OK, this race wasn’t even on my list this year for three reasons: 1) I already had three Utah races on the schedule this year, 2) this race never got rave reviews from people I talked to, and 3) the race is held on the 24th of July! It is HOT in Utah on the 24th of July (temps for Saturday were going to be in the high 90’s)!! But, since I didn’t have another marathon scheduled for another month, I bit the bullet and registered.
I lucked out and was off work on Friday. Pioneer Day is a big deal in Utah (the day the Mormon pioneers settled Utah) and since July 24th fell on a Saturday this year, Friday was a holiday. David and I met Jim and visiting Maniacs, Peggy (from NJ) & Susan (from NC) for lunch, packet pick up and a tour around downtown Salt Lake City. Jim then took them up to Park City for dinner (David and I went home early to prepare for race morning).
Susan (from NC) Me, Jim, and Peggy (from NJ) in front of the Salt Lake Temple.
When my alarm went off at 2:00am, I started second guessing whether this was a good idea! I had some breakfast, got myself together and was out the door by 3:00am. The last bus to the start left from Energy Solutions arena at 3:45am. That gave me plenty of time to drive, park and walk to the bus. That was before I saw the flashing lights of the police car pulling me over! I didn’t think I was speeding, but was not going to argue with the officer. If he was going to ticket me, I wanted him to do it quickly! When the officer approached the car, he saw how I was dressed and asked me, “Are you on your way to the track?” When I told him I was rushing to get to the bus to the start of the marathon, he said “wow!” After scanning my license, he came back and said “good luck out there today” and let me go without a ticket!! Whew! That was way cool!! I couldn’t help but think maybe he was a runner too. I made it to the bus just in time!
When we arrived at the start, it was dark. I could see the lights in the valley and the moon. It was beautiful. Most of the runners were huddled under a big tent to stay warm. There I ran into a few other Maniacs & 50 Staters! Peggy (who was running her 50th marathon), Susan, Larry Macon, John Bozung (who was running his 300th marathon), Don Kern (who was running his 200th marathon) Franz, Bob. K, Jamie and Doug.
Larry Macon, John Bozung and Don Kern
The race started promptly at 5:30am. It was still dark so I took it fairly slow down. I didn’t want to trip on a bump in the road. I wanted to take some photos of the beautiful scenery, but it was too dark for my phone’s camera. As the sun started coming up, I was so glad I decided to do this race. It was so BEAUTIFUL!
I knew this course had some steep downhill parts, so I tried to run conservatively and not burn down them. This paid off because I felt really strong through the first half. I was trying out my new Safe Sound Sport speakers (http://www.safesoundsports.com/) and was having a blast rocking down the canyon.
As I made my way down past Ruth’s Diner, then Rice-Eccles Stadium, I still felt really good. Right after mile 20, I passed two young guys. When I asked how they were doing, they said “Slow down! You are making us look bad!” I pushed on. At around mile 22, my Ragnar teammate and new friend, Chris was waiting for me with ice cold water! It was starting to get hot at this point and cold water was a blessing! THANK YOU CHRIS!!
2002 Olymipc Stadium, now home to the University of Utah!
As I turned down South Temple, I still felt pretty strong. Then right around mile 24, the heat from the street, the cars, the parade and the sun started to wear me down. I was still going, but I was feeling it! Around mile 25 we ran on the parade route with the floats. The channel 5 news float was going by as I passed and one of the newscasters yelled out “Let’s hear it for the runners!” People started cheering really loud! That was a help! It got me around the corner and into Liberty Park and the finish line! I finished in 4:57:02, only 21 seconds off my PR!! Darn that 10 minute port-a potty line! Oh well! I was still happy!
Pulling the Handcart just like the Pioneers!
I totally underestimated this race! It was one of the most beautiful courses I have ever run and it was well organized. They could have used a few more water stops later in the race and the medals are not that pretty, but overall, I highly recommend it!
FYI: If you run over 6 hours, this may not be the race for you. They were pretty strict with the cut-off time. At 6:05 the announcer was gone, the medals were packed up and the timing mats were pulled up!