My Profile

@runwildeighttwo

Santa Fe, NM Raving since 2023 Boston Marathon finisher Active 4 months, 1 week ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):

    Co-founder NBR

  • Rave race:
  • Race that's calling my name:

    Berlin

  • I run because:

    Running for mental health.

My Races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

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Future Races

Personal Bests (1)

Race Distance Location Date Result
Marathon Provo, UT Jun 3, 2023 2:55:36

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (2)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Marathon Provo, UT Jun 3, 2023 2:55:36
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 3, 2022 3:07:34

My Raves

Utah valley marathon I am writing this review because there are a few things I wish I had known going into this Marathon and hopefully I can save someone the … MORE

Utah valley marathon

I am writing this review because there are a few things I wish I had known going into this Marathon and hopefully I can save someone the discomforts I encountered. Firstly it is a gorgeous course, with absolutely stunning views, the natural beauty and awe inspiring vistas just don’t stop.
It starts early, and that took a lot out of me, I got the bus about 3:30 am, but the busses were not school busses like in basically every other marathon I have run including Boston, they were comfortable and the ride was smooth and not overcrowded or cramped, which is a major plus at that early hour.
It was possible to find a place to stay within walking distance of the busses, so it made getting to the bus very easy, which is a first for me, with so many marathons having long uncomfortable chaotic bus rides that this was really the exception. 
Here is the one thing I wish I had been better prepared for. The temperature said it would be in the low 50s for the start, so I dressed in warm layers, but when we arrived at the start it felt freezing, you could see everyone’s breath. I have never got to a start so early and they did provide reflective blankets, but because it is dark and there are tall snow covered mountains all around a valley, the freezing air felt like it was drifting down off the icy peaks and collecting in that ice box.
I was upset to see a lot of people go into porta-potties and not come out. There were fires but the smoke was really thick and there were lots of people curled up on the ground in their reflective blankets shivering. It was way colder than any of the weather apps said it would be, and the grass of the field where we were waiting was icy wet. I was wearing some thrift store track pants, a flannel shirt, a large t-shirt over my running gear, and I wrapped myself in a Mylar blanket and I was still very cold.
I would highly recommend that anyone doing this race wear their extra warm thrift store clothes and thick gloves and bring something waterproof to sit on.
I shivered for an hour and a half, and because I had a full view of the porta-potties I was able to see that about half of them had people in them who had arrived early and did not come out until the bag drop off, shortly before the race start, even when there were lines to get into the porta-potties there were people camping out in them, which explains why there were such long slow moving lines.
I happened to bring an N95 mask which really helped because even though I did not sit close to a fire the smoke was everywhere and it was nice to have some way to protect my lungs from breathing in smoke before running a marathon.

