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Monday, August 22, 2011

The Park City Marathon- #23

Last year, due to our overbooked running schedules, Teresa Baker and I decided that we would run the Park City Marathon as slow as we could. In fact, we decided to go for a PW (Personal Worst) rather than drop the race all together. This plan worked. We ran a 5:50, a definite PW, but we still had fresh legs for Hood to Coast a few days later!

This year we decided to do almost the same thing. While we didn't want to intentionally go for a PW, we decided that we would use this race as a long training run. We would take it easy and just get in the miles.

Our journey began Friday when Liz Gotter, Eric Beck and I drove up to Park City and spent the night at the Bakers lovely Park City condo (thanks Teresa and Bob!). We got there a little late and by the time we all got done chatting, it was 11:00pm!

At 3:30am my alarm went off and I got up to have some breakfast and get ready. By 4:00am everyone else was up and we were out the door and at the start by 4:45am. The best kept secret about the Park City Marathon is the 5:00am early start. The regular start is at 6:30am, but they open the course early for walkers and/or runners who run over 6 hours. Now, I realize we don't fall into either of those categories, but unless you need an aid station before mile six or are in the running for an age group award, the early start is the way to go! Not only do you beat the heat, there are no lines at the porta-potties and there is plenty of food! Yay!!

  Maniacs at the Start! Me, Galen Garrison, Larry Macon,Teresa Baker and Liz Gotter

It was so great to see so many Maniacs out there early too! After doing so many races, we know all the tricks! At 5:00am we were all lined up and off we went!

It was really dark and the Race Director asked us who had done the race before. A few of us raised our hands and the RD told everyone to follow us. We all started laughing as we all almost got lost the year before and in fact Larry Macon did get lost! Luckily, we had Teresa there who knew where to go and we all found our way. Once the sun came up we were greeted with some of the most beautiful scenery you could ever want to see.
Teresa, Eric and I with our new friends, Katie, Codi and NJ Tom!

One thing I love about running marathons, is that I have met some of the nicest people on the course. This year we met Katie (who was running her first marathon), Cody and New Jersey Tom. We all ran together for most of the race and a great time cheering at each mile marker we passed.
Running the trail!


Teresa, Eric, Me, Galen and Tom.

One reason we like to go easy in Park City, is the Park City Marathon Course is HARD. Not only are you running at altitude (starting at 6385 feet), the course is tough. You gently climb for the half, then pretty much shoot straight up until mile 17 (gaining 942 feet with the highest part of the course hitting 7306 feet). 

The Shoe Tree

Larry and Vincent attacking the climb!

Who says you can't look sassy running uphill? Liz can!

Once we hit Deer Valley Ski Resort, we thought it was all down hill from there (pun intended) and we started cruising!

Downhill! Yay!

Teresa and I rockin' the "Mari"

Photos? You know we had to pose!

We were really having fun. That was until we hit what I like to call "The Hill from Hell"!

 Can someone give us Maniacs a push, please!

Once we made it over that hill, we were all good! We headed out on the rail trail and we ran into the farm. This is Park City!

Galen, Teresa, Eric and I

There we ran into a few more speedy Maniacs! 

Go Sue Go!

Another great thing about this race was the aid stations. I have never seen more stocked aid stations in my life. Gu's, chews, oranges, bananas, gummy bears, pretzels, chips, etc. were plentiful and the volunteers were AWESOME!
Yay Volunteers!

The last few miles were clicking by pretty quickly and while tired, we were all feeling pretty great. We were all really glad we did the early start as it started getting toasty.

Galen by the bike sculptures!

Coming around the last mile it was really great to see the ever so awesome Bob Baker out there cheering for us!

Chloe (the Baker's sweet little dog) was cheering too behind us! 

We hit the finish line feeling GREAT!

Teresa and Eric finishing!! Whoo Hoo!

The saying is true: "If you run fast you get a good time, if you run slow you have a good time!" Thanks Park City! We had a great time!

Extra special thanks to Galen Garrison for taking all these great photos!! Without them this post would be boring as I was way to lazy to take photos of my own. Hee Hee!

We all finished!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Moonlight Half Marathon!

Last night a six of us girls set off to Mapleton, UT to run one of the funnest half marathons around. The Moonlight half is a unique race as ANYONE at ANY SPEED can WIN the race! Yes, you heard me right folks!

The way it works is this: The course opens at 8:00pm. Runners can start the race whenever they want after that. As in other races, the winner of the race is not the fastest runner, the winner is who can finish closest to midnight. Sound easy enough right? Here's the catch- NO TIMING DEVICES ALLOWED! You have to feel your pace rather than be dependant on a watch/Garmin. This is what made the race super fun!

I hit the dollar store for all the glow stuff I could find!

My friend Teresa and I ran together starting at 9:45pm. We thought a 2:15 half would be easy to get allowing a little extra time for water stops and running in the dark. Kim and her daughter Maddie started five minutes after we did and Teresa's daughter and her friend started about 30 minutes after us.

Teresa and I rockin' the HF Blue!

Teresa, Lindsay and I ran this race 2 years ago and it was small, but still lots of fun. This year the race was on a whole new level! Besides having a lot more people, the starting line, the mile markers, the aid stations and finish line festivities were way better.

Kim, Teresa, Me and Maddie at the Start.

