My lungs and legs are feeling back to normal after running the Revel Wasatch marathon in Utah last Friday. It was my first marathon since before I was pregnant with my first baby and a memorable adventure after the past year of COVID!
One of my best friends lives in Utah now and I wanted to visit her this spring with another friend (girls’ trip?! Another world ago!!) depending on how things were going with the pandemic/vaccinations. I noticed that this race was being held at the end of April in the Park City area, so I signed up. As the race date approached, I felt comfortable with the decision to go and was thankful that I had several months of training under my belt. I got my Johnson & Johnson vaccine three weeks before the race.
I started the Wasatch training block in January and built up to an average of about 40-45 miles per week, running about 5 days a week consistently. I didn’t include much speedwork but focused on consistent, hour+ long runs each day with several 16 milers and one 20 miler. This was my first time training consistently since having two babies and I was proud of the progress I made from couch to full. At the beginning of the cycle, it was hard to wrap my head around training for an unknown goal as spring 2021 races had been questionable. But 2021 had been off to a positive start with the Inauguration and encouraging vaccine rollout which had an impact on my personal goals.
I generally felt prepared for the race but ultimately found the Wasatch course to be tough. It had striking downhills followed by flats/small hills at elevation. The first flatlander-running-in-Utah mistake was staying in Park City the night before the race. While the location is beautiful and fun, I felt the high altitude of 7,000+ feet as soon as we arrived. I probably drank 6-7 Nalgene bottles of water/some with Nuun electrolytes throughout the day which helped. The race started at 6:40am on Friday, and we were shuttled from Heber City at the foot of Park City to the top of the Wasatch mountains early that morning. It was a beautiful starting location!
There was a staggered start with a mask requirement and just like that we were off! It felt GOOD to be back at race, simply surreal! I couldn’t stop smiling. The first 2.7 miles were uphill at about 8,000 feet and I went out easy, and after that I started to check off mile by mile all while taking in the gorgeous surrounding landscape. The ticking off miles came to a halt around mile 18 when the course leveled off and there were some long stretches of “false flats” as I call them (my husband always laughs but they are so real!). I was thankful for my sunglasses and the extensive amount of glide I had applied that morning. No issues there!
I was proud of my fueling throughout my race (thanks for the reminders, coach!!) and don’t think my sluggish last 6 miles were due to issues with that. I ended up carrying water due to the infrequent water stops and chowed down 2 Honeystinger gels and 3 packets of Honeystinger chews (sorted them in individual plastic bags- thanks Lisa and Julie!!) over the course of the 26.2. In my handheld I had put my favorite nuun mix to start and when that ran out I mixed Powerade and water from aid stations. I ended up taking in a LOT of liquid but it all felt fine.
It was amazing to see Kimiko and Annie at the finish line and I won’t ever forget this first post-pandemic race. It was a dream come true!!
So what’s next?! Something really really exciting!!! On October 11th this year, I will be running the in-person 2021 Boston Marathon!!! I am running as part of the Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric Cancer Team. My goal is to raise $8,000 which will provide critical funding to help MGH fight childhood cancer. After the difficult year we have had with COVID, I have decided to run for a purpose and organization that is close to my heart. I will be blogging about this experience throughout my fundraising and training. Thank you so much for following along, friends!! Thank you for any support you are able to offer, and for being part of my team!