The next thing to be aware of is that although the elevation plot makes this look like an all downhill course, IT IS NOT. I had driven the course the day before and I already knew they there were some hills. The first six miles rolls down through farmlands with stunning views and some turns, I find that sharp turns throw me off so it was nice to know that the few turns in the early miles are the only ones on this course.
After mile seven there are about three hills, and I am telling you that you better be ready for those hills because you are running at elevation and I saw a lot of people who were not ready for them.
I was expecting those hills to be hard, and I backed off on my pace and conserved energy, I let the pace group I was running with go off ahead and I ran based on feel and heart rate, the hills lasted for about a mile and half to two miles after which there is some of the most magnificent downhill running I have ever experienced, where I caught up with my pace group and except for the pacer they did not look like they were in good shape.
Because it is a canyon it was cool and shady which really helps, and the vistas are spectacular, words can’t do it justice.
There are a few more uphills between miles ten and twelve which is where I left the 3 hour pace group behind and ran my own race from then on.
I had heard a lot of talk that the last six miles is tough so I really focused on maintaining an even effort. I had a strict nutrition plan which helped me time exactly when to take my gels and I think that really helped. 
After mile fourteen the course veered off the main road, down a wide bike path, don’t forget to look up to your left at the waterfall, OMG it is some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever run through. At that point a few of the people I ran with were expressing that their quads were shot from the preceding downhill extravaganza, thankfully I had included some long fast downhills in my training so my main challenge was just feeling fatigued from the lack of sleep during my travel to the Utah and from not having slept much the night before. I had trained to run on tired legs so I was ready for how that felt, and as the bike path narrowed and flatted out I maintained my pace. There were cyclists on that path who did not know that there was a marathon and several seemed annoyed that the runners were not expecting to have to share the narrowing bike path with bikes. 
I have not mentioned the hydration stations. I have a pet peeve when water stations at races use children to hand out the water, and I would say that about half of the folks handing out fluids on this course were children, thankfully they had been well supervised, they were well spaced apart, and some knew how to hold cups and some were even wearing gloves.
The only stomach issues I had were right after I had some of the blue Powerade, I usually have no problem with the sports drink, but I had not trained with Powerade, and I was carrying all the race nutrition I needed, so after that I just went for the water, and I was fine. The water stations announced what drink they were handing out and so it was easy to avoid the Powerade after that.
Aside from the folks that the drink stations there was no one cheering on the course until the last five or so miles when I got into the town of Provo. 
I am glad I had anticipated the last six miles being tough, because they are a test of even the best training. At that point I was out of the canyon and although the bike path is shady, and cool as it runs along a very scenic river with lots of greenery, the course then merges back onto the road around mile twenty and then I was in full sun, so get ready for that shift, it really feels harder running in the direct sun versus the shade of the mountain valley.
My partner was there for me cheering enthusiastically at around mile 22 and I noticed that I was grimacing and it really helped to have that blast of love and encouragement, I owe my strong finish to that wave of positivity and support my partner gave me. 
There is a gradual uphill around mile 24 which tough because I was trying to pick up the pace, and finish fast, but once that hill flattened off, I regained my faster pace, the course was flat and it was great to have increasing numbers of cheers from along the road. 
Beware, this part of the race really took some folks out, I saw fast runners who were walking and bathed in sweat. It also makes it harder that I had caught up with the half marathoners many of whom were oblivious that there was a marathon behind them and they were walking shoulder to shoulder blocking the way. 
I wish the organizers of the half had told folks to stay left, I brushed shoulders with a half marathoner who was part of a group as I passed them and they apologized for not leaving enough space for me to pass. 
I find it gutting to encounter people walking in front of me and having to put mental and physical energy into weaving around them during the toughest miles when I really need to focus, it is a massive stress and if I had not trained to finish fast on all my long runs I might have stopped and walked, because it just felt like there was no awareness of the mental toll it takes on marathoners to see so many half marathoners and 10k people who are socializing in groups, while I was sucking up the pain, pushing harder and transcend all the messages from my body that were telling me that I had nothing left.
I really liked that the finish was visible from quite far away and, unlike in some other marathons it is not around a corner or hidden behind a bend. In the last half mile there was some positive energy from spectators and I was able to finish strong and negative split with a time of 2:55. 
They had given us zip ties to close our drop-bags and when I picked up my bag in the finish area, I was unable to remove the zip tie, so I asked if anyone at the bag drop could cut the zip tie so I could get into my drop bag, but none of the folks at the bag pickup had any scissors or any way to cut the zip tie. They sent me to the information booth, but they also did not have any scissors. I waited for a while and limped around asking different vendors if they could help me get into my drop bag. In the end it took 20 minutes of asking around and I went back into the finish shoot and found someone at the medical tent with scissors to cut the zip tie so I could get into my bag which had the comfortable sandals that my feet were crying out for.
I came first in my division so I went to the awards ceremony. I was disappointed that that awards were just these generic metal medals with arbitrary different colors and larger sizes depending on what place you got but they did not identify what place you got on them or even what race you ran, other than “UTAH VALLEY marathon – half – 5k” they had different color and size medals for first, second, third place etc. but none of the medals had meaningful information on them. I really liked the look of the finisher medals that all finishers get, at least they are race specific, my first place medal is huge but it is so generic that it is worthless, I would much rather have had a print out that at least showed what I had accomplished. It was a hard race, I ran it feeling tired and fatigued, but I was lucky to have trained well and have an amazing coach. The natural beauty really was outstanding and for that alone I would recommend this marathon. I think you miss out on a lot of it when you run the half, but for the first four or five miles of the half the scenery is amazing. 
The two main things I would be prepared for are: even if the weather at the start area says it will be warm, those mountains are like a fridge, so dress extra warm and bring something waterproof to sit on or your clothes will be soaked through by the damp grass, and bring a mask to protect your lungs from the smokey fires. Prepare for the hills, and conserve energy, especially the hills that start around mile 7, do not underestimate them. Don’t camp out in a porta-potty, dress warm and respect that the porta-potties are for everyone, don’t be selfish! Don’t use the zip ties to close your drop bag, bring a strong rubber band or a pice of string that you can untie. Enjoy the views!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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I had heard that CIM was the possibly best organized marathon anywhere. Two years in a row I trained for CIM and could not run, this was my third attempt, … MORE

