February 19, 2012
Today I completed marathon/ultra number 71 and my 5th running of the Lost Dutchman Marathon. This is the only race that I have run every year since I have been running. It was originally my second marathon ever in 2008. I have run this race in a variety of times as my second year of running it I had also run my first 50k ever the day before the race. Yes, first ultra and first double all in one weekend and that is what landed me in this crazy club we call the Maniacs! I digress, let’s talk about today.
The race start is always so awesome, with the helpful parking staff getting you all set and then the no waiting you are on a bus and driving up to the mountains. I used my bus ride this year to rest and drink, I actually think I did fall asleep on the ride up there sprawled out with a bus seat to myself. You know you are getting close when you see the glow of the camp fires and the rising smoke. Then you are there among the beautiful camp fires under the moon with the Superstition Mountains as the most picturesque setting to a start of a marathon there is! No potty lines first thing off the bus is also a special thing of beauty. So we were able to also coral all of the marathon maniacs that were there for a starting line picture.
The start went off perfectly and right on time. I started out between the 8 and 9 min corals, not really picking a pace, but more just finding a spot with a ton of room for me to stretch out and conduct last minute adjustments. I always look forward to the start of this race, usually I hate the start and it takes me 8 or 9 miles jus to start feeling good warmed up and really get into it, but not at the Dutch. With the 6 miles of beautiful dirt trail, the sun raising over the amazing desert landscape it’s just breathtaking. This year we witnessed a special treat of 3 huge long horn bulls that came right up to the trail to visit us. Some were stopping to take pictures with these awesome creatures, but I was not sure about all of that so I admired from a distance as I ran by. After the trail portion of the race is over you are onto pavement for a shot neighborhood section where you get to see the race supporters and spectators for the first time. The cheering is a great energy booster and I personally feel thankful for each of the smiles shouts and words of encouragement. This section of crowd support is short and then we pop out onto the US 60 highway where one full lane is close to traffic and reserved just for us. At this point I never understood why people still stay over to the shoulder. I pop out as far left as I can an enjoy the room to roam the clear view with no one in front of you blocking the straight away stretch. After this section it’s back into another neighborhood section with some more crowd support, great aid stations, sweet volunteers and good views of the mountains. These rolling neighborhood hills take you through basically the rest of the race. The wall this year was around mile 24 and not on the big dirt hill which was actually nice. Although it really seems like the course flew by today. Even though I was out there for 3 hours and 54 minutes it just felt like the time flew by. I finished strong feeling great to pick off people for the last 5 miles or so, I know not the sweetest thing of me to do, but highly motivating when you are that far into a marathon. Overall I ended up finishing 103 out of the 530 total finishers and 58 out of 200 or so odd women finishers which I am happy with. It was my second fastest time at this race, last year was my best time to date on this course (3:48), which is always a good to remember that this is just not an easy course, beautiful and scenic, but not easy.
The finish always feels great and coming across that line for number 71 is no exception I am happy to report! Also another finish line perk that I love at this race is the post-race rub downs! They have a group out there every year that does massages for free. These feel wonderful and there is never a long line, surprisingly, which makes the whole thing even sweeter. As you can see I am happy!