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Monday, June 15, 2015

#96- The Utah Valley Marathon (and my 2nd Boston Qualifier)!

This is my 6th year running the Utah Valley Marathon. I run it every year as it is one of my favorite marathons in Utah. Not only is the course stunning, the race one of the most organized I have run.

Another real perk is that 1-800 Contacts (where I work full time) sponsors their employees to run every year, which means one less entry fee I had to pay for! They also picked up all our race packets for us and brought them to our gym where we had our own packet pick up. I like expos, but working until 8:30pm and having to get up at 2:00am, a 60 mile round trip to Provo, just to get my packet would have been a nightmare. This was a great service!

I wasn't sure what to expect this year. After my BQ in Ogden last month my hip has been a little sore. With my 100 mile training in full swing, I never really gave it a rest, so I was not sure if this race would end with a BQ, a PR, a PW, or a DNF! What I did know was that for the past 6 years, I have wished to be fast enough to earn one of the Boston Qualifier shirts the race gives out if you Boston Qualify on the Utah Valley Marathon course. I was always fine running my own pace, but I was secretly jealous of the faster people who got to don the BQ shirt and I never thought I would ever earn one. This year I wanted to try! Could lightning strike twice? Could I BQ two times in a row or was Ogden just a fluke? I would soon find out. 

1-800 Contacts had our own packet pick up where we were given treats, hand warmers, Mylar blankets and gift cards to Fazoli's.

At 2:00am my alarm went off and I got up, got dressed and made the 30 minute drive to Provo. I found parking near the finish area easily and made my way to the bus that would take us all to the start up in Walsburg.

The staring area of the Utah Valley Marathon had beautiful scenery and lots of  fires to keep runners warm. (Photo by John Bozung)

The first bus to the start left Provo at 3:15am and the last bus left at 4:15am, I split the difference and made it on the bus around 3:45am.

This was the first time in this race that I sat with total strangers on the bus! This was fine, as I was so tired, I just wanted to sleep. I pulled on my fleece poncho and closed my eyes. I had little dreams of the Maniac reunion in 2012 and how happy I was last year and I got a little emotional (out of exhaustion I'm sure). I told myself that even with a sore hip, this was going to be a great day!

Once we got to the start, I found a place on the grass, pulled my poncho over my face and tried to get another little cat nap before getting in the potty line.

I started seeing a few Maniacs, but was really glad when I saw my good friends, Sue and Galen. We grabbed all the Maniacs we could find shortly before the start and got a group photo before checking our bags and lining up at the start!

Maniacs at the start of the marathon.

The race started promptly at 6:00am and we made our way out of Walsburg and down Provo Canyon! This is a fairly fast course, but don't be fooled if you think that this course is all downhill. While there are some nice down hill sections, there are also some good hills between miles 7 and 11 and another nice one at 16 and 18.

Lots of farms and horses in Walsburg!

One of the worst things that can happen during the race (especially if you are trying to BQ), is having to use the bathroom. Around mile 4, I knew I was going to have to stop. I knew if I could just hang on until the half, there would be tons of free potties with no lines (this is where the half marathon starts). I knew by mile 6 that there was no way I could wait. I HAD to stop.

As I approached the aid station, I could not see any lines, but of course the 5 people running in front of me saw that too and decided it was a good time for them to go too. So between waiting and going 4 minutes was lost. Ugh!

As I came out of the potty, I saw Sue. I said hi and was on my way!

The course is beautiful! (Photo by John Bozung)

Beautiful mountain flowers. (Photo by John Bozung)

Another Ranch! (Photo by John Bozung)

At mile 7, we round the corner and start our love/hate relationship with a bunch of hills! Every year I have to walk at least one of these hills, but not this year. I powered up them slowly, but I didn't have to walk once!

I love Provo Canyon!

This was a nice downhill section.


For the past two years, they have run the course on the East side of the street, which gave us a lot more shady areas. 

Bridal Veil Falls 

Maniac John Bozung with some firemen running in full uniform! (Photo courtesy of John Bozung)  

At about mile 21, we come out of the canyon and have a long straight run down University Avenue to the finish. This stretch is filled with spectators to cheer you on, but it is the hottest part of the race with little to no shade. You want to finish fast just to beat the heat.

I had to wear a hat due to getting a nasty sunburn on my forehead in Steamboat Springs last weekend, so I was roasting! Thank goodness for the Otter Pops at mile 23 and the misters those last 2 miles. I was really ready to be done.

When I looked at my watch at mile 24, I felt like I had the BQ in the bag and thought I may even PR, but those last 2 miles were tough, so once my watch hit 3:44:08 and I was not at the finish line, I let up a little so I wouldn't collapse at the finish for nothing.

I came in officially at 3:45:35 (9 minutes and 25 seconds under my qualifying time)! I was thrilled to earn my second Boston Qualifier in one month and I got my shirt!

O.K. I was a little excited to BQ again!

Me and my Boston Qualifier shirt that I coveted for 6 years!  

The race finishes in front of the beautiful Provo Tabernacle, which had caught fire two years ago, but the shell was saved and it is being restored as a new LDS Temple.

Caught up with a couple of Maniacs at the finish!

1-800 Contacts had a tent for us with post race massages, water and snacks. It was cool to see my co-workers Roger and Scott there!

Me and my BFF Galen!

I had to get back home as I had to work at Wasatch Running Center (my second job) after the race, but I wanted to see where I came in my division. To my surprise, I was 4th! They give awards to the top 5, so I had finally not only got my BQ shirt, but I had made the podium!

The top 5 women in the 45-49 age group (2nd place is not pictured).

Me and my award!

After the awards, I headed back to find my car. I took a photo of the intersection so I wouldn't get lost, and yet I still could not find my car! Luckily, I kept walking past this yard sale looking tired and lost and this elderly couple browsing at the yard sale offered to drive me around to find my car. Turns out I had walked right past it! Classic Ang!

I zoomed home, got a shower and headed to work so I could catch Ryan Hall before he left the store (he was doing an in store at Wasatch Running Center), but right as I pulled in, I saw him getting in his car. Boooo! Oh well!

My cool co-workers with Ryan Hall! Could someone just Photo Shop me in there? Ha Ha!

Anyway, what else is there for me to say about the Utah Valley Marathon besides, that it is AWESOME and it is a great June marathon, half marathon or 10K. They even have a cute Kids 1K! Come check it out!

The Medal!

The shirt! 26.2 Miles of the Pain You Enjoy!

My Boston Qualifier Shirt!!!!


Utah Marathon said...

Awesome report! Glad you had a good time. It is an amazing feeling when you BQ. That takes a ton of work, and I think it is amazing that you did that two months in a row. Nice work!

Alexander said...

Great job. I'm getting closer to BQ, but need to shave a few more minutes. I had problem with altitude and didn't run my goal pace until second half of race. Really enjoyed the views. PS I might give 1800contacts a try for my daughters contact refill.
Maniac 886

Angie Whitworth Pace said...

Do it Alexander! Best costumer service around! :-)