Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Salt Lake City Marathon 2009

This was to be marathon #64 and a pleasant one because I could sleep in my own bed for a few hours and drive only an hour up to the finish. My friend Bill met me at 4:30 at my home in Pleasant Grove and we drove up to the Gateway where we parked my Camry and then took the TRAX up to the Olympic Legacy bridge where the races were to start. I say " races " as 1300 roadbikers were to ride the route an hour before the half marathon and marathon runners. There were about 1100 marathon finishers and 4500 half marathon finishers all lined up together. While Bill and I were sat on a bench waiting patiently, my training partner, Laura, showed up with her husband. He was running the half and she the full. They had just spent the week at Disneyland, which alas, had cold weather just like Utah. In fact we had 10 inches of snow just three days before the race !
I waited too long to take off my warmups, put them in my bag and throw it in the truck to be taken to the finish. As we clambered up the hill I realized that there were at least 4000 runners ahead of me and the start line was nowhere in sight. Yes, it took over three minutes to cross the start line and then having to negotiate through a yakking herd of 11 minute/mile half marathoners was not exactly what I had envisioned.
I duly threaded my way through the crowd trying to at least get past the 1 mile marker in under 9 minutes. No such luck. It didn't help that I had decided to carry a fuel belt with 5 flasks - a total of 30 ounces of liquid around my waist. What on earth was I thinking ? Never again will I run with a fuel belt.
I had taken in 2 Thermotabs and 16 oz gatorade right before the gun went off so I knew that I would be well hydrated for the first few miles which I indeed was. In spite of the weight of the belt I was able to pick up the pace and, after a 5 minute pit stop at mile 10 ( gotta love those esp. when the girl in the porta potty you want to use is totally oblivious to the time she is wasting for both you and her by reading the Runners World in there right in the middle of a race. get out of the portapotty right now please !!!!)
After that I decided to see how many people I could pass per mile while holding an 8 min mile. 13 in the next mile, then 12, all without being overtaken. At 12 1/2 miles we went right past Uncle Steven's house and there he was waiting and saw me before I saw him. That made me feel good. I have at least one fan in the world. Though I think I have one more just outside Denver :).
I passed the half way point in 1:50, so a 3:45-3:50 seemed quite doable as I was not starting to feel tired until about mile 21. This was the point just past my longest training run of the year. That's why you are supposed to do more than 20 in training.. hello.. so you can finish the marathon without walking.
At 23 miles I was trying to hold sub 9 minute miles and realized that sub 3:45 was not only possible but probable. Just then, Bill came around the corner to find me and run in to the finish. He had just completed a 1:25 half marathon for 5th place in his age group. Good job Bill .
So we turned the corner, and there was the 1.3 mile long hill that I had been warned about. Try as I did, I just could not get up that thing without doing the walk/run. I still managed to pass most of the people on the hill. At the top, we had just over a mile to go, and even though I was sore, Bill kept urging me on, told me not to walk and so I complied and came across in a time of 3:43:26. This was 207th overall out of 1100 finishers ( top 20% and 10th in my age group)

We gathered some meager food rations - Devine Racing is not the best at feeding you after one of their races, headed back to the car and drove out of the under ground parking garage. Then the black lady at the kiosk wanted $7 for parking. What ? I just ran your marathon !!!!! " Sorry Sir, we are not associated with the marathon" You have got to be kidding. You didn't charge us last year. And when I called my friend who ran the half, he was not charged for parking this year either. A small price to pay for notching up #64 on the 100 marathon list !

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