Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Deseret News Marathon Review 2011

I headed to Salt Lake for the Deseret News Marathon with my friends Darin & Shelly Thomas. It was only a short nine days ago that we all ran the Bryce Canyon Half Marathon. We woke up at 2:45am (2:45am!!!!) to get to the bus loading which was at 3:15am (3:15am!!!!). Ouch.

At the starting line before the race started, this awesome bagpipes player started playing. I've run lots of races, but that was a first to have bagpipes at the starting line. Usually you hear bagpipes at a funeral, so it seemed fittingly appropriate to have them at the starting line of a marathon.

With a 5:30am start, it was too dark to see the scenery for the first few miles but once the sun started coming up I saw the amazing rolling mountains we were surrounded by.

Mile after mile ticked by and I was feeling surprisingly good. After the last few months where my knees and I have not been on speaking terms, I was so thankful to be running without anything hurting.

I got to know these runners later on in the race when we ran a bunch of miles together. From right to left, I met Scott, his wife Rachele, and their friend Nate (don't know the other guy). I found out that Scott has done around 104 marathons (you read that right, 100+!!) with more than 30 of them being ultras. I loved hearing his training tips and wish I could have kept up with them longer.

The absolutely highlight of the day was seeing this crazy guy that I originally met at the Park City Marathon. Please read this post called Why I Run. I described him in full detail. But now I have a picture with him to prove it!! You will see from my description in last year's post that I wasn't exaggerating about him one bit.

I heard from someone that they thought the Deseret News Marathon was hard. I found exactly the opposite. There was a hill at mile 7 that was tough, but you can see that the majority of the race was downhill. Total ascent was 1670 feet and total descent was 4584 feet. I think this could definitely be a PR course.

The one thing that I think could be hard about this race would be the heat. Being in July I was worried that it would get hot toward the end of the race. Fortunately the Running Gods smiled on us (I bribed them with brownies) and the weather was perfect. We had overcast skies all day! It was still warm but very tolerable.

After leaving the canyon you spend a couple miles going through neighborhoods and I liked having families sitting out on their driveway cheering for runners. It wasn't just the canyon that was beautiful. Even the neighborhoods were pretty.

Reaching mile 20 in a marathon is when you are truly challenged mentally and physically. You are tired, sore, and ready to be done. At that point you find out what you are really made of. There are a few critical things that must happen at mile 20:

1) You take two minutes to whine and feel sorry for yourself.
2) You promise yourself that you will never, ever run ever again.
3) You decide to suck it up and stop being a baby.
4) You turn your iPod up to the Make-Your-Eardrums-Bleed volume.
5) You put your head down and just go. Just GO!

I had a very good thing happen after I turned my mp3 player to the Make-Your-Eardrums-Bleed level. I got to Kashmir, a piano song by William Joseph. Check it out - this song rocks! Air guitars are for sissies. Real men play the air piano while they are running marathons next to a line of onlooking traffic.

In the last few miles of the marathon my worst fear came true. Not leg cramps. Not digestive problems. Not bleeding from my eardrums. Worse than all of those. We ran past a 7-Eleven! I was horrified. I needed a Slurpee with every fiber of my being.

There was a section toward the end where we ran on the parade route of the Days of 47 Parade, the largest parade in Utah. It was huge! I had so much fun as the parade spectators were cheering for me. This is one of my favorite pictures of the day - giving high fives to everyone as I ran by.

At the end of the parade route I heard a few people yelling "Go Fast Cory!" I didn't even know who they were. That made me smile. They came over to the finish line afterward to say hello. This is Erin and Betsy. They said they follow the blog. They ran the 10k then waited around for a few hours until I finished to say hello. They definitely deserve to be on the blog.

I felt surprisingly good for the whole race. I was so, so thankful that nothing hurt. I really loved feeling good in the last six miles and being able to run strong. I passed a lot of people in the last six miles. As is tradition, I jumped across the finish line with a time of 4 hours and 45 minutes! That is 39 minutes faster than last month's Utah Valley Marathon. I was happy to meet up with Darin and Shelly at the finish line with medals in hand.

Remember how I told you that I was discouraged when I couldn't stop and get a Slurpee during the marathon? Fear not. I got myself a cup of pina colada heaven on the way home.

I have now done a half marathon, full marathon, or ultra for 16 consecutive months. The Deseret News Marathon was an awesome way to finish out July!

"Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through to obstruction" ~ William James


  1. Thanks for putting us in your blog, we are honored. I have to say that you have inspired us with your love of running, great sense of humor and humility. Congratulation on another awesome race and keep on jumping!

