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Sunday, September 18, 2011

#25- The Top of Utah Marathon. We Ran to "Hail" and Back!

I was very much looking forward to this race. I ran Top of Utah last year and it immediately went to the top of my list for one of the best Utah Marathons ever! Not only is the course fast (I set a PR there), but the scenery is breathtaking and the race is well organized.

My friends and fellow Maniacs Teresa Baker and Eric Beck and I headed to Logan Friday afternoon. Teresa and Eric were taking on pacing duties as well as a few other Utah Maniacs (Jonathan Crampton, Chris Scott and Tim Gill) so we headed to expo so they could meet the runners and pick up our race packets.

Maniacs at the Expo (Eric Beck, Chris Scott, Teresa Baker, Me, Tim Gill and Galen Garrison)!

I was also excited to be there for three of my Galloway girls, Kimberly Miller, Sarah Maulden and Teota Dangel (Sarah and Teota were running their first marathons). After picking up our packets and chatting it up with friends, we decided to just have the pasta dinner at the expo then Teresa, Eric and I headed to Eric's cousin's house (who was gracious enough to put us all up for the night. Huge Thanks!)

We got about 5 hours of sleep until the alarm went off and we were up and out to catch the bus to the start. I had been watching the weather reports, so I came prepared for rain in the morning. On the drive to Logan it started to rain but, stopped long enough to park, hit the port-a-potty and jump on the bus.

Eric is looking pretty sleepy on the bus!

Unfortunately, we were still on the bus and missed the Maniac photo that I organized (could someone just photoshop Teresa, Eric and I in to the photo? Hee Hee)! As we made our way down to the starting line, it began to rain. Now, I don't mean sprinkles, I mean really rain. Luckily there were heated tents next to the gear drop. Teresa and I gave our bags to the gear drop lady and took off running for shelter! I lost Teresa, but knew I could find her when the race started. She and Eric were pacing the 5:30 group and I was planning on running with them for a mile or so.

I waited in the tent until I heard the gun go off then made my way out to find the 5:30 pacers. When I didn't see them, I just started running. Less than a mile in I found Kimberly, Galen and Sarah!

Kimberly and I all layered up!

Sarah, Kimberly and Sarah's brother, Tim and her bro-in law.

The rain stopped around mile 6 and I decided it was time to lose my rain poncho and my ugly pink jacket. (The rain was supposed to stop by 8:00am)  I dropped both at an aid station and went on my way while Sarah and Kimberly hit the port-a-potty. That was the last time I saw them on the course.

Not ten minutes went by (after I dropped my rain gear) did it begin to pour again! Luckily, I still had my arm warmers and my long sleeved shirt on. The rain lasted for the next 3 hours, letting up twice only to hail in it's place. Now this might sound like hell, but with the scenery and low wind, the only thing that made it terrible was the threat of nasty chaffing!

Top of Utah has one of the prettiest courses anywhere!

I was feeling really great for most of the race. The gentle downhill made the course really fast. At mile 21, I ran into another race buddy, Korey and I slowed to chat with him for a few minutes. I was in very chipper spirits and still feeling strong, leap frogging some new race friends from Wyoming, Angie and Dan. I thought that I might get a PR at this race again this year.

At around mile 24, my legs started feeling really stiff and while I still felt good, I was starting to fade and was ready to be done! By mile 25 I knew that a PR was out of the picture, but there was still hope of a course PR! When I hit mile 26, I knew I had it! I hit the the timing mat at 4:48:33, two minutes faster than last year! I was pretty happy with that.

Not long after that Sarah and Kimberly came in!

Sarah finishing her first marathon! Yay Sarah!

Kimberly finishing marathon #3!

We caught up with some other Utah Maniacs at the finish!

New Maniac, Melanie, Franz, Me and Kim at the finish!

Kimberly and I said goodbye to Sarah and went over to the bleachers at the finish line to see Teresa and Eric come in. They were right on time! Great Pacing Teresa and Eric!! We were on pins and needles waiting for Teota. This was her first marathon which she was using as a training run for the Marine Corps marathon. Given the weather, we were hoping she made it. When she came around the corner, Kimberly and I could not have been more proud of her!

Teota finishing her first marathon!

When she finished there were tears flowing! Teota started with our Galloway group in April. She lost 53lbs during training. It was an AWESOME accomplishment!

Me, Teota and Kimberly at the finish!

After that I found Teresa and she and I drove to Cafe Rio for our celebratory Diet Coke and some much needed food and then came home! Even with the not ideal weather, Top of Utah is still one of my favorite Utah races!

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