This past Saturday I ran and completed the “Running with the Devil” marathon in Boulder City, Nevada. This would be my 19th marathon over the past three years and was not only my slowest race by far but also the most difficult to complete but possibly the most meaningful. As I work towards running a marathon in all 50 states I was happy to learn that a marathon was taking place the same week my wife was traveling to Las Vegas for a conference in which I was accompanying her. I found the race description below online regarding the marathon that would knock out the state of Nevada for me.
· Most race organizers go to great lengths to ensure their races are held in ideal running conditions; 40 degrees, light breeze, overcast. Many aim to make their courses flat and fast, or even downhill to facilitate runners to smash their PR. Not this one! Held in summer in the middle of the day thru the dry Mojave Desert, athletes will be challenged to contend with extreme heat and unrelenting rolling hills as they traverse this spectacularly scenic course.
The temperatures at the “Running with the Devil” marathon were unlike any conditions that I have ever run in. The race temperatures started around 105 and went up to 110. Running this race was described in a write up as running in a giant hairdryer. Add some of the largest hills you can imagine and this would make for one difficult run. I have heard from so many people that love to say “...but it's a dry heat”. To which I respond, registration for 2011 is open and you should run it.
As if the heat and the hills were not enough, my stomach was not cooperating with me either. Not sure if it was a result of the high temps and hills but I got sick early and often throughout the race. At the mile number 18 aid station I threw up several times and the aid station worker was very concerned and wanted to call an EMT. I told him I was fine and wanted to continue. Between 18 and 20 miles I was very dizzy and think that the loss of fluids had really hurt me. At mile 20 aid station I was not sure I could go on any further. Another runner sitting in a chair at the aid station next to me had decided that she was done and was catching a ride back to the start. I shared my thoughts out loud that maybe that was what I should do as well. They responded that the car only had two seats and that they could only transport one runner at a time. After three small cups of Coke to settle my stomach and I filling my hat with ice I decided to try and make it to the next aid station at mile 23. I managed to make it to 23 with a ugly run/walk strategy and continued on to the finish from there. I crossed in 5 hours and 56 minutes.
I am happy that the aid station sag wagon had only two seats. Not only because it may have caused me to drop out if the car had back seats but also because that would have meant that I would have had to return to run Nevada again. After the race I thanked the woman who runs Calico Racing as she organizes some great races around the country. I wanted to tell her that I enjoyed the race and that she would see me again. I could not, however, bring myself to say this as I knew it was not the truth. I thanked her and stumbled on to my car with no intentions of ever coming back!
The race course itself was truly beautiful and took place near Lake Mead which is the largest manmade lake in the US. The town of Boulder City is only one of two towns in Nevada that does not allow gambling. I found a nice write up on the town of Boulder City that I felt was worth sharing.
Boulder City was initially created to house the workers who built Hoover Dam, and as such, was a significant and integral part of the successful completion of the Boulder Canyon Project. Constructed in 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression, Boulder City was conceived by the Federal Government as an ideal town, a "model" city to which the American people could look for hope of a better future. Today, Boulder City continues to provide the extraordinary service, unyielding commitment and inviting, family-oriented atmosphere that its founders, fondly referred to today as the 31ers, envisioned over 70 years ago.
Like any runner with a runner's mentality, there is a part of me that knows that I could have completed this race in a much faster time. This curiosity will not result in my return to Boulder City any time soon.
Way to go, Todd!