In a blurry of SkinnyRunner inspiration, I signed up for 2 marathons in one week. I’ve always wanted to go to Utah (just Google image Utah and you can see why), so months, months I signed up for the SLC Marathon thinking I didn’t really want to do Boston again after feeling pretty miserable about it in 2012. Then when registration open, I got lost in the excitement and registered for Boston and bam I was signed up for 2 Marathon less than 5 days apart. At this point as part of a 50 miler training, I’ve run two 20-milers back to back, but this was more difficult than I thought it would be. Sadly my aspiration of achieving two sub 3:30 marathons in one week did not come true but I still feel fairly proud of myself despite it all.
Anyways from the start. The multisport event was held Saturday April 20th, 2013 with included:
Bike Tour: 6:00 am
Wheelchair and Hand cycle start: 6:30 am
Marathon start: 7:00 am
Half Marathon start: 7:00 am
Hyundai Hope On Wheels 5K: 7:10 am
Kid’s Marathon: 10:45 am
Tony ran the half and I ran the full marathon. I don’t remember the exact cost but I believe when we signed up a year ago I paid $60 for full and maybe $40 for half?
The expo was tiny relatively speaking and I was a little cranky that they did not do race day pick up. For out of towners, this meant you had to be at SLC on Friday since the race was Saturday at 7AM and that means extra vacay day. Those days off are precious and I was a little sad to use it for number pick up but flights were cheaper on Friday morning anyways so win some lose some. Number pick up was easy, the volunteers were friendly, race shirt was cute and you can see Tony loved it enough to wear it for the race. The vendor booths were small, I saw a running store, Sports Authority, Dick’s sporty goods and very friendly Dannon yogurt people was yummy samples. We were there around 1PM and most people just got their numbers and bounced.
The expo and race also had this beautiful banner that SLC runners signed. I almost choked in tears seeing it. Sometimes I get cranky in crowds but I really love my running family no matter where they come from!
Morning was started at 5:30 AM, where we fueled up with peanut butter and bread. No toaster, so room temperature bread. Also since we lacked a knife, we refined our skills of using a fork to spread the PB. Tony was more skilled than me but refused to stay still for the photo.
Not gonna lie, it was looking pretty grim as the sun has yet to rise and the sky was crying rain. Also TMI fact but one thing you don’t want to eat the day before a race is sauerkraut no matter how tasty that German restaurant was. I don’t really regret, but my stomach has had better mornings.
The drive to the race was easy. Since SLC is a long grid and well planned driving city, it was easy to drive over and avoid the closed of streets. We got there within 15 minutes and chilled in the car. Parking was literally a 1 minute walk from the starting line. Pretty impressive on a race that has 5,000 participants. You could also take the red line light rail train to the start so I think that helped with parking.
Bomb squad trucks and helicopters were on petrol at the start and finish lines. Security was tight but in no way impacted the enjoyed or lack off for my race. Great job SLC!!
One thing we had trouble finding was corrals but since the race was starting in minutes we poked ourselves into the crowd that happened to be around a 3:45 pace group. Before the race started, they played Sweet Caroline, which having lived above Fenway park has always made me twitch. However, I thought it was a beautiful way to honor Boston and their runners. There was also a 4:09 pace group of Boston Marathoners which I didn’t know until hours after the race; otherwise I would have joined.
For the first time in ever, Tony and I ran together during a race. I was still pretty tired from running Boston and my legs felt dead. Twice between mile 1 and mile 8 I talked about quitting at the half marathon point. We ran at about 8:12 pace going mostly downhill, probably my slowest starting pace ever. I think Tony could have run faster but he didn’t want to leave me behind. At mile 8, the half and full spilt up and as some yelled “Go Boston!” I bit my lip, sucked in my pain and went forward t the road of no return until mile 26.2.