  2. My gosh your photos are always amazing! Are you a professional photographer?

  3. this race sounds awesome! it was seriously perfect weather yesterday! and the crowd sounds like it was amazing!!!! plus can't beat that scenery! i would have been distraught about the slurpee dilemma as well...haha! glad you got a well-deserved one after!! CONGRATS on your months consecutive accomplishment. seriously awesome!

  4. Best post ever! You make me smile so big even my dog thinks I'm weird. Seriously such a great re-cap. I cannot believe the forced you to run past 7 eleven! Oh the nerve! ha ha great run! You seriously are amazing and very inspiring.

  5. Betsy - awesome to meet you! Thanks for sticking around at the end.

    Britt - Thanks! Since I'm not fast I try to make up for it by taking pictures.

    Julia - We actually had to run past TWO 7-Elevens. Never has a gas station tempted someone so much during a marathon.

    Rachelle - You're too nice. I'm always amazed that each race has unique surprises and stories. No race is ever the same. Great job on your race too!

  6. What a cool marathon! It sounds like the course is great. That must be rewarding to have blog followers find you. Good work on passing on the 7-11. Keep it up, Fast Cory!

  7. Did you ever figure out what was wrong with your knees? I think I had ITBS in mine I struggled for like 2 months with it and then all of a sudden it was gone, I mean it just vanished good riddance too. I was getting to that discouraging low point of thinking I would have to DNS the STG marathon something that I have been looking forward to all year and all my life haha but things are good looks like i will run my first marathon ever come October 1st.

    Didn't you say you were looking for a half or a full in August. The Washington County fair is doing a half this year as well as their 5k (their 5k was my first race ever last year). It's a relay but they allow you to sign up solo and its in Hurricane perfect for you. It's kind of odd since its a relay if you run it solo you will do 1k,2k,3k,5k and a 10k loop all coming back to the start but that could get you your August half.

  8. Way to go Cory!! That sounds like an awesome marathon. 39 minutes faster than Utah Valley??? Holy Cow, That's EXCEPTIONAL! Congrats! It's always fun to read your blog!

  9. good work as always. i love the medals. utah is a good place. i think that should be the new state motto.

  10. If you like pina coladas!! HAHAHA! But, you didn't get caught in the rain! You got caught in some beautiful weather! That was a great race report and it's funny because I totally remembered that guy with the rose colored glasses on from when you first found him a long time ago!

    That's a pretty awesome time you ran! I wish to have a downhill marathon in my future :)

  11. Well done! Great PR and a super report as well! That looks like a really nice marathon to do, but I'm sure it can be hot also. I've been running for 30 years and have run 125 marathons and 114 ultras. Here in South Africa we count the marathons and ultras separately.

  12. You rock! Great job and huge congrats!!! I was glad to read your recap too... My husband and I have considered this race and worried about the potential heat and had heard that the course was really "tough". Thanks for such a great recap and great job!!

  13. Nice recap Cory. And great job on the race. I would like to do that one sometime. 16 in a row! You are amazing!

    I am glad you like the elevator music version of Kashmir.

    Here is the original from Led Zepplin:
    Good auido quality - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfR_HWMzgyc&feature=related

    Cool video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73dvrir5kig

  14. Cory, you are AWESOME! I love reading your blog because you always:
    1- Make me smile.
    2- Make me want to stand up and cheer!

    Way to go on your time! The pictures are gorgeous. I didn't realize the course was so "easy". (Easy is in quotations because I don't think there is such a thing as an easy marathon.)

    That's cool that you got to meet your fans!

  15. Awesome job on the race! And that elevation profile looks like a dream to me, 4500 feet of elevation loss sounds amazing. Being up that high would affect me, but maybe it would be balanced out by the huge decline during the race.

    Love bag pipers for music!

    Your pictures are amazing as usual, great job!

    That is great that you ran through a parade and got a bunch of high fives, haha

  16. Congrats! Awesome race =) I had a friend who ran that race as well. Looks like it was a lot of fun!!!


  17. Fun read. Thanks for sharing. Our bearded friend is Nick Gardiner. I have become friends with him as he runs the same trail I do in Draper. The first time I saw him was coming around a tight bend on the trail as he was running the opposite direction. My thoughts were first can I win a fight with this guy or can I out run him! Since that time everal years ago I have run with him many times and found him to be very bright and intelligent. Its difficult to get him to be quiet at times and he doesn't hear you when you tell him you can't keep talking and that you need to get get home to get to work...but I am proud to call him a friend. You are right when you say you just never know who you might meet and how good of a runner they might be.