Ogden Marathon 2011

Well, it’s all over and done with. My final (sad) time was 5:12:42 – better than 2 years ago in San Diego by about a minute and a half. But I felt like a million dollars as I crossed the finish line this time; it was an entirely different experience Saturday and I couldn’t be happier with the end result. (Well, of course I could – I really wanted to come in under 5 hours but it just wasn’t in the cards.) I didn’t immediately want to set fire to my running shoes, and I didn’t feel like I needed to fall over in a heap on the side of the road.

My alarm went off at 4:10 am, and I got up, got dressed, pulled my hair up and put on some sunscreen. The sky was still dark when I left at 4:40 but I could see there was a layer of cloud cover, but no rain. We have had rain for the past week, and we finally caught a break on race day.

I drove down to 25th Street and parked just up from the Ben Lomond hotel, where the buses were waiting to take us up to Huntsville. I hopped on and we were off. I ended up sitting next to a guy who lives next door to a couple that teaches skating at the ice rink I coach at, so we chatted a bit about that and he told me he had run this course the year before. It was nice to get some insider info from someone who had already run this race. We got dropped off at 5:30 (race didn’t start until 7), and made our way into an incredibly muddy field where there were firepits going to help keep the runners warm during our wait. It sucked that we had to get up there so early, but they had to have the canyon closed by 6 or 6:30 and needed everyone shuttled up to the start well before then.

I drank a couple cups of water, and made sure to use the bathroom (twice!) before the race started so I wouldn’t have to stop. (Unfortunately, I did end up having to take a quick pit stop around mile 8, so I lost about a minute of time there; but I knew I wasn’t going to last another 3 1/2 hours.) The race started about 10 minutes late, but before I knew it we were off! I wasn’t really feeling nervous or anything, which was probably a good thing. I ran the first 7 miles all between 10:40 and 10:50, and crossed the 7 mile mark at 1:15:19, with an average pace of 10:46. I had taken my first Gu at Mile 6, and planned to take one every six miles from here on out.

The run down the canyon at the beginning was nice and cool; the sun was still behind the clouds and it was chilly and humid out. We came out at the bottom of the canyon and started to make our way over to Pineview Reservoir. It was so picturesque, and I wanted to stop numerous times to take photos of the snow-capped mountains behind the green grassy pastures, horses and cows dotting the landscape in front of old rustic barns. But, I didn’t. I was lazy. I even thought to myself, “You are going to regret not taking any photos.” And I do. Oh well.

I started to slow a bit as we started to make our way north towards Eden. There were some small rolling hills and I could feel my pace slowing a bit. There was a pretty good sized hill, and there were lots of signs saying “It’s all about the climb!” and “Almost to the top!” Well, yes, that may be so, but this was a blip on the radar compared to the hill we had to climb starting at Mile 14. The sun was coming out and it was starting to get warmer. I crossed the half marathon timing mats at 2:25:46, an 11:06 pace for miles 7 – 12. I remember thinking to myself, how am I going to do this one more time? 13.1 miles down, 13.1 left.

This is where things fell apart a bit for me. I got to the bottom of the hill at Mile 14, and I was just not feeling it. I walked up the majority of the hill, and I could not even fathom how I was going to run another 12 miles. The sun was getting hot, and I was feeling a lot of hip aches and pains. My legs just felt like crap. This section of the course felt like it was never going to end, we just kept going up, and up, and up. Finally the bridge over the spillway was in sight, and I knew I was about to see the second downhill portion of the race. There were a bunch of people cheering here and mentally that helped a little bit. I think it was around Mile 18 at this point, and I hit that mark at 3:37:05, a 12 minute pace at this point. It was kind of frustrating to see that time, knowing that I had run a 20-miler in that same time three weeks ago. We were going downhill at this point, but the wind was funneling through the canyon and we were running straight into the wind. I remembered my Swedish Fish I had packed around this point, and even though I’d taken 3 gus so far, these sweet treats really perked me up. I’m so glad I packed them!

The second canyon didn’t feel like it was very “downhill” to me, especially with that wind. It was beautiful though, with the rushing river and waterfall at the bottom. I passed a volunteer around Mile 21/22 who was rubbing Icy Hot on runners, and was about to dismiss it and then turned around and got some put on the backs of my knees. What was really hurting was my hips, but it seemed to ease a little bit of my pain to have that Icy Hot on my legs.

This is when things got kind of weird for me. I started running around Mile 21.5, and came out at the bottom of the canyon. We shot out onto the Ogden River Parkway where I do a lot of my running, and all of the sudden I got my second wind. There were so many people cheering along the parkway, and I was RUNNING again. Like a 9:20 pace. Unfortunately I couldn’t sustain it for the whole time, and I did a bunch of run-walk stretches along the parkway. Mile 23 I crossed at 4:33:10 (11:53 pace for the miles 18 – 22), and I knew the text message system was supposed to send a text out to Nick to let him know I had 5K left. (It didn’t actually work though, but mentally I thought he knew I was on my way and I kept charging ahead.)

