Get ready for a long post folks…I have a lot to say.
Simply put, I had one of the very best days running the Ogden Marathon. Let’s start with the night before. Teresa made us spanakopasta. That’s spanakopita-pasta (spinach, cheese, and pasta…mmmmm.)
Still need to work on my indoor photography a bit.
We had a spot of wine (hey, it’s hydrating and heart-healthy) and went to bed relatively early. Our wake-up time was 3:30, which gave us just enough time to throw on some clothes, grab our bags and coffee and hit the road. Teresa’s husband is a SAINT because he drove us there to minimize our stress and maximize our sleep. THANK YOU SHAUN!!
We hopped onto busses upon arriving in downtown Ogden and headed up the mountain…the drive was longer than I expected but it did give us a little preview of the course.
View from the top of the ranch.
The race started at a ranch in what seemed to be high-desert. There were porta potties a-plenty, and while the starting area was small, we did our business, dropped off our bags and got into place at the start. They didn’t have official corrals, but we lined up near the 4:00 pacer. I figured I’d drop back pretty quickly, but the course wasn’t crowded like some of the other races I’ve done so I wasn’t worried about being a bit slower and in the way. The race started promptly at 7:15 and we were off!
View from mile 1.
We immediately started descending, and I couldn’t get over how beautiful it was. We ran at what I think was the Wasatch Mountain Range, with rolling ranch-land on our right and a river to our left.
It looked so inviting!
We dropped pretty quickly past National Forest lands into plateaued farmland. Blue skies, green pastures, big barns…..I was in heaven to be out West again.
An amazing view for miles and miles.
We ran along a river, and finally came to a reservoir around the halfway point. We had a fairly brutal climb around mile 14, but like Teresa mentioned, there were awesome signs cheering us on along the way. It was around this point that I noticed the aid stations were themed…..matadors, pirates, hippies, bikers…..you name it. Either that’s when it started or it just took me that long to be observant! But boy, oh boy were those the most amazing aid stations I’ve ever ran through. Not only were all of the volunteers SO nice and helpful, but they had a variety of flavors of powerade (one of my biggest first-world problem race day complaints is lemon-lime flavor for 26 miles), cliff bars and shots, but actual real food! I ate orange slices, part of banana, swedish fish, otter pops, pretzels, and a cookie along the way (so a net caloric gain basically). I have to say….I NEVER bonked or felt like I was hitting an energy wall. Sure, I got a little loopy around mile 18 and physically very tired at mile 22, but it wasn’t because I wasn’t fueled properly. New race day strategy: eat all of the things continuously.
After our crazy ascent, we crossed over the reservoir and started descending again pretty quickly into a canyon.
Blue skies, red rocks.
It was so cool to see the geography change so drastically over the course of the race. I can’t say which was my favorite part because it was all so beautiful!
Oil pipes maybe? I imagined it as a giant zipline.
Once we were out of the canyon, we ran along a bike path lined with Cottonwood trees into town. That part of the course reminded me of my home in the Willamette Valley–cotton gusting everywhere and the smell of pollen. At that point, I was tired, my hips hurt, and most of all, it got HOT. I’m guessing it was in the high 70s at that point and there was very little shade. We snaked along the bike path, finally making it into a very long street where I could see the finish off in the far-off distance.
At this point, I looked down at my watch and realized I was close to breaking 4:20. All I had to do was sprint! And “sprint” I did…..pulled up my final split to a 9:30 mile (ha).
A new PR!
The finish had fudgsicles, water, fruit….but no beer.
We did it!
Again, the amazing Shaun drove us back to Salt Lake after we had slightly recovered for a post-race celebratory beer and elk brat at Beer Bar.
I was very happy with my race–after all I got a PR by several minutes, got to run it with a very good friend, and along a course that was easily the most scenic race I’ll ever get to run.
Stay tuned for more post-race analysis, lessons learned, and of course, more about my trip to SLC!