It was only a 4.5 hour drive from my house so that wasn't bad for the next state on my list. I was able to get a race sponsored hotel on the start/finish line, the Sheraton at Crown Center, and it was less $ than many other hotels I've stayed in before.
I heard after I registered for this race that the course was really hilly. So I was worried and did more of my training runs on Mormon Trek Blvd which is a hilly road. Race morning weather was as perfect as they get. 40 degrees, overcast and little wind. Up until this point for the 6 marathons I've done since June, I haven't had one that has had cold weather, so this was a super nice change.
I woke up almost 2 hours before the race, I ate my half of a plain bagel and tablespoon of peanut butter with two electrolyte pills and a tiny bit of water. I taped up many areas on my body that needed KT tape and then I dressed in layers so I could throw a shirt or two while running. I knew it would warm up to 52 ish degrees, but it would still be cold the first hour or two. I knew that you should dress for 20 degrees warmer than it actually is, so I wore shorts to run in, my favorite "Moving Comfort brand running shorts".
My layers consisted of a sports bra, sports bra tank over that, long sleeve dri fit shirt and a long sleeve cotton shirt over top all that. I had an extra wide headband that would cover my ears from the cold and wind. By mile two the cotton shirt came off. I planned on throwing it, but couldn't part with it yet, so I wrapped it around my waist. My ears were still covered because it was windy and snapping at my ears.
I kept a slower pace for the first 5K, 10K and first half. Didn't want to push it starting out for I had a long way to go. I got a side cramp in mile 3 that just wouldn't go away. I breathed through it and tried to relax. It lasted until mile 5. I was worried it would stay forever. Mile 7 the Half marathoners split off. I had that crazy thought that just going with them would be so much easier and I'd be done soon. I went forward on the marathon course instead of turning just like I had planned. Oh how I wanted to just run 13 instead of 26 at this point.
Hilarious sign after our course split down the road that said, "You are on the marathon course, be sure you are on the right path." There were lots of hills, but I was staying with a 4:40 pacer from mile 6 through 17 and he was talking a lot and helping us achieve the hills. My pacer's name was Mike, he has ran 144 marathons usually in the 3:30 range. He was awesome and I wish I could have stayed with him the entire time.
Mile 15 I became warm finally and the dri fit long sleeve shirt came off. I felt so much better. It was still cold outside, but perfect for running. The breeze was just enough to feel nice and not too cold.
Mile 17 was a larger hill and I just lost it, lost my pace, lost my pacer, kinda hit a wall, nothing hurt, OKAY BIG LIE, EVERYTHING HURT, but not badly, no cramping just the desire to run any further left my body, so I ended up walking for almost a half mile, not sure what was wrong with me but my body just didn't want to run anymore. This worried me as the weather was perfect so I didn't really have any excuses. A girl came up beside me and said, "This is our time to push, no walking yet, we need to run through this and walk in the end if needed, you can do it." That was all I needed. I ran from that point on, only walking through water stops to take in fuel (my Boom Nutrition packets), more electrolyte pills or water.
The scenery was gorgeous, the marathon was well marked with plenty of volunteers everywhere. Mile 23 was the last hill I remember. A volunteer there said, this is it, this is your last climb, I absolutely promise, it's downhill to the finish. In my exhaustion I said, "Are you really serious, do you promise that for sure?" Because you hear that all the time in like every race you do, "It's your last hill, downhill to the finish crap at every race". He assured me it was a downhill 5K run to the finish. Then some guy on my right said, "I've ran this course many times and it's really downhill to the finish!" Sure enough it was and a beautiful downhill or flat course till the end. I know that helped me because my legs were trashed by mile 23. It took everything to keep going. I knew if I could just keep running an 11 minute pace I would have a new record.
Mile 25.2 I got a calf cramp in my right leg. Ouch. I was dying. I was hurting pretty bad, so I walked a few steps to see if the cramp would go away, and decided to run again, but slow down a little. I noticed I was pushing hard and running a 9-10 minute mile pace in all my excitement of being almost done, so I slowed down to an 11 minute pace. The cramp was there but not too bad.
Mile 26 on the dot the cramp intensified pretty bad. I was limp running to the finish. It wasn't pretty but I couldn't stop now, I only had 2 tenths of a mile to go. I had to just keep going. I could see the finish line, hear everyone cheering, I could see the clock and knew I needed to push. My right leg hurt so bad. But I made it through the finish with major tears of happiness. I set a new personal record for myself. A volunteer put the finishing medal on my neck and said, "You must have set a record, you look so happy."
4:53:17 pretty sweet time and something I've been working so hard for. 3 years ago I never would have thought that under a 5 1/2 hour marathon was possible and definitely nothing under 5 hours. I just didn't believe it. Now I know I can get to a 4 hour marathon time. Anything is possible, you just have to work hard, train smart, eat right and most of all believe in yourself!
Will I do this race again? Yes most definitely. It was awesome, even the hills were.
|A view out my hotel window of the city. So beautiful.|
|My race bib. I love how my name is on it. Too cool.|
|Front of shirt|
|Back of race shirt|
|We were given instant results at the finish line and this is a picture of my medal.|
|My Garmin watch stats. So I actually ran .32 over a marathon distance.|
|Me post race after a shower and lots of stretching.|
|The marathon medal up close. It's huge and so beautiful.|