August 17th was my fifth adventure with the Park City Marathon. This should have been my fifth or sixth race of the year, but in reality was my first (not counting sweeping at half marathons). My foot injuries are finally getting under control and it was time to see how the foot would hold up.
Going into the race I had not done over 20 miles in a run this year. Not the condition I wanted to be in and I’m still overweight, so it was planned that this would primarily be a long training run. I switched over to the 5 a.m. early start a couple of weeks ago because it was questionable if I could even finish and this marathon is a “slow” marathon because it is a tough one.
I like Park City Marathon in a perverse way. It is up in Park City, so you have some altitude to deal with. It has some easy trail sections thrown in and it winds a lot. Not the setup for a fast race in any way, shape or form. In addition, it has a few uphills. Okay – more than a few. Most of the first 15+ miles have gradual uphills and then top it off with running up to the parking lot of Deer Valley Ski Resort. Throw in a few more uphills after that in case you have not had enough fun on the hills.
Going into the race I had my usual A, B and C goals. A plan – sub 6:30. B plan – sub 7:00. C plan – finish.
Nice quiet start a few minutes before 5. The RD said that we would have a 5:00 start assigned to each of us, but we could leave then if we wanted to. Why not? I’d just use my Garmin for an official time. I started out the race on a 2:30 run/2:30 walk schedule. Made some slight adjustments on the longer uphills, but pretty well stuck with that until we started up the slog through downtown Park City and to the ski resort. After that I turned off my Gym Boss for about 5 miles.
It was a beautiful morning to be running. Cool but not cold, so I didn’t take along my sleeves or gloves and figured I’d just cope when the temps dropped right before dawn. They did a better job of marking the course with signs in addition to markings, so made it easier to find the turns in the first subdivision in the dark. I was hoping to see the hot air balloons, but they were just getting filled when I passed them at mile 10 and never saw them up in the air.
Fritz cruised by me at mile 12. I could tell he was running well and would easily win because the second place male was more than a mile behind him.
At mile 14 I gave in and put on an audiobook to help me make it through the rest of the race.
Aid stations were much better in the past. They had food offerings available at every aid station. Probably not necessary until after mile 10 – but it was nice. Only complaint – the pretzels seemed stale. I carried a handheld water bottle, so cruised through most of the aid stations and occasionally grabbed a Gatorade and had the water bottle refilled twice.
Around mile 20 my left IT band started bothering me. I would run for 50-100 or so steps until it started hurting, then speed walked 100 steps and would try again. It never eased up, but I was able to run at that level for the remainder of the race.
I crossed the finish line at 6:19:57. Beat my A plan and I am satisfied with that. I never saw a finish arch to run under, so imagine they took it down early in anticipation of storms that were heading in.
Good to be back into marathons for the year. Ice bath last night and the legs are stiff but not sore today. Time to work on the IT band and prep for the Layton Marathon in less than two weeks.