I had heard that CIM was the possibly best organized marathon anywhere.
Two years in a row I trained for CIM and could not run, this was my third attempt, and nothing was going to stop me. My life is littered with disappointments because I tend to dive into everything with optimism and give it all I have got, I said the same thing the first year I trained for CIM, then I got injured during training, but I came anyway to cheer and support my partner and my brother and then last year, after a very promising lead-in, I got Covid a week before the race.
After running CIM two years ago, my brother had only good things to say about it and my experience as an observer was that this was a marathon for marathoners.

So, what happened this year could not have been more of a surprise of misplaced high expectations. Because they ask everyone who registers to fill out a survey about which bus they will take, as you must take their transportation to the start, and no one is allowed to get there except on the busses they provide, I assumed that they had a handle on getting us to to start. We were there at 5:15 when they said, and there were zero busses, and a maaaaaaaaaasssive line that disappeared into the darkness.
After standing there, with no access to restrooms for 25 minutes with the line around the block and no busses, someone yelled out of the darkness that busses would be there in twenty minutes, but this word mean that there would barely be enough time to go the restroom and then get to the start, I need to use it now, and I was getting so stressed, this was not at all what I expected.
I had trained months and months, very hard for this race and had high hopes for running a fast race, but as morning ticked away and no bus arrived I could feel the anxiety rising and it felt like the energy was draining from my body and the excitement was turning into stress and worry and I could feel this tight knot forming in my throat.

I found a place to at least go pee between a car and a bush along the edge of the parking lot, and then rejoined the line. Runners were huddled on the curb speculating about whether we would get there in time. Someone who had ran it before said that even with the fact that CIM has more restrooms than other races, if we all arrived with just minutes to spare before the race, there would be no way we could all get into the restroom before the start.
It was a long anxious thirty minutes before busses arrived and were finally heading towards the start.
The bus arrived and someone jumped on to give us a hurried welcome to the start, it would have been nice if they had mentioned that the start had been delayed, so that we knew that we had ten more minutes, so we scrambled to get in line for the restroom, but that ten minutes was gone in a flash and I was still in line. From inside the porta potty I could hear the national anthem, my stomach was a mess of stress-fatigue and frustration.
When I usually would have been able to go to bathroom twice, and adjust my shoes a few times, do a light warm up, some breathing exercises and light stretching, and then find my coral and chat with other runners, all that time was spent worrying and waiting for the bus with no restroom, and this anxious feeling like we might not make it to the start. A cloud of anxiety pervaded the entire pre-race experience.

That stress and anxiety combined with an inability to do the basic stuff I usually do before a race, like just getting into the headspace of finally running this race I had trained so diligently for, threw me off. Even though I trained at altitude my heart rate was higher just trying to get through the crowds to my corral.

Maybe because I was not at all ready when the race started, but my heart spiked into max zone as soon as I started running, and with that spike in heart rate came this wave of fatigue and exhaustion, half a mile in and I just wanted to collapse in a heap on the side of the road.
With my heart rate out of control and the onset of what felt like a sudden case of chronic fatigue syndrome, the course which is objectively so much easier than anything I had trained on in 7000 foot elevation, but CIM’s rolling hills felt like mountains and my body felt like lead.
The chaos of the start meant that I was separated from my brother, I had hoped so much that we could run together, or just cross paths during the race, but as my top three goals slipped away from me, all I could do was rely on my years of mental toughness to keep going.
The CIM Marathon was a low point in my running, at least I had all those long training runs that I had enjoyed, because I just felt down and done with this race from the first mile to the last.
CIM 2023 was my third marathon this year and it was my slowest, but the toughest to finish. Not hitting any of my time goals was the last thing I expected from this Marathon that promotes itself as the marathon for those who want to PR.
What a slog, in some part of me I am still there, drenched in exhaustion, telling myself that “this too shall pass”.
I think I finished this marathon because, despite how bad I felt, I focused on what was going well. On my massive base of training at altitude, on the water stations which were super well organized, they held the cups in a way that made it easy to grab, all the people out there cheering were what kept me going, the comments about my purple shirt, yellow socks and rainbow hat, and there was some really great music along the way, as a musician, I can be a little bit picky, but every band, every solo artist was like dopamine for my ears, I could not have gotten through it without them, and yet CIM is not an experience that I want to remember.
It really taught me, that how I start something really sets the tone for the whole experience. Looking around I could see how many people were struggling, who also did not know if they could keep going, and I said to myself we are in this together.

