Utah Valley Marathon, 2012.

3 AM! Let’s do this!
I woke up at 2:45 AM, 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off – if there’s anything positive about time zones, it’s that a MDT early race morning doesn’t feel quite so bad when your body is still on EDT! πŸ™‚
The carefully chosen attire components…
The busses were set to start heading off to the start at 3:30 AM – last bus at 4:15 AM – departing from the parking lot behind theΒ Provo Marriott Downtown, the same place where the Expo was held. To my surprise, our ride was pretty plush – fancy tour busses! I grabbed a seat and had a pretty lively conversation with my seat-mate about races and running in general.Once we disembarked, volunteers directed us to the waiting area (a big open field with lots of little bonfires) and the port-a-potty area.
Instagrammed – pic of the fire pits…
I quickly found a spot to relax – kinda wish I had brought a blanket or sleeping bag – but was pretty comfortable, temperature-wise since I brought along a throwaway long-sleeve tee. I stayed in the waiting area until about 5:40, thinking that would be enough time to get in one last bathroom break – kind of cut it close and had to run to the start, in hindsight, but nevertheless, I was running my third full marathon!

Miles 1 through 7 were aΒ happyΒ blur – my first mile was 8:35, due to congestion – but then the next few miles were ticking off nicely in the low 8 range. I was feeling confident about a conservative goal of 3:45 and hopeful at hitting even lower (BQ?!) assuming the race continued in that fashion.

Assuming. Right. We all know that is not something you should do! πŸ˜‰

Right when I crossed Mile 7, which was a slight uphill, my arch nemesis – WIND – reared its ugly head. I was still moving, but literally felt like I was in the twilight zone- going downhills, it felt slow; when it was flat, I felt like I was hardly moving and uphills? Yeah..by Mile 9, realized today was not going to be the day, because I could literally WALK up the uphills faster than running up them – and despite feeling totally fine, I could feel that my heart rate was climbing due to the elevation.

I made up my mind: today was going to be about enjoying and finishing the race. I took out my phone, called hubs and told him to expect me later than anticipated and grabbed a photo to remember the moment…

Not sure who this lady is…but you get the picture πŸ˜‰

How could I be ‘upset’ about ‘throwing’ a race when I was in such a gorgeous place? It was impossible. It was going to be okay.

I saw Nunns park. I thought it was Nuun park at first and was excited πŸ˜‰

So, I did the run-walk…I’d pick out a landmark ahead and either run or walk to it. I breathed in the cold air. I retrieved my hat as it flew off my head several times. I readjusted my sunglasses that were shaking on my face because of the wind. I just kept going.

The middle miles were kind of a blur. Since the course was point to point, I knew mentally that it’d feel more ‘real’ once we hit the half point – and it did – I reached the half marker at 2:01.

The start area there had a pretty dramatic downhill and I logged a pretty good mile there which felt nice (8:52) considering the surrounding miles had been double-digits! I kept going…going…

I was on auto-pilot for several more miles – pretty much until we reached town! It was a little scary when we initially exited the canyon, since there was traffic everywhere, but once we left that area, I was so excited to see spectators! It definitely is harder to feel tired or defeated when the energy of the crowds are there – I gave hundreds (!!) of high-fives (my favorite thing, ever) to the kids watching and I smiled and waved whenever someone called my name (love wearing my name on my shirt, feels like I have friends everywhere!!)

Oh, and mile 24? OTTER POPS. Best thing ever.

The one issue I had with our run back in Provo was this – it was soo flat and long. Okay. I know, flat is nice, but wow, at the end of the race, when I could see 1 mile+ straight and see the finish line way in the distance? AGH! Mentally crazy!! I was still feeling pretty good though – no leg cramps like I had had in my past two 26.2’s…

At Mile 25, a guy that I had seen throughout the race passed me and said something to the effect of, “We’ve been neck and neck this whole race.” It wasn’t in a mean way, but I felt kind of like, “Um, is that a challenge?” So I let him pass…I was getting closer to that finish…(note: the finishing shoot was crazy narrow)…and then the shoot divided into 1/2 and full marathon…I kicked it up and crossed the finish right before him.

“Hey that was a dirty trick!” I heard him call.

Oh well. If I am not gonna BQ, PR, or sub-4, at least I am gonna beat some guy that thinks he can defeat me! Hah.

Sweet medal. Earned.

Here’s where the recap is going to get all philosophical – see, I finished this race feeling strong, happy and confident, despite the outcome. As I threw back a carton of chocolate milk, I thought, “self, good job. Now, rest and do other fitnessy things until the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. Marathons can wait til later.”


…in typical fashion, post-marathon thoughts and post-post marathon thoughts have taken over. Was that really my last full marathon of 2012? Can I mentally and physically stand not training for another endurance race this summer? When is THE TIME for me seek marathon redemption?

So many questions…

At least I knew the answer to hubs first inquiry when we reunited at the finish:

“What do you want to do now?

