The Timpanogos Trail Marathon warns that it is a difficult, hilly course and should not be taken lightly! That sounded right up my alley as flat routes through cities aren't really my style. Thankfully, though, the course didn't actually go up and over Mount Timpanogos...this time of year that would still take crampons and an ice axe, I suppose.
The course starts from Timpanogos Park on the southwest shoulder of the mountain. And what a charming, hidden set of trails! I've passed by this area of the Wasatch front many times and never realized that there were such great single track, backpacking and camping spots so close to civilization.
Jim and I had both planned on doing the race, but we had some work being done on the house that he had to be around for. Bummer. Instead, he started the run with me and went out a ways, then back to the finish to do a half marathon, and still get home in time. Perhaps missing the worst part of the climb was a blessing after experiencing the rest of the course!
With almost 6,000 feet of climbing, the miles on this race ticked off slowly. Even the Bonneville Shoreline Trail for the first 10 miles was very undulating to say the least. I have my doubts the trail was actually on the ancient "shoreline"...shouldn't a waterline be flat?! But the worst of the race came at about mile twelve up Grove Creek. The trail started up steeply and continued that way for about an hour and a half. But the views alongside the cliff trail were outstanding, and the creek far below was rushing with water.
Luckily the weather was really good for the race. Dry trail conditions, cool, with an occasional light rain shower. Even so, I was happy to see the aid station at the top of the climb, which was stocked with goodies that a bunch of volunteers had carried up that steep trail. The rain had just soaked them and they were good sports just to be up there taking care of us. Perhaps I was the lucky one after all to be only carrying up an empty camelback? But the climb wasn't over, but kept going up and up, through some pine forests, open meadows, and scrub oak. It was beautiful. I vowed to come back up here and do some camping soon.
Or maybe I was just trying to get my mind off my painful leg muscles. I knew there was a long downhill coming and knew I would have to push my legs to the finish. My time was creeping past 6 hours I wound down the single track following the race markers to the finish. I had been trying to catch up to as many people as I could on the course. With less than a mile to go, I saw three guys below me and gave it my best shot. It was downhill all the way and I blew by them like they were standing still. It was fun. Anyway. Then I finished and had to gasp for air for a couple of minutes. Totally worth it.
|At the Start|
|Grove Creek waterfall|