For 2015, the organizers of Hurricane, Utah’s Sand Hollow Marathon bumped the race a couple weeks later into the year. This meant warmer temperatures for us runners, which was not a good thing.
A different change, that was good, was a change for our safety. The course was reversed from 2014’s route, so we ran against traffic on the highway, rather than with it. A small change was made in which neighborhoods we ran through also lead to us not having to run “Chapel Hill” – as I call it – for the hill shot straight up (seemingly).
I spotted a friend of mine at the start, he is a repeat Ironman competitor, runs (trains) a lot more than I do. However, due to a lapse in remembering his running shoes, was stuck running in WalMart’s “top of the line” running shoes.
My plan was to shoot for a PR, which would have been a sub-4:20 marathon (set in 2014 on the previous iteration of the Sand Hollow course). I had worked out mile splits ahead of time. Worked out what kind of effort I should put forth.
Once I saw a friend from the Village Runner’s run group, we started chatting as the race started. Next thing I know, we are approaching the hill at mile 15 (always a hill at mile 15 on my Utah marathons!)
By this time, I hadn’t been paying attention to the pace (faster than I had planned), nor had I been hydrating as much as I normally would (too much time talking). So, my calves were cramping rather bad, by this point.
Not able to keep up with David, I told him I would catch up with him at the finish, and had to start the run/walk routine I hoped to avoid.
Now came the 11ish mile sufferfest, as we climbed out of the Sand Hollow State Park basin, and re-entered the farming area around Hurricane. I was thankful for the bits of shaded road we ran on, past homes, complete with chickens running around in the front yards.
Making jokes with volunteers as I went past their aid stations kept me going, as did seeing the miles, slowly, tick by on my watch.
After what seemed like an eternity, I made the last turn, approaching the finish line. I picked up the pace, as much as I could – and ran through the finish chute. Very thankful for another marathon finish, I continued my rehydration, cheered on more runners, before making it into the car, and was driven back to Vegas.
Another positive change, in 2014, course “marking” consisted of setting a construction cone across the street from where we ran, telling us to run that direction. In 2015, a number of intersections had chalk arrows added to the pavement. Not just some chalkboard chalk, but football field lineman’s powdered chalk lines, about 10 feet long.