Thanks for visiting my blog. This is where I document and share all of my running adventures with my friends and fellow runners. The good, the bad, and the unquestionably painful. All for your entertainment! Enjoy!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ogden Marathon: It Didn't Totally Suck

Despite the appearance, I'm not making a habit of running road marathons. I ran one two weeks ago, took a weekend off from racing and came right back with another road race. I can assure you, this is NOT normal and will not become a regular thing. Don't judge me!

I ran the Ogden Marathon for three reasons:

1. It's the hometown race. I'm a distance runner.
2. People RAVE about how amazing it is. I need to know if they're full of crap.
3. I needed the miles and supported training runs are kind of nice.

Yeah...the VIP bib!

I was using this race as my last long run before my 50k TRAIL RACE in Wyoming. The 50k is 8 days after the Ogden Marathon, so I planned to run an easy pace, sticking to my splits and focusing on nutrition. I decided to have a finish time of 3:41. You may think that's a random finish time, but it's not! Here's my line of thinking...My qualifying time for the Boston Marathon is 3:15 (because I'm old). I wanted to run at BQ pace, plus ONE minute per mile. This equals 26 minutes on top of 3:15. Set your calculator aside...it comes out to 3:41.

The weatherman had promised a cold and rainy day. For once, he was spot on! I woke up to a relentless downpour. The tone of the day was set.

Like most Utah races, this was a point to point event. We loaded onto buses in downtown Ogden and rode up Ogden Canyon to the race start.

I was fortunate enough to be riding on the VIP bus, which gave me a few perks. Such as:

1. Riding in a luxury motor coach instead of nasty, old school bus.
2. Having breakfast served during the ride to the start.
3. Being able to sit in the warm bus until the race started, versus being dumped off like cattle to freeze to death.

Getting ready to load up for the ride.

This was my ride to the start

The OTHER mode of transportation

 Right before the race start, I had a chance to hang out with a few of my buddies from our local trail running group. I quickly realized that talking to badass trail runners at a road race is very much like talking to your buddies while standing in the tampon aisle at the grocery store. It's nice to see them, but it's a bit awkward. At least until we change the subject to running 100 mile races. That seems to break the tension.

Hanging with two great trail runners, Ryan and Harrison

As we lined up for the start, the rain started up with renewed intensity. I turned my music on, tuned out the crowd, and put my legs on cruise control. My plan was to zone out for the next 3 hours and 41 minutes.

Misty mountain morning

It took a couple of miles to loosen up due to the cold, but I settled in after that and just focused on my pace. This course has a net elevation loss, meaning that we run more downhill than uphill. It was tempting to run faster, but I stuck with my pace and just ran, focusing on easy miles.

One of my complaints about road races is the utter lack of changing conditions and scenery. The Ogden Marathon is a bit better in the scenery department, but it still gets old pretty quick. Instead, I focused on the 13.1 mile mark because Jo was hoping to be there when I came through. I told her when I would be there and I nailed my timing. So far, so good on pace management.

Coming to the halfway point. WET and COLD!

I stopped so we could chat briefly. I knew she would want a status update and I passed off a Readers Digest version of the race to that point. We exchanged a few quick words and I was headed back out.

Taking a quick shot of Hammer gel. More on this later...

Headed toward the finish!

After 17 miles, we take a sharp turn and head down Ogden Canyon. A lot of our elevation loss comes in this section of the race. Some is steep, but most of it is pretty gradual. The canyon has a lot of neat features, so I really enjoyed running through it.

Coming through Ogden Canyon

After finishing the run through the canyon, we were directed along a paved bike/running path for a couple of miles, then we're deposited onto the city streets for the final mile of the race.

I was still feeling great and I coasted toward the finish line, happy to be getting this wrapped up.

Coming through the LONG finishers chute

As stated earlier, I was shooting for a finish time of 3:41 and that's exactly what I got. I was able to maintain a steady, even pace for the entire 26 miles.

Sporting some fresh bling! Headed to get dry clothes.

Drying off and getting changed in the VIP tent

I count this race as a huge success because I accomplished everything I had hoped for. I finished feeling strong, I hit my splits flawlessly, and I got a great training run.

My nutrition needs were almost nonexistent. I took in 3 ounces of Hammer Apple Cinnamon Gel and less than 12 ounces of water. This is mainly attributed to the low temperatures and the easy pace. I didn't use any electrolytes at all and felt great the entire time.

I had decided to experiment with an Ultimate Direction handheld gel flask during this race because I hate using packaged gels. I also hate seeing them litter the race course, which is clearly an opinion that is held by far too few runners at these events. Every time I see a road runner toss their trash on the ground, I cringe. It's stupid and senseless, but they either don't know better or simply don't care.

The UD gel flask. TOTAL FAIL!

 I decided the gel flask is a total piece of crap. The bottle is hard to open and the bottle holder wants to slip off the bottle constantly. I struggled with this thing for the entire race. If I had another place to carry my tiny camera, I would have just tossed this thing in a trash can at an aid station. Don't waste your money.

Now that this race is behind me, I'm excited to be heading to Wyoming where I can run through the mountains again. The Ogden Marathon ranks high on my list for road races and it was definitely a great way to spend the day, but it'll never compete with a good trail race.

Thanks for taking the time to read my race report. I hope to see many of you out on the trails very soon!


  1. Nice job out there, impressive pacing!

    1. Thanks Harrison! It was a nice surprise to see you at the start. It made standing in the rain a little more tolerable.