I have been running the course of the Deseret News Marathon in pieces over the past few weeks in order to properly prepare for its running on July 24th. (Previous parts were run HERE, HERE and HERE). While there remains a section from miles 6- 9 that includes a 200 plus foot climb over 2 miles that I have not run,. I feel like I know the course pretty well. Today's run was the beginning section and far and away the steepest downhill.
Starting at about 7500 feet, the course follows a twisting turning section for the first 3 miles before straightening out for one more mile. In those 4 miles, runners go down more than 1500'. The next 2 miles are mostly flat with a few gentle grades before a little climb right before the 6 mile point. Here is the elevation profile.
This doesn't look all that steep until you check out the numbers on the side. It should be a screamer of a first few miles. I hope to keep myself in check and not go ballistic but still use this downhill to my advantage. You see, in order to have that much downhill and still end up nearly a mile above sea-level, you have to start high. And when your ears pop at the beginning of your run because of altitude, you know you are up high.
Of course, this was the easy part. The hard part was getting up the damn thing. I had to park my car at the base of the mountain and begin my trek up the hill. Luckily, we will not have to run up this. Here is the map and elevation profile of the up.
I had a few cyclists zoom down the hill at me as I hiked up this first 6 miles, but none passed me. I have no doubt that riding up this is just as harder, if not worse, than running it. When I got to the top, there were a few cyclists watering themselves and resting, looking out over the canyons on both sides. One asked me: "You ran from the bottom?" I said: "Nah. Had my parents drop me off about 100 yards back, in hopes of impressing people at the top. Did it work?" It got a good laugh.
Here is what they were looking at. You can see the winding road in a few places.
And another better shot (click to enlarge):
All told it was a 12 mile run. Here are the differences in time
6 miles up: 52 minutes exactly (8:40 min per mile).
6 miles down: 40 minutes exactly (6:40 min per mile).
Just a smidgen of difference from up to down! Now begins my semi-taper. I hear they are maddening.