Well, well, well! I love it when I am surprised! After already doing 8 races in 10 weeks, I thought I was going to take September 28th off, but the downfall of being a Marathon Maniac is that I can be easily convinced to add just "one more race" to the calendar. Maniac peer pressure is hard to pass up, so I caved (thanks Galen and Tim) and registered for the race!
The elevation chart was a big motivator!
Right after registering, I was sorry I did. I was very annoyed when I saw that the race started at 9:00am, but you had drive to Ogden (a 1 1/2 hour drive) to pick up your race packet or pay $20 for race morning pick up. With most runners living over one hour from Ogden, and just paying $96 to run, both options stunk in my book, as with a late race start, we were driving up race morning. Thank goodness fellow Maniac Tim Gill lived only 30 minutes away and was able to pick up packets for a few of us. THANKS TIM! I was really hoping my annoyance would be pushed from my memory come race morning.
Galen came and picked me up Saturday morning at 4:30am and we made the drive to Huntsville. We arrived at Huntsville Park (where the race finished and where the buses would take us to the start) at 6:00am. It was soooooo cold! At 28 degrees, we sat in the warm car and waited to meet Tim to pick up our packets. We found Tim and the three of us waited in the car until 6:30am when the buses would drive us to the start.
Once we got to the start, we headed straight into the heated tent and parked ourselves right in front of the heat blower. I was wearing a few layers on top, but was only wearing a skirt so my legs were freezing. I joked with Galen about wearing running tights, but he was smart!
We sat in the tent for over a hour and at 8:30am, I headed out to hit the port-a-potty before the start. The sun was out and while it was still pretty cold, it had warmed up some. I just hoped it would warm up even more once we started running.
Maniacs at the Start.
Tim, Galen, Rachel and I at the Start.
Tim, Galen and Vincent at the start.
Before we knew it the gun went off and the race was on. Since pulling a groin muscle at Top of Utah and having a little knee pain, Tim and I decided to run together and just go really easy. I didn't want to make the same mistake I made at Big Cottonwood and go out too fast.
We were going nice and easy the first couple of miles and the weather was starting to feel perfect. Just cool enough without being cold anymore, but not hot at all.
As we ran along, we ran into a few more Maniac friends!
Stacia and Keith
Marsha and I
John was running his 349th Marathon!
It's Franz and Earl!!
We were having a great time. The scenery was beautiful.
The colors were not in full color, but spectacular none the less!
The mountains were so pretty. They almost looked purple.
I love running along the river.
Tim taking in the view!
Stacia, Tim and I ran with Franz for a few miles and around mile 15 I decided to pull back. The pace was fine, but I wanted to make sure I could maintain my pace to at least mile 20 and I was starting to feel tired. It could have just been that I need to fuel, but I didn't want to risk burning out too soon, so we bid Franz goodbye after he told us a few great stories. I miss running with him!
Men in skirts!
At around mile 20, Tim was struggling with a blister on his foot, I on the other had was feeling great! I bummed back the interval and did my best to motivate Tim to keep moving. By around mile 23, I had pulled away. I got to the aid station and was waiting for Stacia and Tim to catch me when they waved me to go ahead. I was feeling so good, I was curious to see how much time I could make up.
I loved the 80's Aid Station! The volunteers were great!
This sign was outside a monastery.
I passed a lot of people in those last miles. I didn't feel like I had already run 23 miles as I was moving pretty good. I cheered every person I passed and encouraged them to keep moving! "We are almost there!" I cheered!
As I rounded the corner to the finish, I saw my pal Galen cheering for me as I ran down the finish chute. He had told me that he might try for a BQ at this race and with the perfect weather and the downhill course, I knew that this would be the perfect day for him to do it. As I ran towards the finish I stopped and yelled to Galen, "Tell me you BQ'd!" He said "I did!" and I ran through the finish!
Galen, John, Franz and Earl at the finish!
Before I knew it Tim and Stacia came through the finish chute!
I am happy to say any misgivings I had about this race at the beginning are long forgotten. This is a GREAT race! In fact, it is one of my new faves and I think this race is only going to grow in popularity. The course is fast, yet does not beat you up as much as Big Cottonwood.
I would still like to see them offer a day of packet pick up in the Salt Lake City AND Ogden area, as well as race day pick up, but other than that, this race gets a huge thumbs up!
The race shirt and medal!