Today was the 8th running of the Ogden Marathon and there were about 2000 people running the full marathon. The event also has a marathon relay, half-marathon, 5K and kids-K. The Geekgrl and I ran the full along with Fellow Outlaw Stuart “Dusty Trailz” Crane. Stuart talked us into doing this race quite some time ago and we needed a Utah marathon so why not. I began to question the wisdom of my decision to come out and do this race when I discovered that Stuart has recently begun hearing voices from his crotch and embarrassingly enough has taken to talking back to it though fortunately it appeared that he kept the conversations brief and to a minimum.
The morning was pretty cool temperature wise and the busses hauled us up to the start line beginning at 5 a.m. Guess which bus Me, Stuart and the Geekgrl were on. When we got to the start line it was still dark but the race organizers were cranking up the pre-race warming fires…sweet! This is one of two marathons that I know have run that has pre-race warming fires. The other is the Lost Dutchman in Apache Junction Arizona. While standing around the fires we met a guy who had moved here not long ago from Boulder Colorado and being familiar with Boulder we quizzed him about the similarities and differences. During the conversation he told us that for a couple months out of the year there is a massive brine shrimp harvest in the Great Salt Lake, said it was where all the Sea Monkeys came from and I told him that would explain why Sea Monkeys are all white…you know, because there is A LOT of white people up here…WAY more than the GG and I are used to. Anyway he said he was pulling our leg and he didn’t know what they did with all the brine shrimp pulled from Salt Lake but I’m goin’ with Sea Monkeys.
The race was supposed to kick off at 7:00 but got started a few minutes late, nothing serious. The marathon begins with about 8 miles of downhill running. I was fondly remembering my first marathon, the Tucson Marathon, which is mostly down hill and where I imagined a blazing fast time once I got rolling. Needles to say my legs blew apart later in that race but today I just sat back and made note of all the people who where ahead of me, near me or passing me who probably should not have been anywhere close to me. I decided that I would try to run the first half-marathon keeping my HR in the mid to upper 150s, run from mile 13 to mile 20 with a HR in the mid 160s and run the final 6.2 with a HR in the lower to mid 170s. I felt this was a strategy I should be able to pull off if my legs held up. That was one concern of mine what with the downhill and all the trail running I have been doing lately I wasn’t sure my legs could take 26.2 miles of pavement.
The course was very scenic. There were small rivers running most of the length of the course, snow capped mountains all around, pine forests, open farm lands, lakes and at least a couple water falls, one of which was huge. The weather was fairly cooperative too. It was probably in the low 50’s when we started and gradually warmed throughout the day. Fortunately from about mile 18 to mile 22.5 we were on a fairly narrow canyon road with high cliff walls that provided some shade but at mile 23 you turn off onto a bike path that wanders through a big city park. I am sure that the path is very pleasant but the day was really heating up, the path was closed in by trees and shrubs so there was little air and the level of humidity was higher…oh, and the course was flattening out and I was running harder so was generating more of my own heat. By this time my legs were really starting to feel the road I had left behind but the cool thing is that I was still passing people. Yes indeed starting about mile 17 I started slowly reeling people in in fairly large numbers not just the one or two at a time as had been happening since much earlier. At the mile 20 aid station I caught and passed Stuart. I had seen that I was closing on him since around mile 16 but it was hard to tell if it was really him because he was so far ahead. By mile 18 I was certain and at Mile 19 I started planning to ask him to stop speaking loudly to his crotch and get to running but at the mile 20 aid station it was as if he suddenly disappeared, I was through the aid station and I never saw him again.
This is a race that I would definitely recommend. It’s scenic, well run and not too big. The two things that I could have done without are the jungle run along the bike path and the 8 tenths of a mile finishing stretch which is straight as an arrow, flat as a pancake, completely exposed and hot as a furnace. However, the post race food quickly make up for it with loads of free Jamba Juice smoothies, popsicles, ice-cold water, oranges, bananas, Smuckers Uncrustables and more.
Oh, you are probably wondering how I did huh…NEW PR BABY! 3:46:03 according to Garmin on a slightly long course. My official race weight today, 204…still running Clydesdale. I’m looking forward to seeing what my official time will be. This is my last long run before IMCdA. Next weekend will be a beyotch of a workout weekend and then I’m into the taper.