Signed up for this race last minute. Was debating between this one and East Canyon. The deciding factor was that we had two wedding receptions to attend last night, thus Payson being closer to home than Morgan. In hindsight, should've done East Canyon instead.
I went to Packet pick up at the Provo Towne Center Mall and ate at the mall food court some blah spaghetti. Then went to the wedding receptions and ate cake and punch, doughnut and chocolate milk. Not very good pre-race food! Got home around 9 and readied some race gear, set the alarm for 2:30a and went to bed at 10:30p. Tummy was rumbling, legs were restless, very tired but could not fall asleep. Tossed and turned and up to bathroom couple times...finally got up at 1:48a and read. Out the door at 3 and got to bus ride at 3:40. Got on the first bus and sat by a very friendly young fella from Tennesee who greeted me cheerfully with a "Good Morning!" Told him I did not sleep a wink (hinting that I wanted to nap on the bus ride). He proceeded to tell me that he's been in Utah hiking at Arches and Bryce and been sleeping in his car so he too did not sleep much. So we ended up chatting up a storm for the lenghty 1hr 15 min bus ride. Good thing it was a plush touring bus, not some ricketty school bus. Got to the start at 5:05. There were 6 SIX port-a-potties!!! Good thing we were on the first bus and seated towards the front. It was so dark I had to use my cell phone to navigate around. They had some fire pits which gives out more smoke than warmth. I wrapped myself up with a space blanket and sat on the small airline fleece blanket I brought and positioned myself at one of the two port-a-potty lines. The lines were so long and so slow!!! There was just enough time to shed the warm clothings in the drop bag and headed up to the start line at 6:15.
There was an uphill from the get-go. At 9300' elevation I could hardly breath no less run uphill. I remember Slick told me there were 7 uphills in the first 10 miles. They actually had signs naming those hills, listing the distance and elevation gain. One of them was 1.25 mile long with over 200' gain!!! What goes up must comes down! On the very first decline my quads immediately protest. O MAN!!! This is a BIG mistake! I'm gonna injure myself at worst or suffer for 6 hours at best! There weren't very many full participants. I found out from the result that there were only 170 running the Full. So we were pretty spread out. Some had a partner to run with. Those running alone had ear buds on so I pretty much ran alone. The one good thing I can say about this race is the gorgeous sun rise in the distant and beautiful scenery! There were a few Lookouts the first few miles, Bald Mountain, Mt. Nebo, Santquin and Utah Lake. On the top of the ridge you can see mountain ranges 360 degrees!
I leapt frogged with a couple from Payon. The husband was running shirtless with cargo type shorts. He had a beard and long hair like Forest Gump. Occasionally he would stop to stretch his sides and I'd remark that he's doing a ballerina pose! His wife was quiet with a pretty long braid. I also leap frogged with a gal who looked very familiar to me. She was doing the tengent and a couple of times encountered oncoming vehicles at a blind curve. When I said hello to her she only responded with a nod so I assumed she wanted to be left alone. I found out later on the result page who she was. I actually ran with her and Lowell together at the very rainy Ogden in 2012. Dang!
At mile 6.5 we turned left onto a 1 mile long out-n-back dirt road where I could see 2 or 3 old ladies ahead of me. I was so happy to see Maynard! We gave each other a quick hug and I uttered: "This is a BEAST!" to which he agreed! He sure was looking strong and in control! HOW I wish I had trained better and ran more hills and....
My quads were screaming with each step, it didn't matter whether I ran or walked so I just tried my best to minimize the damage. The worst part about this race is that the winding narrow canyon was not closed to traffic. I had to jump off the road a couple of times. The smoke from the firepits earlier had aggravated my lungs and now the burning smell of vehicles brakes made it worse. At mile 15 aid station, I took an Aleve and couple salt caps along with a GU. A tall young man ran alongside me remarking: "Got to take this for energy, huh!" I told him I tried to take one every 5 miles so this is my 3rd Gu. He said this was his FIRST Gu and then proceeded to say, "EWWW! Nasty!!!" He also told me that this is his first marathon. He's running this because his wife wants this for her birthday. This is her 7th marathon and now leaving him in the dust! Poor guy!
At around mile 18, the road got even narrower with a rushing river to the left. I passed 3rd old ladies just before mile 19 which gave me a boost...got a 10:02 pace for mile 19. But that was short lived...nearing the mouth of the canyon there was zero shades and getting very warm. It was now a boring grinding run. I started to pass a few more runners. A young lady asked me if I'd passed her husband earlier. I asked if this was her 7th marathon and had her husband running this for her birthday to which she replied with the affirmative. Yep, I passed him at mile 15. How was he? I feel so quilty leaving him? I thought this being a down hill course would be an easy one for his first marathon. Ha!!! She realized now how this brutal course chewed you up and spit you out mercilessly. So, we chatted while we wogged (walked/jogged) together. We were both grateful for each other's companies. At the last aid station mile 25 she urged me to go on ahead so I left her and ran by myself. My phone rang and I was too tired to pull it out knowing it was probably hubby calling to see where I was. He mentioned that he may or may not come to the finish. Then I saw him standing on the south side of the park. I high-fived him! As I made my last turn north to the east side of the park I saw Slick cheering me at the corner. What a pleasant surprise! I high-fived him just as the "familiar lady" sprinted past me.
I will probably never run this marathon again, I may do the Half, but not the Full. My quads were so trashed. I was getting very sleepy on the drive home. Good thing the traffic was light. I fell asleep after a shower and lunch while attempting to watch the BYU game! So so so tired!!!!
Here's the splits just for the humor and heck of it : 13:10, 9:47, 11:03, 10:49, 15:41 (this was the monster hill that everyone was walking up), 11:51, 11:16, 12:33, 14:53, 15:23 (another beasty hill at mile 10!!!), 12:26, 12:04, 11:00, 11:03, 12:14, 11:16, 11:02, 11:12, 10:02 (passing people at a elevation loss of 339'), 10:46, 10:58, 11:09, 12:39, 14:05, 12:40, 12:20, 11:30. Yep! pathetic! This marathon advertised: "Find Your New Fast!" Sure! I found out I'm OLD and SLOW! Haha! :)