Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Details of Morgan Valley Marathon, July 28 2012


July 28, 2012. Start time: 5:30 a.m. (yikes!) Still dark. Motorcycle cops are right behind us, lighting the way and prodding us on... I just got there barely in time, at 5:25 (yeah, had GI issues at the hotel) and I jump into last place (which I will defend with my honor) as everyone runs off like bats out of Hell. I'm exhausted at Mile 2 (whose idea was this???). 

At 6:00 a faint light peeps over the mountain tops. Everyone in this race except me is a hard-core athlete. They say it is a flat course. It is not. (Just look at the hills in the pic below!) They say it is a fast course. It is not. It is as fast as the person who runs it, which is not me. I become best buddies with a couple of poetic Honey Buckets along the course--not sure why this morning I had to have ---uhhh--- GI issues. At least the HBs have toilet paper. Can't complain. 

 I catch up with someone who thought she was last, and we jog along companionably. For too many miles we are on the bad side of Highway 84, on a road that parallels the highway, a couple of hundred feet up from it (which couple of hundred feet constituted a Hill which we had to climb and will constitute a downhill which will kill our quivering quads). The road is cambered, and that can make for a real pain in the knee! Traffic picks up on the road. It's a bipolar situation: half frantic highway scene, half bucolic repose. Plenty of horses, cows, calves, and roosters or trucks, semis, SUVs, and motorcycles. 

Finally we are back in the shelter of the valley. Not too many humans out this Saturday morning. But it is beautiful. Anywhere you look, there are mountains, fringed by velvety hills in a nice shade of chartreuse. Two trains chug along at the bottom of the valley. A couple of goats stare, not excited. Roadkill: One little kitty, three birds, and a half-dozen unidentified small mammals. Great water stations, very friendly and helpful. I vote mentally for the one at mile 8, I think it features a fairy with gossamer wings manning the Powerade distribution there. 

Cheerful ladies in a roaming executioners' cart offer to end my misery about 6 times between miles 9 and 22. Heroically, I decline. The med guy gives me 2 electrolyte pills. Why not? At mile 23, there is some Coke and some Otter Pops (what the heck is an Otter Pop?? who cares? it's cold!). Mile 23 to 24 is the most awful stretch, an empty village street that's straight and endless. Finally, Mickelsen mile! Almost shaded, twisty and turny, by the babbling brook. You can hear the finish line, but you're running in the opposite direction, until finally the course turns again and you can SEE the FINISH line. And you Finish. You get the medal, you get cold water, and you get a nice bag of ice for the knee!

View from the hotel in downtown Ogden, UT

August 1, 2012
I checked the Utah box on Saturday, July 28, 2012, after 5 hours and 47 minutes or so of slogging through the thin air and battling GI issues. But I did not finish last, just third from last. 

So that is State number 21. In 2012 I did Louisiana (Rock n'Roll New Orleans), Kansas (Land of Oz marathon), and now---drum roll please...

 Utah (Morgan Valley Marathon--Do more, Be more, Run Morgan!) 

That's me looking totally moronic about 100 feet from the Finish Line. Note the  stylish headwear. It was darn HOT out there as soon as the Sun jumped over the mountains. Unfortunately there was no crowd support a-tall to admire my new pink ruffled running skirt. Oh well... Vanitas gets me every time.

So, here are a few pics from my Day After at Antelope Island, near Salt Lake City, UT (just 15 minutes from where I was staying). There were tons of bisons, lots of little ones. Millions of birds too.

Taking my own picture about halfway up the trail on Antelope Island. 
Close Encounter of the Shaggy Kind!

See-through Bison at the Visitor Center. I bought a keychain with a pretty stone on it.

Two thirds of the way up the trail. Nice rocks--placid lake.

Plenty of these cutie-pies around too. This one paused so I could capture him on "film." 
Shirt and medal and postcards. Great colors on this technical V-neck short sleeve Tee. This marathon gave out good stuff. I think I got some GU chomps and a couple of tiny LED flashlights on keychains, among other goodies. Not pictured is a little one-strap backpack that I found very handy.

I just loved Antelope Island! There are a few trails, a beach with showers, a junk food concession,and a campground here. I spent about 2 hours soaking in the Lake. You can just sit there, and the salt water holds you up! Amazing. Theoreme d'Archimede: "Tout corps plonge dans un liquide recoit de la part de celui-ci une force verticale egale au poids du liquide deplace" or something like that.


July 2013 Update, about time!

So it's July 3 and I'm finally able to attempt re-entry into blogworld.
Okay, I have a lot of catching up to do. Whine: Ain't easy to take classes and work and still eat and sleep and run! It's insane! But insane people run in my family. At least, I do.

