I was very excited to run my first Arizona marathon, and February, 2016 seemed like a great time of year to do so. Enjoy my Lost Dutchman Marathon Race Report, as much as I enjoyed running this gorgeous desert course.
Driving from Las Vegas, to Phoenix, we arrived at packet pickup shortly before they were closing up for the day. We hit a little more traffic than I would have liked on the drive. Good thing for us, we did not hit more, as we were able to get our bibs, shirts, and make our way back to the hotel.
While at the expo, we listened as a volunteer explained the course to some runners. They had a fairly large map of the course printed up, making it easy to make mental notes of where the volunteer was drawing our attention.
When booking rooms for races, I have generally done a good job. This time though, the hotel ended up being a bit rattier than we were used to. That is OK, as we were planning on only being there for the night, then heading home after the race. Live, and learn, we won’t be staying at that hotel again.
Following our packet pickup stop, we roamed about the Phoenix area a little. Our roaming lead us to the Arizona Mills Mall, which I remember being much more awesome when I was younger. Finding some food in the mall, we tried to enjoy our meals, amidst the chaos, as best we could.
Back at the hotel, I seem to have completely botched capturing a “flat me” pre-race photo, which also helps to remind me to pull out any gear I may have otherwise forgotten. Turns out, this was quite a foreshadowing event, I did not realize at the time.
I did manage to capture this photo, after picking up my race bib & shirt to put in my 2016 Lost Dutchman Marathon race report, and social media.
Able to finally get to lay down, we watched some cable TV, before dozing off. At way-too-early o’clock in the AM, alarms awoke us, on what would be a very sunny race day. I was able to get dressed, and prepared for the day’s run rather easily, as it has become rather routine.
My wife, and I, gathered all of our stuff, gave the room a once over, and got in the car. On the drive over, we verbally double-checked again that we had all of our race gear. Approaching the parking/bus loading zone for marathon runners, I started to get into race zoned out mind mode.
Being that my wife was running the Lost Dutchman Half Marathon that morning, her start/parking location was in a different place. So, she was going to drop me off, and head to her designated bus loading area. When I was getting out of the car, there was a Deputy directing traffic. By traffic, I mean us. We arrived in the midst of a lull in arriving runners. When the Deputy decided to have fun with me, and rush me, I grabbed my stuff, allowing my wife to exit the parking lot quickly.
One slight problem with this. Remember the foreshadowing I mentioned a short while ago? Yeah, I managed to forget my Garmin Forerunner 220, and heart rate strap in the car. By the time I realized it, and my wife responded to my text, it was too late to get it from her. Looked like this was going to be an interesting run!
My 2016 Lost Dutchman Marathon Race Report – Nearly time to start!
Following what seemed like a never-ending bus ride to the start line, we arrived at a little village, complete with many fires to keep us warm. Desert does not mean hot, just dry – as such, the mornings can be quite brisk. If you have never experienced the fire logs that are sold at grocery stores, etc – they throw off some heat! As the initial logs would lose their flame, a volunteer would break it apart, and voila – flames were back!
Finding a fire with some open space around it, I joined in conversations with some of the other runners. I commented how I forgot my watch, and was hoping for a sub-4, one gentleman stated he was hoping for sub-4 as well. Noting he had a watch on his wrist, I figured if I could keep him in sight, I should be able to meet my goal.
Lining up in the chutes for the start, I ran into a few other Las Vegas runners, such a small world. Hearing the drone flying about, gathering video, we waved, and cheered, anxious to start our run.
Before we knew it, the race started, and off we went! The first 10k was mostly on a dirt road, heading down a small hill. I tried to snap some additional photos while running, they did not turn out. Otherwise, I would have been able to share some of the desert’s beauty.
And we’re off – 2016 Lost Dutchman Marathon!
On the way down the hill, I spotted the watch wearing runner, and kept him in sight. Maybe a mile into the run, there was a small contingent of runners who were running against the course. It would seem they missed the bus, and were going to have an ultra-marathon under their belts, by the time they crossed the finish line.
A habit of mine crept up on me, and I passed the watch wearing runner. That’s him in the grey, clowning for the camera. He and I traded off leading and following, with an unspoken competitiveness?
Approaching the bottom of the hill, and a right turn onto the highway, the community we ran through had some awesome residents out cheering for us. A short while onto the highway, I ended up next to watch runner the same time his watch beeped. Another mile down. Not just another mile, but we had crossed the 10k mark.
Being a courteous runner, he let me know what our 10k split was. Whoops, we were going much faster than I had hoped, with a low-40’s 10k split.
Too fast, too fast!
The day was still very comfortable out, with nearly 100% cloud free, blue skies overhead. Prior to the race, runners received emails from the organizers, alerting us to higher than normal temperatures for the race. I kept that in the back of my mind, trying to finish before the heat kicked in for real.
I ran with watch runner until around mile 9. He stopped at an aid station to hydrate, eat, or whatever, and I kept running. My thought process was, once he catches back up, I’ll take a walk break. So, I kept running, waiting for that grey shirt to pass me.
Spotted my new run friend
Seems I would have a bit of time to wait. Just after mile 18, there was a right turn, that turned into an out-and-back section of the course. I was nearly past the road we made the right turn, when I spotted watch runner again. That meant I was almost two miles ahead of him. At this point, he was running steady, but seemed to be suffering some. Can’t blame him, the temperature was starting to climb.
Around that point, we also were given some towels dipped in ice water. Talk about a nice race perk! Mine was wrapped around the back of my neck, and stuck unto my shirt. Cool heaven is what it felt like. A few miles down the road, there was a spot where we could trade out our towels for fresh ones. Yes, that was so great!
The Lost Dutchman Marathon Wall
One of the “perks” of this race is having a fake wall placed at mile 23, and a photographer stationed there to capture as runners break through “The Wall” – with Piestewa Peak in the background. It would seem the photographer was on break from shooting photos when I went through the Lost Dutchman Marathon wall. I am a little sour about this, as runners before, and after me, along with shorter race distance runners all had their photos taken. Suppose he is prejudiced against runners with mohawks.
Up until this point, I was moving pretty well. My pace seemed to be such that I was going to PR & beat my TCS NYC Marathon time! In the photos, you can see I had a Geigerrig hydration pack full of water, as well as a hand held bottle, which was full of Gatorade. Despite all of that available hydration, along with on-course hydration, I still managed to start to feel the warmer temperatures.
Making the left turn, with just under three miles left, I could hear the finish line, it was so close! I tried pushing myself to maintain a solid pace. My body had other ideas, and slowed me down to a run-walk procession for a bit.
Finally, I was able to push myself to a better gait, and ran the last mile, or so, into the finish. I tossed my water bottle to my wife, who was at the start of the finisher’s chute, while I pushed to the finish.
So Close To A PR!
I crossed the finish line in just over 4:08! This finish was only nine minutes slower than my fastest marathon three months before, and was my second fastest marathon time to date!
Reuniting with my wife, we hobbled over to pick up some of the post-race food that was there for the runners. We made our way to a shaded group of tables, and chowed down. While eating, we enjoyed the trivia contest on stage a short distance away from us.
Following a bit of rest, we walked around some, before getting our drop bags at the bag station. We cheered on some of the finishing runners, as they crossed the finish line, too. I made sure to find watch runner after he finished, to thank him for the assistance early in the race, and see how he was doing. Seems the heat got to him also.
Conclusion / TL;DR
I had a blast running the 2016 Lost Dutchman marathon. While I wish I had my watch for the numbers geek in me, it was not so bad running blind.
I received another medal to remind me of the experience of running through the desert East of Phoenix, Arizona. I made a new friend, despite not remembering his name. What use is a name anyhow?
The Lost Dutchman Marathon has secured a spot on my recommended list of races to enter, for those considering it.