|Michael & me with "Jacob Waltz" ... AKA "The Lost Dutchman"|
25th Marathon Completed
Runners: 384/full, 889/half
Course: BEAUTIFUL!!! Gold Canyon to Apache Junction along Apache Trail, fairly challenging 1052' of descent mixed with rolling hills
Temp: 46 at the start, 60 at the finish
Wind: 5 ENE
SWAG: Thick medal, Long Sleeve Tech-T
Food: Bananas, Oranges, Bagles & GU at the beginning of the race throughout course, great post food including burritos
Volunteer Support: Good but sparse
Water Stops: Good, needed more sports drink
Crowd Support: Very sparse
Place: 35th/384 Overall, 7th/32 in 40-44 Age Group
Total Experience: 1 2 3 4 5
|Runners huddled by fires in front of beautiful Superstition Mountain before the 2013 Lost Dutchman Marathon|
- Maybe the most beautiful marathon course I've ran, watching the sun come up on Superstition Mountain was amazing
- The first 6 miles are ran on a dirt road through the desert mountains
- Staff was VERY accommodating and helpful the whole weekend, handing out sunblock & bandaids pre-race
- Unique pre-race environment with runners huddled by fires at the base of the mountain on the desert floor
- Convenient shuttle from hotel to starting line
- "Warm-Up Bus" parked at the starting line so runners could relax in heated area before the race
- One of my favorite race shirts so far with a great logo
- Host hotel kind of in the middle of nowhere at the Gold Canyon Golf Resort, but very nice
- Probably did a little too much hiking and not enough resting the three days before the race in Arizona
- On pace for PR until I hit the hill at mile 22 and just shut it down and coasted to finish
- Several Arizonians I talked to said this race was, "The Real Arizona Marathon"
- Got to meet Rachelle from Running For Trevor ... she's a little Speed Queen!
- Simply a great small race with only a few minor areas of improvement - could've easily rated it a "5"
Finisher Medal & Race Shirt
|Left: 2013 Lost Dutchman Marathon Finisher Medal|
Right: Long Sleeve Technical-T Race Shirt
|Pool at the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in Phoenix, Arizona|
(Michael and I also used this trip as a short vacation, following are some of the photos ... the rest of the marathon review is at the bottom)
My wife love-love-loves vacation. Any shape or size ... she's all about it! So when we decided to run a race in Arizona, a place that neither of us had ever been, we decided to make a long weekend out of it. And the fact that there was a 40 degree temperature difference between KC and the "Valley of the Sun" sealed the deal.
We flew out of KCI on Thursday morning and spent a few days in Phoenix before heading over to Apache Junction, just East of the metro area. We tried to see and do a lot of different things, but Phoenix a huge city, and 4 days wrapped around a marathon didn't give us time to do everything we wanted.
Our weekend began at Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort in West Phoenix. It was a very nice resort catering to golfers and people that wanted to lounge by their beautiful pool. Michael qualified for the latter. The only downside to the resort was that it was built on the side of a cliff and the paths "to and from" seemed to be at a 45 degree angle. It really seemed to burn a lot of energy just walking back and forth to the room. But it was definitely a distant second to the hiking we did the few days before the race.
|Hole In The Rock natural red-rock geological formation at Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona|
|View of the valley from Hole In The Rock|
|Idiot finally at the top ... now how do I get down!|
|Two very inexperienced mountain climbers, err hikers|
At Hole In The Rock, I thought it would be a cool thing for a 44 year old man, with no rock climbing experience, to climb to the top. I mean, there were a ton of young folks doing it ... how hard could it be ... right?
So I started climbing and got about 40 feet from the peak before realizing I was too high without a rope or any kind of safety equipment. And I kinda started panicking a little. My heart was racing as I turned around and looked down ... which I don't think you're supposed to do. I seriously didn't know how I was gonna get down without falling and started praying, "God, please don't let me die here!" over and over. I can't remember being that scared in a while. I could actually hear a couple of people on the ground pointing and saying "Look at that guy, that's too steep!" I quickly realized that going up on the face of a rock is apparently a lot easier than coming down.
But I tried to relax, and think, and look for another path that wouldn't allow me to slide to my death. I slowly made my way down and two girls about 30 feet below me were like, "Oh my gosh are you okay?" I was pretty wobbly legged and embarrassed, so we left shortly after that. But at the top, I made sure I had Michael take a picture of me ... just in case it was my last.
|Michael on a short trail near our resort in West Phoenix|
One of the coolest things about the Desert Botanical Garden was the The Four Seasons exhibit by American artist and film maker Philip Haas. There were four separate sculptures created from natural elements representing winter, spring, summer, and fall. The photo on the right is the sculpture that portrayed winter. But to be honest, while we were there, winter in Phoenix seemed to consist of perfect, sunny 78 degree afternoons. So in actuality, instead of a menacing look, the sculpture should be smiling while he soaks up the sun. I mean if you wanna experience winter, follow us back to the Midwest and get about 16" of snow this week!
