I’ve been here before. A decade ago. The year was 2012 and I ran a 3:39:41.
A lot has changed in the ensuing ten years. The race was sold from the founder at Calico Racing to an antipodean upstart. The mileage has taken a toll on me, as well as the years. But the course remains the same — a long 2.5 mile uphill to the former railroad route used to get supplies into and debris out of the Hoover Dam project in the 1930s. A kiss of a view of the Dam itself from the parking deck then back to where we started… with a small jag PAST the finish line to make up the 13.1 mile distance… and because I run marathons, it meant I did that same loop one more time.
The inclines were brutal… and longer than I remember. I suppose because we block out the struggles as best we can. “ac-CENT-CHOO-wait” the positive as Bing Crosby might croon. And what were the positives? The desert can be healing and cleansing and freeing — the dust and the air and the vastness of space can be a soothing balm… especially when so much of the last few months has seen me cooped up inside an automobile going back and forth to places… and so much of the past three years has seen us all cooped up avoiding Covid [which sadly continues to haunt us… we may want to be done with Covid but it’s not done with us… be vigilant and kind to one another, folks]. The irony of my waxing poetic about getting out of the car is that in my stubborn foolishness I opted to drive out to Hoover Dam the morning of rather than the night before and getting a hotel. My reasoning was sound — to drive out to Vegas from LA on a Friday night is begging for traffic jams. To fly requires getting to the airport, dealing with TSA and delays, dealing with car rental counters and delays, and then doing the whole thing in reverse to get back. So instead I opted to leave my apartment at 2 AM and make the 4.5 hour drive, run a marathon, and drive home in the same day. To hell with the marathon time – this bi-athlon of driving and running had a course time of 15 hours and 4 minutes.
But the race? The race had some beauty, both natural and human-made. Submitted for your viewing pleasure:
Riddle me this — when does a decade not seem like 10 years but instead feels like 12 seconds?
When I run the Hoover Dam Marathon in 3:39:41 in 2012…
…and 3:39:53 in 2022.