I tried to hold on to my little microbursts of energy throughout the last 3 miles as best as I could. I got to the end of the river parkway and crossed Washington Blvd, and headed down to Grant, where the final 1 mile stretch led us down to 25th Street. I was turning onto Grant when I saw Nick on his bike. I was sooo happy to see him. He rode with me for about a half a mile and then the barriers were coming up, so he had to leave me, but I gave it all I had and sprinted past as many people as I could to the finish. 5:12:42 final chip time, running a total of 26.42 miles (apparently I don’t run the tangents very well.)

I got my medal and walked into the finishers area. I felt like I couldn’t stop smiling. I know I didn’t PR by very much, but I felt like I finished so strong and finally got that Marathon Experience everyone talks about. I felt really good afterwards – I even joked about running another one in a couple of weeks. I just felt happiness and contentment. I may have dawdled a little during the hilliest part, but in the end, I gave it everything I had and finished with a great big smile on my face. I think it was the last three miles that really made my race so positive. Overall, it was a beautiful route, and the volunteers and race support were SO amazing. If I ever get the gumption up to do a marathon again, I would run Ogden again in a heartbeat.


Apocalypse NOW!

So last night, thanks to the non-stop rain we’ve had for the past 3 days, there was a mudslide at Pineview Reservoir on SR-39. The road to Ogden Canyon is currently closed, with no word on when they will reopen or clear the rocks out of the road. So now, in addition to worrying about rain, snow, and the fact that I’m about to run 26.2 miles tomorrow morning, I get to worry if the road is even going to be open. And if they do clear it, now I get to worry about being swept away by a rockslide into Pineview as I run past. Awesome.

Hopefully this guy has it right, and with any luck, the Rapture will start tonight and this whole marathon problem will be taken care of for me 😉

T-minus 48 hours

Two more sleeps and I will be running my second marathon! Eeep. I haven’t run since Sunday, because my right knee has still been feeling kind of odd and I think at this point an extra day of rest is better than a 3 mile run. My running during this taper has been less than stellar; I guess I took the meaning of taper to a whole new level this time around. But I have two HILLY 20-milers in the bank, and I feel about as ready as I can be at this point. So time to set some goals!

1. Finish uninjured (this is always my primary goal at every race, but it is an important one.) I want to keep running through the summer, albeit at a lesser degree. I might do another half in the fall, but we’ll have to see…

2. Beat my San Diego RNR time of 5:14. As long as I stay SLOW and STEADY and keep close to an 11 minute mile pace, I will be able to do this.

3. 4:45:xx. This is my ultimate goal. To hit this I need to average a pace of 10:53. My second 20-miler (not taking into account breaks for a phone call from Nick, crossing at street lights, and shoe-tying) was completed at a 10:54 average pace. This was on a very hilly route, and the marathon has a lot of downhill running, so I think this goal is within reach IF I don’t go out at the start hitting a 9:53 pace for a couple miles. EVERY MILE has to stay slower than 10:30, even on the hills. The only time I will let myself go a little is going down the canyon, where I will get spit out at Mile 23. If I can carry myself strongly through that portion, I will come out at the bottom and only have a couple miles left. Let’s hope this piece of the course turns out to be what I hope it will be – a great downhill bridge to the end of the race.

Race packet pickup is tomorrow. Then on Saturday morning I will get on a shuttle bus at 5 am (SO glad I am only 5 minutes away from the shuttle bus pickup spot) and then the race starts at 7 am. I’m going to wear some throwaway clothes (that will get donated) because I think the start is going to get COLD at 6 am waiting for an hour in Huntsville, elevation 5400 feet. I plan on wearing shorts and a tank top, since right now the forecast is for 46* at the start, and will get to 59* by noon. Although, we were supposed to only get rain Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and it is still POURING down here and SNOWING up in the mountains, so who knows. If we get a break from the rain on Saturday, it will be a marathon miracle because it will be one day out of 7 that won’t have rain.

I’m going to get to bed nice and early tonight, since who knows how I will sleep tomorrow. Trying to drink plenty of water and now I am really going to start paying attention to the foods I’m eating. I might have eaten french fries, greasy chips and tacos from a local Mexican joint, and potato chips in the past three days. Time to clean my diet up and get some normal food going into my body.

Here we go!

