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Grand Circle Tushars Marathon - Run


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Tushars, Utah
United States
60F / 16C
Sunny
Total Time = 8h 51m
Overall Rank = 69/129
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Run
  • 8h 51m
  • 26.2 miles
  • 20m 16s  min/mile
Comments:

I had fallen in love with Ultra Adventures last year when I did my first 50 miler in Monument Valley. It's a very grass roots, desert runner vibe that was a nice break from all the marketing and corporate garbage that I'd been drowning in from the Ironmans I had done in the past. Their races have compositing toilets! How cool is that? Tushars seemed to draw me in because I had never raced way up in the mountains like that. Usually I'm way down in the desert sand, but something about those barren mountain tops was calling my name. Where I train in Austin, it's a whopping 400 feet of elevation. The Tushars race was up to 12,000+ feet, so a marathon sounded more realistic for me than an ultra. The night before the race, I got up and walked 50 feet to the bathroom and was out of breath. The race starts out at the Eagle point ski resort on a short downhill before quickly turning up. If you look at the elevation profile on the course website, you'll see that the entire thing is up or down, with basically no flat areas. Friendships are made and nicknames are given and accepted within the first 800 meters. I'm right alongside my friend "cactus" for nearly the entire race. The course is exceptionally well marked, except for one area where I end up on another trail with a girl who was unwise enough to blindly follow me. After a while I say to her "I'm seeing fewer human prints and more and more cow prints...." so we make the decision to bush wack our way up the side of the mountain until we find the main trail again. The course is beautiful. Every mountain we scale yields incredible views. Nothing man made is visible in any direction, just massive peaks. People stop every once in a while just to turn around and take pictures. One lady even has a video camera that she tries to hold steady while she's running. The aid stations are 7 miles apart, so I've got my hydration vest packed with goodies, and make sure to top off all available tanks at each aid station. There are old abandoned log cabins in the middle of this vast wilderness. What a place to call home. Maybe 12 miles in, we've separated and reconvened into small groups. My group is having a ball, laughing, talking about this and that, but as it becomes rather steep, it gets very quiet very fast. We look up and see nothing up peaks stretching up to the heavens, and wonder which one we'll be scaling. As it turns out, the peak we're scaling is one that is even higher than the ones we're looking it, it's just hidden behind them. We trudge our way up, gasping for air with each step. There are no more trees, and even just 2 days shy of August there are still piles of snow. My calf muscles send me a clear message, and that message is "LOL. Um, what....?"
As we approach 12,000 feet high the landscape turns into enormous areas of grass that at that scale just looks like green velvet, and we're more or less on our own to find our way to the top. We share a few pictures at the peak, some people see mountain goats, and I'm in a hurry to keep moving because it's friggin cold up there. Back down almost the same distance we just went up, there's another aid station where I munch down on chips, gu, and a bunch of other crap. The course continues on through the birch forests (so awesome by the way), before another long ascent that dumps me at another aid station conveniently right as the hail storm hits. 4 miles to go! I'm mostly on my own for this much of it, though occasionally meeting other adventurers along the way. A final ascent up to the ski resort and I finish this beast in, wait for it, 9 HOURS. To put that into perspective, I was bummed that my last marathon was over 4 hours (I did something stupid the day before), but this one took me twice as long. That said, I was still right in the middle of the bell curve of people who finished it, and I don't know how many people DNF'ed.
People definitely don't come to this race to PR, except that I did get a PR (slowest race I'll ever do.) I just wanted to come for the adventure. I knew it would be a gorgeous course.
The single best thing I did for myself in this race was bringing my trekking poles. For nearly the entire race I was a quadraped, and man did it save my leg muscles. You could have offered me a million bucks to take those trekking poles away and I would have told you to get lost.
I also brought my "Strides for Steve" bracelet along for the ride, in memory of our own popsracer. I never had the opportunity to meet him in real life, but he was always a nice guy to me on BT and he and I talked about doing a race together in Utah at some point. I figure 12,000 feet has got to be at least half way to heaven, so maybe he looked down and saw me proudly wearing my Steve bracelet. Miss having that guy around.
If you're looking for a good time, go do this race!
What would you do differently?:

Train in outer space
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

Altitude

Event comments:

Awesome race,


Profile Album


Last updated: 2017-01-23 12:00 AM
Running
08:51:00 | 26.2 miles | 20m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/129
Performance: Good
Course:
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %n/a
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

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2017-08-03 10:06 PM

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Subject: Grand Circle Tushars Marathon
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