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Monday, July 29, 2013

#57- The Sogo Challenge (Sogonapmit)Marathon!

The Sogonapmit Marathon is the sister race to the much larger Timpanogos Half Marathon. When I say larger, I don't mean a few people larger. The half had 1,375 finishers, the full had 96. Why the huge difference you might ask?
This is the elevation chart for the Timpanogos Half Marathon. It is one of the fastest race courses in the state of Utah. Now imagine yourself starting at the finish line at 3:30am (which meant getting up at 1:30am) and running UP the mountain for 13.1 miles before running the half marathon down. That is the Sogo Challenge and the reason there is only 96 finishers!
Last year I ran with my friend Teota, but she could not run this year so I was on my own. Still trying to nurse what may or may not be a stress fracture in my foot, my plan was to go out super easy.

Race Director and fellow Maniac, Scott Hardy and I at the start. Scott is an awesome athlete and always puts on a great race!

You know a little uphill climb won't stop a true Maniac! My friends Galen and Jeff (from Arizona) getting ready to start!

Counting down the the start! Here we go!
When I got to the start, I was feeling a little nauseous. I thought it was because I was just really tired. I didn't sleep very well (it's hard to go to bed at 7:00pm). I was hoping it would pass once I got going, but it didn't. I felt sick. Once we started, the small field scattered quickly and by around mile 6, I was all alone.
Now, as much as I love Utah, I am still a New Yorker when it comes to the out of doors. Running up a deserted canyon all alone, with forest on either side was quite unsettling. I am terrified of wild animals (bears, mountain lions, etc.) jumping out of the woods an feasting on me. I usually can get past the fear when running with a group. If I see a wild animal when running with a group, I only have to run faster than the slowest person in my group! Hee Hee!
I rarely run with music, but I always carry my iPod in case I need to get out of my head. I use it only when I need a distraction. If there was anytime I needed a distraction, it was while climbing that hill! I pulled out the iPod and put on my "This American Life" podcast. The topic? Summer camp. I thought this would be a fun choice as I was running in the woods, that was until the kids started talking about "Bloody Mary"! Ha Ha!
I was about 200 yards from the half marathon start (and turn around for me), when I saw the 1,375 half marathoners running towards me! I ran to the far side of the road and hit the timing mat just in time to drop my headlamp and reflective gear into a bag to be brought down to the finish line, and catch the last half marathoners as they started.
Coming down the hill was much easier than going up. By this time the sun was coming up and I was feeling a bit better.
 The sun hitting the top of the mountain as we ran down.
As I ran down, I struck up a conversation with a nice lady named Lori. She was a 50 Stater from Oklahoma. She was struggling with leg cramps, so we just went easy and had a nice time chatting. Before we knew it, we were at mile 21! Even though we were not going very fast we were passing half marathoners left and right. It tickled me when we would pass them. I would say "Hi! How are you doing?" They would reply, "I am exhausted!", then they would look at our marathon bibs and a shocked look would come over their faces followed by: "You ran the full?! You are my heroes!" That made even us slow folks feel bad ass!
Around mile 23, I just wanted to be done, so I said good-bye to Lori and picked up the pace a little. When I finally finished, I was beat and glad to be done!
I finished!

My new friend Lori and I at the finish!
After the race, I went and sat on the grass and watched the awards. I was happy to see my new friend Lori and her husband before I left. The thing I love about this sport, is how easy it is to make friends out on the course!
When Scott Hardy had finished giving out the last award, I got up to leave when he called me up on stage to present me with last year's Trilogy Award. I had earned it last year, but never received it. It was very nice of him to remember!

My marathon medal and my Trilogy Award!
As painful as this race was, would I do it again? Heck yes! It is very organized an a lot of fun!  
* I would like to add a footnote to this post: When I got to the top of the mountan, I dropped off my my reflective vest and expensive headlamp. I forgot to pick them up at the finish line and drove home. I emailed the RD, Scott Hardy. He not only found my bag, he PERSONALLY delivered the bag to my job today. I can't thank him enough for the kind deed and encourage everyone to support his races! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

#56- The Missoula Marathon

This was my third running of the Missoula Marathon. I don't quite know what it is about Missoula that keeps me coming back. Is it the beautiful 8 hour drive from Salt Lake City? Is it the race organization? Is it the volunteers? Is it the course? Is it the bling? I know I don't come for the fast course as I have NEVER run a good time at Missoula (and this weekend kept the streak alive), but I ALWAYS have a good time and I guess that is the reason I come back. I LOVE this race!