Teresa and I felt really good the whole race. The temperature was perfect (about 60 degrees). The first 2 miles went up hill, then we ran down Hobble Creek Canyon. The course was a little more hilly than I expected, but still really nice.

As we got to about mile 10, the course started getting pretty crowded with everyone trying to get in at midnight. With less than 2 miles to go we heard these someone tell her running partner the time. Teresa and I called them out. I just don't understand why people would want to cheat. You are not the winner if you cheat, you are a LOSER! We did not let it ruin the rest of our race as we all just headed for the finish.

Lindsay and her friend caught up to us within the last mile and blew past us. I could see the finish line as we approached the park when all of a sudden we saw fireworks in the sky signaling that it was midnight! It was so cool! We were very close, but thought Lindsay and her friend must have been close to winning. We were right! Teresa and I crossed the line and looked back at the clock (which was projected on the back side of the finish line) 12:02am, two minutes after midnight! Lindsay and her friend came in forty seconds after midnight! Sooooo close! Kim and her daughter came in at 12:08am.

None of our group placed, but we had a great time eating pizza and watermelon after the race. We got into some dry clothes and headed home. It was a late night but an AWESOME time! I highly recommend this race!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Marathon #22- The Morgan Valley Marathon

Here in Utah, July 24th is a holiday called Pioneer Day. It is a day Utah celebrates the day Mormon pioneers settled Utah. There are all kinds of activities going on that day including the Deseret Marathon and 10K. I ran the Deseret Marathon last year and was really looking forward to running it again this year, until I found out that July 24th fell on a Sunday. Here in Utah, folks don't race on Sunday. I optimistically thought they would hold the marathon and all other activities on Saturday (that's what any sane person would do), but to my dismay, they the Deseret Marathon was held on Monday and I had to work.

We are quite lucky here in Utah as we have a tremendous amount of races to choose from, so instead of taking vacation time off, I decided to run the Morgan Valley Marathon five days later on July 30th. Fellow Maniac,Galloway Runner and friend, Kim Weddington had already signed up for the race and convinced me to sign up during our time together running Ragnar's Wasatch Back this year.

Kim was so nice to invite me to stay out at her parent's cabin with her family. Her dad Gary is a member of our Galloway group as well and is just a lot of fun. I left work around 4:30pm on Friday and made the one hour drive to Morgan, where I met everyone at the cabin.

The Walton's cute little log cabin we stayed at!

From there Kim, Gary, Kim's daughter Ally and I drove to the expo, which was held at the fairgrounds where the start and finish of the race was. It was a really small little expo and by the look of it we knew this was going to be a small little race. We picked up our race bags and t-shirts and headed back to the cabin, where Kim's mom had a delicious pasta dinner waiting for us. After dinner we sat out on the balcony and talked before turning in for the night.

The view from the balcony at the cabin overlooked the race course.

Gary and Ally were running the half marathon so they got to sleep in a little longer than Kim and I did. Kim and I were up at 3:45am as our race began at 5:30am. This gave us plenty of time to eat, get dressed, and hit the restroom before heading to the starting line.

Kim and I at the start!

When we got to the start, there were not very many people there. Kim and I thought we were the only Marathon Maniacs there until the lovely Rebecca Miller Steven showed up and introduced herself to us. She told us that there were about 80 Marathoners registered. The race director gave all of us some last minute instructions and the gun went off!

Kim is a pretty fast runner so we said our goodbyes and she took off. I started talking to Rebecca and a very nice guy named Keith (who we found out was one of the sponsors). The three of us had a great time running along the beautiful Morgan countryside.

Rebecca and Keith with our new friend!

I have to say, I am always a little iffy when it comes to inaugural races. I will run them, but I make sure I am self sufficient when I do (making sure I carry my own water, fuel, etc.). This race exceeded my expectations. Not only did the aid stations have the friendliest volunteers, they were well stocked. Temps were supposed to be close to 90 degrees and they were ready with cold sponges and these really cool little neck coolers that you could tie around your neck then re-soak them at the next water stop. We all took those things home!

Another thing I loved was the little golf carts driving up and down the course cheering and checking on everyone. The attention to the little things made this race great.

The miles seemed to fly by and before we knew it we were finishing! Rebecca finished her 91st marathon, I finished my 22nd and Keith finished his first!

After the race I saw Kim and Rebecca and I sat with her to watch the awards and raffle. The overall awards were so cute!

1st Place Boot! So Utah! I love it!

Then they started the raffle. I NEVER win anything so I was shocked and surprised to hear my name called as the winner of a really nice electric toothbrush!
My Prize!

We were even more shocked when Kim and Rebecca won the next two prizes, some really cute handbags! Kim told everyone to come sit in the lucky spot where we were. After the raffle came the age group awards. Again we were shocked when Kim and Rebecca took 1st and 2nd in their age group and I took 3rd in mine! Granted this was a small race, but I was still happy to get an age group award for 1st time ever!

Rebecca, Kim and I showing off our awards and prizes!

Before leaving we went and told the race director how much we enjoyed the race and on our way out of the gate, she ran up and handed me a handbag just like Kim's! She told us "you guys need to match!" Score!!

This was a great marathon and I highly recommend it! HUGE thanks to the Waltons and their puppies for their hospitality!
My Heaven! SWEET!!