THE 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.