utah valley marathon

by @according2kelly on June 24, 2013


i can vividly remember the last time i ran provo canyon.

it was the spring of 1998.

i was a junior in college. & despite having torn my acl, mcl & meniscus in my right knee, while hyper extending my left knee (in a ski accident the year before), i had decided that i was going to run a marathon.


half way through my training, i found myself going out for a 15 mile run.

i was running an “out & back” in provo canyon, hoping that the scenery would help the miles pass quicker.

as i completed my 13th mile, my knees buckled & completely gave out on me.

just like they had the week before, & the week before that.

unable to walk, let alone run, i can remember sitting down, & crying.

as the tears streamed down my face, i finally accepted that my dream of completing a marathon, wasn’t coming true any time soon.

15 years later (with four marathons “under my belt”), i decided it was time to return to provo canyon & conquer the canyon that had once given me such doubt.

& while i don’t believe there’s such thing as a perfect race, utah valley marathon came very very close.


after carbo-loading on dunford chocolate donuts, staying up until nearly midnight creating the perfect-pump-me-up marathon playlist, and waking up at 2:35am, i was ready to run – ready to finally conquer the canyon, where i had once sat crying.


months of early morning runs, months of ice baths and wearing compression tights under my clothes, months of speed work outs & yasso 800s, months of late night dates with my foam roller, months of lonely long runs, months of painted toes to disguise my blackened toe nails, months of treadmill workouts, months of kt tape & team sparkle tattoo tan lines, all boiled down this – one single run.

bonfires at the start line?
bart yasso as the race announcer?
running with one of my best running friends, carrie, & her niece?
running through picturesque provo canyon?
majestic mountans in every direction?
views of cascading waterfalls, provo river and utah lake?

utah valley marathon really & truly is 26.2 miles of “pain you enjoy.”


we started the race deep inside provo canyon, just as the sun was coming up.

race jitters & adrenaline pumping through our veins.

just as promised, the breathtaking views were amazing, helping the miles fly by.

mile one: 7:51min/ mile
mile two: 7:51 min/ mile
mile three: 7:52 min/ mile
mile four: 7:48 min/ mile
mile five: 7:56 min/ mile
mile six: 7:53 min/ mile
mile seven: 7:56 min/ mile
mile eight: 8:24 min/ mile
mile nine: 8:22 min/ mile
mile ten: 7:44 min/ mile
mile eleven: 7:56 min/ mile
mile twelve: 8:10 min/ mile
mile thirteen: 7:51 min/ mile
mile fourteen: 8:08 min/ mile
mile fifteen: 7:59 min/ mile
mile sixteen: 8:07 min/ mile
mile seventeen: 8:26 min/ mile
mile eighteen: 7:52 min/ mile
mile nineteen: 7:43 min/ mile
mile twenty: 7:55 min/ mile

up until mile twenty, my race had been absolutely perfect, & everything had gone completely according to plan.

just as i exited the canyon, my asthma started to kick in & the elevation finally started to affect me. i spent the next 6 miles gasping for air, & repeating my mantra…


mile twenty-one: 8:02 min/ mile
mile twenty-two: 8:37 min/ mile
mile twenty-three: 8:53 min/ mile
mile twenty-four: 9:16 min/ mile
mile twenty-five: 8:26 min/ mile
mile twenty-six: 8:32 min/ mile
mile twenty-six.2: 1:44

those last 6 miles seemed to take forever, but when i finally crossed the finish line, i felt triumphant.


i conquered the canyon, rung the PR bell AND qualified for the boston marathon.


not bad for a day’s work.

in fact, carrie, becky & i ALL qualified for boston.

pretty dang awesome, if you ask me.

we definitely accomplished our mission – i think people definitely now understand what it means to “respect the skirt.”


still riding the pr and boston qualifying high i celebrated with the absolutely, most incredibly perfect post-marathon meal…

a hot dog, onion rings (can’t forget the fry sauce), and an über-thick-over-the-top black raspberry shake, from the best little hamburger stand in all of utah – the iceberg drive inn.


as i said before – i don’t believe there’s such thing as a perfect race.

but utah valley marathon came very very close. it was practically perfect in every way.

it really & truly was 26.2 miles of pain that i enjoyed.


utah valley marathon was an amazing experience from start until end.

& while running is generally an individual sport, my journey wouldn’t have been possible without all of you.

helen keller once said “alone we can do so litte; together we can do so much.” & i whole heartedly agree.

thank YOU for supporting & believing in me. without the love you’ve shown me, my success at utah valley marathon would’t have been possible.

utah valley marathon {by the numbers}

* total “chip” time 3:34:16
* 12th place out of 113 women in my age group
* 62nd place out of 648 women
* 260th place overall
* 1/2 marathon split time 1:45, average pace of  8:01/ minutes per mile (333rd place overall)


Wow!!!! Thats fantastic Kelly!!! Congrats!! A BIG Congrats to you!


I finally got around to reading this post (way behind on blog reading)...such an incredible accomplishment!  You are such an amazing runner...I can't even fathom running that fast haha!  Congratulations on doing lots of incredible things in one race! :) -Christine @ We Run Disney

Heather Tanji
Heather Tanji

How inspiring! I did my very first half marathon in January (LA 13.1) and can't imagine how hard it must have been to do those last 6 miles with asthma kicking in. You're amazing and your min/mile is fantastic. Thanks for sharing!


Congrats!  So inspiring for me to read this as I train for my first marathon in November.  You're awesome!!!

delovely details
delovely details

Major Congrats! You are amazing, and I can't wait to read more about your journey to Boston! 


Congratulations Kelly-so happy for you!


Way to go!  Congratulations!  I so wish I could run, but I have such bad ankles.


Amazing!  So proud of you!  To qualify once for Boston is crazy and awesome, but to do it twice as I know you have (inside 1 year no less), is inspiring!  Congratulations!


Awesome job, my friend! I loved hearing your story about running there in college.


That is awesome! Congratulations on a fantastic run!

Previous post:

Next post: