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IPA-RAY
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Utah Valley Marathon report: racer for 7 miles, tourist for 19.2.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Before the start:

I am not a morning person. I have never run a marathon with a start time before 8:00 (why I never ran the Flying Pig) and now I was not only running one with a start time of 6:00, but I had to be in the hotel lobby at 3:30 for my ride to the shuttle bus to the start.
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On the day of my last marathon, I woke up at 6:00 feeling great and found that the weather was perfect. Yesterday, I woke up at 2:45 feeling not so great and found that the temps were 10 degrees higher than expected and there was a strong wind advisory.
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Shuttle dropped me off in a field 2 hours before the start where I sat on prickly grass next to a camp fire wishing I had my iPod which I unfortunately lost during a short run the day before. Luckily, I had just transferred all of my songs so my music is not lost.

The start:

I looked for the 3:30 pace guy, figuring with a downhill start I would run 8:00 miles comfortably and then settle down to 8:12 and a bit slower at the end for a finish of 3:38:59. When the gun went off, it took maybe 20-30 seconds to get running at pace. The 3:30 sign guy was already way ahead of me and I became discouraged. I couldn't believe that I could be that much slower than 8:00 pace in the first mile. Then I hit the mile mark in 7:28. Given the delay at the start, my first mile was probably 7:18ish and I was WAY behind the 8:00 pace guy!
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I decided to ignore that guy and ran at a more reasonable pace for the next 6 miles before the road turned into a strong headwind. Shortly after this point, I decided to pay attention to the awesome scenery and not to what my finish time would be. I was still doing okay until the wind blew something down my throat and I started gagging. I doubled up, coughing/gagging violently and unable to breathe! I honestly thought I was going to die!
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Finally, I was able to breathe again. But I had pulled my left hamstring from my violent, bent over, hacking.
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The winds continued until the last 5 miles but I had long been a tourist runner, not a racer by then. Temp was mid 70's and sunny. Spectators were sparse and primarily there only to cheer for their family and/or friends. I was chugging along knowing that finishing is an accomplishment and that many of my Spark friends would be happy with my time. I gained more respect for the runners who enter a marathon knowing that they will be on the course for over 4 hours. I got a nice IPA after watching my friend Ron finish a little under 5 hours. Had to wait as none could be sold before 11:00.
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I learned that 6 weeks of good training is not enough (I usually plan on 10). And never to try a marathon that starts that early again. But I am in decent shape today, about to head to Sundance, which I ran past yesterday, Park City, and Salt Lake City, where there are some fine breweries.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v JOPAPGH
    Ray, good job pushing through in less than ideal circumstances. Nice to see Ron with another state in the books too
    1538 days ago
  • v HEALTHIERKEN
    Ray! Racer or tourist, you completed a MARATHON! That is an accomplishment of great proportion, whether or not it was the kind of completion you anticipated. And against completely unpredictable interferences. Be good to yourself on this and remember hundreds of us on this Team can only look at marathoners as an incredible separate species : )


    1539 days ago
  • v BILLALEX70
    Congrats on finishing! Your time is still almost an hour faster than my marathon time. I feel your pain for not having music. My Bluetooth headset decided to quit working right before the gun at Air Force last fall...with no wired backups. That was a long day too.
    1540 days ago
  • v PDQ1203
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    1540 days ago
  • v DRB13_1
    emoticon emoticon on finishing and don't absolutely count out a start before 8am - it may be the difference between tolerable temperatures during the morning. Ice that hamstring and thanks for the reminder that training is important.
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    1540 days ago
  • v LINDAKAY228
    Congratulations on getting it done even with all kinds of things against you! It's okay to be a tourist runner sometimes. John Binghman (The Penguin) has said before that you pay for the course for the entire time it's open. If you finish it fast then you haven't gotten your full money's worth so go slow and enjoy the scenery and get your money's worth of time on the course.
    1540 days ago
  • v DSQUARE22
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    Congratulations on what sounds like a thoroughly enjoyable race!
    For as much as I would like to run a marathon someday, I don't think I can invest the time I feel I would need to do it right and remain injury free. For many reasons, I count my self lucky I can run at all at this point!

    A tourist marathon sounds so great to me!
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    1540 days ago
  • v CAROLCRC
    At least you got awesome scenery! Sorry about the less than ideal conditions... kudos from at 5+ hour friend.
    1540 days ago
  • v MBSHAZZER
    Congratulations! Well done! I think pacers are best ignored. I have never seen one that runs the actual pace they are supposed to be running!

    I suspect that you will never come to South Florida to run a race. Because of the beastly hot weather year round, most races start at 6am here! I remember last year training for the Seattle marathon (which took place on June 23) I would often leave the house for my long run at 4am!

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    Enjoy your recovery!
    1540 days ago
  • v LIGHTNINGRUNNER
    Ray - emoticon lost IPod, something unexpected down your throat. You are such a trooper, especially when you don't like early starts. Be proud - We are still proud of you!!!
    1540 days ago
  • v BE-THE-CHANGE
    Kudos for finishing!
    1540 days ago
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