I'm happy to report that I did MUCH better at this race than last year. As a matter of fact, I PR'd this, running 15:06 faster than my best time (CIM 2009) and 34:31 faster than last year's Salt Lake City Marathon!
I arrived in Salt Lake City on April 7, intending on vacationing with my daughter in law and granddaughters in Kanab, Utah for a few days, coming back to Salt Lake City on the Wednesday before the marathon. However, my daughter in law's mother, who was also going on the trip with us, fell and broke her knee cap and had to have surgery. That nixed our plans and we ended up staying in Salt Lake City. Because of that, I was able to run for 8 days before the marathon in the higher elevation. This helped to acclimate me much better.
I knew I was in better shape physically, but was a bit concerned about the elevation difference since I live and train in about 500 feet and the marathon starts at 4900 and goes down to 4200. My son and his wife live at about 5200 feet so I was able to train in a bit higher elevation than the marathon was.
My son was nice enough to get up and take me to the trax station in downtown Salt Lake City at the very early hour of 5:30am. He lives about 45 minutes from the start so we needed to leave early. I was able to get on the trax train that got us to the start at 6:50am, for a 7:00 marathon. It was perfect timing.
The weather was great, 50 degrees and partly cloudy. We had a few brief periods of rain, but not much. The sun came out at the end for a beautiful finish.
The course starts downhill so my first few miles were faster than I would normally run, but there was no way I was going to walk downhill. lol Last year, I ended up speed walking from mile 11 on, so once I reached that point, I knew I'd be ok. I knew I was ahead of schedule, but didn't realize how much faster I was until closer to the end of the marathon.
Because of my fast start, I ended up speed walking from mile 22-25, then running the last mile. This is a good course, with a net downhill, but from mile 24-25 it is a gradual uphill which can be a killer. I didn't even try to run it, but just speed walked it. I remember keeping up with a man who was "running" and he commented on the fact that I was just as fast as he was, but I was "walking". haha! I DO speed walk pretty fast.
It was such a great feeling to finish strong, running! Unfortunately, my daughter in law and granddaughters missed the finish because they hadn't arrived yet; that's how early I was.
I came away from this race feeling SO much better about my running. I am encouraged that I CAN do this running thing without injury. I know my VFFs have made a big difference in me being injury free.
My next race is May1, the Eugene Marathon. I will become an official Marathon Maniac when I finish this race. I'm excited!