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!
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!