|UTAH - Utah Valley Marathon
I was looking forward to this run for many reasons. First it was promoted as a downhill run. I
go a lot faster downhill. Much easier than uphill. Second, this marathon was the Marathon
Maniacs Reunion race. So, lots to look forward too. However, as we got closer to the race, I
started reading the fine details. The race started at 6:00. No big deal. That's early, but not
too bad. Good to start early and stay out of the heat. But what? We have to get on the bus
at 3:45? WHAT!? The latest bus leaves at 4:15, the private maniac bus leaves at 3:45.
Okay, so I'll skip the crazy early bus and have Richard drive me to the start. What? No
private drop-offs. WHAT!? So, if the bus leaves at 3:45, it must be an almost 2 hour bus
ride? Nope, just over half an hour. That's right. 4:30 AM, pitch black, and we got let out of
the extremely stupid early bus into a
field with little fire rings. Everyone was
tired, so they were all laying on the
ground. I laid down too, then promptly
got a cocklebur stuck in my pants.
When I got up to walk to the
port-a-potties to dig out the cocklebur,
I noticed that the field they had the fire
rings set up in was actually a livestock
holding pen. Complete with big
mounds of livestock crap, and since it
was pitch black, no one saw it, so
everyone was sitting or laying in it.
Lovely. At least I didn't have to wait
in line for the port-a-potties because
there were private "Maniac Only"
So, a long, boring, cold hour and a half
later, it finally got light enough to take
a maniac group photo and start the
race. It was still dark enough that only
about half the maniacs knew a pic was
being taken. I'm in there though.
Check under the blue arrow.
Then we were off. Downhill, beautiful.
The first 5 miles were great. We were
running by farms with chickens and
horses. The horses even ran with us.
Still cool, I have my long sleeve shirt on. The horse wishes he was
running with me.
The sun isn't even up yet, and I'm already down to my tank top. This is
gonna be a hot day. And why does it look like I'm running uphill??
There were maniacs everywhere taking pictures. Here is a pic a maniac took of
a maniac taking my maniac picture!
Things were going good, I was on track for a 5 hour finish, and
the horses were pacing me.
About mile 7, the course turned onto a concrete highway, uphill.
And the wind started blowing, straight at us. Ugh! I don't know if it
was from the concrete road, or the altitude, or the fact that this was
just 6 days after Casper, but my legs were killing me. (I'm blaming
the concrete road.) At least it wasn't hot. Well it was, but the wind
was blowing so hard, it was keeping me cool. And although we had
nice scenery, we were on an open 4 lane highway. The lane we
were running in was closed, but the other lanes were open, and
traffic was slowly creeping past. Not fun.
As I ran (walked) along, I got to meet a lot of Maniacs I hadn't met before. All
were having the same issues I was with the concrete, hills, and wind. I kept on
like always. About mile 20, we entered the town of Provo. This meant no more
wind, so it got really hot really fast. After all the hype, I would have thought this
race would have been organized enough to have ice at the aid stations. Nope.
That's all right. I'm tough. A 5 hour finish would have been great. A PR (sub 5:08)
would have been good. A 5:30 was expected. A 5:40 was a sure thing, and I finally
got it done at 5:50. Oh well. Utah - check. I was glad to see Richard and my
maniac friends at the finish line. After picking up my secondary Marathon Maniac
Medal, and getting my warm clothes that I had left at the start line, Richard and I sat
and waited at the finish for a while to see if a guy I had talked to for a few miles
finished. He told me he had decided the weekend before to run it, had ran 3 miles
on Monday, and 4 miles on Tuesday, and then came out on Saturday to run 26.2. I
was hurting so bad when I talked to him (he kept up with me from 11 to 13) that I
was sure there was no way he could come out without training and finish. Sure
enough, with about a 6:25 finish time, there he was. Dang. I've just got to hope at
least I recover faster than he does!?
So, after all that, I do not recommend this run. The buses are stupid early and then
you wait for an hour and a half before the start (the reason for this never was
explained), the downhill is steep enough to hurt the legs, the concrete road is
brutal, there was no ice at the aid stations on a very hot day, and the shirt wasn't
that great either. Besides, this was the year for the reunion, so next year there
won't be all the fun yellow shirt maniacs running it.