RACE RECAP #64: Utah Valley Marathon


Welp, my love/hate relationship with marathons is still going strong. I love marathons in the moment, but then afterwards I always find myself questioning my decision and vow never to run another marathon again in my life. After the Ogden Marathon last month I just wanted to die. And, I was out of commission for a couple days. Well actually a week.

But, yet, I upgraded my Utah Valley Half Marathon registration to the full marathon.

Becky and I running the Ogden Marathon last month.

Why? Partly because I swear that runners have the most cases of amnesia per capita of any other kind of group. And, well, we’re stupid. We defy all logical sense knowing what we’re putting our bodies through for 26.2 miles. I remember the pain we caused our bodies. We remember how we hurled at mile 8, 16 and 23. We remember how horrible we feel days after.

Yet, we do it again.

We want to prove ourselves wrong. We want to prove to ourselves that we can do better, that we can run faster and that we can better than our past. We push aside those fears of failure and uncertainty and run. And, then that cycle just keeps turning.

Becky and I riding the bus up the canyon.

This race was no different. After the Ogden Marathon I could have happily waited until September to run the Big Cottonwood Marathon, but after tanking after mile 20-21 I knew I could do better. I knew it. And, that week after Ogden I decided to finally upgrade my entry to the full. Especially after Becky decided to run the full as well to give herself some redemption after running Ogden as well. We kind of planned to run it together to make sure we redeemed Ogden.

The fun part too was that Becky kept her entry a secret. She told certain friends, but she kept it a secret from Facebook, family and others. I think she kind of felt that she put too much pressure on herself running Ogden by telling everyone so she didn’t want to deal with that kind of pressure again. She really just wanted to have a better experience, which was my goal as well.

I love this shirt.

Leading up to the marathon was tough for me. The three weeks in between the two marathons didn’t include a lot of mid-week runs. Heck, I didn’t run for a week after Ogden. But, it was really hard to get into a groove. I had no problem with my long runs on Saturday, but I just couldn’t get motivation I needed to stay as consistent as I was leading up to Ogden. But, talking to other runners in my group that have done both Ogden and Utah Valley they said not to worry about that, but on the long runs. So, that gave me some confidence going into the marathon.

Since I didn’t want to wake up at 1:30am to drive down to Provo to catch my bus, Susette was kind enough to let me crash at her place. Becky, Christy and her daughter stayed as well (who were volunteering at the half way point). It wasn’t much of a sleepover since we pretty much crashed so we could be up and ready by 3:15am to get ourselves to the buses. All I have to say about that is … ugh. Luckily though the excitement of running is kind of a natural caffeine that makes race mornings doable.

This is how you keep yourself warm on a cold race morning. Just find me.

Once we loaded the buses we were on our way to the starting line. I have a love/hate relationship with these bus rides. I love them because of the excitement, especially when you’re sitting next to a friend. But, especially when it’s a ride up a canyon for 26.2 miles you just kind of dread it just wanting to get there. Plus, on Becky and my bus we had this complete stranger explaining to another stranger about finding black cysts on her rear and other regions from biking. I know that runners are pretty well known for sharing too much, but this was TOO much. Usually when people ask you how you got into running you don’t say it was because of black cysts on your rear, you just say … because I hated biking.

My bloody nipples don’t compare to this runner’s TMI.

Once we got to the starting line and through the port-a-potty line we met up with other runners in our running group. I was kind of sad that I wasn’t able to see why friend Elsha who ran her first marathon! It was still a party and I just love the excitement that comes from the starting line of races. The nervous energy is addicting, especially when you’re enjoying it with friends.

Becky and I conquering our first hill.

Becky and I had a difficult time coming up with a race plan. Our biggest problem was deciding whether or not start off slow or fast. But, in the end we kind of decided to just … go for it. So we did.

Words can’t express how much more enjoyable this race was compared to Ogden. We ran alongside Justin, Tim and Kaylynn to name a few. This was Kaylynn’s first marathon and I have to say it was beyond awesome seeing how excited she was to run. We saw her throughout the marathon and that excitement didn’t change. I love seeing these simple things throughout my running journeys. It’s just a reminder how much running changes lives.

