I was excited for the 2011 Top Of Utah Marathon and had a goal of getting a new PR (under 4 hours, 25 minutes, 36 seconds). The course is perfect and the weather was supposed to be perfect.
During my 7 hour drive up to Logan I stopped at Subway in Nephi for lunch and some people I didn't know called me over to their table. They were going up to TOU also and said they liked my pictures and blog. It may have (did) make my day.
Race morning arrived and the weather..... wasn't perfect. It was raining at the starting line but not terribly cold. Then the announcer said it was time to move to the starting line because the race was about to start. The moment he said that, it changed from rain to a complete downpour. I was so thankful I brought a garbage bag, but my feet were completely soaked before the race even started. Grrr.
After about a half hour the rain stopped and it looked like the weather was clearing up so I ditched the garbage bag. (Spoiler alert: this was a bad idea.)
At mile 10 it was like we ran into a wall of pouring water. Pounding thunder shook the canyon and lightning was flashing all over. It was slightly scary and I worried they would call the race. I was so impressed as I looked around me. As we were getting drenched I didn't see one runner whining or complaining or moping. Everyone was so focused and determined that I don't think it really mattered whether it was raining or not.
But it just got crazier. Suddenly the torrential downpour turned to hail! I've had plenty of rocks get into my shoes but never gotten plenty of hail in my shoes. That was certainly a first. The whole scene made me laugh really hard. If an average person saw thousands of people completely soaked running through a hail storm they would have us committed to a mental institution.
During the race I met a guy named John and we ran a bunch of miles together. He was really nice and was running his first marathon. Runners are nice people eh?
I was cruising along making good time, feeling good when I made a quick bathroom stop at mile 15. This was when my race suddenly got much harder. In that one minute of not running, my legs wound up into tight knots. I tried to stretch them but that made them cramp even more.
I kept running hoping they would loosen up but I just couldn't shake the cramps. It was strange, this hasn't happened for a long time. I was drinking and fueling good, and not going too fast for my pace so it may have just been the downhill or the cold or the fact that I stopped for a minute.
I got nervous at mile 20. The thunder really started to kick up again and there was a dark storm rolling in. I really didn't want to run another hour in the rain (thankfully it held off).
In the last few miles I knew I'd really have to push to get under 4:25. My legs just weren't cooperating. My shoes felt like they were 3 pounds heavier. Oh, wait! They were! I was popping Gu packets like Skittles to try and get one last push. Seeing the finish line in the distance made me ecstatic.
I finally made it and jumped across the finish line. I immediately regretted trying to jump because I probably got about 3/4 inch of air. At least I didn't pull the same stunt I did last year at the finish line. Usain Bolt looks awesome. I, on the other hand, looked like a really nerdy cheerleader.
I looked down at my watch and saw that I had achieved a PR by a comfortable (loaded with sarcasm) 1 minute and 4 seconds! To be honest, I felt well-trained and thought I'd be a little faster, but with leg cramps (or anything else that could come up), you just roll with the punches and do the best you can. I felt good knowing that I had 1) earned a PR, and 2) pushed my body to give everything it had.
After I crossed the finish line I saw fellow bloggers Erin & Betsy who were volunteering at the race. I told them two things: 1) Thanks for helping at the finish line! and 2) Okay, I'm going to go die now. My stomach was not at all interested in eating anything. I barely managed to eat a small ice cream sandwich without throwing up. Then I saw John again who did awesome finishing his first marathon!
I took off my shoes to see what damage had been done from running 26.4 miles in soaking wet socks. My skin looked like elephants but I amazingly avoided any blisters. My little girls begged to paint my toenails a few days ago and I realized this was probably good so I wouldn't see if any toenails had turned black.
My ailments were nothing compared to one guy I saw at the finish line who had the worst bloody nipples I have ever seen. I wanted to hug him and tell him I was sorry. A marathon in a soaking shirt could certainly cause problems. I was thankful I remembered Band-Aids.
I felt really happy at the finish line knowing that I had given 100%. It hurt really bad and it was really hard, yet this was the fastest that my legs have ever run 26.2 miles. I was happy. Us runners realize something that non-runners don't: our bodies are capable of so, so much more than most people know.
The Top Of Utah Marathon put on a fantastic race again, as usual. Aid stations were excellent, volunteers were incredible, and the finishers area was perfect. Plus - I love this shirt! The moose wearing running shoes = awesome!
And the medal?!?! This puppy is huge. It's the biggest medal in my collection. This thing is big enough to need a birth certificate. Thank you Top Of Utah for another excellent marathon!
"Some think guts is sprinting at the end of a race. But guts is what got you there to begin with. Guts start back in the hills with 6 miles to go and you're thinking of how you can get out of this race without anyone noticing. Guts begin when you still have forty minutes of torture left and you're already hurting more than you ever remember." ~ George Sheehan
congrats! i've been caught out in the hail on a run and it wasn't fun, never in a race though!ReplyDelete
I am so bummed I didn't get to meet you! I kept my eyes out for you but just never found you. Yes, that was definitely the WORST weather I have ever run or raced in. but great job with the PR, and I am loving the moose medal too. :)ReplyDelete
As much as I know inclement weather should be avoided it is fun to be out in during a run or bike. I can see how storm chasers enjoy their work. Mother nature can put on quite a show!ReplyDelete
Congratulations on your PR, all things considered sounds like quite the physical and mental effort.
I got past wet shoes by getting a pair of waterproof trail shoes. There are also the seperate sleeves to cover them. They are worth every penny, heavy wet feet can have a dramatic effect on performance and cause blisters.
Looking forward to your next PR.
