So I decided a few weeks ago to travel down to Moab and compete in the Moab marathon. Not a big race - in fact the smallest field this year as Curt did not advertise the race due to the bridge construction on Moab and the lateness of obtaining a permit for the race. Hotels are pricey down there and I worked a full 10 hours on Friday so I went to bed at 8:30 pm, arose at 11:30 pm ( yes.. PM) and was out of the door at midnight to drive down to Moab in the dark. I was a little rested but not much. There was still a fair amount of traffic on I-15, but less as I headed out through highway 6 into Spanish Fork and towards Price. I arrived in Moab at 3:45 am, and went into the Aarchway Inn to spend an hour on the lobby couch waiting for the other runners to arrive. There was a fairly even mix of male and female, but not a super competitive bunch. Even a few of the long haired with grey wool socks kind that show up in races such as Leadville.
So at 5:15 am, we boarded three 15 passenger vans to take us up to Dead Horse point from where we had a scenic overlook of the red rocks and the beauty of Moab's nature. I met a graduate student from CA who had driven 16 hours with three female graduate students to run the race. I met up with my friend Ken Cushing who I once split a hotel room with when we ran this race years ago. He is now an ultramarathoner and was planning on running 32 today, starting at DHP and then the full marathon route after that.
So here I am at Dead Horse Point before the race in the dawn.
And the beautiful red rock formations...
And the beautiful red rock formations...
One group of about ten mainly slower runners asked to start early and miss out on the overlook at DHP and the bathrooms there. They started about 30 minutes behind us. The rest of us piled out of the vans at 6:55 am, and Curt was eager to start the race. When he said " ready.. go" I tried to say that I was not ready. I was still trying to get warm up clothes off and didn't have time to grab my GU or use the bathroom once again. So I started off dead last which was interesting to say the least. The pace of those at the back was 11+ minute miles. I had decided to stick to 8 minute miles for as long as I could. So I worked my way up the field and by the end of the first mile I was in second place. The first place guy was running about 7:30's and lengthening his lead. At 5 miles I was right on pace but needed a pit stop. That cost at least a minute and didn't show on splits as I had my Garmin on ' auto pause' (whoops).
Mile 5 is where I was overtaken by the next guy. So here I was in third place from mile 5 to mile 16. From 5 onwards there was a lot of downhill, serious stuff that just plain thrashed your legs. I tried to hold back and run 7:40's but I was not having fun. At least I was passing all of the slower runners that started the race early.
By the half, I was at 1:42 and change. I knew I wanted a sub 2 hour last half but was unsure whether I could do it. I clearly was not recovered from last week's 22 miler with Leslie and Karie... and by mile 15 I was walking and dehydrated. At the next aid station I took two huge cups of water and an enduroloyte and tried to resume running. Another runner was gaining on me, and we ran together for the next mile before I began to fade away :) . I cannot remember his name, but he was a guy in his 20's from Spanish Fork who is doing a half Ironman this summer in Idaho. I could see nobody else behind me, so decided to run/walk as best I could and try to hold onto fourth place but did not think that would happen.
Mile 17.........9:30 ( running through the nasty sand)
At 17 miles we hit a nasty sand trail that was just like running on the beach. It wanted to suck you under and then some. Not fun at all.
We were on a trail for another 5 + miles of ups and downhills. My strength was clearly sapped and some of the miles were coming in near 10 minute miles ( 23 to 25). I really wanted to hit somewhere in the low 3;40's so struggled hard to lean in and pick up the pace. By 22 miles I downed two large cups of gatorade then walked about about a hundred yards. The liquid fuel kicked in very quickly and I felt energized. At mile 25 I saw the bridge not too far off. The young guy from Spanish Fork was not far ahead of me. Nobody was behind and I came across the finish line in 3:39 for fourth place overall out of 50 runners.
Fouth place award... 3:39 and change.
Ken Cushing 9th overall but he ran more than the rest.
The guy from Mountainland Rehabilitation. Great six pack dude ! I think he finished in just under 4 hours.
Back home in the tub of very cold water after a three and a half hour drive from Moab :
( as a tribute to my running partner who posted a similar photo last week :) )
Thirty minutes in the ice bath and I felt good. After eating like a horse I felt even better and went to the park with Kori and the kids. I was really tired though and knew that I would sleep many hours that night, which I did.
So now I have 6 days off before the Salt Lake City marathon. Plenty of time to rest, stretch, eat and mentally prepare for a very tough race. Let's hope I can break 4 hours next week. Really not hoping for anything better than that after this killer run today. I have many, many friends who will be there next week. Best of luck to Jen and Janae from my marathon seminar classes as well as the incredible Dave Faires who has dropped his body weight from 362 to 187 pounds in the last year and is excited to run his very first marathon.
Marathon #71 is over and the medal is hung !