In n Out – Protein, carbs, salt and…magic.

…so yes.

Thanks, Utah.

Dorky stat stuff, in case you were wondering…

  • Nutrition: pre-race – 1/2 plain bagel, 1 glass Starbucks Via Iced Coffee; in-race – Vanilla Bean GU at miles 6, 12 and 18 – water every 2 miles, powerade every other mile, Tropical nuun in handheld and post-race – chocolate milk at finish, In’n’out double-double + half order fries with a chocolate milkshake for lunch πŸ™‚
  • Outfit review: great choices all around, I think the CEP compression socks kept any potential leg cramping at bay, in conjunction with the proper refueling, of course. One thing I’d change – my tank was a size M but kept twisting around, especially in the wind. Probably better to size down in this brand.
  • Race feedback: I think this event was very well organized and a great value for the cost – with ONE exception: bag check retrieval. All the bags were just laid out in the lawn at the finish (in bib order) but I couldn’t find mine at first! We left and came back (so I could shower, etc) before I found my bag.


    • It definitely was gorgeous! Also, the medal was awesome and HUGE! Like, I had to take it off after a while bc it was so heavy, haha! πŸ˜€ Thanks for the kind words πŸ˜€

  1. SO fun to see where I spent my time in college (BYU Cougar here). I love, love the scenery in Utah! I am sure you’ve got another marathon before Disney. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for your comment! And WOW was Utah gorgeous, you must have had a ball living there!!!!!!

      As for another marathon….I’ve got a lot to think about!!

    • Thanks, Krysten!! I am so excited to hear more about YOUR upcoming 26.2!

      In N Out was definitely one of the highlights of our trip! πŸ˜€

  2. I’m having such a hard time picking out my Utah race for my 50-states challenge. There’s Salt Lake City, St. George, Canyonlands, Moab, and this one … what’s an addicted racer to do?!

    Fortunately, your excellent recap has definitely given this one points over the rest. And I’m also running Disney in 2013! But you know what, it’s so far out. You can TOTALLY squeeze in an October marathon to keep you focused. Make it happen!

    • Glad you enjoyed the recap! Let me know if you have any questions…

      Also – I was talking to some fellow runners before the race and several said that SLC is not a great marathon – lots of freeway running, and (at least last year?) an uphill finish toward the capital building. They did say Top of Utah is a great one, though.

      See ya at Disney! I can’t wait πŸ™‚

    • OMG yes. Wind is so no bueno.

      I think I need to come out to California and run with y’all at a lower elevation AND with in n out afterward! πŸ™‚

    • Haha, it was the first time I’ve ever felt hungry after a full marathon! I rarely eat hamburgers but it sounded so perfect and it was! πŸ˜€

  3. beautiful course, and you ROCKED it! seriously, you are such a motivation! we did richmond “together” and you just keep bangin’ em out!!! CONGRATS!!

  4. That looks like a gorgeous course!! I think what you did is so smart – you know your body and how you were feeling and chose to enjoy the race rather then spend the last 16-17 miles of it pissed off and trying to reach an unobtainable goal. Congrats on a fantastic finish time – may not be what you wanted, but still super impressive =)

    • Thanks, Michele! It was a weird feeling, thinking about how far I traveled to run this race, how much time I put into training…but like you said, it became more about enjoying the experience. I am thankful that I was able to make the right choice for me that day πŸ™‚

  5. It is always so hard to admit to yourself that you won’t meet your goal, but it seems like you handled yourself so well. Way to stay upbeat and make the most out of your day.

    I have a friend running Quad Cities Marathon in September. You might look into that one…supposed to be a good course and good race.

    • Thanks, Ali!

      Hmm, Quad Cities does sound tempting – I saw Run With Jess blog about it…thanks for the suggestion!!

  6. Great job!! Way to keep positive and that course does look beautiful!! Yum, Inn-n-out burger!! Oh – that medal is awesome!! Congrats again!

  7. Congrats on keeping a positive attitude even when things weren’t going your way. That is a big victory in my book!! Looks beautiful, too.

    • Thanks, Karen. I think this race taught me so much about mental strength – definitely will help me in the future!

  8. Hey, I ran this race too! It was my first marathon and I really loved it. (I didn’t drop a bag of gear though, so my complaint was the wind.)

    Great work!

  9. […] The shoes today? My Mizuno Wave Rider 15′sΒ – which have now reached about 340 miles. This seemed a bit lower than what I could get out of the Ride 3′s, but definitely not bad, considering all the road running these shoes have seen (these shoes also pushed me through the Blue Ridge Half and the Utah ValleyΒ full). […]

  10. Having read this I thought it was extremely informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and energy
    to put this short article together. I once again find
    myself spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  11. Nice recap. Utah is one of my favorite states. So beautiful. I am considering running the St. George Marathon in Utah in October. I am concerned about the altitude change (I live in NY). I heard it really only affects you on the uphills.

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