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Sunday, April 19, 2015

#94- The Salt Lake City Marathon And My 6 Year Marathoniversary!

On April 18th, 2009, I ran my very first marathon at the Salt Lake City Marathon. Six years later to the day, I ran the Salt Lake marathon again, but this year I ran pacing the 4:30 pace group. I love pacing and I thought this was the perfect race to celebrate my marathoniversary!

Friday night I hit the expo to pick up my race packet and tried to start recruiting for my pace group! 

My morning began at 4;30am. I woke up, got ready had headed down to Sugar House to drop my car off at my friend Rob's apartment and he was nice enough to get up early to drive me to downtown, where I was meeting the rest of the pacers. We got a little lost finding the hotel where I was meeting everyone, but made it in time to meet everyone on the Trax train to the start. Trax offers free rides to the start for all runners, which makes it really convenient. 

The Trax train to the start was busy!

Once we got off the train, I headed towards the start at Legacy Bridge. I had just enough time to hit the restroom, check my bag and settle into my place, ready to meet those who would try to stay with me for the next 26.2 miles.

The race starts at Legacy Bridge at the University of  Utah (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

The Start!

I met a fellow streaker at the start!

It was so great to see fellow Maniac Michelle at the start!

The race started at 7:00am and we headed uphill towards the Federal Heights neighborhood, then headed downhill through the Avenues, and down the beautiful Memory Grove. This was the hardest part to keep pace on. Early in the race everyone is excited and the adrenaline is pumping. With all that downhill it is easy to go to fast, so I had to eagle eye my Garmin to make sure I was staying on pace.   

Course map

Heading down 11th Avenue you get a good view of the Salt Lake Cemetery (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

Heading down Memory Grove with a beautiful view of the Capitol Building. (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

Coming down Memory Grove

Once out of Memory Grove we ran though the historical part of Salt Lake City. Running past the Salt Lake Temple and Eagle Gate, then up South Temple Street past some of Salt Lake City's most beautiful and historical buildings.

The Salt Lake Temple (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

Eagle Gate (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

Running up South Temple Street (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

The Cathedral of the Madeline.  (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

The Cathedral of the Madeline. (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

First Presbyterian Church (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

April is the best time to see the beautiful Tulips downtown! (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

Downtown has some of the most beautiful old mansions. (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

The Governor's Mansion (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

The Masonic Temple (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

The Salt Lake City Marathon course changed last year which meant one of the funniest unofficial "aid stations" was lost last year. "Temptation Station" was the only aid station (provided by residents in the neighborhood) that offered beer and tequila shots! It was pretty funny to see who was brave enough to partake. This aid station used to be at around mile 21, but with the course change it was a lot earlier. I am not a drinker, but it was fun to see them out there again.  

Temptation Station was back this year! (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

Just after mile 10, we entered Sugar House Park. It was so nice to see Rob standing out there with a sign cheering for me! It was so sweet! 

Running into Sugar House Park! (Photo by Rob Benson)

The Lake at Sugar House Park! (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

Leaving Sugar House Park! (Photo by Rob Benson)

One of my favorite things about pacing, is picking up folks in those last few miles, some of which are struggling. Having someone encourage them and give them someone to talk to helps take their minds off those last hard miles. Some times they can hang with me, sometimes they can't, but it always makes me feel good to be able to help, even if it is for a short time.

One girl in my pace group joined me right after the start. Her name was Nena. She had run a couple of marathons before, but her previous PR was 5:07. I told her to stay with me for as long as she could and she did amazing!

Salt Lake City Hall (Photo by Dawn Bentley)

Drummers in Liberty Park!

As we came though Liberty Park with two miles to go, I told her that if she felt good, she needed to take off and leave me. I really wanted her to finish ahead of me. In the last mile she did just that an earned herself an AWESOME PR. This is one of the rewards of pacing, seeing someone reach their goal and sometimes far beyond what they thought they were capable of!

This is Nena. She ran with me the whole time. Here previous PR was a 5:07. Needless to say, she killed it!

My pacing gig was a success! I finished in 4:29:31. 

Nena and I at the finish!

Me at the finish!

Rob was so nice to come out with a sign and cheer for me! Such a nice guy!

This is my third year pacing the Salt Lake City Marathon and look forward for the opportunity to pace it again next year. The new course is a little more hilly, but so much more scenic. If you need an April marathon in Utah, the Salt Lake City marathon is a good choice. 

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