The course is fairly downhill for the most part with a few hills and the scenery is downright GORGEOUS, especially with Mt. Timpanogos in the foreground and Deer Creek to your side. I took this beautiful panoramic picture showing both in the frame. It’s just gorgeous. I love running. I love nature. I love Utah.


Becky and I decided to tackle each hill as it presented itself. We took the downhill and ran with it and with the hills we did more run and walk. The efforts sound fairly easy, but we dealt with some pretty nasty headwind during the mid-miles. The wind really took a lot of energy out of us, especially around mile 17-19.

I can’t emphasize enough how gorgeous this course is.

But, along the way we ran into a number of friends. At the mile 13 aid station we saw Christy and Bella who were giving out drinks and cheering us on. They were such a welcome sight and relief. Throughout the race both of them showed up along the route to cheer us on. Bella even made a sign for us. Having that kind of support is such a blessing.

We even had unexpected support from strangers along the way. There was a man named Chuck that we saw pretty much every 2-3 miles. He came to support a co-worker of his. He carried a sign and a Japanese flag. Everytime we saw we would chat with him and joke around. We were instant friends. His appearance was a welcome sight throughout the race.

Christy, Becky and I at the halfway mark. What a relief to see this face!

We kind of had a goal to finish around 5:30, but that was kind of blown away in the nasty headwind. But, once we got out of the canyon and onto University Ave. it wasn’t much of an issue, which was a relief. The only thing we didn’t have going for us anymore was a downhill course.

We kept going on strong until around mile 23 until Becky started getting sick. I was worried that she was going to have a repeat of Ogden and my all means I didn’t want her to have a repeat of that. So, I made her sit down on the side of the road and eat and drink something. I also fueled up on some Zeal as well to take me home. The quick refuel did the trick and took us the remaining three miles without too many problems besides tired legs and sore muscles.

Our new friend Chuck!

The coolest part of any races is the last 0.2 miles. Becky and I were greeted by our friends. Katheryn ran in with us and Ty was there with Peeps for me! It was just an awesome experience. But, the one thing that really got to me was seeing Chuck running up to the side of the coral to cheer us on. It really almost brought me to tears, because he had no idea he was there to cheer on more than just his co-worker.

Once I got my medal and stumbled around the finish line for food I made my way to our little party of friends. I made Pina Colada Rice Krispy Treats to share with the group and my friend Camille who’s birthday it was on Saturday. I also gave Vince a Costco sized bag of Gummy Bears. Since he can’t eat gluten I always feel bad when I make my RKs. Plus, this was also for him BQing at Ogden … well … and because he’s just an awesome guy.

Running it in with Becky at the marathon!

I really do have some awesome friends.

All in all, this marathon really was MUCH better than Ogden. Both physically, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically and the everything else -ally. I was happy with it. I didn’t get a PR, but I finished under six hours which was good enough for me.

But, this one was one of, if not, the best marathon I’ve ran. Sometimes you can’t grade races on just timing. There’s so much more to it than just time. Plus, I loved this course. The downhill was welcoming, the hills a challenge but doable and the scenery gorgeous. If it wasn’t for the wind it would be much, much better.

Mission accomplished.

But, I know that’s not an every year occurrence. With said, I want to run this marathon again next year. I loved this marathon. I’m not sure yet (and I probably won’t know until my legs recover) if it was the company? The course? Or the day? Either way it seemed like on Saturday the stars aligned.



Total Mileage Breakdown for 2014

2014 Training Miles – 422.3 miles
2014 Walking Miles – 35.45 miles
2014 Race Miles – 172.6 miles
2014 Total Miles – 630.35 miles
Monthly Total Miles for 2014
January – 100.0 miles
February – 100.0 miles
March – 130.0 miles
April – 140.5 miles
May – 108.65 miles
June – 51.2 miles




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