Today was not the day I expected. I have been planning for several weeks to travel down to Bryce Canyon to do a link-up run of the three main backcountry trails. However, with significant snow on the south end and the threat of more the last couple of days I decided I better postpone. I settled on heading back out to Lake Mountain to tackle the course record for the 50k that I did with Davy Crockett last summer. However, rain and colder temps thwarted that idea also. So I went after another little adventure.
I have had an idea of doing a Salt Lake valley LDS temple run ever since the Oquirrh Mountain temple was dedicated last year. There are now 4 temples in the valley, stretching from Draper to South Jordan to West Jordan to Salt Lake. I’ve had the run mapped out for about 8 months now and today was the day to tackle the challenge. It would be a tough 34.7 miles on pavement. That is hard enough alone, but add in the nasty weather planned for today and I had a real challenge on my hands.
I drove to Draper and parked in the Draper Temple parking lot at 7am. After getting my things in order I stepped out of the car and set up my camera for my first photo. This was my starting point. I started the clock just after taking the photo and heading out.
I reached the marathon mark of 26.2 miles just as I got to 39th So. I was very tired at this point and the pounding of the pavement had all but destroyed my knees. I got to the marathon mark at 3:48:00, only 17 minutes slower than my marathon PR, which I got at the Top Of Utah Marathon last September, a very downhill course. After a quick stop to stretch I started off again. I was finding that I could only run for about a mile and a half and then I would have to stop and stretch my legs and hips. The cool part was that while I was running I was still able to maintain a 8:30 – 9 min/mile pace. It was just comfortable for me.
At 21st So the trail abruptly ends. I found myself in a construction zone where they were working on some new westbound Trax station. No one seemed to care as I ran through their site and I quickly found myself on 9th W heading north. I reached the 50k (31 miles) point at 4:38:00 or something like that. It was the fastest I had ever run that distance by almost an hour. I wasn’t surprised though, it was a flat course on pavement. After that mark I decided to walk a while and get my legs back under me. I made a few phone calls and chatted while I walked for a half a mile. Only just over 3 miles to go. I could see the LDS church office building towing in the skyline and I knew where I needed to go.
From then on I could only muster a run of about half a mile and then I would have to walk for a minute or so. This continued on as I made my way down 9th E, turned east on 4th S, and worked towards 3rd W. I was also having to stop at stoplights frequently. Along my entire run I left my watch running at traffic lights and while I stopped to stretch so that my timing of the run could be as accurate as possible. Once on South Temple I picked up into a painful run again, my energy heightened with the finish in site. As I turned into Temple Square and went through the fence, stopped, bent over, put my hands to my face, and just laughed out loud for almost a minute. What had I just done? I ran 34.7 miles in 5 hours, 26 minutes, and 50 seconds. I averaged a 9:25 min/mile pace for the entire run. I visited 4 temples and experienced beautiful surroundings. After taking a few pictures I called my wife for a ride and then went into the north visitors center to clean up in the bathroom and wait for my wife by the Christus statue. It was a great way to end my run and reflect on what I had done. Today was a good day. Now I can barely walk.