Sunday, May 22, 2016

2016 Ogden Marathon Race Recap - Ogden Utah

Official Time: 4:24:04
Placement: 767 out of 1559, 467 out of 838 of men, 53rd place in age group
Results: Here
Race Website:Here
Weather: low 40's at start with light rain, swirling wind.  Warmer and sunny at end.
Garmin RouteHere

18:55Off to a decent start. Felt a little fast but I am going downhill
69:08Into a groove.  This is about the pace I wanted to hit
99:43Blasted by wind and some rolling hills begin at this point
129:57The half way point can't come soon enough. Buffeted by winds
1410:45Bathroom break at the half way point. At this point I think my Garmin was a little confused
1510:42Hills begin here
179:36I think my garmin lost connection here. 
1910:05Enjoying the down hill part. Really wish I had more in the tank to take advantage of them
2210:22Some how able to run this pace despite feeling like I am crawling.
2410:40At this point I wanted the race to be over. So tired, so miserable feeling
2511:42How many more quarter miles left?
26.565:58Finally finished.
Total Miles: 26.56* - 4:24:04

*My Garmin appears to have lost connection in a few spots and I think it kept assuming I was running while using the restroom.  After about mile 13 all splits are questionable.


I am not 100% sure why I signed up for the Ogden Marathon.  Sure, I am trained to run a marathon, but I've just finished a pretty lengthy series of long-distance races and I was bordering on the burned out line for quite a while.

I think when I thought about it, I noticed that the weather was good and I figured the course was a fast one and after all I had done the winter training series, so why not just go and see what happens.

I had also done the 2013 and 2015 editions and I didn't have the best race in 2013 but did extremely well in 2015.  I was hoping to perhaps close out my crazy race series with a bang.


I used an extended lunch hour on Friday to make the roughly 45 minute (one-way) trip to Weber State University to pick up my bib.  I remember back in 2013 when I picked up my bib the packet pickup was in the museum at the Union Station -- it was cramped and really wasn't conducive for browsing.  In the past two years it has come along way and there are now plenty of vendors and stuff to check out.  Either way, since I was on my lunch "hour" I grabbed my packet took a quick look around and headed back to work.

I had toyed with getting a hotel room but in the past I have been unable to sleep and it really only saves me about 30 minutes of drive time.  I figured I'd save the money and just get up a bit early to hit the race.

Despite sleeping at home, I only slept marginally better and was up before 2:45.  I had to get ready (eat) and be out the door by 3:20 AM-ish to make a bus in downtown Ogden.  Previous experience has taught me to get there around 4:15 and I've never had any problems finding parking.  In fact, the last 3 years I've parked about 5 minutes away from the finish line and in roughly the same spot.

By 4:30 I was on a bus and 15 minutes later we were on our way to the top of Ogden Canyon.  I wound up chatting with a fellow runner on the way up and we compared notes on marathons and such.  The bus was HOT... it was like everyone was afraid to put their windows down. 

I had brought a bunch of clothes and supplies as experience had taught me I had a good 90 minute wait.  The cool temperatures and mild sun forecast had turned into a prediction of rain and wind -- and threats of thunder storms. I was a bit relieved when I saw that the deluge was nothing more than a sprinkle.

Since I was on one of the first buses I had a pretty good opportunity to find a nice spot by the fire, of which they had many.  I put on my warm clothes and put up my umbrella and pretty much vegetated for the next 70 minutes.  Unfortunately I didn't get to meet anyone up at the top and it was just nice to sit there, although the smoke from the wet fire didn't exactly help with breathing.

Thirty minutes before race time I used the bathroom and got my stuff into the bag truck before lining up at the race start.

The Race

The weather site had predicted that the rain would stop around 8AM.  With a 7:15 start I figured I'd have to endure an hour, at most.  Turns out, the rain would last well until mile 17 or so.  Compound that with swirling winds that almost never seemed to be at your back.  I knew I was going to be hurting in terms of being overheated but the fear of hypothermia did set in.

I had toyed with going out lightly dressed -- just tech shirts, but I opted to keep my faithful windbreaker which has served me well through many marathons.  I also went with some throw away gloves and two tech shirts and a hat.  Within a few miles my gloves were soaked through and my feet were wet.  

By the half way point, I was thoroughly soaked but not terribly cold.  Sure my hands were cold and my fingers made it hard to fish out gels out of my pocket, but my core wasn't bad.  However, I was worried about getting hypothermia.

The first few miles are downhill and I took it easy.  I hadn't been feeling 100% all week -- not in terms of physical health but just "tired".  And I knew that very likely today was going to be challenging.  I wanted to hold onto 9 minute miles, recover a bit in the middle miles and then have enough energy to bang it down Ogden Canyon (starting around mile 17).  Around mile 7 you are introduced to Huntsville / Eden and the course has more rolling hills.  The wind at various points was in your face or at your back.  It was hard to judge where or what it was going to do.  

Crowd support during the middle miles was iffy at best.  I expected it to be thin.  The Eden area isn't heavily populated and I suppose having 1500 runners tying up traffic in your bucolic neighborhood doesn't exactly bode well for us.  But a few did brave the elements to cheer us on, which was appreciated.

