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Thursday, December 19, 2013

#67- The Hoover Dam Marathon

OK. I ran the Hoover Dam Marathon last year and remembered it to be a challenging, but beautiful race. In fact, I remember thinking that the half marathon would be the perfect race if I ever decided to run it again. How soon I forget!

First of all I would like to thank my pal Galen Garrison who so generously bought me this race entry as a Christmas present! I was on the fence about going and he made it really easy! THANKS GG!!

I was happy to be returning to the race with my good friend Teota. We had a blast last year and I have only had the opportunity to  run with her a few times this year. It was fun to catch up!

I had a work event on Friday afternoon, so we could not leave Salt Lake City until around 3:00pm, which would put us into Las Vegas too late to pick up our race packets. We decided to stay at the host hotel which was super close to the start/finish instead of downtown Las Vegas. Dang that was smart! It saved us another 45 minute drive each way and we could sleep in a little later.

We had our friend Jim Roche pick up out packets for us and leave them at the hotel front desk. THANKS JIM!!!

My pal Jim Roche!

We didn't get to bed until after 11:00pm, but slept well. We woke up at 7:00am and got dressed to head to the start. This is where things started to go wrong. It was FREEZING cold in SLC and all the weather reports showed Las Vegas being in the 30's-40's, so I dressed for winter running. It was freezing last year, so I wanted to be prepared.

When we walked out of the hotel the sun was shining an it felt cool, but not cold. I started wondering if I had made a mistake in wearing a jacket, long sleeves under my Maniac shirt, and winter weight leggings under my skirt. I kept telling myself, "it will be cold once we climb that hill get near the water".

We got to the parking lot 15 minutes before the race started. That was just enough time to walk to the start, reset my Garmin, and get some photos. Then I realized I had left my bib in the car and had to run back to get it with just a few minutes to spare. I was trying to set my Garmin while trying not to appear anti-social when people seeing my Maniac friends (I never got it set up right before the start)!

Maniacs at the Start!

All that running around before the race made me hot before the gun went off and I had a feeling I was going to be in trouble, and I was. Two miles in I was so hot I felt like I was going to pass out. I asked Teota to hold my water belt as stood on the trail and stripped off my jacket and the long sleeved shirt I had on under my Maniac top. That helped, but the fleece lined legging still made me hot and I had to then carry a jacket, a long sleeved shirt and a water belt around my waist. UGH!!

Teota and I at the Start.

Then we saw one of my favorite Maniacs, Marathon Mitch! He was doing what every good Maniac should do, he was volunteering at the race! He had his own aid station all set up and ready to support us!

Teota and Marathon Mitch.
The course is a double out and back so I knew that we would see him a few times. I asked him if I could leave some of my clothes with him until the last loop and he said yes. I didn't even want to complain about being too hot as I am already sick of winter, so THANKS MITCH!!

I forgot how challenging this course was. The first 4 miles are uphill (3 miles on a paved bike path, then you hit the trial). We ran along the trail through these 6 tunnels that were carved out of the mountains to move materials to build the Hoover Dam. You get a beautiful view of Lake Mead and the weather was perfect.

Heading up the hill.

These tunnels were pretty cool!

Teota and I getting ready to run through the tunnels!
Great view of Lake Mead!
At mile 5 you start running down hill. It felt so good!! The 10k finished right near the Hoover Dam, and the marathoners and half marathoners started back towards the finish, which meant that glorious downhill, just became the climb from hell!

Jim got this great photo of Hoover Dam

I love this race, don't get me wrong, but there is nothing more evil than passing the finish line to do another out and back, then be led down to the finish only to be told to do the whole thing again! At this point, I REALLY wanted to just do the half and call it a day, but Teota and I decided we would just walk the hard parts and run the not as hard parts. Well we walked a lot.

I know my training has been nonexistent over the past few months so I get what's coming to me, but dang I felt like crap! The lesson learned is that if I don't want to feel like crap in a race, I had better train more than what I am doing now. I take full responsibility for my slowness.

Galen and Jeff!!

In the last few miles, we ran into Cathie and Troy Johnson, two of the cutest Maniacs ever. They have been married 40+ years run every race together. It doesn't matter in one feel faster, they stay together. I started running/talking with them and they got me through the last few miles. THANKS CATHIE AND TROY!!

My new friends Cathie and Troy from Tennessee!

I crossed the finish line about 20 minutes slower than the previous year, but I didn't care. I was just glad to be done! We sat at the finish eating homemade chili and cornbread (which tasted soooooo good) and chatted with a few Maniacs and 50 Staters. Charles Salyes was running his 200th marathon and people were waiting for him to make his appearance at the finish line.

Finally finishing!!

Maniacs at the finish!
Having a little post race chili and cornbread! Yum!

Teota and I headed back to the hotel and got our showers and a nap, then we drove into Las Vegas to have dinner with our pal Jim Roche. We had a nice dinner at the MGM, then Teota and I headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep! Sunday morning we packed up and made the 6 1/2 hour drive back to SLC!

This is not an easy race, but it is a good one. Calico puts on one heck of an event!