Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Top Of Utah Marathon Summary 20 September 2008

The Top of Utah Marathon 2008

I love this race ! The course is fantastic. We start at Hardware Ranch and run through the Canyon downhill for 13 miles then see the first spectators at 14 miles. Over the years I have had some fun races on this course. One year it snowed the entire way to Logan and I wore a black bin liner for 12 miles.

This year was very very special. Why ? Because my big sister Julie, whom I had not seen for almost 4 years was here on vacation and she was there at mile 14 as I came out of the canyon. So was my brother-in-law, Norman, my father , Phil , and my 3 year old, Sadie.

I also had my good friend Bill Hiatt pacing me today. Bill is in the best shape of his life and getting ready to break 3:10 at the St. George marathon this next week. We started off running 7:28's and it felt good. The plan was to run a 1:40 first half and a 1:50 second half, for a 3:30 finish. last year I had run a negative split - 1:50 first half and 1:45 second half for a 3:40. The first half felt too slow and so I thought I could do better this year running faster on the downhill first half.

At the half, we were at 1:44 and I was not feeling too good. It doesn't help that this was my 3rd marathon in 3 weeks and my 4th marathon in 5 weeks.

We held 8 min miles until 16. By 19 miles the wheels were really starting to fall off the bus. I was getting dehydrated and mixing running with walking. 3:30 was gone and so was 3;40. Last week I ran a 3:43 and the week before a 3:40. This was to be a 3:45. That's ok, not bad. To put it in perspective, I was 299th out of 2219 finishers or something like that.

The best part was the finish line. I had promised my sister that she could put the finisher's medallion around my neck. The volunteer passed me the medal, and Julie leaned over the fence and this is the result:

I had waited a long time for this moment, and it was well worth it. The volunteer did a pretty good job with the camera. Thank you TOU !

And thank you Julie for being there at my 60th marathon. If it wasn't for your bad knee, I would want you running one of these with me.

I love you big sister !

Also here at the TOU party was my high school friend, Dr. Mike Crossley who had flown in from Houston to run the race with his son Keith and his fiancee. they all broke 6 hours and the whole family plans to complete the course next year.

It was great to see Mike again. last year was his first marathon. well done Mike I am proud of you.

Now I have a two week rest until the St. George marathon. The biggest marathon in Utah at 4500+ finishers. I am not sure of strategy at this point. Maybe I will run with my neighbor Mike who wants to break 3:30 and go to Boston. maybe I will run the entire race with the 3:30 pace group. I won't make my mind up until 30 mins before the race starts on Saturday October 4th !

I am happy for Mike and his wife Carmen. They were planning on running last year but each was in a bad bicycle accident and had to recover and wait until 2008. Good luck Carmen on your first marathon and good luck Mike - I hope you can qualify for Boston.
I saw many friends who seem to run the same marathons each year - John Bozung - who runs one per month year after year and is a great inspiration to me - was there along with runners from Sojourners.

I met up this weekend with my great friend Laura who stayed in the same hotel and had shared the course with me this year at Boston, Ogden and Park City. Laura had run 5 marathons before this year and now was running 5 in a year. After St. George she will have 10 full marathons under her belt. Laura ended up with a 3:55. Way to go Laura, see you at St. George next week.

After the race we put back the calories with a hearty meal at Wendy's and then drove back home. What a great day !

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Little Grand Canyon Marathon


This was to be my third marathon in four weeks which most of my neighbors consider to be insane. My previous best was four in eight weeks which wasn't really that bad in the end, but since I am trying to get my numbers up to 100 marathons as quickly as possible needed spicing up a little. Of couse when I thumbed a ride to the start of the Deseret News Marathon on July 24th, little did I know that my driver and soon to be friend would be none other than Dane Raushenberg who a couple of years ago ran 52 in 52 weeks. Having chatted with him that day about the feat, I decided that 5 in 7 weeks was definitely " doable " for me.

So, at 3:00 am I arose, dressed and hopped in the Honday Odyssey minvan for the 2 hour drive down to Huntington City Park to catch the bus two miles to the start of this brand new marathon put on by the intrepid Duane and Jared from Mammoth marathons - don't you just love their name and logo ?

I collected my goody bag and bib number and waited in line to be driven out in very comfortable non-school buses to the starting line. The poor bus driver didn't know where she was going either, but duly followed the other two buses and off we went into the darkness. Soon we were on a country road with about 70-80 runners and three portapotties for last minute pitstops before we started the race. I met Dane at the start and he seemed really pleased to meet me again - I was too. I met his friend from Virginia and then a tall young BYU student who informed me that this was his first marathon. "What time are you looking for?', I asked.

"Sub 3 hours" was his reply. He looked pretty fast and said that he had trained. I pointed to Dane, and said, " there's your winner - he has a 2:51 PR" I found out later that this BYU student was Bronson Dameron - we are now officially "friends" on FACEBOOK.

Well, this fellow ran well until 20 miles then hit the wall and finshed in fourth overall. Dane had a comfy victory in 3:05.

I ran carefully at first, finding myself in 16th place after a couple of hundred yards. I tried to keep the two girls ahead of me in sight and maintain an 8 min/mile pace. I had a salt tablet at the start and took two after 7 miles, as they really helped me at the marathon last week when I ran a 3:40 and change.

After two miles we turned onto a hard packed trail that was easy on the legs and didn't really kick up much dust. I kept my position for most of the race. At 13 I had to lose some fluid if you get my drift. While I was doing that two other girls came past me. I caught up with them after a mile, then at the next aid station, one dropped back and the other one (Chrissie from Heber), and I ran the next 9 miles side by side. We passed the two girls ahead of us, and several more guys who were slowing down. At 23 miles, she needed a pit stop and we didn't look back to see who was behind us. Bad mistake - the girl that was with us at 13 had a second wind and came past the portapotty. When my friend came out, the other girl was 100 yards ahead and stayed that way for the last two miles.

I was feeling a little tired at 23 and decided to just limp in at a slow pace, checking behind to make sure that nobody was going to pass me. After all, I have another marathon next Saturday, so I have to keep some juice in the tank.

So, my opinion on the race ? Exellent first time race, great course, pretty good people. The really bad thing was the timing and results. We had to wait forever for the men's age group results at the City Park. Oh, and the bus ride back from the finish to the city park would have been better had the driver been willing to put on the A/C. She kept opening the door to let air in, but that was the best we had.

Two unique postive things about this race

1) the mile signs went backwards ...26 to go,...25 miles to go etc. What a brilliant idea. Why didn't I think of that ?

2) A warm meal with pulled pork, boiled rice and fruit salad
back at the park ( after fruit drinks etc at the finish)

3:43:43 was my finish time, ok.. 3rd place in my age group. I have done a lot worse.
I think that I was in the top 20 overall. But I came home with two medals - a finsher's medal and an engrave dage group medal. That means 82 medals are hanging on the wall in my gym now.

I really want to do this race again next year. Hopefully I can carpool with somebody and avoid the lone and dreary ride in the wee hours of the morning.