That plan was going pretty well up until about the half way point.  At that point I was pretty tired and while I had hit my half way split of roughly 2:02 I felt like my leg muscles were simply dead and not responding.  It was as if the cold air had frozen them.  Also, the rain was more intense at this point and I couldn't even enjoy the scenery.  So I kept thinking about how tired I was and how cold and miserable it was.

I did make a bio break at the half way point.  I managed to drop my Gu on the floor of the bathroom, which meant it was going in the trash.  My hands were so cold and I was so wet that I was fumbling with everything.  Luckily the race had PLENTY of support. They had the Cliff-bar GU brand, which I don't use regularly.  The vanilla tasted fine but seemed to not sit well with me and I didn't want to chance an emergency bathroom break.

I also saw a few people heading to shelter as well and aid station crews were asking if people were alright.  I suspected a lot of people who hadn't layered up with the clothing were calling it quits and that mentally made me nervous.

After the half way point, there is a bit of a climb and it is a grind here.  I knew it was coming but it is always tougher.  You want to see the top of Ogden Canyon but yet it is still a few miles away.

By the time I reached the top of Ogden Canyon I was really desperate.  At least for the next 5 miles I knew I could get some nice downhill and hopefully make up some of my time.  But hope as I might, my legs were just dead.  The rain had largely stopped and the canyon was cool and shaded.  It was kind of fun watching the roaring Ogden River on my right as I made my way down the canyon.

I was totally downtrodden when the 4:15 pacer passed me.  I had hopes that I had banked enough time to at least get 4:0X, but I didn't even have the energy or spirit to try and make some ground.  I just wanted the race to be over.

Only photo I took on the course
The final 4 miles or so is on the Ogden bike trail.  There is plenty of crowd support along here and in the past I've managed to eek out some decent miles.  Here, with no downhills (it was largely flat), I was forced to churn away.  I was being passed by lots of runners and I just wanted to finish so badly. 

The weather had turned from chilly and rainy to almost warm and sunny.  In fact, I was now overheating.  With a wet jacket (that was getting drier) and two shirts I was now overdressed.  I wound up taking off my jacket and carrying it the final 3 miles, which wasn't fun.

I had only managed to get down about 1.5 gels on my run and that might've been part of the problem. Also in the early miles I found myself not thirsty per say, but grabbing Gatorade at the aide stations but not really drinking it.  I'd take a sip, swallow some and mostly spit out the rest.  So I really think I was dehydrated and under fueled by the time I desperately crossed the finish line.

I do believe I saw Bart Yasso who helped push me to the finish.  He was a guest at the race and I think he was watching the 4-hour-something marathoners finish.  


Well, this race didn't go to plan at all.  I just struggled almost from mile 7 until the finish.  I ran into a similar situation when I ran the 2013 edition.  I think in 2013 I was under trained.  This version, I am over trained and have done way too much in the past few weeks. 

With two not-so-good races in the past few weeks, it is probably time to take notice and take a bit of a break from racing.

That being said, the organizers of the Ogden Marathon did a fantastic job.  They had plenty of aid stations that were well-stocked with enthusiastic volunteers.  The aid stations had Gatorade, water and gels and food.  Also there were plenty of bathrooms.  I only had to wait about 5 - 10 minutes 30 minutes before the race start to use one.  Also, there were plenty of on-course bathrooms.  

The waiting area, as usual was a bit lengthy, but the time went by fast.  I am glad the rain wasn't worse.  It could've been a monsoon and there is very little shelter to be had.

The shirt was nice.  The woman's version is a purple and the men's was a black long-sleeved shirt.  Very thick and has the Ogden city logo on it.  Sort of wish it had said "marathon" somewhere on the front of it in more prominent letters though.

The finisher's medal is a heavy duty one and one that is worthy of the price of admission (I registered about a week before the race closed, so I paid about $115).

Nice sign of rain at the finish

The finish line was teaming with cheering fans.  It was nice to get a warm reception.  

They had plenty of food and drink at the end.  They had the usual bananas, orange slices, sports drink and chocolate milk.  They also had Pepsi, which certainly quelled my churning stomach.  I grabbed not one, but two Pepsis and circled around until I felt like my stomach was going to be okay and that I'd be able to get my gear.  

I didn't really explore the finish line.  I was pretty miffed by my time and while I wasn't distraught, I really felt I should've been done better.  Gear claim was a snap and I got my stuff and actually this year I remembered where I had parked and had zero problems finding my car.  In the years past I've had to ask people where Brewski's Bar was in order to find my car.

Overall, though, this race won't have very fond memories for me.  Definitely not because of the organization or the course but it is all on me.  Yes, the weather was challenging, two I hadn't really fueled very well through the race, and three, I've been doing a LOT of long distance racing without much recovery.  So it all added up to a fairly predicable "slow" marathon.  

In reality, I was doing this one to do it, but at the same time, I do care to some degree about my time.  This race was definitely a wake-up call that I need to dial it back -- at least for a bit in order to recover.

Overall though, if you are reading and want to know if you should do this race, I would encourage you to do it.  The course is very scenic and the volunteers at the aid stations are among the best I've seen in a race.  I still dislike the long way at the start, but in the point-to-point races they seem to be par for the course.

No comments:

Post a Comment