Barefoot Rick's Deseret Morning News
Salt Lake City, Utah - July 24, 2006
Since the Kona Marathon and our trip to Hawaii involved somewhat of a mini-family reunion (wife, mother-in-law, daughter, and two of daughter's cousins) Rebecca and I wanted to plan a getaway for just the two of us for later in the summer. So, the Deseret Morning News seemed like a good choice for a marathon, giving us opportunity for a decent road trip to other Utah destinations such as Zion and Bryce National Parks.
We left Lee's Summit, Missouri early Friday morning. We needed to cover a bunch of miles since Salt Lake City was an 1100 mile drive, and packet pick-up was only on Friday and Saturday. No Sunday packet pick-up even though the race was not until Monday? Couldn't figure that one out, but I never asked why. We drove about 950 miles on Friday, staying in Little America, Wyoming. Saturday, we slept in and finished our trek into Salt Lake with lots of time to spare to pick-up my packet. While picking up my packet, I was persuaded by the Qwest Telecommunications folks to enter their drawing for prizes. Well, I ended up winning a personal DVD player! I was very surprised that I won since this was one of their high-end gifts. Took a drive out to the Great Salt Lake later in the afternoon (now, THERE'S an interesting eco-system! Flies, brine shrimp, and dead birds. The wife not impressed!) That evening, we enjoyed some excellent Indian cuisine and took in a movie.
Sunday was just a laid back day. We did a little sightseeing, visiting the Temple Square, and later got to meet Linda Hamilton who had written the Deseret Morning News article on my upcoming barefoot marathon. Afterward, Rebecca and I took a drive up into Cottonwood Canyons to view the ski slopes from famous resorts such as Snowbird. We picked up a pizza on the way back to the hotel. I turned in early with the alarm set for 3 a.m.
Waking to the alarm, I got ready and walked from the Radisson to the Delta Center where the first bus was to leave at 3:45 to go up Big Mountain for the 5:30 a.m. start. The bus lights cut through the darkness as it wound up Emigration Canyon. The dramatic climb of the bus as it changed directions up the switchbacks told me that this was indeed living up to its reputation of a serious downhill marathon. At the top of Emigration Canyon, we arrived to a tent with volunteers and a couple of large spotlights that lit up the otherwise pitch black morning. Within a few minutes and the unloading of several buses, I met up with Barefoot Brett, local barefoot marathoner extraordinaire. This was to be Brett's third marathon, having ran the previous two barefoot. We chatted for a while and then got separated a few minutes before the start.
Barefoot Rick and Barefoot Brett Pre-Marathon!
Once the marathon started, it was a dramatic vertical descent down one switchback after another. Brett caught up with me during the first mile and we had a lot of fun talking to each other as well as other runners who were interested in our barefoot endeavor. (We met a cyclist at this time who was really interested in what we were doing. Never did get his name but I would see him every few miles or so as he would be pedaling the course, back and forth, giving me updates on the Kenyan leader, or later when Brett had dropped behind, on where he was on the course.) Brett and I cruised along for the first 6 miles, down one switchback after another. (This was by far the most vertical descent. There was one uphill about mile 5 that was about 3/4 of a mile long. The 7500 ft. altitude got me huffing and puffing as I kept pace with Brett.) At about mile 6, Brett excused himself for a nature call and said that he would catch up. I continued on, stopping once for the "call" myself. I thought maybe Brett had passed me while I was relieving myself, but I found out later that he had slowed down with some side-stitch problems. I continued down the canyon until emerging at mile 16 into the Salt Lake valley. The sun came out with a vengeance. Even though it was only 7:30 a.m., it was heating up fast. (The previous day's temps had been in the hundreds and this day would be similar.)
Mile 16 to 26.2 were pretty much urban running. The most barefoot-unfriendly area I found was once I came out of the canyon and entered the valley for approximately 5 miles. This seemed to be a fairly new aggregate asphalt surface that had not been smoothed yet by traffic. Overall, however, it was not as uncomfortable as chip seal. This gave way to concrete streets closer to downtown.
Once downtown, the course went along a small section of the Pioneer Day parade route. It was unclear to me whether the wall to wall spectators were cheering for the marathon runners or the parade? It didn't matter as we waved while we cruised by. The last mile or so was uneventful except for the increasing heat as the course finished up in Liberty Park. I knew that I was off pace for a sub-four hour marathon, but I was happy to be done as I crossed the finish line at 4:11:27. I caught the bus back to the Delta Center, walked to the Radisson, cleaned up and Rebecca and I were heading toward Zion National Park by noon. Another marathon in the books!
Post-Marathon at the Radisson!
In reflection, this is not a PR course. The dramatic down hills are "quad and calf and killers". (Four days later and they are still stiff.) Overall, the organization was good, however it was inconvenient to be bused back to the Delta Center from Liberty Park (approx. 3 miles). Not sure if the Pioneer Day parade disallowed for the marathon course to head back that way or not, but it would have made it more expedient than the hour of combined waiting for the bus to fill up with runners and the bus ride back. However, I would recommend this as a "must do" marathon, if for no other reason but to experience a truly downhill adventure!
Sex Place/ Div Place
179 / 24
Deseret Morning News Article -
Friday, July 21 2006
"Shoes Not Needed in Marathon"
More Marathon Pics!
Zion and Bryce National Parks Pics!
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