Salt Lake Valley Temple Run

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.

Draper Temple 7am
I headed down the road and was quickly setting a good pace. I ran down 132nd South until I got to 3rd East. I turned right and headed north until I got to 123rd So. Just as I got to the corner the light rain that had accompanied me from the start now turned into a downpour with sleet mixed in. I sped up and dashed towards the freeway underpass where I could hopefully hide-out until it settled down. Even running at a 7 min/mile pace I was totally soaked by the time I found shelter. I had to wait out the storm for about 5 minutes until I felt like I could continue on. There was not one inch of me that was dry and I was pretty disheartened, considering I was only 5 miles into the run.
I was really not happy and very wet.
Once I was off again my attitude quickly improved. The rain was almost gone and I was starting to dry out. The westerly wind was like a blow-dryer on my clothes. I had good tunes in my ears and was actually enjoying running through the suburbs of Salt Lake. I ran 123rd So until I got to 13th W. At that point I turned north and ran that road until I came to 114th So. I was still running about 8:30 min/mile, which is pretty quick considering how long the run was going to be. What I didn’t know was that there was construction on 114th So all the way out to Bangerter Hwy. Luckily, there were sidewalks available from time to time so that I wasn’t in any danger of getting hit by a car. I made it to Quirrh Mountain Temple, mile 12.3 in under two hours. It was turning out to be a beautiful day and my spirits were high.
Still raining, but I don’t care.
I knew I was done with all of the uphill. That is always a nice thought when you still have 22 miles in front of you. It was a short 4 miles to the Jordan River Temple and I knew it would go quick. What I didn’t realize was the pounding the downhill pavement would have on my ITB. By the time I made my way down 104th So and turning north onto 13th W I was hurting pretty bad. My actual ITB didn’t hurt in either knee, but the pounding had taken its toll. I was getting tired. But, with the run half over and three temples out of the way I couldn’t be too down. I was determined to finish no matter how difficult the task.

I continued along 13th W and only stopped once at a gas station to refill my water bottles. It was a quick stop and I was off to 70th So where I would turn east and head down to the Jordan River Parkway trail. It was the last of my downhills and I was looking forward to the flatness of the JRP. However, just as I got on the trail the rain started to pick up again and I was finding myself in need of cover. I was able to pick up the pace and race towards the park at 64th So where I could find shelter under the pavilion. I ended up having to stay there about 10 minutes. It turned out to be a good stop. I was tired and my legs were really hurting. I stretched, took some photos, and even made a short video. When the rain had died down enough I hit the trail again. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how hilly that trail is. The hills are tiny, but just enough to hurt after 22+ miles.
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.

5 thoughts on “Salt Lake Valley Temple Run

  1. Hey, I wish I’d known. I would’ve come down from my cubicle on the 8th floor of the COB and met you at the finish with hot cocoa and a towel or something. Way to have an adventure.

  2. Yes, that was an awesome adventure man! I love it! and the blog. Ran across you on the ultra list and saw the link to the blog and decided to check it out. Quite awesome!

  3. Thanks gang. I appreciate the comments. Now that the nasty weather is over it’s all about hitting the trails again. I can’t wait to get my feet dirty.

  4. Hi Jun –

    Came across your blog somehow via Crockett or something. SL Valley temple run sounds like a great idea. In fact, I would like to do the run myself this year in March when I plan on running 36 miles on my 36th birthday. This seems like the perfect run. Any advice, course description you could send would be great!

    Thanks and have a great year in 2011.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>