On April 18th 2009, I laced up my shoes to run my very first marathon at the Salt Lake City Marathon. Six years later I am back to run my 73rd marathon! With so many races to choose from I almost didn't run this race until Jonathan from Utah Race Pacers asked me to pace the 5:00 group again (Teresa Baker and I paced last year).
I have never had an issue pacing on this course in the past, but this year the course changed and there were a few more hills thrown in. Teresa was not available to pace this year, so it also meant I would be pacing alone. Now I have no issue pacing a 1/2 marathon alone, but I have a rule of never pacing a full unless there are two pacers per time slot. ANYTHING can happen when running 26.2 miles. Even the fastest and fittest can have things go south out of the blue, so I was a little nervous about being out there alone on a new course.
My neighbor Galen and I were doing training run after work one day. He mentioned that he was running the race too and offered to run with me (just in case something went wrong). He is much faster than I am, but since he was coming off an injury and will be running a 50 miler next weekend, he just wanted to take it easy. I took him up on his offer and I am so glad I did! While I was just fine during the race, just knowing that I had a back up plan took the pressure off and that made all the difference!
The adventure began with a slumber party at my good friend Teota's house. She lives downtown near the start, so 6 of us (Polli from St. George, Galen from Draper, Tim from Roy, Teota's boyfriend Jeff and I) all crammed into Teota's apartment for Friday night, but not before meeting a few other Maniacs for dinner at Red Rock Brewery.
Just a few Maniacs from all over the country at dinner!
After dinner we headed back to Teota's place to get ready for our 5:00am wake up call. Polli and I shared the guest room while the boys took over the living room. It was quite cozy and fun!
I am trying to post the latest news in the running world!
Teota and the Tu Tu!
We had to take the traditional flat Teota, Polli and I before we all turned in for the night!
That 5:00am wake up call came quick! We only had about 45 minutes to get dressed, eat something and get out the door. I had to meet Jonathan at 6:00am at the start to retrieve my pace sign and I had scheduled a Maniac photo at 6:45am right before the the race start at 7:00am.
Galen working the tutu I made for him to show his support for another Maniac that had a little run in with Self Magazine! Boy did people go crazy when he ran by!
We were all out the door on time and Jeff was nice to drive us all to the start so we would not have to battle the crowded train.
6 people in one car was cozy. Only one cheek was allowed on the seat per person! (Photo by Teota Coppock)
One thing we did not count on was getting stuck in traffic while the bike tour went by! It took forever. We were stuck in front of the train station that was filled with runners that could go nowhere as well.
People started jumping out of their cars and trying to run to the start, then the cops would let a few cars go between gaps in the cyclists. Those same people would almost get hit when they tried to run back to their cars as traffic started moving. Ugh! After a little road rage by Jeff (hee hee), we finally got close enough to the start to jump out and run.
I made it to Jonathon 5 minutes before 7:00am to get my sign and we totally missed the photo. Booo! Not a good way to start the race, but luckily the race delayed the start a few minutes to allow the people on the trains to get there. This gave me just enough time to use the bathroom before the gun went off!
I am ready to pace!
It was fun to see local Maniac Kara at the start!
Pacing at a race is fun, but it is also hard work. It can be challenging to find the balance between keeping the pace and being like a mother/father to those looking to you to help them reach their goal. The pacing part is easy. The talking, entertaining, encouraging, reminding runners to eat/drink, etc WHILE keeping the pace is the hard part! It was great to have Galen with me as we were good about letting each other know when we needed to slow down (we found when we got excited and started talking to people, the pace would easily increase without even realizing it).
Going downhill also can get you too. We had to be very careful on the downhill sections as it was very easy to get ahead of the pace.
The gun went off! We are slowing making our way to the timing mats!
Yay! It's another one of our local Maniacs Kim!! She is speedy and AWESOME!
Hey! It's our pal Larry Macon! 5 x Guinness World Record Holder for the most marathons run by a man in a single year! Yeah, He ROCKS!
One thing I love about running marathons (even though I hate running) is meeting so many great people and hearing so many inspiring stories. This makes running 26.2 miles fun!