Valentines Day was a few days before the race, so I took my Sweetheart to a nice dinner and we enjoyed a perfect evening in the desert. During our trip we also snapped a quick picture at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Oakland Athletics. There are currently 15 Major League Baseball teams that hold Spring Training in, and around the Phoenix Metro area. We arrived in town the day Spring Training started for all Major League teams, but we didn't have time on this trip to visit any other parks ... which killed me. We'll definitely have to go back for that.
|Nighttime entrance to Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort|
The creosote bush (pictured above), is a green leafy plant that thrives in desert heat. It is often confused with a petroleum product by the same name used to preserve railroad ties and telephone poles throughout the U.S.
|My beautiful bride in the setting sun|
(Pictured above) Michael & me at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, winter home of the Oakland Athletics. We tried to get by our Kansas City Royals Spring Training complex in Surprise, but just didn't have time .... but GO ROYALS!!!
|The view from our marathon resort the day before the race - Gold Canyon Golf Resort in Apache Junction, AZ|
While at a Phoenix park (left), we were visited by these black and white Ring Neck Ducks. There were several Mallards there as well, but these guys stood out with their beautiful gold eyes. We spent some time relaxing at this park before heading to packet pick up, and finally to Apache Junction for the marathon.
(End of the vacation section ... now back to the marathon review)
Legend Of The Lost Dutchman
Apache Indians were the first to find gold and become familiar with the mountain range. However, Spanish Conquistadors later followed and attempted to mine gold from the area, know today as Gold Canyon. The Spaniards requested help from the Apache, however the Indians were afraid of Superstition Mountain because of the "Thunder God" believed to dwell there. The Apache held that the "Thunder God" protected the gold and brought swift justice to those attempting to steal it. During the period when the Spaniards were mining gold from the area, there were several reports of missing and brutally maimed mine workers who sometimes later showed up decapitated reinforcing the stories.
|Superstition Mountain near Apache Junction, AZ ... home to the legend of the Lost Dutchman|
|Gold Canyon Golf Resort|
After Waltz and Weiser had been frequently seen and were known around the Phoenix area, Weiser suddenly disappeared. The most commonly held belief is that Waltz killed him. Waltz was believed to have killed another man who came upon his claim as well. During those years, Waltz would disappear for weeks at a time and then come back into town with the most pure gold nuggets anyone had ever seen. He would simply ride off for a while and then return with saddlebags full of gold. When asked where it came from, he would always give conflicting stories, never giving up the location of his private mine. However, near his death in 1891, he confided in his romantic interest, Julia Elena Thomas, the location of the mine. The way he described the location perfectly described the "Finger Of God". He promised to take Thomas to the location, but died before he had the opportunity.
Even though potentially a murderer, Jacob Waltz, or "The Lost Dutchman", is one of the most revered and famous prospectors of all time. But over the years, there has been a lot of death and misery that has beset those looking for his gold. Several have died while looking for the treasures that are believed to remain there. And even today there is a story in the Phoenix news about some hikers that are missing who were believed to be looking for "The Lost Dutchman's" gold mine.
Packet Pick Up, Gold Canyon Lodge, and Pre-Race
|Michael at our favorite store ... easy girl, it's not Disney World|
The resort staff was very helpful and got us settled without much trouble. As with the first resort, the hike back and forth to our room was a hilly adventure, probably burning the remaining glycogen stores in my legs ... before the race. But we made the best of it. There were also three adjoining restaurants that had a nice selection of food. But there were only enough servers for one of them, so all of our meals were really lengthy.
Packet pickup was held at one of our favorite places on the planet ... ROADRUNNER SPORTS!!! We've purchased a lot of running stuff from their online store over the years, and didn't realize until recently that they have retail locations. This one in Tempe was home to Packet Pick Up for a couple of days before the race. There was also an additional Packet Pick Up and Expo at the race location in Apache Junction the actual day before the race. (Free plug for www.roadrunnersports.com - we obviously try to buy local when we can, but there are times when pricing and selection limit those options. I really encourage you check out Roadrunner Sports - it's were I get all of my shoes. Typically you can combine their already low prices with an online coupon for huge savings)
|Michael chatting with Race Director Grady McEachern|
Not only that, Grady met her at the Expo when she was picking up her shirt and apologized for the mix up. I thought that was really awesome. I'd heard how this race really had a personal touch and was very runner friendly, and right off the bat Grady and his crew made that claim a reality. Thanks Grady!
One of the other "personal touches" that Michael enjoyed, but kinda pissed me off, was her pre-race rub down she just had to have from local "Massage Guy". One of her hips was tight and sore so she jumped on the table for a quick stretch. Now, I'm really not at all the jealous type, but this guy got my wife in some really weird positions right there in front of everyone at the Expo.
Then, to make matters worse, his buddy "Hair In A Pony Tail Massage Guy" came over to check things out. Was that really necessary? Chief ... eyes on your own work! Don't you have some towels to fold, or some want ads to search for places offering slightly manlier employment or something? I mean, Michael and I both get leg massages all the time from our friend Christa who is awesome. But two things ... Christa's a chick, and her hair is shorter than "Hair In A Pony Tail Massage Guy" ... or, the creepy gawker. I'm not sure why this made me so mad, but I was pissed for a while about it. I have absolutely no problem with my wife getting a massage from a man or woman, I just don't want to see it. And I definitely don't think we need "Hair In A Pony Tail Massage Guy" standing there drooling. Michael, of course, had a good laugh a me over the whole thing.
|Take a picture it'll last longer Jack Ass!|
After a quick nap, I went down to the pool, which Michael had no trouble finding. She of course, had been camped there for a while under the incredible desert sunshine. Later we drove into town to make sure Michael knew exactly where to park at the Rodeo Grounds for her Half-Marathon the next day.
