Monday, June 11, 2012

Utah Valley Marathon

I know my blog post tend to be a little bit wordy sometimes.  This one is no exception.  I enjoy processing what running and getting back in shape has brought to my life and recording these events helps me understand what I have gained from all of this.  Thanks for following along!

I run because long after my footprints fade away, maybe I will have inspired a few to reject the easy path, hit the trails, put one foot in front of the other, and come to the same conclusion I did: I run because it always takes me where I want to go.
Dean Karnazes, Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner

"I run because it always takes me where I want to go." I read this quote after I went running on Friday. This was an rescheduled long run. It was hard to get up, but I knew it was my only shot to get the run in. That run did take me where I wanted to go. Not only did a do one of my favorite routes, but I wanted to see how I would do going the longest I've run since the marathon. I finished the run a bit tired, but really happy that I went and I got a little confidence back. That was where I really wanted to go. To a better state of mind and that run took me there. I feel like I'm slowly on my way back.
Saturday was a great experience for me. I got up early and headed over to the finish line area for the Utah Valley Marathon. We were busy from the time I got there until we left in the afternoon. I drove as close as I could to finish line and headed over. I found a group of volunteers that were unwrapping the finisher medals. There were over 7,000 medals to get ready so I found a chair, seated in the middle of University Avenue and started unwrapping. About the time I started, both the half marathon and marathon had begun, but we wouldn't be seeing anyone for well over an hour. The time went by quickly and all went well except for the minor annoyance of one of the volunteers who took it upon himself to be in charge. He was mostly ignored so it was a little humorous.
The first ones in were the wheelchair and mobility assisted racers. They really flew down the canyon! I was surprised there wasn't much of a fuss made about them. No one from the race other than the announcer even acknowledged that they came through. I talked to one of them when I grabbed a medal and gave it to him. He said that it was not unusual. I guess that everyone is gearing up for the mass of runners and the main event that they get lost in the hustle and bustle.
Next the top half marathoners came through and there was a bit of excitement. There was plenty of attention on them as they came through. Most of us were still unwrapping the last of the medals, but it was fun to see the elite runners come through. It is just amazing how fast some can cover the 13.1 miles in a little over an hour. The top time was:
KYLE PERRY M 28 PROVO UT 1:06:43 1:06:43
I have yet to run a 10K that fast!
Less than an hour and a half after the first half marathoner came across, the first marathoner crossed the line.
KEMBOI, PETER 2:28:56 5:41 2:28:56 1:13:12 32 HEBRON KY
There were several highlights for me. I saw quite a few of my neighbors finish the half and full marathon. Shout outs to all of them! Wayne Y., Tanya T., Carrie J., Barbara H. Chris D. Bill H. , Skip M. and Nancy H.
Bill and Skip were pacers for the half and full respectively. Pacers are an amazing group who run the marathon, holding a sign the whole way, just to help fellow racers meet there race time. They do these distances several times a year! Thanks to all of the pacers. And a shout out to Michelle B, who had signed up to work the finish line and let me know how to volunteer. She hung in there to the end and it was fun to get to know her a bit better.
One person that I didn't see, ended up breaking my heart when I found out what happened. Super Mom Erin, is a blogger who just a few years ago was overweight and not happy with herself. She and her husband Josh have 12 kids! Many of them special needs adoptions. She trained hard for this race and was excited to run hard and fast. The race blew up on her! You just never know when that might happen. Most of us are lucky enough to have it happen on a training run, but she never had any warning what was going to happen. You can read her heartfelt report here. I choked up a bit when I read about how at 3:15 in the race that her husband and kids would know she wasn't going to make her goal and her not wanting to disappoint anyone. I felt the same way when I just about didn't make it across the Pineview Dam for the cut-off time at the Ogden Marathon. I thought how much I didn't want to disappoint everyone either. I came within 1 minute of getting a DNF!

As the focus shifted from the half to the full came on, I hung around for the last of the half-marathoners. who didn't get much attention. I made sure they had someone to congratulate them on making the 13.1 miles and greeting them with the medal that they had earned. The hard work they had put in to be able to finish. I hope it helped them realize what a big deal it was.

After the last half-marathoner came through, I helped out at the marathon finish. The volunteers were slowly disappearing, but I had fun handing out the medals and as it became hot, some of grabbed water cups and got them to the runners as they finished up. Even though the course was downhill, a lot of runners said how hard it was because they had a stiff wind in their face from about mile 7 on.

I also heled a lost kid find his parents, one runner that about collapsed on us and we helped her to the medical tent. Several other runners needed help getting their bearings straight, they had given their all physically and mentally to cross the finsh so we made sure they were ok. I kept my eye on one runner who struggled across the line. I got him some water and poured some on him. He found the nearest shade under a table and sat their looking exhausted. I grabbed him some oranges and talked with him on and off as I grabbed water for the runners coming in. In about a half an hour, he looked much improved.

The last thing I did was to greet the last marathoner in (they closed the finish 6.5 hours after it started). I told her that the last place finisher from Ogden this year, welcomed the last place finisher from this year's Utah Valley Marathon.

As I walked across the closing down expo, I saw a marathoner who was probably in his late teens or early twenties. I remembered him crossing the finish because he expressed so much appreciation to the volunteers. I asked where he was from. He told me San Diego and his goal was to do 12 marathons this year. This marked his 7th completed! I wished him well and headed for the car.

As I drove home, I saw a person with a marathon bib on still on the course and walking it in. They were still several miles out, but I'm sure they were proving something to themselves. I had nothing but respect for that!

Hang in there and I will too!


  1. Way to give back dad. I am glad that you were able to help and hung in until the end. You are such a great example to me of finishing what you have set out to do. I love reading your experiences and learning what you have learned. It inspires me to do better and be better. Thanks for being such a great dad. I love you!

  2. I agree with the comment above: nice work paying it forward. How wonderful to be the welcoming committee for that last finisher. Remarkable for both of you. I will take a visit over to super mom Erin.