Utah Valley Marathon 2013 – Race Report

Marathons: Paul #23, Leah #13, State #8 : Utah Valley Marathon 2013
8th June 2013, Provo, Utah, USA
Finish Time (Paul) = 3:30:40
Finish Time (Leah) = 3:36:23

I don’t know what happened in this race. On paper this is not a personal best course, downhill that will tire your muscles followed by rolling hills at altitude in the middle of the summer in Utah. It’s a recipe for trouble, not for getting your best marathon ever, but that’s what happened. For both of us.

We flew in to Salt Lake City and then drove to Provo. It was a nice journey in and we knew the course was going to be stunning. This was our 3rd marathon within the past 48 days so we had no expectations going in to it. We weren’t even trying to run a fast time and I definitely didn’t expect to beat my shiny new record of 3:40 that I had managed to achieve at Maine the month before.

When we started off we just got into a fast pace and it ended up feeling comfortable to maintain it. It was just one of those days when everything falls in to place and everything feels right. Even other runners commented that we were cruising along. Our first 7 miles were all under 8 minutes per mile and in fact our slowest mile in the entire race was an 8:30 and that was because we stopped to use the toilets!

We reached half-way in exactly 1:45:00. At this point we both needed the toilet and as the half-way point was the start for the half-marathon event, there were plenty of them to use. I said to Leah that as we were on record time I was going to carry on after I was finished and hopefully she could catch me up. So after I was done I did just that.

I ended up running the second half of the course in 1:45:40, which is the most consistent I’ve ever run a marathon in terms of first half vs second half time.

The cruel part of the race was that you could see the finish line about a mile ahead of you in the distance. So when I could see it I looked at my watch which was on around 3:21 and I couldn’t believe it. I tried everything I possibly could to get to that finish line in the 3:20s, it just never felt like it was getting any closer and time was slipping away. At one point I actually wasn’t sure if I could take any more pushing, you start to get that feeling where you wouldn’t be surprised if you just blacked out and for a while I was actually a bit worried.

I had done everything I could and ran through in 3 hours, 30 minutes and 40 seconds. For the third time in the year I had smashed my best time, by 10 minutes from the new record I had only set 3 weeks prior and once again, could not believe it. Just 6 minutes later Leah came flying through the finish in 3:36:23 also tearing 10 minutes off her best time she had set almost a year ago in Aspen.

The intensity of the sun and heat really hit us after we finished running and we sought out some shade and recovery and stretching. We were both sore the days and weeks after the run, very sore. After a lot of the marathons we wouldn’t feel much in terms of longer-lasting effects but we did with this one. A combination of flying down the downhills, pushing up the uphills and running at a much faster pace for the run really extended our recovery time beyond anything we had felt before.

However, that wasn’t going to put us off our next marathon, which was just under a month away.

Setting myself a new record for the third time in the year!

Setting myself a new record for the third time in the year!


Leah smashes her record from a year ago

Leah smashes her record from a year ago


Elevation Graph from Running Watch

Don't be deceived, the downhills are tough on the legs and there were several uphill climbs

Don’t be deceived, the downhills are tough on the legs and there were several uphill climbs


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