Traffic was a little backed up on the highway leading to town. Apparently the Arizona Renaissance Festival was being held a couple of miles from there. I'm not a big fan of those things, but apparently this one is huge and attracts folks from all over the area.
For dinner I was able to round up my standard grilled chicken and pasta. I also had a baked potato and chick peas. I had really tried to manage my diet well over the previous few days of vacation, and not just go crazy with food. I felt like I was at a decent race weight or this one and not bloated with tons of vacation food. After that, we stopped by Walgreen's to pick up a couple of last bottles of Gatorade and then it was off to bed for an early 4:00 am rise and shine.
The Race ... A Great Day In Apache Junction
Michael and I woke up early, got our race gear around, and of course then we ... Pre-Race Danced!!! I'll let you in on a little secret ... I don't particularly care for the Pre-Race Dance. I can't dance. And it's not really dancing ... it's just standing in dance positions and waiting for the camera timer to go off. It's really the little lady's thing, you see. But the few times I haven't done it, I ran really poorly. So dance we did!
One of the nice things about staying at the marathon host hotel (which I rarely do) is they usually help you you make it to the starting line on time. The Lost Dutchman Marathon was no different. The race is a point-to-point run that begins 26.2 miles from the finish line near Peralta Trail Head. And there's no way to get to the starting line other than the shuttle bus. The race had several pick up points for the shuttles, but ours was literally right outside our hotel door. It was very convenient and one less thing to think about on race morning.
In sticking with the theme of being a very runner friendly race, one of the race directors was walking around the lobby of the Gold Canyon Golf Resort offering runners sunblock and band aides for nipple guards. I think he approached every runner individually just to make sure they had what they needed. It was a very nice personal touch. He told everyone that many runners didn't think about the little things, but because of the dry and sunny desert conditions, most runners needed them before the marathon was over. And he was right. There was not hardly one leaf of shade on the entire course. If it were ran later in the day, or later in the year - the sun would've eaten you alive. At 10 in the morning, near the end of my race, I could already feel the sun bearing down on my balding dome. But overall, the conditions were awesome.
|Pre-race campfires at the 2013 Lost Dutchman Marathon|
|Beautiful pre-race starting line at the base of Superstition Mountain|
|2013 Lost Dutchman Elevation Chart ... 1,052' Elevation Loss ... 561' Elevation Gain|
|Michael got a great picture of me crossing the finish line!|
The staff along the way at the aid stations were really great and encouraging. They even had oranges and bananas at a few of the stops, as well as GU and plenty of water. The only minor criticism I have of the race is it would have been nice to have a little more sports drink at the stops. It seemed like mostly water, but other than that they were great. There were also a ton a photographers from Action Sports there, so I'll be excited to see all of the running pics with the mountains in the background. The crowds were almost non-existent, but it was a smaller race and the scenery more than made up for the lack of supporters! However, the folks that were there were very encouraging and cheered us on.
|Tired and cramping ... but with medal #25!!!|
After the race I was exhausted. The extremely dry conditions and 65 degree temps for the last few miles had really dehydrated me. During my ultra training, I've been eating a lot of salty potato chips while running to balance out my electrolytes. So immediately after the race I began looking for something salty. I was really fighting cramping worse than I had in a while. My abs cramped when I bent over to sit down and it hurt like a banshee! Plus, my lower quads were really starting to feel the effects of running downhill for over 1,000 feet.
Michael had ran her Half-Marathon and even brought the camera to take a few pictures of me crossing the finish line, which was really sweet. When I finally recouped enough, we snapped a couple photos with the race mascots ... an old miner pretending to be Jacob Waltz, and a mule. It was pretty cool. Michael and I got several cheesy photos of course. I mean, there were props ... and a camera, so, well ... We also sat for a while and chatted with the girl who was the 2nd woman overall. She told us it was her first marathon she ever ran! What a speedster. She asked me how I did, and even though I had a solid day, my time was a little embarrassing compared to her.
|Ugly dude & two cute girls, my wife and Rachelle from Running For Trevor|
We had a great time visiting and Michael and I were blown away by her finishing time in her Half-Marathon. I'll let her share the time with you, but suffice to say this young lady is a SPEED-BURNER!!! But more than that, if possible she's even more sweet in person than she is on her blog. She's a wonderful person and it was an honor getting to meet her!
I think our short vacation to Arizona came just at the right time. We both needed a little break from work and the weather in the desert this time of year is perfect. We've been really blessed and fortunately have the ability to take little trips like this every once in a while. And the trip to Phoenix and Apache Junction, Arizona to run the Lost Dutchman Marathon is one that I'll remember for a long time.
... be great today!