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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

#42- The Big Cottonwood Marathon

Let me start out by saying that I almost did not run this race. It was one of the three new marathons starting in Utah all within a couple of weeks apart and the week after my favorite Utah Marathon, Top of Utah which I wanted to stay healthy for.

Another thing that almost kept me from running this race was the price. $95 for an inaugural race is a little high for me when there are lots of other races to choose from. Before I lay out that kind of cash I want to see race reviews, medals and swag from previous years, etc.

THANK GOODNESS I bit the bullet and registered! I think I have a new favorite Utah race!! The inaugural Big Cottonwood Marathon was AMAZING!

The fun began the night before with a Maniac/Birthday dinner. I could not think of a better way to spend my Birthday than with a fun dinner with my husband and my Maniac friends! Dinner + Presents = WHOO HOO!

Fun Birthday Dinner with the Maniacs!

After dinner we went home, put out my "flat Angie" and went to sleep. That 3:00am alarm was going to come to fast.

I met my friends Teota and Galen at the Bus pick up at 4:30am and we got on the bus with a few other Maniacs, Cindy, Kat and Valerie and headed up to the start at Brighton Ski Resort. It was still dark so we couldn't see any of the course on the way up. I was a little nervous as I was having some pain in my left foot and was scared it may give me trouble, but I tried to put it to the back of my mind.  

Once we got to Brighton, it was pretty chilly. The race was prepared and handed out foil blankets to everyone! That made such a difference. We all took one and looking like a bunch of baked potatoes, we found a building to huddle against and we all kept pretty warm.

Kat, Cindy, Teota, Galen and I at the start.

We were all on one of the first buses to the start, so we had first crack at the port-a-potties. No lines! It was still pretty early though and I knew I would probably have to pay another visit before the start. We all chatted while we were waiting and before you knew it the race was getting started. Teota and I decided (since the race was chip timed) to pay another visit to the port-a-potty before we crossed the timing mats, so we were one on the last people to start.

I was glad I had clipped my small headlamp to my hat (I usually only use it for the port-a-potty as they are always so dark) as it was pitch black when we headed down the canyon. I held onto my foil blanket for the first couple of miles as it was still pretty chilly.

When the sun came up, it not only warmed up, it was like a dark curtain was opened to reveal a spectacular show! The one thing that pushed me into signing up for this race was the beauty of Big Cottonwood Canyon. I knew that no matter if  everything went wrong with the race, the beauty of the canyon would not disappoint. The beauty in Big Cottonwood Canyon is breathtaking in the fall. All the leaves are changing and it looks like something out of a painting.

Not only was this course beautiful, it was fast! Teota and I were trying to go easy down the canyon, but we were way ahead of pace the entire time. I knew once we got out of the canyon (at around mile 14.5), the race would get tough. I have run that area with my friend Teresa many times and there are a lot of rolling hills around there!
Teota and I coming out of the Canyon.

I was right. Once we left the canyon the course got harder, but I felt like I had saved enough juice to run strong the second half. I knew Teota and I were both on track to run a PR (personal record) if we could stay on track. At around mile 20, we were hauling down this nice downhill section (which felt good after a long bit of uphill), when we stopped at an aid station. I had such momentum, I stopped very quickly. I thought Teota was right behind me, but I lost her at the aid station (sorry T)!

This was the longest .2 of my life!

At that point I knew that if I kept steady, I might actually get a PR! Then came mile 24. I was plugging along checking my Garmin relentlessly when I stepped down on my right foot and OUCH! Mind you, my left foot (which I mentioned earlier) gave me no trouble at all. The road was cumbered at places so I thought I may have just strained it a little. I stopped and took a quick walk break, just to try and shake it off, but when I started up again it hurt worse.

Hey! That's me!! They used my quote on one of the signs! I thought this was sound advice. :-)

I was still ahead of PR pace, but as I hobbled, running until it hurt then walking a little, I noticed my PR slowly fading away in those last two miles (which by the way were all up hill)!

When I finally reached mile 26, I looked at my Garmin and to my surprise, I was still ahead of pace! That .2 miles were the longest ever! I searched for the finish line and could not see it. I started asking spectators where it was and they all would say "just around the corner". When I finally saw it, I dug deep and ran towards it! At that point I knew that PR was mine!

I spotted the finish line and I knew I had a PR by 4 minutes!

When I saw Galen cheering me in, all I could say was "PR! I ran a PR!".

I crossed the line and got my medal and asked for a medic to look at my foot. I thought I might have developed a stress fracture. They took me to a white folding chair and I sat down and let two handsome firemen examine my foot. Helloooooo!

I am a damsel in distress! Help me! Hee Hee!

After the initial exam and ice, my foot felt fine. I could walk without pain. An xray two days later confirmed that my foot was not broken.Yay!

A few minutes later I saw Teota come in! Whoo hoo! While we were all tired, we all really wanted to see our friend Marci finish. This would be the day she would qualify for the Marathon Maniacs! As we waited I saw a familiar face across the chute. My husband!!! He came to the finish! Even though I had finished, I was so glad to see him. He does not run and thinks I'm a nut, so it always means a lot to me when he comes out to support me.

My husband, David and I at the finish!

Then it happened. Here comes Marci! Whoo Hoo! She did it! We all cheered for her and welcomed her to our crazy club!

Way to go Marci!!

Galen, Marci, Teota and I at the finish!

This race was so much fun! I am so glad I decided to do it. Yes, it was a little more than I would like to spend on an inaugural race, but was it worth it? Every penny! The not only gave great shirts and medals, all of our Zazoosh photos were INCLUDED in the race price! AMAZING!

If you want to run yet another awesome race in Utah, Big Cottonwood is my new fave!

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