Heading up Grove Canyon was surreal. The rain/snow had stopped and there was a fresh layer of snow covering the whole canyon. Occasionally I grabbed a handful of snow to supplement my now empty water bottle. A large group of scouts were heading down the canyon early after getting snowed out which was nice because of the encouragement and the packed trail. Soon I was at the small aid station and filled my bottle. I was in cruise control. As I neared the top of Grove Canyon I passed the campground and was now in untouched terrain. The snow was 4-6 inches deep and I was breaking trail. It was awesome! After a quick bathroom break I was heading down Battlecreek Canyon and quickly onto the Curly Springs Cutoff. This was the muddiest part of the course. It was pure muck. I decided to kick it up a notch effort wise and motored on up. I continued the effort all the way down to Dry Canyon and the last aid station.
Dry Canyon Aid station was run by a dozen enthusiastic high school kids who were cheering me on. They filled my bottle and I grabbed one last gel. This is also where the 1/2 marathon connects with the main marathon. Starting at 8 am I was now in the midst of 1/2 marathon runners. It gave me a boost picking them off one-by-one to the finish. As I was passing one of them I tripped and fell in a bad way. The trail was steep and wet with me sliding face first down the mtn for all of 4-5 seconds. I pushed up mid slide and was running without even slowing down! It was the craziest fall I've ever had. The 1/2 marathoner behind me said he could have surfed on my back the whole way down the mtn. Golden Harper had been taking pictures heading up the trail and snapped this picture about 30 seconds after my spill!
Golden took the rest of these pictures running down the mtn those last three miles. Someone pulled some some flagging and I had to stop at a couple of intersections trying to figure out the route (the Orem High track team went up and re-flagged those last few miles) but all-in-all I felt great and cruised all the way to the finish. I ended up winning in a time of 4:12.45!
Considering the conditions I'm super proud of my time. I thought before the race that if the conditions were good I could go under 4 hrs which would easily have been the case without the rain and snow. I'm happy that despite things not going perfect e.i. rain and no drop bag, I adapted without any problem. I'm also happy that I didn't feel like I was racing the entire way. It was an honest 90% effort. I finished and still felt like I could run another 10 miles if I had to. This sets me up perfectly for Squaw Peak in 2 weeks. Aside from my sore and bloody knee that I got from my spill, I am feeling quite fresh the day after the event. Congrats to all 79 finishers for pushing through such crazy conditions. Race directors did a great job for a first time event and even my friend Greg in his 1st marathon finished and had a great time as did nearly everyone I talked to after the race. Full results can be found here.