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Thursday, April 5, 2012

#31- The Sand Hollow Marathon

The first time I heard about this race was at the St. George Marathon expo last year. I saw this really nice medal on the table, and being person that loves the bling I walked over. While talking to the Race Director, I found out that the race was in Hurricane, UT (on the outskirts of St. George) at the end of March. This excited me as the earliest marathon in Utah was in April. It gave me one more somewhat local (5 hour drive) option for early in the year. So, even after looking at the daunting elevation chart, which includes a killer hill called El Diablo, I signed up for the March 31st race.

My fellow Utah Maniacs Teresa, Teota, Marsha, Sue and Jonathan also decided to take on El Diablo. Teresa, Teota, Marsha and I drove to St. George on Friday afternoon. We went to the packet pick up and got our bibs, t-shirts, etc., then headed to the JB's for dinner since it was right across the street from our hotel.
We checked into our hotel and had adjoining rooms, which was fun as each of us laid out our "flat" selves. We talked, got our stuff together, then hit the hay. One of the good (and later the bad) things about this race is that since the race started a 7:30am and we were staying a little over a half mile from the start/finish, we got to sleep in a little more than most races. Once we were up and dressed we all headed to the Start.

Maniacs at the Start!
Trying to keep a little warm at the start.

At 7:30am the race started. We all decided to take this race a little easy as poor Teresa had broken her thumb a few days before and was running with a cast on. We thought this would be a nice training run.

As we continued, Teota and I got to chatting and pulled away from Teresa and Marsha. We met up with a few other runners who started asking us about the Marathon Maniacs. Teresa caught back up with us and we enthusiastically told them the Maniac criteria and found out they qualified! I hope they went home and joined!

Teresa, Teota ans I with our new future Maniac friends, Byron and Polli!
There were a few people dressed in costume which I thought was funny for such a small race, but it was awesome!
Ghost Busters and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man!
Teresa, Teota and I with the Ghost Busters!

There were two super heroes! Uh oh! Looks like Endorphin Dude has some competition!

The course was an out and back so it was fun to see a few more Maniacs on the course!

Katrina from Las Vegas

Sue and Teota


As the race went on, the day got hotter and once we hit the half, it was already feeling a little too toasty and we still had to go up El Diablo. Luckily the aid stations were well stocked. The 13.1 mile aid station even had steak and eggs!

Running behind the ambulance. Good thing we didn't need to get in!

The views on the course were beautiful!

We were all feeling quite good, then we hit El Diablo and the sign at the bottom of the hill summed it up perfectly.

The three of us had a plan to conquer this hill. The hill climbed for about three miles, with the steepest section lasting one mile. On that section we would run one minute and walk one minute. First interval, done. Second interval started and we revised the plan. Run 30 seconds, walk 30 seconds. Second interval, done. Third interval started and we revised the plan. Run 30 seconds, walk one minute. Third interval, done. At that point we looked behind us and about 1/4 mile up the hill, we abandoned the plan and walked the rest!

Having fun on El Diablo!

Looking back down the hill!

Once we got to the top we had another fun sign waiting for us.

This was a great sight!
Teresa's hand was really starting to hurt at this point with the heat, but she was a true Maniac and kept on going! We slowed the rest of the race and finished with a personal worst time, but we all had fun anyway! I have always respected any runner that gets out and runs 26.2 miles, but if you think for one second the slower runners are just sauntering around the course with no effort, think again. It felt a lot harder to be on the course in the heat for close to six hours! I want to run faster just so I never have to do that again! It was freaking hard! The back of the packers are the real heroes in my opinion!
Heading back to the finish!
While it did take us longer than we expected, we finished!
This race while the course was tough and the temps were hot, was great! The RD, the volunteers and the whole organization was amazing! There was medical personnel driving up and down the course as well as people driving between the aid stations with water as it got hotter. They even added an extra  aid station which was great. Plus, look at this bling!

Two days ago the RD sent out a very heartfelt and sweet email thanking everyone for running and offering all runners their race photos for FREE! I love it when RD's care about the runners more than lining their pockets. Looking for a March marathon? Give this race a try!

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