I’ve heard that you learn something new in every race. Well, this was one of those races.
I had to get up at 3 am and meet Jim at his house about 4 am. We drove down to Provo for the inaugural Timp Trail Marathon. All the way down it was raining pretty hard and the outside temps were around 40 degrees. I think we kept testing each other to see if one of us would back out so the other could follow but no dice. We arrived at the start to check in and grab our bib. It was still coming down and the runners were all gathering under the pavilion. After some pre-race instructions we all head to the start line for the 6 am gun.
We were off, we started up right away but it was runnable. It was on fire road and gravel so it was actually a nice start considering what we were about to encounter. As we came around the mountain to see the light of Provo, we saw a trail sign to turn and go down. Well about ¼ of the way down I looked up to see almost all the front runners coming back up. I immediately put on the brakes and turned around. We had taken a wrong turn. The sign was there for later in the race- about mile 25. As we got back on track, the fire road soon turned into a slog through sticky mud. The rain had taken its toll already and the course was muddy. Going through the first aid station I felt pretty good. I had a good couple weeks of training and never backed off going into this one. My legs were a bit tired but I was hoping this would all pay off later in the year. About 6 miles in I went to take a drink for my hydration vest and only got air- what the hell? I had 2 liters 6 mile ago and sure wasn’t drinking that much. As I stripped the vest off my back I realized how saturated my shorts were- especially in the back. DAMN! My hydration bladder had a seam leak. Well, I decided it was to be a long day!
When we started our first real climbing around mile 11, I noticed myself sweating much more and using a lot more energy. This wasn’t good. It turned slow and go for awhile and when the trail became runnable again it was the kind of mud that takes your shoes off. I ran with Jim Skaggs a majority of the day and lucky for me he let me takes little nips off his water. It wasn’t enough but it was something. As we headed up the most beautiful section I have seen in a long time I could feel a bonk coming on. No water which meant no way to wash down some gel. I was literally running on empty. I took a few drinks from the creeks (keeping my fingers crossed still) but I really had no choice. Every add station I hit I threw down potato chips and water praying it would get me to the next aid station.
We got to run through some amazing country and when we started our first decent, I was flying- way too fast for me but I was in a groove. I slipped and fell a few times but no damage, I was essentially mud glissading. After the last aide station we still had one or two short but decent climbs and then it was a bomb downhill. By the time I hit the downhill my calves were really ceasing up. They were screaming! The last 5 miles I just took off. I looked down and saw I was clocking about an 8 and sub 8 mile but had no desire to slow. As I neared the finish, I saw my niece and wife who had hiked up the trail to see when I would be heading down. They gave me that last little surge and I finished under 6:20- well 6:19 was my time.
Looking back at all the rain, mud, snow, nutrition and hydration issues- I feel pretty good about the day. I kept reminding myself I am getting ready for Squaw and this race was incredible! I enjoyed everything about the race itself- trails, scenery, start/finish, volunteers, RD and all. I definitely recommend this race to anyone. Don’t let the marathon distance fool you. This is one tough mutha!
So what I learned to day was- check your gear! If I would have noticed the leak the morning of or night before, I like my chances of a top 20 spot. As I sit, 33rd. Great day on the trails and a good one for my confidence heading into the last 2 weeks.