Team Bart taking the hill!!
This brave lady finished chemo 5 months ago!
We had a nice group with us heading down 11th Avenue into Memory Grove.
As we came out of Memory Grove, we ran into the Eagle Gate monument. The Salt Lake Temple was just to the right of this photo. The white house to the next of the monument is the Beehive House. This was home to the Mormon pioneer Brigham Young. To learn about the history of these historical landmarks, click these links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Gate, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive_House
After we came out of Memory Grove which was a nice bit of downhill, we turned onto South Temple which was the first of the long climbs we would encounter throughout the marathon.
Crazy kilted Maniac Tim Gill felt strange not running with his American flag, so I gave him my pace sign to run with for a bit.
One great thing about the Salt Lake City Marathon, is the community really comes out. You will see unofficial aid stations all over the place from businesses to people's homes.
By far my favorite aid station was set up by Blazing Needles, my FAVORITE yarn shop in Salt Lake City! (http://www.blazing-needles.com/) Not only did they let me sneak in and use their incredibly good smelling restroom, I got to see my fellow Maniacs Liz Gotter and my long lost running partner Teresa Baker! Love these girls and I love Blazing Needles!! Thanks Cynthia for setting this up!
I was so happy to see my long lost running partner at the aid station! I love and miss you Teresa! Let's run soon!
The highlight of this run was meeting McKay Matheson! He was running his very first marathon and decided to hang with us!
Me, Tim, McKay and Galen going up another hill!
Even the cute doggies were clapping for us!
THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!! No race could run without YOU!
McKay and I plugging away the miles. We are around mile 19ish here.
McKay had never run more than 20 miles in training. Not only did is get a PR for 20 miles, he was getting ready to run further than he had ever run before!! Go McKay!!
It was so fun to see Teota's guy Jeff all over the course! He was a great cheerleader!
McKay getting some water at the last aid station!
As we approached the last two miles, Galen and I tried to take McKay's mind off of the pain. Galen would yell to every spectator we passed, "Hey! This is McKay and this is his first marathon!" Then everyone would cheer! I think this really helped him get through the last miles. We tried to make it fun for him as in the last mile we could tell he was fading fast.
I told him, "McKay, we have gone this far together, you can't fade now! We are almost done! Now we dig deep!" Galen was encouraging him to stay with us as well and he did!! McKay finished his first marathon STRONG!
It was so great to see McKay come across that finish line!! McKay is no longer just a runner, he is a MARATHONER!! WHOO HOO!!
McKay receiving his first marathon bling!
Galen, McKay and I at the finish! I came across in 4:59:58!
After we finished, we got some food and found a nice place on the grass to wait for Teota and Polli. It was such a beautiful day and it felt great just to kick the shoes off and relax!
Jeff and I waiting for Teota to finish.
Post race pic with McKay!
Here comes the legend, Larry Macon. He has run over 1300 marathons!!!!
Galen, Me, Larry and Tim at the finish!
Polli had gotten ill and had to go to the medical tent, so Teota stayed with her. Once she was OK to leave Teota got us and we headed back to the car and back to Teota's house!
Teota and I!
Me, Polli and Teota!
Tim just thinking about the foot massage and the steak his cute wife will have waiting for him when he gets home!
This was a great day for running! I really think the new course, while more hilly, is an improvement. Running through Memory Grove and some of the more historic neighborhoods of Salt Lake City made the course more scenic and I really enjoyed it.
I have many people to thank for this experience:
1) Teota- Thank you for opening up your home to us. Thanks to Jeff too for driving us to/from the race and cheering for us!
2) Jonathan Crampton- Thank you for the opportunity to pace again this year. It was a blast!
3) McKay Matheson- Thank you for letting us be there for your 1st marathon! You inspired US!
4) Galen Garrison- My brother from another mother! For not only TAKING EVERY AWESOME PHOTO in this post (unless otherwise noted), but for sacrificing your race to stay with me making my pacing gig a little less scary and a lot more fun. Having you out there was a tremendous help! Thank you!!
One more Utah race in the books!