Marathon Week! I had a really exhausting weekend, so I only ended up running my 8 miler on Sunday, but in addition to that I skated in the ice show Friday night and Saturday night; taught an hour of skating on Saturday; biked a mile and a half down to the library to pick up some books, and biked back up the looooong hill to our house; and worked in the yard all day Sunday planting our vegetable garden, and re-landscaping the entire side of our house by myself while Nick edged and mowed the lawn. My lower back is so sore, and the backs of my legs are really achy too. I don’t know how much running I’m going to do this week – probably only a 3-miler and a 2-miler. All I know is that I did WAY too much this past weekend considering what I’m going to be doing come Saturday. Oh, well.

I’m going to just take it easy this time in regard to food and water in the week leading up to the marathon. I’ve done just fine on my last two 20-milers by eating normally and just adding more water throughout the day. I am pretty sure the amount of carbs I ingested prior to the San Diego marathon contributed to my total crash halfway through – I seriously STUFFED myself on bread and potatoes at this awesome seafood place we ate at, and even before that, I ate a shitton of french fries right after I picked my bib up at the expo. I justified it to myself that I was carb loading. So I’m going to just eat a normal, decent meal on Friday night and just keep doing what I’ve been doing as far as my diet. I eat enough carbs anyway as it is, that it doesn’t really necessitate me eating an entire loaf of french bread and a bag of baked potatoes in one sitting.

Right now the forecast is saying thunderstorms possible, with a low temp of 50 and a high of 68. We are supposed to get rain tomorrow and Wednesday, and then clouds will hang around through Thursday and Friday.  I REALLY hope we don’t get weather like we had this past weekend – the wind picked up and was howling through the canyons as I ran my 8 miles on Sunday. It was so exhausting to push into the wind, and my legs felt really worn out even though it was only 8 miles – my shortest long run since starting this training program back in January. They have also had to re-route a bit of the marathon due to flooding; the snowpack was really high and we didn’t have a very warm April, so snow kept accumulating every time a storm came through. Now that we’ve finally warmed up it’s melting all at once. The Ogden River Parkway that I run on occasionally has been washed out at one point of an underpass, and that’s where they’ve had to reroute it so far. I guess it’s at milepoint 25.1, so it’s good that I sort of have an idea of where I will be at during certain points of the course. Once I come out of the canyon it will be around Mile 23, and then 2 miles along the river. I’m just concerned that the South Fork of the Ogden River is flooding up in Huntsville, which is right where the entire first part of the race goes. We’ll have to see what happens! I guess they would just reroute us?

I am getting really excited this time around! I’m sure as it gets closer I will get more nervous, but I’m excited to see what I can do. I feel more confident this time, especially since I’ll be running in more familiar territory than I did in San Diego. I’m hoping that being able to pick out different landmarks and sites will help me mentally be able to add some more kick. For now, it is just time to rest and continue my taper.

Naked running

Just under 9 days until my 2nd marathon! I ran 4 miles outside WITHOUT my Garmin, for the first time in a long time. I felt a little naked without it (you didn’t actually think I ran NAKED, right?) but it also felt kind of nice to not constantly be checking my pace or mileage. I ran probably slightly over 4 miles, and definitely under a 10 minute per mile pace, other than a couple of uphill walk-breaks. It was the perfect temperature out, partly cloudy with a cool breeze blowing.

Right now the weather for May 21 keeps flip flopping between rain and mostly cloudy, and partly sunny. So who knows what I’m in for. Hopefully the high temp of 67 will hold out though, so it doesn’t get too hot by the end. I’ve lucked out with all of my runs this past month and have had really nice, cool weather. Let’s hope we don’t get a sudden heat wave this next week!

One week from tomorrow I will be going to pick up my race packet! My training is almost finished 🙂 I have 8 miles planned tomorrow, and then probably an easy 3 or 4 on Sunday. I am itching to get out on my bike, but I have our spring ice show this Friday and Saturday night, and we’re going to be working in our yard and garden all weekend long, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to ride very much. But once my marathon is over, I am going to be taking a lot of bike rides. My university job ends on June 2, and I’m off until August, so I will have two months of freedom once more! I can’t wait. I will still be teaching skating, but only for a couple of hours a day, and truthfully, that job doesn’t usually feel like “work”. Once I’m done with the skating show, my marathon, and my job at Weber State, life will be so much more relaxing. I am really looking forward to those lazy summer days.

So long, farewell…

What a weekend. I woke up Friday morning feeling like poop, so I decided once again to take the day off from running. I knew as long as I could get my long run of 12 miles in, I was better off for my mental health with just getting some rest. Saturday I was going to run but due to some skating student drama, I had to go into the rink early so I missed another day of running. Oops.

After my skating lesson at noon, I left with Nick for Salt Lake to go buy one of these:

This is the seller’s ad photo from the KSL.com website where I first spotted it:

I have wanted a cute cruiser bike since last summer when we bought one for Nick, and now for my (early) birthday present, I have one of my own! I am so excited for summer evening bike rides, riding down to the farmer’s market (it even has a cute little basket that I can unlock and take around the market with me!), and at this point, just taking a break from all the running to bike instead. I can’t wait!