What a great job during a difficult race. Congrats!ReplyDelete
Congrats on a PR in TOUGH conditions! I knew you'd rock it! best pedi ever BTW! :DReplyDelete
Great job! Loved reading this!ReplyDelete
That is one AWESOME looking medal :D congrats on achieving a PR...even if it was only by a 1 and 4 sec. You are amazing and should feel proud. I can't believe how unlucky you were /w the weather. I just wanted to know one thing - when you say you "ditched the garbage bag" - that means you put it in your pocket right?? I was so sad that you may have littered it. Hopefully there's a clean up crew if that was the case :)ReplyDelete
Anyway, cool race recap and I love that you let your girls paint your toes!
Great job!!! That medal looks like one of the coolest ones I've seen in a long time too! Running in the rain is one of my favorite things to do but doing it for that long can get kinda crazy! That poor guy with the blood all over him...crapola! He needs some help. OUCH!ReplyDelete
Congrats on a new PR--especially in those conditions, wow!ReplyDelete
That is some serious medal, I love it!
Awesome, awesome and more awesome! Great job getting a PR in such crappy conditions. The weather was nuts, the shirts cool (i loved the moose in running shoes too) and the medal was big enough to eat off of. We saw the guy with the bloody nipples and thought he must have accidently pinned his bib to them it was so bad. And we saw ponytail man! Now can you arrange for good weather in St. George? By the way, your jump was GREAT!!!ReplyDelete
Well done, that is really super! Beautiful medal and congrats on the PR! I love the toe nails as well! Awesome!ReplyDelete
Congratulations! The end of that course is tough so to PR there is awesome! I love the shirts and the medals. That alone might make it worth it! You've had a great year and a new PR is a wonderful way to top it all off! And your pictures are fantastic as usual. Great job!ReplyDelete
Way to go! I think I wouldn't have even started running with it pouring so badly. Those bloody nipples look PAINFUL! OUCH! What a terrific Medal, though. That baby is huge! Congrats on a PR!ReplyDelete
Congrats on a PR in crazy conditions! Love the medal it is HUGE!ReplyDelete
yea cory!! and i love the moose. let those legs recover for 2 weeks so you can break 4 at sgReplyDelete
Great race report! I'm going to link to your post from mine because (as usual) you are AWESOME with pictures and I was crap (as in, I took NONE). Hope to meet you someday! People who were in this race will always have it in common, like Woodstock.ReplyDelete
Oh, and your feet look WAY better than mine. :^)
Congrats Cory!! I cannot believe the weather was so wild but what an adventure. You are awesome for pushing through the pain when your legs started to cramp up. Wait to go!!ReplyDelete
Congrats on an awesome race!!! LOVE your photos!ReplyDelete
Congrats Cory!! That's so awesome. I would have cried in those conditions. You and all of those runner are seriously troopers. Congrats on trudging through that crazy tsunami and running with hail in your shoes. That is one of the nicest medals I have ever seen. Love your toes ;)ReplyDelete
AWESOME PR!!! And ... YOU'RE A CELEB!!! That weather sounded brutal! Way to push through it. I can't imagine standing at the starting line with soaked shoes! Your medal is waaaaaaaaaaay cooler than last year's, but I'm most envious of the shirt! That thing is awesome! Great job again on the fantastic race and great recap!ReplyDelete
Woohoooo, congratulations Fast Cory on a fantastic marathon PR!!! You did awesome, I am so happy for you. Sorry about the cramping, hard to know what it was since you were fueling properly...maybe the cold, as you said. Also happy you remembered the Bandaids, out to that man's nipples! Love that shirt, that is very unique and just so much fun. And what a BA medal - love it!! Congrats again, Cory, you did awesome!ReplyDelete
Woo hoo, congrats. And I love the shirt. So, I get leg cramps whenever I run the real long distances (anything around 20). Any suggestions?ReplyDelete
Cory you can come hang with me at the expo in 12 days since I have been stalking your blog for months now :) I ran Logan as one of my training runs for the marathon when we were up there for a family reunion in July, that is a gorgeous stretch of land I did 9 miles on it.ReplyDelete
Oh and I have a blood stained bib from the Stg Half in January best bib I have haha
Congrats on the PR even with cramps and hail! Yay!ReplyDelete
Congratulations on the PR. Have you ever had that perfect race where everything goes perfectly smooth. I haven't run as many races as you but I'm thinking that it's impossible. Way to go.ReplyDelete
This race was crazy! It was my first marathon and I couldn't have asked for a more memorable one. I was lucky enough to avoid blisters as well, which has to be a miracle of some kind!ReplyDelete
Great job on your PR!
that quote is one of the most amazing things i have ever read! CONGRATS on your PR. You are simply awesome...you pushed through a LOT this race and still got that PR. hey a minute is a minute and is still a PR. that medal is amazing! i cant believe how much rain there was...craziness!ReplyDelete
good job cory!!! hope to see you in St. George!
First, congrats on the PR! Great job! That race sounds alot like the OKC half marathon we did in May. I was sick, and it was cold and rainy, and hailed later in the race...although I was done at that point. I've ridden a bike through a hail storm before, that's no fun at all! Love the toenails..that's awesome! Ouch on the pic of the bloody nipples...ouch!! The shirt and medal are awesome! Sounds like you still had a great time!ReplyDelete
Congrats on the PR! Your race pics are awesome as usual!ReplyDelete
Crazy on the rain and hail during the race, that would be tough to handle!
Nice job toughing it out near the end when you cramped up, not sure how much faster you would have gone without the cramps, but you still got it done.
Great Usain Bolt lightning bolt at the end! lol
Eventually I need to try to do one of the Utah marathons - maybe St. George of Top of Utah...
I know you ran this a couple of years ago but thanks for posting about it. My wife and I are running this year and though I hope we don't have the same weather it was great seeing the pictures and hearing about your accomplishment. Great job on your PR!ReplyDelete