A week later, I found myself toeing the line at a downhill marathon in the same location. This time we started at Alta Ski Resort, even higher than Snowbird in Little Cottonwood Canyon, and ended up down in the valley. In the inaugural Run Elevated Half Marathon, the route had almost 3,800 feet of elevation loss.
I like downhills. I once ran down 8,000 feet from a mountain on the Canary Islands, just because I could. This time, I wasn't sure I was ready for the pounding. I counted all up the runs I had done in the last 2 months. They may have totaled 20 miles. I'd been distracted by a long backpacking trip, where running wasn't in vogue. My backpack weighed too much, really. No downhill running at all.
As toed the start line at 8,700 feet in the chilly air, I concluded that I maybe should have trained a little bit more for this. But then my feet started pounding the pavement, and all I could think was how much fun it was to run downhill. I think I pushed out 7 minute miles for at least the first 7 or 8 miles...for me that is absolutely flying.
The runners around me didn't seem to grasp the concept of cutting corners...they stubbornly ran on the white or the yellow lines. I knew the course was measured for the shortest distance on the road...like that blue line they paint around corners on all the big marathons so the elites know where the exact course should be to run on. I created my own imaginary blue line, and cut all the corners I could. It may have gained me a few feet, but at least distracted me from the pain in my legs after the first few miles.
It rained. A few seconds of hard showers and a few ice pellets. A few miles later we were hot and wishing that it was still raining. I lasted until mile 9 and then my legs were really screaming at me...the course started to level off so the easy running was over. I regretted my lack of training at that point, as perhaps 100 people passed me in the last couple of miles, when I was barely running with my teeth gritted. Not used to running on pavement, either...lots of pounding.
A last half-mile where I really had to force myself to run, and then I was done. Phew. My instant results tell me that I would have been really high in the standings if I hadn't let 100 people pass me in the last couple of miles.
Oh. Final time was 1:51:11
Run Elevated Half Marathon RESULTS ARE HERE