This race was everything I had hoped it would be! I got on a bus at 3:50am and rode 26.2 intimidating miles up the canyon. I was emotional as I looked around at all of the runners. I thought about how many hours and miles had gone into their training. It was an inspiring site! I ran into Janae and Heather, friends I met through running, in the port-o-potty line. It was nice to see familiar faces!
Waiting to cross the starting line.
My approach was to run really conservatively until mile 13 (walking and hydrating through aid stations), and then assess how I felt. The first 13 miles were beautiful and I felt decent other than the strong headwind I was fighting. I ran alone until I came up on Janae around mile 16. I knew she should have been way ahead of me so I was concerned when I saw her. She was having stomach issues and a "bad race day". We were both so happy to see each other. We ran together after that. I had stomach trouble around mile 17.5 and had to hit the woods since we were in between port-o-potties. We walked through aid stations and in the last miles I stopped a couple of times and would say, "let's walk for two cones" (orange cones were lining the course). I knew Janae was feeling stronger than me, and I still am so grateful that she stuck with me. I'm really independent when it comes to running, but I don't know how things would have been for me if I'd been alone those last miles.
I wanted to finish strong, but my chest was getting really tight and my heart rate and breathing were going nuts. I was close enough to see the LDS temple's Angel Moroni statue that was at the finish line, but had to accept that there would be no sprinting to the end. That's been my thing in the half marathons I've done; I always push really hard the last mile and sprint to the finish. It was humbling to realize I just didn't have it in me. I was fearful of collapsing before I reached the end. Janae ran ahead about a mile from the finish. I wasn't sure how close to passing out I was, so I just put it in a really low gear and kept my eyes on the Angel Moroni statue.
Holly and Steph had made fun signs, and part of me just wanted to go over and hug everyone right then and there. Then I realized that if I stopped moving my legs, they may never start again, so I put my eyes back on the finish line.
This picture brings tears to my eyes. I love how the sun's rays are shining right down on me.
Somehow, with heavenly help, I was blessed to make it to the finish. I'm so in love with this whole experience.
I never could have done this race without Kevin. He watches the kids while I get my workouts in. He patiently listens to my alarm going off in the 4 o'clock hour each morning. I just melted into his arms when I finally found him after I crossed the finish line. I just adore him!
Utah Valley Marathon 2014 Race ReviewThe Course: This course was absolutely beautiful. You start up Wallsburg Canyon, run until you meet Provo Canyon, and then down University Avenue. Then it's a straight shot to the finish in downtown Provo. This run had it all: beautiful canyon scenery, farms, mountains, waterfalls, lake views, and exciting downtown finish line.
The only negative I felt for the course was that through Provo Canyon, the road is steeply cambered. It was annoying and made my hip-flexors sore (the soreness left as soon as the road was flat again.)
Support: This race had amazing volunteers and plenty of support. I was far from being in the lead pack and I feel like the volunteers still had great energy and enthusiasm when I came through. There were aid stations and port-o-potties every two miles. There were lines at most port-o-potty stops, but at mile 13, when you get to where the half marathon started, there were tons of port-o-potties. So if you run this race next year, know you won’t have to wait in line if you can make it to mile 13.
Extras: The expo was good for a race this size. Packet pick-up was very organized and there were minimal wait times when I was there. I loved getting a sample of doTERRA's Deep Blue Rub (cream with essential oils for muscles and joints) in my packet. In my opinion, the girl shirts were ugly, but for some reason I don't think you should wear pink and purple together unless your 5. I heard others say they liked them, so maybe it was just me.
No complaints with the medal. I may be wearing it every day for the next month. ;)
Runners: Apparently there were over 1400 Marathon finishers. I was so inspired by the diversity of the runners in this race. Maybe all marathons are this way, but all my assumptions of what a marathon runner "looks" like were demolished, and I'm so glad that they were. I ran side by side with young, old, small and large runners. There were runners decked out in expensive running gear, others were in baggy basketball shorts and t-shirts. A group of fireman ran in full gear. I loved seeing all of the different runners, brought together to tackle the same course.
Weather/Conditions: I felt like the temperature was perfect (50s), but I've never run in wind like that before. I feel like the strong headwind just made the experience "richer", but I'm sure not everyone felt that way. ;)
There were wind gusts of 23mph and wind speeds of 16mph.
Bottom Line: I thought this was a well organized race and the scenery was perfect. I felt like they delivered what they promised. I usually say if I'd do the race again in this part of my review, but you'll have to wait until I can walk normal again to get my true answer. ;)