BIG COTTONWOOD MARATHON
This was the inaugural year for this marathon!
When I heard about the course for this marathon I wanted to be part of it.
The race has a half marathon along with the full marathon. The full marathon is a BOSTON QUALIFLIER! The “halfers” start the race 3 miles below the marathon start. Start time: 6:30 AM
Pacers were available and were all decked out in glow sticks/necklaces/bracelets so they were easy to spot at the beginning.
Full Marathon Pacers were:
The views of running through the canyon were absolutely beautiful!
Photo courtesy of my friend Jodie!
The green, red and orange leaves were unbelievable and the tall mountains were amazing. I seriously could of ran down that canyon all day.
At about mile 14 you hit the bottom of the canyon and the half marathon runners go left, full goes right. You run along the road with a great view of the SLC, UT.
If it wasn’t so smoggy from all the fires lately, it would have been a bit prettier..
Oh and yes, that is kind of a hill..after leaving the canyon the course got pretty “rolly”? Lots of ups and downs.
We ran down to 3500 S. then went over the freeway (I-215) and through the city of Cottonwood Heights, which takes you through a neighborhood, and busy intersections that were being controlled by police officers so you never had to stop and wait at stop lights.
As far as race support goes there were stations at
2.5, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25.
There was Power Bar sports performance drinks, water and bathrooms at every station. There was only fruit at two. Bananas at 19 and oranges at 25. Gels were at 7,13,17, and 23.
All the volunteers were fantastic and motivating. Some even wore costumes but all held out the cup for us and cheered us on.
The finish going up to the finish is at a business complex and there were sponsors there (whole foods) with a recovery drink, ice cream. Great Harvest was there with muffins and raspberry bars and Jimmy Johns had sandwiches.
You could even get a massage at the end!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I went into this race with no goals. (Besides finish). I did not have time to train and did absolutely NO long runs prior to this marathon. I wanted to do it simply because I LOVE running and love races. I wanted to just enjoy this race for what it was and take each mile as it came.
And that I did.
This race is close to my house so I was able to sleep at my home and with a 3:45 am alarm, I was up and out the door to meet my friend Nikki, who was running the half to drive out together to get on the buses.
The buses were clearly marked full or half. I found a friend who was running the full with her husband and we got on the bus.
The bus took us to the start of the race at Brighton Ski Resort. It was pretty chilly up there so dress accordingly. The race did provide those lovely silver blankets and gloves in our swag bag to keep warm which was awesome! I kind of wish there were fire pits available to keep warm. It was also super dark at the top so more lighting would have been great to see.
About 5 minutes from go time, I stripped of my kissy lip jammies and kept my jacket because I was shivering..which I ditched around mile 5. (They picked up all clothing to be donated)
There were only about 350 marathon runners so the beginning wasn’t packed so I wasn’t’ being pushed or shoved, which was fantastic!
The lines for the bathrooms were pretty long at the start line, so I decided to wait and just go at the next one at mile 2.5. (I also drank a bit of caffeine that probably contributed to my frequent bathroom breaks.)
I started off feeling great! The first 8 miles down I had about a 7:20 mile average.
My feet really started to hurt at about 9 from the steep downhill. I think I have bunion on both of my feet and running downhill, really aggravates it. I slowed down a bit and ran with a lady named Mo. She was awesome! I introduced myself to her and she mentioned that her runner partner name is Candice. We ran a few miles together chatting about marathons, kids, training etc.
When I got to the bottom of the canyon I had caught up with two young bucks, Michael and Kyle? Shoot… I forgot his name, but it was their first marathon so I gave them my best tips and kept on running.
When I saw the split for the half marathon and full I was really tempted to take the left but I stayed with it. I continued running and caught up with Elaine. She was an older lady (but awesome) She was running her 67th marathon. We chatted all things running. She would run for 2 minutes and walk for 45 seconds. It was fun talking with her and learning a few tricks from her.