At the expo, the day before signs said we would get a finisher’s medal and a backpack, and jacket, it said we would get these extras becase it is the 40th anniversary of CIM.

Years later, or at least after I felt like I had aged ten years, I crossed the finish line. Completely spent, and then in deep energy debt, I grimaced as I tried to thank the spectators, but all I wanted was something to drink and to see my brother.
Immediately I was confronted with tables where they were handing out the finisher medals so I waited to get a finisher medal, OMG just finishing this was one of the great accomplishments of my life, but then first thing they said is that I had to choose between a medal or a backpack… what! I tried to decide but my brain was too foggy, then I started to feel dizzy, and I was so out of it that I could not make a decision, I walk down to the end of the table and just stood there. A volunteer, who saw me frozen and frustrated, approached, and said, “this is stupid! I don’t care if I get in trouble” and handed me a medal and a backpack. Later CIM sent out an apology, twill sort of, they did not acknowledge that last thing you want to have to do after crossing the finish line of a marathon is to be required to choose if y want a medal or not, it takes something that is just supposed to be a fun perk, and makes it into a source of decision fatigue.

I went a bit further down the finish chute to get water and they handed me a nice reusable bottle, but it had barely a mouthful of water in it, and I thought this must be a mistake so I asked for a bottle with water in it.
I was so thirsty and it was a warmer than usual day. To my absolute shock and dismay said “no” to my request for more water and told me to fill it up myself, but I could not figure out where to fill it.
I wondered around in a daze looking for where to get more water, I even walked back and tried to get their attention again, but they ignored me.
Eventually there was a water dispenser but it was EMPTY!!! I kid you not, this was like a bad dream. Then I saw another one but it was another one but it was LOCKED, you can’t make this stuff up. For a while I just stood there in disbelief. I felt so confused, I just wanted a drink, preferable with electrolytes.

Then I remembered that when I was there before there were these Noon hydration trucks that my brother was raving about, where you could fill your bottle with Noon electrolyte drink. I searched around, but the trucks were not there, and I went through the crowds, they had oatmeal but I was too thirsty for that, and then my brother appeared like a ray of sunshine, he had finished ahead of me.

He was having scary cramps, maybe the worst I have seen, his legs were visibly twitching and rippling and he was having a lot of difficulty walking.
He told me where to find the Noon water, but when I found it they said that we were only allowed two small Dixie cups per person, that just felt cruel, quenching my thirst was like running another marathon, but there was no finish line in sight.

After sitting down on a bench, my brother’s cramps were like aliens had got into his legs, he thought it was because of dehydration and stumbled off in search of something to drink.
He first went to the info tent to tell them that the water dispenser was still empty, by then his cramps were worse so he went to the medical tent, who sent him away but when he started falling down they relented and gave him two bottles of electrolyte drink, and then his cramps went away.

I never thought I would have to say this, but running out of water and telling marathoners that they were not allowed to fill their bottles is a cruel policy that even the most corporate of marathons should be ashamed of, and it is something I would never have dreamed of from CIM.
Getting me to the start and providing hydration at the finish are just baseline necessities, and CIM failed miserably on those.

I asked around and other folks did not have issues with transportation to the start, but I finished in the first 2000 people and already they had run out of water, with 8000 people still yet to finish, that feels like negligent incompetence.

Not being able to get to the start in time, after training and planning for months, and in my case years, and traveling long distances to be here, to have that be messed up was just a miserable slap in the face.
The stress and anxiety of my pre-race experience played a significant part in making this race exhausting and mentally taxing.
Even though races usually bring out a childlike excitement in me, all I felt was tired and stressed at CIM.
The tone of my first CIM was anxious and unsupported in just getting through my race morning without undue stress and getting hydration at the end.
The fact that my brother had to go to get medical attention before they gave him adequate hydration is mind boggling.
I have bought Noon for years of training, sometimes by the case, but I will never forget the feeling, after running a marathon and bing told that two small Dixie cups was all I was allowed.

The bus back to our motel was painfully slow, it did not help that I was thirsty and just wanted to get this experience behind me. After an hour we were back back to the place we had waited in the dark that morning. We limped to our hotel and turned on a tap, ahhh, water. Oh CIM Marathon, WTF was that!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
1
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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