Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Mount Lemmon 1/2 Marathon Report

Quite a few months ago I signed up with Muscle Milk Arizona (MMA) to do the Mount Lemmon Marathon (MLM).  We were going to have training runs, motivational emails, and get togethers.  A few of those things happened but not what Muscle Milk intended and not what we runners expected.  There were some personnel issues and issues with the event itself. 

“The Toughest Road Marathon in the World”
“The Only Uphill Marathon in the US”
“6000 ft of Climbing”

I went into training for the MLM with great enthusiasm.  I took the family to Oregon for summer vacation via Mammoth, California so I could run at altitude and see what it was going to be like.  In Oregon I ran all the hills around us.  I did hill repeats after hill repeats.  I felt great!!! 

Then we returned to Arizona and 118°F.  The kids went back to school.  No word from MMA or from MLM and my motivation flew out the window.  

We finally received communication from MMA that the race was still on.  At that point I decided to drop to the half.  I ran off and on.  Did long trial runs and hikes but did very little running three weeks before the marathon.

Reflection time...
In the spring I ran with a great guy named Milton Miller.  He was running from Miami, Florida to Los Angeles, California.  We ran 10 miles together in Arizona and he asked me something very profound that has stuck with me and I think I've learned from.  Milton asked, “Why are you so serious?”  

Hmm?  Why am I so serious?  I know I’m never going to win anything.  I’ve run faster but always seem to slow down to look around and enjoy where I am.  Then I get upset with myself because I’m not doing whatever I thought I should have been doing; speed, time, distance, etc.  I joke that I have running ADD.

So, I figured the MLM was the perfect place to relax and enjoy.  I decided to really take my time.  I never talk to people too much because I’m usually in my own little world huffing and puffing away.  This time I took lots of photos and chatted with a ton of people.  

I did run some but mostly fast hiked.  There was a lot of uphill!  Duh!!!  

We are not to the top yet!

The view from the vista point
At one point I felt a blister coming on so I pulled over and took care of that.  I ran out to a vista point to get a photo.  When we could finally see the finish line, I turned around to the ladies behind me who didn’t believe it was close and yelled, “I see it!!!” 

Due to the event changing hands and the issues with that, there were a few bumps along the way.  The Expo was very spartan but packet pickup was great.  Email communication was not consistent, I’m not sure if that was because I was with MMA but there were several emails from the race director that I did not receive.   

Other than that it was a great event.   I’m ready to sign up for it again next year!

Some cool things:
I had never had a timing chip like this one which I thought was pretty cool.  I wasn’t afraid I’d lose it and no wrangling it on my shoe.  

The sponsor hotel Sheraton was great.  The school bus drivers that drove us were wonderful.  Our pick up location was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel.  After the event the bus driver dropped us at the hotel on her way to the parking location. 

I have heard that the event organizer is considering changing the date of the race to the spring.  I vote for that!  Training over the summer here in Arizona is just brutal.  

So if you find yourself in Southern Arizona this spring and want to run a marathon or a half marathon up a mountain, I highly recommend The Mount Lemmon Marathon.  

This is going to be an event to watch out for in the future, I bet they have to cap entries someday. 

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