I was excited to even be able to run the Ogden Marathon this year, considering that last year for the race I traded carbo loading for barfing in a garbage can. That pesky flu/food poisoning forced me to drop down to the half marathon. This year I avoided any pre-race vomit. Bonus!
At the marathon expo the day beforehand we picked up our packets, taste-tested Clif Bars, and tried this fancy training contraption. When nobody was looking I did my best Karate Kid impression:
We had lots of fun with our friends the day before the race. This is Micah, Braydon, Michelle, Melissa, Mel, some nerdy dude, and my brother Kenny. Notice the fact that everyone is smiling. This is because we had not yet been rolled over by the train named Ogden Marathon.
We boarded the bus for the starting line at 5am (5am = ouch). At the top we met this guy who was a clown two years ago, a ballerina last year, and a bumble bee this year. That is basically awesome.
As me and Kenny were waiting around for the race to start, I saw a notable figure exit the bus - Mr. Pony Tail!
We saw this same guy when we ran the Top Of Utah Marathon last year and since then our pre-race strategy has always included "Follow the pony tail!" Seeing him again was certainly one of the highlights of the day. Here is a picture of the same guy from last year:
If you look far in the distance you will see the starting line of the Ogden Marathon. (Just ignore the guys on the side by the fence who didn't have time to make it to the Port-O-Potty before the race started.)
A few miles into the race I heard someone yell "Cory Reese!" I looked over and saw my friends from graduate school, CJ and Annie Anderson who I haven't seen in many years. Simply nuts. This was CJ's first marathon, and considering some health issues, this was an absolutely amazing accomplishment! (I award 73 points to the guy in the background who photo-bombed the picture. Well done.)
Let me tell you something - the volunteers at the Ogden Marathon are beyond incredible. Honestly, every single volunteer I saw was so happy and friendly and helpful. I could have hugged each of them. I appreciated them so much, and made sure to tell them. One aid station had loud 70's music pumping and all the volunteers were dancing around in hippie costumes. Here's your proof:
The amazing scenery of the Ogden Marathon ALMOST takes your mind off the fact that you are running 26.2 miles and your legs are screaming. Almost.
Isn't this a cool waterfall? It very well could have been tears of the runners who passed before me.
With my knees still recovering, I knew this wasn't going to be a PR race so I decided to take all pressure off and didn't even bring my Garmin. My only goals were 1) to finish, and 2) to have fun. I stopped to take lots of pictures along the way, talked with other runners, and made friends with a horse on the last mile of the marathon.
I finished in 5 hours and 42 minutes (which is approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes longer than any human being should be running). I'm hoping to win my age division in the Most Awesome Jumping Picture category. I got a jump in at every photo spot including the finish line. Please, hold your applause. This will likely lead to lots of awkward photos but hopefully a few keepers.
It was so fun to get race reviews from my friends and brother at the finish line. Many of them even got PRs. We ignored our angry legs for a few seconds to get a group photo:
I joked that by the time I got to the finish line all the food would be gone and a volunteer would stand there with a sheepish smile and say "Um....sorry.....most of the food is gone.....but we have these left-over banana peels." Thankfully the Hostess store is right by the finish line! And thankfully I remembered money in my pack this year! I can think of no better post-race meal than cup cakes and raspberry filled donuts.
I wish I hadn't been in injury-recovery mode for the race so that my time would have been better. But I think as runners we realize that there are ups and downs, and we just need to take what we're handed and do the best we can. I feel happy with myself knowing that I took what I was handed and did the best I could do. I'm looking forward to doing the Ogden Marathon again in 364 more days!