Wow, what a day at the Big Cottonwood Marathon! Wow, what a year it's been getting here. I'm sad to report that I didn't get a BQ for the 2016 Boston Marathon, but I have over come some daunting hurdles in my life in he recent past that will set me up for a return to Boston in the future.
The Big Cottonwood is a very well run marathon, the directors have done a very good job of putting together a very well organized and super challenging marathon. I can see this marathon continuing to growing in popularity as time goes on. It is a fast race but that speed comes with a double edged sword. All that down hill running comes with a price when you hit the mouth of the canyon and change to a flat running style somewhat like several other Utah marathons.
I got to the runner bus loading zone at 4:am and got on the third of twenty-eight busses going to the top of the mountain. The top of this mountain is at the 10,000 foot altitude where the amount of oxygen is 50% less than at sea level, breath taking all by itself.
It was about 43 degrees there with very clear skies, no wind and no heated tents to hang out in. We all, (1400) hung out in our mylar sheets looking like a bunch of tin foil clad baked potatoes waiting for a fork to be thrust into us. It is of note to mention that there were lots of Porta-potties available especially for the early arrivers to the top of the mountain.
The communications between the organizers and the runners was very well done as they kept us very well informed as to the start of the race which started promptly at 6:45am.
As for my race experience, as I reflect upon it, I didn't follow my perceived race plan as closely as I wanted. As I started I found myself running at a pace unwisly faster than expected. The first three miles are on a small mountain road that is very steep which entices one to a much faster leg turnover on reduced oxygen intake. Only to be huffing and puffing like a coal fired freight train before I hit the beginning of mile four. I managed to take a little control of my pace but by the time I got to the mouth of the canyon at 17 miles and the six mile hair pin out and back turn around I found myself in trouble. I had expended way too much energy on the 6% average down hill running portion of the race that hurt when your suddenly on a somewhat flat running surface with the heat of the day starting to burn you up. 43 degrees at the start, 81 degrees at the finish. At the end of the turn around you have about three and a half miles to the finish line.
I just aimed myself at getting to the finish line with as much energy as I could muster and being proud to have finished my 53rd marathon in the best shape I've been in for the last couple of years. So because of a few running mistakes I made executing the BCM I didn't BQ but, I finished large and in charge of my future running with a big huge Big Cottonwood medal and a t-shirt.
I ended up with a 4:25:55 run at BCM which was a 25 minute improvement over my last disastrous run at the 2015 Boston Marathon. Now it's time to turn my thoughts and efforts to getting myself ready to do the Authentic Athens Greece Marathon in a short eight weeks.......God bless you all and I'll see you in the funny papers!!!!