

So my current belief based on all the marathons I've run, the good ones and bad, is that when the body is in good health (and running shape) you rely significantly less on what goes in, and will be maybe only a minute slower if you raced a marathon in cool conditions with zero intake as opposed to perfect nutrition. If that makes you 5 or more minutes slower, this is a more fundamental problem than just nutrition/hydration, something is wrong inside.

From RileyCook on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 16:14:07 from

Fritz, I usually drink quite a bit. I didn't do as well admittedly before Chicago, but I have before other races in which I've thrown up.

It is typical for me to weigh 6-7 pounds less after a long run and that includes usually 16-24 ounces of drink immediately after the run, so really maybe 7-8 pounds. Is that typical or is that on the high end? Trevor you seem to know a lot about sweat rates etc.

From josse on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 16:55:38 from

I have had several marathons that I've gotten sick like this, been so sick after that I couldn't move for hours. For me heat is a big issue, they where all hot marathons, but if I had trained in the heat it wasn't such an issue. Anyway after trial and error I figured out that I was over hydrating and my salt electrolytes where to diluted. This can be just as bad as under-hydrating (look into hypernatremia). PIf I eat super clean the problem seems to be less and sometimes I don't have it and it doesn't make sense. But my best marathons have been when I'm eating clean, have proper electrolyte intake before and during (I used prolytes forever) the marathon. Also I need some good protein/fat intake durning to help me not bonk.

From josse on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 17:04:14 from

The marathon distance is very demanding on the body. More than what most give credit and then to run it fast! Nutrition has to be spot on in my opinion.

From Trevor Baker on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 17:38:00 from

Yeah, so you estimate your sweat rate the best you can.. Ideally you figure out the temp you are racing in and try and test it at that temperature and those conditions. You weigh yourself without clothes before the run, go run, come back and dry off the best you can and weigh yourself again. So two examples.. You got a 151.8 lb runner = 69 kg (easier in metric) Runner goes and runs for 2 hours and weighs 67.5 kg (148.5 lbs) when he gets back -> 69-67.5kg = 1.5 kg = 1.5 Liters of fluid lost in 2 hours-> 1.5/2 = 0.75L fluid lost/hour. (given he didn't drink anything during the run).

Example 2 - pre run weight = 69kg, post run weight = 66.5 kg and he drank 1 L half way through.... ran 2 hours again... if this is the case you calculate it as 69-66.5 =2.5 kg lost in 2 hours PLUS the 1 L he drank mid run so 3.5 kg or 3.5 Liters of fluid lost total for the 2 hours so you divide out 3.5L / 2 hours = 1.75 L of fluid lost per hour of running..

Note that after 2 kg of fluids is lost (4.4 pounds) performance decreases significantly as a result of dehydration. Other studies have cited a lost of 3% body weight is the indicator of decreased performance so you plan your fluid intake plan around keeping your body away from that neg 2 kg deficit. Also I believe we can train our bodies to work more efficiently under dehydrated conditions, but there isn't much research to back that up... so if you are doing lots of runs without fluid intake, your body may be working more efficiently than one like mine where I'm pretty consistent about fluid intake and my body isn't trained to the depths of despair like dehydration. Other things to keep in mind that once you lose 2.2 pounds of fluids, GI issues are more common during exercise and also if you have increased amounts of fluids that your body isn't used too can create GI issues, however the latter can be trained to an extent. Research also has indicated that greater than 1 L of fluid in the stomach during exercise is uncomfortable and decreases performance due to discomfort, side aches, potential GI issues, so there is a fine balance...

From Fritz on Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 18:32:42 from

Good info Trevor. Sounds like you have gone to school to learn this stuff :) Keeping a perfect balance seems all too complicated to me so luckily I don't have dehydration and GI problems. As Sasha alluded to, it does seem that there could be something more wrong than just hydration/nutrition because it sounds like you aren't doing anything drastically different than most runners. I guess I would try to get a few more opinions from doctors who have dealt with elite athletes with a similar problem. Those could be hard to find.

From Steve on Sun, Oct 18, 2015 at 14:37:49 from

If you ran slower than you know you could have, get in another marathon in November. A fast one. This one won't have hit you as hard as if you had run it at potential, so you could probably turn out a surprising good second race.

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