Sunday, April 18, 2010

Salt Lake City Marathon

This was my 4th marathon in 11 months; just a little too much, I think. :) I was hoping for a much better time, but it was not to be.

I arrived in Salt Lake City on Thursday night and spent Friday afternoon walking to the mall and shopping with my granddaughter. We probably walked at least 2 miles. I'm not sure this was a good thing the day before my marathon, but...

Saturday morning, I got up at 4:30 (SO hard to do) and at 5:30 my daughter in law took me to the Arena trax station to ride to the start line. I arrived about 6:10 AM which gave me plenty of time to use the porta potties, etc. The weather was too warm, already 53 at 6 am, clear and sunny.

I was putting my gear bag in the truck when I noticed a dailymile friend, Drew (aka Utah C). The odds of us running into each other were huge considering the thousands of people at the start line. It was nice to meet him and his wife. He was shooting for a 4:30 marathon and ran it in 4:33. Congratulations, Drew!

We went to the starting line just before 7. It wasn't organized at all, everyone just lined up wherever they could. We ended up about halfway in the crowd, too close to the start for me. The crowd was so dense it took 3 minutes to cross the starting line. The first part of the course is downhill so I ran for 7 minutes before walking my 1 min. It was hard to negotiate through all the people. The half marathoners started with us so that made for a crowd of well over 6000 people.

I did pretty well for the first 9 miles, but I started feeling the altitude and knew I was in trouble. I realized that when I ran here last month, I had run where there were stop lights so I was getting breaks fairly often. Not so during the marathon, of course.

Thankfully, neither my ankle nor my hip bothered me, but my toes and the soles of my forefoot started hurting pretty bad. The two toes from the end of my left foot always hurt really bad when I run long, not sure why. It's probably a nerve issue, because they stop hurting as soon as I quit running.

At mile 11 or so, I pretty much had to stop my running and just speed walked. I reached the halfway point at 2 hrs 40 minutes, but knew I wouldn't PR this race. I was SO disappointed and for the first time in a marathon, I wanted to quit. However, I knew that I wouldn't; I just don't give up easily. LOL

The course was a good one, with plenty of spectators. I was amazed at how much support from the community there is for this marathon. People were out sitting on the sidewalks cheering us on. Some even had snacks & drinks. At about mile 20 or so there was even a group that was handing out shots of booze. :) I passed on that. I figured I needed all my faculties to finish the race.

The only drawback to this race is from about mile 24.5 or so we start up State street, which is an uphill climb for about a mile, the last part being a stiffer climb. The last part of the race is slightly downhill, but I was SO tired from the State Street climb that I just walked it. I tried to run a few times, but my right calf went into a horrible cramp. I've never had that happen in a run, never.

When I approached the finish line, my daughter in law, Val and granddaughter, Alexis were there to cheer me on. They hopped the barrier and Val grabbed my hand hand and helped me run across the finish line. She kept telling everyone my age and the fact that this was my 4th marathon. It was great, everyone was clapping and cheering me on. What a wonderful encouragement! I've only had family at one other marathon so this was great.

I'm not sure if I'll do this marathon again, simply because of the elevation, but since my son and his family live here, you never know. I am really burned out right now and am not scheduled for another marathon until January. I definitely need a break from such intense training.

It took me 2:40 to finish the first half and 3:10 to finish the second half. My official time was 5:50:17; 13 out of 17 in AG, 1050 out of 1112 total finishers.