This was a great hill…
I walked through every aid station, chatted, hung out and enjoyed that drink of water/ Power Bar drink---which was really gross. I actually think Gatorade or powerade would have been better. The Power Bar drink was a lemon lime powder mix and most stations it had to much water in it and it was just gross.. by mile 15 my stomach was starting to hurt and I think it was that electrolyte drink so I veered away from it at the rest of the stations. I loved having fruit at some stations and think there should have been more fruit stations. I knew there would only be two stations with fruit so I carried some baby food (smashed bananas) with me that I took at mile 13.
At one of the stations there was a man there that was drinking some water and he was on his 107th Marathon! I was amazed.. How cool would that be to run 107 marathons!!? He was defiantly inspiring. I asked him what his favorite marathon was and he said he has loved them all but to do the Pocatello Marathon at some point in my life. ---- Deal.
The rest of the course out of the canyon was pretty up and down. I felt great and had a pretty comfortable pace until mile 20. At this point it was starting to get a little warm outside and my legs were pretty tired. I started picking out points to run to then walk for a little before picking the next point to run to. After a few rounds of that, I remembered Elaine's strategy. I decided to run for 4 minutes walk 1. I continued in this fashion until mile 25 and then finished the last mile strong.
During my one minute walks I texted Brent a few times to let him know how close I was so he could get to the finish with two happy kids.
I was amazed to see that I had 14 text from my friends and actually took a minute to read them all and was overcome with crazy stupid emotions that you probably only get when your pregnant or had run 21 miles without training..Lets just say, I have the best friends in the world.
I finished strong and felt great. I wasn’t to beat and glad I took it pretty easy. I was happy to run through the finish to see my husband, kids, MY SISTER! and my mother in-law and her husband.
Yep, I’m sitting because 1. I was tired and 2. Baylee would NOT let go of me and she is getting so big..
gave them a nice sweaty hug and then immediately wanted chocolate milk.. or water.. none of which I could find at the finish line.. Brent handed me a raspberry bar from the great harvest stand but I could barely eat it. Popsicles were given out but it was claimed quick..
We grabbed my bag and headed to the nearest gas station and grabbed a recovery drink.
Overall, I loved the marathon, simply because I did it with no expectations for myself and enjoyed the amazing views and met some great people. For being the first year of the race I found it to be well organized and supported.
I’m not sure I would do the full marathon again, just because my feet don’t love that much down hill and rolling hills. But I know it would be a great race for a lot of my friends.
I do however want to give the half a go! You run down the canyon then straight to the finish! PR city baby.
This is a great race for anyone who loves downhill but still has guts to run up a few hills as well.
I was impressed by the aid stations and felt like they did a great job. I would of liked more fruit and colder water. It was kind of luke warm and I LOVE cold water when running. That Power Bar stuff has got to go.. it was gross and made my stomach hurt..if you don’t train with a certain performance drink you probably shouldn’t race with it….
I also would of liked to see a timer over the finish line so I know what my approximate finish time was right when I crossed the finish line. Also, Water bottles, chocolate milk would have been nice. Jimmy Johns ran out of sandwiches by the time I got there, but I heard a lot of family and non-racers were given some treats. Which is cool, if your prepared to share..
An awesome bonus to this race is that your race pics from ZAZOOSH photography are FREE! Which is great! You don’t have to pay for a nice sweaty pic of yourself running with sweaty pits.
I LOVED the medals and the tech race shirts! The shirt was actually fitting and comfortable which isn't common with a lot of races.
Now, I know some folks are probably wondering how I feel about running the marathon without really training or following a plan prior to the race.
I have to admit, if I was going to race this race for a PR or to qualify for Boston I would probably recommend actually training for it.(Duh..) I actually felt great during the race. My legs got tired yes, but not more so then my last marathon that I actually trained for.
I was a bit sore the next day and even a little today but again, not more then my last marathon. Actually, probably a little less!
I would run a marathon with minimal training again for sure! Crazy, I know.. but I really loved running this race because I absolutely LOVE running, There was no pressure or expectations. I loved meeting people and not feeling stressed to get to the finish. I was able to relax and just enjoy it. I wasn’t beat down by long runs or over trained. It worked well for me.
I finished in 4:49. I got a PR for my slowest marathon ever. I finished with little training and I didn’t poop my pants, so it was a good one!
Questions of the day?
Q. What do you LOVE about races?
Q. If you were a race director what would you add to the race to make it different/better then others?