June 9, 2012 was the Utah Valley Marathon.
This was my second time to run this marathon. I ran it three years earlier helping pace/sherpa for my friend Marion McLellan running her first marathon. The course had changed quite a lot – so it was going to be interesting to see the differences.
The night before I picked up my race packet at the Marriott in downtown Provo. Very well organized compared to the nightmare of a few years prior. Met my dad, nephew (running the half marathon), niece and great niece for dinner at Brick Oven Restaurant. Jon and I were both spending the night at my dad’s house to avoid the long drive in the morning.
Marathon mornings are equivalent to early mornings and we had to get up early. My bus pickup was by the Marriott, so got on the bus to head up the canyon. We were dropped off in Wellsville and I was concerned because I was not cold when I got off the bus – leading me to suspect it was going to be very warm out. I ended up huddled against a barn wall visiting with other runners. They introduced me to the Gym Boss – one of my favorite new running toys.
Headed up near the starting line to cheer on Kelli Stephenson and Walter Brown at the front of the race. Joined the throngs near the back and we were off. For the first seven miles we rambled through Wellsville and its surroundings. It was definitely going to be a warm day, but the early morning was cool and pleasant.
At mile 7 we turned into Provo Canyon and then the “real fun” began. The race is billed as a downhill race and I knew there was a couple of uphills, but there were more than a couple of uphills and they were long ones. To make it even more fun – once we were in the canyon we ran into headwinds. And not just easy and occasional headwinds – they were annoying and constant. The canyon was beautiful and tough, but I was looking forward to University Avenue – seeing my sister, and getting this over with. The heat and wind were taking their toll on me.
Marcia was waiting with cowbells and treats at the mouth of the canyon. Food was not sounding good to me but I got some ensure and later some powerade in me. She would swing ahead of me and cheer me on every mile or so.
My goal was to break 6 hours and I knew at that point I could do it. I was not really motivated – but was really drained and kept plugging away. I was glad to see the finish line up ahead. Finished in 5 hours, 47 minutes and 12 seconds. My 18th official marathon was in the books.