2009 Top of Utah Marathon


One wasn’t enough… had to do more. It’s kind of funny, actually. The thrill of finishing the marathon really makes you forget the pain of training for it in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy running, but it is quite the time commitment, and I was rather eager for the marathon to be done and out of the way a couple weeks ago. Now that it’s done I’m thinking “That was so awesome! When can I do another one?”

The thing that was really neat about this one was running it with my family. I had three siblings (one brother and two sisters) run this with me, and that made it so much more enjoyable! My brother and I ran ahead of the girls at about mile 4 or 5, but the two of us stayed together for the entire marathon. It was really neat. Both of us feel like we helped the other to run a little faster at different times, and we enjoyed talking with each other (for the first half at least–the second half we didn’t talk so much).

This course was pretty nice–overall I like the Ogden better, I think, but I actually didn’t mind the last part of this track being on the streets as much as I thought it would. The nice thing about Ogden is that when you get into the city the route goes onto a river trail, and so you don’t run on a street until the very end–like the last half or three-quarters of a mile. However, the problem with the river trail is that there is a whole lot of little ups and downs that really wore me out. In this one we spent a lot more time in the town on the street, with accompanying smell of oil and tar, but the ups and downs were not nearly so severe.

My final time on this was 3:45:37, so I can be proud of the fact that I am 8 seconds faster than I was in May (Boston, here I come!). I actually am pretty pleased with that time–I didn’t use the mp3 player, and I didn’t train nearly as well. I did have the Ogden under my belt, so I had a better idea of what I was getting myself into.

Some highlights:

  • I rather like the Boston qualifying strategy offered by another marathoner, who was explaining that the older you are, the longer the qualifying time is. His strategy was as follows: “As long as I keep this pace; eventually I will qualify”
  • The sign that read: “I thought you said 2.62 miles!”
  • Oranges!
  • The stars as we reached the starting point–they were amazing (the fact that it was still pitch-black was not a highlight).
  • Having all four of us finishing the marathon.

Marathon Training Progress

This last week of running has been rather interesting, so thought I’d put all of my unique and amazing epiphanies here…

On Wednesday, I ran 6 miles. A couple of interesting notes on this–the first is that I found “my pace.” I’ve always enjoyed long strides, walking kind of fast, etc. It’s rather silly, but I feel like I’m accomplishing more, and it makes me think of President Kimball’s saying to “Lengthen your stride” (He actually meant in just about every way except in your actual pace, but oh well). Anyway, about halfway through my run I started taking longer strides, and found that I could hold that pace (at least for the remaining three miles of that run). I don’t think I’m going to be able to run that for the duration of the marathon, but I really enjoyed it, and am trying to run that pace as much as I can (It’s about a 7 minute-mile pace, where I normally ran about 8.5).

At the same time, I realized how much of a mental exercise running is. When I ran those three miles, I could tell that my legs were getting very tired, and it didn’t really matter. I decided that was how I was going to run, and I did, and it was incredibly fun!

Thursday’s run was almost the opposite. My earbuds wouldn’t stay in, and so I gave up sticking them back in every few steps at about 2.5 miles. It was really frustrating. That frustration, on top of not having the music to run to, made the rest of the run very difficult (and it was only four miles). I knew that I depended on the music a lot, but I hadn’t realized how large that dependency was (It actually bugs me; perhaps more than it should). During that run, I realized a couple things:

First, I realized that to really be able to run without the music, I would need to work hard at focusing (“Focus, Danielson!”). I would need to be able to ignore the “you’re getting tired” voice and concentrate on other things.

Second, I realized that I do want to get to that point. I don’t think that’s going to happen for this marathon, but I think I can get there for a later marathon. I may start doing my shorter runs without music for a while and see how that goes.

Saturday’s run was noteworthy in that it was the first run with a distance greater than a half-marathon. I ran a half-marathon last year, so up to this point every run I’ve done, I could tell myself “This is something you’ve done before.” Saturday’s run was 15 miles, and I started having a pretty hard time as I was getting close to mile 13. But then it came and went, and I realized that I really could do it–I could go the 15 miles for that day. When the 18 miler comes up, I’ll be able to do that, as well as the 20 miler, and the marathon itself. It was a rather neat experience.


..Wow, has it been that long?

Have you ever tried to keep a journal? You do really well for a little while, but then you get a little busy for a little while. Then you decide to go back to your journal, so you open it up, and… you haven’t written in 6 months. Or a year.


At any rate, I’ve decided to run a marathon. No, I don’t know what I was thinking when I signed up, but I am rather excited about it. I’ll be running the Ogden Marathon in Utah on May 16th–I hear it’s a very nice marathon to run, without very much difficult terrain.

I’m using Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training Guide  (novice 1 schedule). It’s a lot of running, but even with the cold weather, I’ve found that I rather enjoy running. When it’s really cold outside I run on the treadmill (and, yes, I watch the documentaries found on the extended versions of “Lord of the Rings” when I do–they are really quite interesting).


I’m a programmer. A professional geek. I work on a computer all day every day, and some extra just to maintain a firm control on my nerdness…

What the heck am I doing trying to do a half-marathon!?!?

I don’t know, but overall it was pretty fun.

It all started with my sister, who got me and a number of my siblings to run the 5K. And it was actually kind of fun. It was really hard, but I enjoyed the challenge, and I got a decent time. A few weeks later I found myself running a 10K with the group. I had run a couple times between then, but I hadn’t really trined for it.

It was actually king of fun. Really hard, but I enjoyed the challenge, and again I got a decent time.

So then my sister said we should run a half-marathon!? I hadn’t really considered it before, but I had done pretty well on the half-marathon, so I figured I would go ahead and do it. So I went and got some running shoes and other supplies. I eventually got an mp3 player (unfortunately, not enough funds for a nice ipod). And for a few weeks I trained pretty regularly. After that I only had time to make a few runs, but I was rather nervous going into the marathon.

So we had to get up at a completely unholy hour (4:30 AM!) so that I could get to the finish point. From there we were bussed to the start point. The bus went uphill… and more uphill… and… more… uphill…


Well, our little group found each other and eventually the race started. There were a fairly large number of people and we were near the back of the crowd, so once the race started, we kind of… stood there… We eventually started, and we were running downhill.

It didn’t turn out to be too bad. I found my mp3 player to be very helpful (they allowed them in this race–I understand that for more serious runs they are not). My choice of music was probably very different than what one would expect (see my comments on soundtracks below–I also enjoyed Dvorak’s 9th Symphony).

The pack I got for my bottle had proved to be useless – it kept sliding up to my stomach and bouncing around – so I carried my water bottle. That turned out to be less than usefull. I ended up ditching the bottle about a mile from the end when it was still half full (oops).

The other fun part was when my mp3 player died. I really noticed that. All of a sudden the running was a lot harder. Fortunately it was only about 3 miles from the end.

As it turned out, the half-marathon was easier than the 5K and 10K. I suspect it may have to do with the fact that I actually trained for this one. I was quite pleased at my time, 1:54 for 13 miles, but I think what I was most pleased about as far as running was to find that I generally kept my wind – I’ve always had a very short wind, but for virtually the whole race I was breathing just fine.

I also really enjoyed that it was something of a family event. It was really neat to cheer each other on, and see them come in once I had come in.