What was holding me back? My hamstrings! I don’t know if it was the heart attack mountains from Boston or the 9 miles of going downhill but my calves and hammies were screaming and threatening to abandon me and leave my quads to fend for themselves. The cold wet rain was not helping my constricting muscles either. Finally after mile 10 I took the first of many walk breaks to keep my legs from locking up.
It was also at the moment that it decided to pour! Before splitting up at mile 8 with Tony, he asked me if I wanted him to take my jacket since I was hot in the beginning and just had it bouncing around my waist. I did, but after a second though realized I might regret that in the second half of my race when I was going to do some walking. Yea when the rain got heavier, and I put on my jacket, I was very happy to have it!
House decorated with ribbons in honor of Boston around the halfway point. After mile 9 the course got flatter with a few small gradual ups and downs. The race support and crowd support was great. The cheering crowd wasn’t as large as say Boston or NY but a lot of residents set up tents and stood outside their homes to cheer. I expected race support and volunteers to pretty much die down after the half, but the full was treated just as well as the half! It was raining and cold so who could blame them and when I ran Hyannis, a lot of the aid stations by the time I looped back for the 2nd half was empty. Almost felt like a trail race. Each aid table had water, red Powerade (which for some reason in comparison to Gatorade my stomach can tolerate), and a lot of them (maybe all but I’m not sure) had bananas, orange slices, and triberry Gu. Since I wasn’t running as hard, or maybe I was too cold, I didn’t end up eating anything until I finished, but the triberry Gu did smell really good!
The last 6-7 miles were a mostly gradual downhill jog to the finish line. Had it been a clear day, the view of the surrounding mountains would have been gorgeous for the whole race. It was awesome to run and any time someone ran by in Boston Marathon or Boston sports gear, the crowd cheered go Boston! The cops working the traffic and the people STUCK in traffic would honk and cheer and say great job! It was a great community feel that I don’t think I’ve seen in any other marathon besides Boston. Also thank goodness, for my legs, but the course did not end up at the same place we started so I did not have to ascend the 9 miles we descended in the beginning. I would have cried and probably used up the 6.5 hours we had to finish the race, or had Tony pick me up once I got too cold.
The food after finishing was lots of yogurts. Dannon headquarters is located in Utah and they are a huge sponsor. Also lots of pretzels and bananas and cookies. I wasn’t really aware of much because I was freezing when I finished but I knew I wanted two bags of cookies because Tony would steal mine. Tony also told me that after he finished they had delicious ham sandwiches but I didn’t really see any, probably because he must have eaten the whole table. They had the shiny race blankets but you had to walk over to a tent in the park to get them.
Since the races end at Liberty Park and starts at Legacy Bridge which I think is miles apart, depending on where you park getting to your car can be tricky. From Liberty park there is a shuttle that takes you to a red line station with parking. From there you can take the red line to Legacy Bridge area, which is what Tony did since he had a while to wait me to finish. He did say getting back to the car took a while but I think it was worth it to skip the downhill.
Net Time – 3:56:54
Overall Place – 220/905
Gender Place – 52/370
Tony finished his half in 1:48:47!
Somewhere along mile 20 when I realized it’s all downhill from there I wanted to go for sub 4, I guess whether we run fast or slow, good days or bad, runner’s still have mini goals. Although there was no one waiting for me at the finish line, my ego was big enough to congratulate myself on my own! Had I skipped Boston and only trained for this course, I would have probably PRed, had the weather been beautiful, I would have PRed more. I’m not sure when the total lost elevation was since the race doesn’t provide a chart, but all I can say is that what went down, never really came back up. If I lived within a driving distance, I would definitely run the course again. It was beautiful and fun even in awful weather.
My splits are very inconsistent but then again my Boston ones aren’t any more logical.
I don’t regret running Boston (I ran a 3:26 race), because aside from what happened afterwards, no PR can replace having friends and family you love along the course. The strangers in SLC were uplifting and got me to run more than walk, but it’s not the same.