If you follow my blog, you may recall that last year, my friend Teota and I made made the trip. This year my friend and neighbor Galen wanted to go and since I am easily influenced when it comes to any road trip, it didn't take much to convince me to tag along.

The past week at work had been crazy as I was on the committee that organizes our huge summer event that was taking place on Saturday. Since we would have to drive to Missoula on Saturday, I would not be attending the event and thus I had to bust my butt, putting in extra long hours to make sure all the i's were dotted and t's crossed before I left. By the time Galen and I got on the road at 3:00am Saturday morning, I was EXHAUSTED with a major headache.

Galen was a gem and drove 7 out of the 8 hours it took to get there. Once we got there, we headed to the hotel just long enough to check in and drop our bags off. Then we headed to the expo to pick up our packets and meet some of the Maniacs and 50 Staters!

It is always cool to see the "Expo Dude" Ray Shaw!
After the expo, we headed to the 50 States Marathon Club reunion meeting which was held in the basement of  "The Runner's Edge"(a local running store in Missoula). Meeting in the basement very much resembled an Al anon/AA meeting as one by one we all stood up and introduced ourselves. I so wanted to say "My name is Angie and I am a runnaholic and I would have died to hear everyone to say "Hi Angie!" It was great to see some so many Maniac/50 Stater friends there!
After the meeting we had some dinner and went back to the hotel to get some sleep!
Race morning we all got the buses to the start around 4:30am. When we got there, we hung out took some photos and we were off!

Maniacs and 50 Staters at the Start!
Cute friend Kate and I at the start! We had a blast running in Tulsa together last year!
I am still battling this foot injury in my left foot (which I am pretty sure is a stress fracture), so I took it nice and easy going out. My foot felt fine, but all the time off trying to rest it between races took it's toll. I was feeling out of shape!
The donkeys with bangs were still there from last year, but they were a little shy this year.
I was doing my 3:1 Galloway intervals and still struggling, that is until I noticed my new friend Danny from Alabama running different intervals leap-frogging me. I asked him what intervals he was doing and he said 1:10/:30! I was amazed! I started running with him and we ran to the half together, just talking and having a nice time. Now I have been a great believer in the Galloway method, but no matter how many times I hear Jeff Galloway say to shorten the intervals, there was still a part of me that did not want to run less than 3:1's. Well I can tell you I am a believer! I made it to the half much faster doing 1:10:30's than I would have doing my 3:1's. I was struggling and on track for a 2:30 half before I "ran" into Danny. I hit the half at 2:22!
My new friend Danny and I!

I lost Danny at the big hill right after the half. He was going strong and my legs were feeling really tight, so I walked the hill. I was glad I did because I saved my legs for the second half. I wasn't running fast, but I felt much stronger. I went back to 3:1's (since my Garmin was already set), and finished in 5:04. I was happy with it as I was expecting a 5:20ish finish given how I felt and my history with Missoula. 5:04 turns out to be my fastest Missoula Marathon to date! I would have broken 5:00 for sure if I didn't have the 10 minute line at the potty!
Missoula gives you your race photos FREE!!

Coming into the finish!
I met up with Olympian Jeff Galloway at the finish and told him I would never doubt his method again! It freakin' works!!!
After the race Galen and I headed back to our hotel, took showers and got back on the road home! We stopped a few times a long the way, but I laughed when we pulled into the gas station that saved Teota and I last year!
This place was a sight for sore eyes last year when Teota and I almost ran out of gas!
It was a quick, but great trip! HUGE THANKS to Galen for doing 99% of the driving! Who knows if I will do Missoula again. 4th time's the charm?