The Utah Valley Marathon is in its second year and was added as part of the 2009 Grand Slam, so I had lots of running friends entered in this race. My friend Marion McLellan was running this as her first marathon and I had volunteered to pace her through the entire race and also be her sherpa – carrying her Gu’s, taking pictures, reminding her of when to eat and drink, motivating her, etc.
Yesterday was a busy day with Marion texting me, talking with Marion, emailing Marion – Sherpa duties are tough LOL
After dropping off the puppy, I headed down to Provo. I got to the mall for packet pickup and was shocked to see the line going on and on. That is probably the biggest flaw in the marathon – they were not prepared for so many people and it was a little frustrating to be on my feet in line for an hour and during the dinner hour. About halfway through my wait, Anna Lisa and Smooth (Suzanna) each came along with spouses, so I let them cut in line since we were all going to dinner together.
Smooth and hubby, Anna Lisa and hubby and Marion and hubby and I visited while waiting for a table at Brick Oven. About the time our dinner came, Josse, her sister and Luz joined us and we all squished together.
By the way – I am now going to be Miles on the Fast Running Blog according to Marion. She found out yesterday or the day before that my maiden name is Miles – so she says it is my running name.
Marathon morning: As I left my Dad’s house at 4:15 this morning, Marion called and was already waiting at the mall. She was afraid to fall asleep, so got up and left. I picked up Luz at her house and Marion, Smooth, Luz, DonGardinero/Dale and I rode the bus up together. I found out Luz forgot her Garmin, so let her use my backup Timex watch (double sherpa duties). We had the world’s slowest bus on the uphills – thought we might need to get out and push it.
The start was well organized. There was a ‘kick bike’ race starting 15 minutes before ours. That was different. Davy Crockett came over and introduced himself and wished us well. We also saw Sasha Pachev, Steve Ashbaker, and Mary Anne. Josse and Don Gardinero joined us for the start.
We were running down the canyon on the highway – with the right lane blocked off. There was a good mix of uphill and downhill stretches and only about 8 miles of this portion was concrete and it was not too bad. My goal for this marathon was to finish a race uninjured this year and to get Marion through her first marathon. She is quite an awesome woman.
Here are our first 5 miles: 11:50, 11:23, 11:39, 11:34. 11:50. Marion wanted to stay over 10:30 on the downhill sections and I would rein her in if she started going faster. Oh – Marion yelled at the first mile markers and we honked and flashed our lights during the tunnel.
At mile 6 it was a great break to see a crazy woman in a blue jacket yelling at us and waving her crutches. Michelle Lowry had waited for us slowpokes and had a FRB sign to cheer people on. I know this had to be killing her to not be running, but it was so sweet of her to be there for all of us runners. Michelle is an elit runner that has been battling a SI injury and cannot move without pain right now. We gave her a big, sweaty hug and then waved a few minutes later when she drove by honking. The canyon was definitely different than on the trail that we usually see and it was nice to have different views. We waved at the buses heading up to their 10 mile race, but people were pretty boring on the buses.
Miles 6-10: 11:42, 10:52, 11:34, 11:19, 12:10
Miles 11-15: 11:14, 11:56, 11:41, 12:18, 12:02 It was nice to be out of the canyon and we saw some different sections of the parkway trail that we had not seen before. I had started out with the plan of running 9 minutes, walking 1 minute, but my Sherpa duties were frazzling my mind (I twittered our position at miles 5, 10 and half marathon) and switched to running ahead at each mile marker and then doing a walk until Marion caught up.
Miles 16-20: 12:08, 12:17, 12:29, 12:32, 12:01 At mile 16 we called Mindy (Marion’s sister-in-law) to give her a heads up. She was joining us a mile 21. There were a couple of poorly marked miles in this section. We went from being almost 2/10 of a mile behind on our Garmins on the mile markers to way ahead at one point and then back on. Learned the hard way to keep moving because the skeeters were nasty buggers. We were glad to see the end of the ups and downs going under the road. About Mile 18 I noticed that Marion’s breathing was getting a little stressed and her footfalls a little heavier. She never once complained and kept on moving on out. We called Kelli after 18 to let her know where we were and check on Scott. We did find it got significantly hotter when we were on Center Street and did not have the shade from the trees. I started trying to throw out the occasional joke and story to keep Marion off her misery.
Miles 21-25: 12:27, 13:33, 12:36, 12:52, 12:25 Mindy met us at 21 with Reese’s PB Cups and helped with the entertaining. Occasionally Marion would request gossip or stories. I had warned her about how her body and breathing would feel and hope that helped prepare her for the unknown. Kelli (back from multiple finishes with different bloggers) met us at 24 and was able to give Marion a good motivation and update on what was up ahead. We did mug a little cub scout to get some water at about 23.5 (LOL). Marion’s breathing got really stressed at 24, but she kept running and only walked at aid stations.
Miles 26: 11:23 The last mile was a struggle, but we kept the pace up and Marion did a great job of finishing. We crossed the line together after starting together. I was honored to help her through her 18 mile run, 20 mile run and first marathon. She is a marathon virgin no more and will kick my butt in her next race. Final time (not yet official) was 5:14:50.
Overall – a well organized and scenic race. I would definitely do this one again. I ran pain free, and while I was tired at the end, I had plenty of energy left. My pushing ahead at each mile gave me indication that I had more in my legs, so I think I will definitely be able to break 5 hours in my next marathon and possibly 4:50 by the end of the season.