Anyway, I left it at hinting that I would talk about the Dakotas and Olathe, Kansas (Land of Oz), and Louisiana. Well, I've done a few more since my last posting. I'm up to 24 marathons for the 50-State Quest (29 marathons total).
Working backward: I trotted around Denver, Colorado, for a high-altitude jaunt in the Colfax Marathon on May 19, 2013. Before that, Columbia, South Carolina, was the site of my award-winning performance on March 9 2013 in the surprisingly cool and famously hot capital city marathon (yup, got third place in my division, but race directors have NOT sent me my award yet, whatever it may be, and before that, I juked it in Jackson, Mississippi, for the Mississippi Blues marathon on January 5 2013, in yet another capital city. I just love capitols. But I didn't see the one in Denver because it was shrouded (undergoing renovations, I guess), and it just looked like a big ugly water tower.

Best race so far for 2013 in terms of organization/swag: Mississippi Blues marathon. They played up the musical aspect and gave runners a harmonica and a blues CD, plus free entry (with free trolley transportation) to a bunch of nightclubs with cool blues performances after the marathon. Also best medal hands down, absolutely awesome and glittering, a guitar in sparkly blue... fabulous.

Best activity after the race: Columbia, SC, gave runners free admission to their wonderful museum of art, and by chance the Alliance fran├žaise was presenting a free play based on pictures at the exhibition. Spent a great Sunday there. Great exhibits, hilarious play. And the medal is sizable and original. But I want my 3rd place award, dammmmit! And those hills can give you pause (sore paws). And it was a two-loop course, so you knew you would do those darn hills again (I counted 37 hills). And some of us almost got killed when a driver raced through the intersection while we were running (he didn't see the cop). A close call...

Hardest run, and poorest organization, but best snow-capped mountain in the distance: Denver Colfax Marathon. The packet pickup was overwhelmed, the many miles on Colfax Blvd were boring, and of course the altitude got me (even though I live in Albuquerque, same elevation as Denver, I still don't do well with altitude...). And my t-shirt was not cut right, the shoulders are uneven and crooked, and the medal was unbelievably boring, a big 26.2, which had very little to do with Denver. How about some pointy mountains or something for next time?

So that's 2013, so far. I was contemplating Whitefish, Montana, next September, but I'm afraid of bears. Missoula was sold out when I looked into it. Note to self: sign up early for next year. I may do the RunWoodstock in Pinckney, Michigan--a 60s-themed race weekend. Get your groove on...

Keep backtracking.... Last year, in 2012 I started off with the New Orleans Rock'nRoll, post-Mardi Gras marathon in early March (March 3, 2012): very nice crowd support, excellent decorations of trees with beads in them from previous bacchanalia, nice rock bands, but let me tell you: the beignets they are so famous for don't hold a candle to the ones my maman used to make. I tried 2 different places, nope. They are too big, too mushy, floury, sugary. The real beignets should be small and spherical, crisp on the outside and tender but cooked on the inside. The monsters here were big ole boxes of starch. Ay ay ay... someone could make a fortune by setting up a stand with the real beignets... but I digress. anyway, below that is me at packet pickup, trying to look exotic with a blue flower in my hair.

 Getting back to running: on April 21 I hit the yellow brick road, which wasn't brick and wasn't yellow, but you can't have everything (in fact, you can't get your award!! I earned third place in my age group there too, but have I received my award? No sirree BOB!--and you can't get decent Gatorade either-the one dispensed on the course of the Olathe, Kansas, Land of Oz Marathon had been diluted 10 times more than it should have been--it was like drinking water with a pink crayon dipped in it. argh! I was depending on the Gatorade on the course, did not have my own, and ran out of electrolytes (aka mojo) at mile 17. That threw me for a loop. And I almost threw up after I crossed the finish line. Very upsetting! I cannot recommend that marathon, despite the nice witches and Dorothy's running around). 

Then on July 28 I was off to altitude in Utah for the Morgan Valley Marathon (Be more Do more Run Mor....gan! was the motto.) The weird part was starting in pitch black except for the motorcycles throwing garish light on my butt and pushing my pace. I was exhausted by mile 1. I was expecting a landscape more like the Moab area and was disappointed to find something that reminded me of Virginia. No tall  mountaintops. Nevertheless, the race crew was awesome (except for the lack of direction in some places, where being alone, of course, I had to ask innocent bystanding construction workers if they knew which way the marathon runners were supposed to go... sigh). Another big sad surprise was the Coke they promised at mile 20, which was about as hot as the surface of Venus in summer. Not refreshing... But hey, I finished. And the blue and orange t-shirt is nice. See below, sky and mountaintop, that's basically what I saw from Ogden where the hotel was, when I looked up.