Anyway, we went and completed the transaction, poked around Salt Lake a little, and then went to a Mother’s Day dinner with my mom and dad. We were going to head back to Ogden but Nick’s brother, Ryan, was supposed to be dropping by so we went over to his parents’ house to wait for him. Long story short, he has finally decided to break things off with his fiancee (this is SUCH a good thing. She is total crazycakes.) He sat with Nick for over 3 hours and told him all the things she has been doing to him for the past year; she has been emotionally, verbally and even physically abusive with him. He is going to get out. Thank god. So anyway, we stayed at Nick’s parents’ house until 2:30 in the morning, and then we finally left for home. We finally went to bed a little after 4 am. It dawned on me at that time that in just under two weeks, I will be waking UP at that same time to get ready for the marathon.

Sunday morning. 8:30 am. 4.5 hours of sleep. Time to go run 12 miles! Awesome! I knew I had to do it, but I SOOOOOO did not have the energy or motivation. I got about 2 miles in and my right knee just started to KILL me. I ran back down the hill to give up and go home, but then I decided I would try running a mile over to the high school track to see if the soft surface would allow me to get my 12 miles done without much pain. It worked, and although I had to do about 30 laps around the track, I did it. My knee felt fine on the track surface, but back on the road as I headed home, it started to hurt a little bit again. I don’t understand what I did to it. It didn’t hurt like this on Wednesday when I ran 5 miles. It didn’t even hurt this much right after the 20 miler last weekend.The pain was on the outside of my knee, and underneath my kneecap. I guess I need to start icing it after my runs.

So a piddly 17 miles for the week last week, but at least I did my long run. I missed two 5-milers, but with this nagging knee thing, I don’t want to push it. I just need to hold steady. This week I’m supposed to run 3, 4 and 4 with an 8 mile “long” run this weekend. I will just see how the knee is feeling and go from there, I guess. I just don’t want to lose any fitness and endurance at this point, but I also want to be as healthy as I can be come May 21. Only 12 more days!


Well, 20 miles Part II is over and done with. I haven’t posted since then because I have been having some knee pain since Saturday night and I wanted to wait until I did another shorter run to see how I was feeling. Yesterday I ran 5 miles on the river parkway, and I had a totally miserable run. I got halfway done and my Garmin lost all satellite signal, something it had never done before. I spent a couple minutes trying to pick it back up but gave up and just turned back around to finish my run. I was feeling really, really tired and walked several times. It was just all around blah. But the good thing was my knee didn’t really feel any worse last night or this morning, so hopefully now that I’m backing off the mileage, it will heal before May 21.

So back to the 20 miler. I was planning on doing it Sunday morning, but Nick had to go out to Salt Lake at 10:00 for a freelance photo assignment, so I knew I wasn’t going to have time to run for 3 hours and 40 minutes+, shower, eat, and be done by 10. So I woke up Saturday morning at 6:30 and was out the door by 7. I had a really, really solid run, and finished with a few breaks in 3 hours and 38 minutes. (I was door-to-door more like 3:46 due to a phone call from Nick, stopping to tie my shoe, and waiting to cross several intersections.) I did not feel like I had run into a brick wall when I finished, and even had an hour long skating lesson at the rink afterwards. But my right knee started to just HURT on the outer edge of my kneecap – pretty sure my IT band was inflamed and rubbing on my knee. I haven’t had that pain ever before, and it was pretty bad. I tried to ice it but that didn’t seem to do much. I decided to take Tuesday off from running (not like I had to have my arm twisted – I am getting BURNED OUT.) So yesterday was my first run since the 20, and my knee didn’t really bother me during my run. It is not any worse, at any rate. My long run this weekend is 12 miles, and I’m planning on doing it tomorrow morning, so hopefully my knee can hold up for one last “long” one.

Next week I’m only supposed to run 4, 3, 4 and 8. Then my final week I’m only going to do 3, 2, and 2, and then race day will be here! I am wearing Bib #1376 – hopefully those will be some lucky numbers for me. I might have missed some runs here and there, but my 20 milers both felt about as good as they could be. As long as I keep my beginning pace easy and slow, just barely under 11 minute miles, I think I can finish the marathon around 4:45 – 4:50. I would be so happy with that! There is a long section of downhill on this route though, so I hope I can maintain the slow and steady idea – I don’t have the best track record with that concept. I can’t let myself start hitting miles under 10 minutes, that’s for sure.

I’m grateful for this taper, and I know my legs need some rejuvenating, but I am so ready for Marathon Day to just be here! Now, off to go stalk accuweather.com and their 15 day forecast….