ILX Drive to Utah: St. George Marathon

Odometer (ILX):  55,836


Odometer (Legend):  527,113


What does it take to travel 26.2 miles?

When I’m in my 2013 Acura ILX, it requires about .79 gallons of premium unleaded gasoline.


When I’m equipped with nothing more than a pair of running shoes, the fuel requirement is a bit more involved.

  • 1/2 bagel with peanut butter
  • 5 bites of a chocolate mint “Builder Bar”
  • 3 “GU” energy gel packets
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 6 orange slices
  • est. 1/2 gallon of water and/or gatorade
  • and 1 red vine licorice strip at mile 18

I think my car wins by a landslide in terms of efficiency.  Let’s talk about running.

The very world’s first marathon dates back a very long time:

The modern marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C., bringing news of a Greek victory over the Persians. Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the momentous message “Niki!” (“victory”), then collapsed and died, thereby setting a precedent for dramatic conclusions to the marathon.

Say what?  We commemorate the event of this soldier’s death by subjecting ourselves to the same tortuous treatment?  You bet we do.  And sometimes we even have fun doing it.  This weekend, I drove my Acura ILX about 850 miles round-trip to my hometown of St. George, Utah to compete in a marathon hosted there.


I’m happy to report that I did survive the event and even performed a little better than anticipated.  This was the 5th time I’ve finished this race, and I plan on competing again next year. The ILX, as always, made the trip to Utah flawlessly.  I invite you to follow along on the journey via the photos below.


Highway 93 between Wickenburg and Wikeup, Arizona offered a nice backdrop for some photos as I was rolling through last Thursday evening.


Dusk is my preferred time of day to take car pictures.  The ILX has great lines:



The face of determination.  In the 16 months I’ve had the ILX, it’s probably made this trip to Utah a dozen times.


First order of business upon arrival in Las Vegas, Nevada was picking up my friend Jeff who’d flown down from Calgary, Alberta.  Jeff is a marathon runner, too, and a quick one at that.


No trip to St. George would have been complete without seeing these little munchkins, my nieces & nephews.


Jeff and I did a little climbing in the red sandstone rocks just north of town.  The word “Dixie” painted on the rock has been there for over a hundred years.  The area was settled originally by Mormon pioneers who were from the south.  The area’s climate made it a great place to grow cotton, so St. George became known as “Utah’s Dixie.”



Race day!  Early on Saturday morning after a 40-minute bus ride to the start line, we freezed our buns off in 40-degree temperatures with lots of chilly wind until things got underway.


And we were off!  Jeff and I (and my mom, who was also running) got separated from one another right away in the crowd.  For the first couple of miles, runner traffic was heavy.  I took the below picture at around mile 14 when Snow Canyon State Park came into view.


I wonder what was on my playlist at the time.  Typically, the songs I like best when I’m running are ones that have a good beat.  Here’s one example on YouTube which is a remix of the Cranberries song “Zombie.”


My fan club (of which Grandma is president!) was alongside the road at about mile 24.  She’d put together a sign for me.


If I’d been running this race prior to 1924, I would have crossed the finish line then.  The “original” marathon distance was 24 miles, but an additional 2.2 miles were added at the Olympic games in London so the race could finish in front of royal family’s viewing box!

There were lots of clever signs along the road, including this one near a mortuary.


Others that I laughed at:

  • “WTF” (Where’s the Finish!?)
  • (with a picture of Sweet Brown) “Tired?  Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!”
  • “Run Faster.  I Just Farted.”
  • “Worst Parade Ever.”
  • “That’s Not Sweat.  It’s Your Fat Cells Crying!”

Whatever the message, it was great to have a diversion from the pavement and I love the crowd support that is always in abundance at the St. George Marathon.  My final stats are shown on the graphic below.  My finish time was 4 hours, 18 minutes.  That put me smack-dab in the middle of my “age grade.”


When we dig a little deeper into the data, it’s easy to see how much I was slowing down toward the end.  I started out with a sub-9-minute mile, but by the end I was taking nearly 10 minutes per mile.


Jeff blazed through the race in 3 hours 28 minutes.  My mom’s finish time was 4 hours, 3 seconds!  I was the slow poke of the group. We treated ourselves to popsicles, fruit, bread, water and all kinds of other refreshments at the finish.


The first place winner in my division, Bryant Jensen, finished in 2 hours 15 minutes!  That works out to a 5:15 minute mile pace.  Unbelievable speed to maintain for that kind of distance.  Below, Jeff and mom were taking time for a stretch.  Hey guys, easy on the paint job please!


Cheesy photo-op required.


Time for Play-Doh with the kids.


Just a few hours of relaxation later, Jeff and I departed through the Virgin River Gorge on Interstate 15 southbound to make the 100-mile trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for the night.


A true oasis in the desert, this city gets a little more colorful every time I visit.  Las Vegas is a true 24/7 entertainment destination.


I parked next to a Sundance Gold Pearl 2001 Acura CL Type-S at our hotel, the Mandalay Bay.


Later that evening, we did some walking (or better yet, hobbling) around to see some of the sights.  The New York-New York Casino is famed for its architecture in the likeness of the NYC city skyline, except with somewhat miniaturized buildings.  There’s a roller coaster that circles the property.  I won’t be riding it any time soon!


We ran into our friend Deena on the Las Vegas Strip.


Pictured here are Paris and Planet Hollywood casinos.


It was a great night out on the town, though I was exhausted from the run earlier in the day.

This morning on my drive home to Phoenix in Boulder City, Nevada, I hit a fun milestone in the ILX.  If only the outside temperature had been 6 degrees cooler, this would have been 55,555 miles at 55 miles per hour in 55 degrees.



10 Responses to “ILX Drive to Utah: St. George Marathon”

  1. Congrats for all three of you for finishing! I know I can’t run 1/8 of a marathon. LOL
    The ILX looks great in the sun set, and your pictures (as usual) are top notch.
    Too bad mother nature didn’t want to help out in the “5” department.

    • Thanks for the congrats, Dave. Much appreciated. I break up the long-distance runs just like I break up a long-distance drive. I just look at it as multiple shorter segments. Yeah I was happy with how those ILX pics turned out. The car is way overdue for a nice thorough detail so I’ll have to get some “beauty pics” once that’s complete.

  2. Kevin Amoth Says:

    Great blog and pictures Tyson. Our daughter ran the Twin Cities Marathon yesterday. Her time was 4:18:19. Kelly said she didn’t finish well. Great sign by your grandmother!

    • Wow, how crazy is that! My finish time and your daughter’s finish time were only 33 seconds apart. Yeah, my gma is a sweetheart for putting that sign together. She spectates the race every year.

  3. Great blog entry, Tyson!

    Congrats on all three of you. Very impressive results.

    I love your Grandmothers Support!

    • Thanks Dillon! Grandma is a trooper for sitting out there all morning and supporting the athletes. We just need to get her to train for one of these events now… 🙂

  4. I finally had time to sit down and read this blog entry and pour over every detail of the photos. I asked Jeff today if he had any regrets, other than not having worn pants to the starting line, and he said he could have trained a little harder. I say phooey! I say roll with the punches and make the most of what you have! Look at you, with a few high-milers of 6! I had not exceeded 13! Sometimes less is more, and we were all smiling at the finish line!

    Like a car, we sometimes need a new set of treads and a change of oil. Maintenance is key in functionality, whether it’s a human body or a vehicle! Keep tabs on those gauges, son!

    Here’s to SGM 2014!

  5. Jason Pawela Says:

    Tyson, finally had a chance to sit down and catch up on your posts. Looks like you made great time at the marathon and I new feel exhausted just reading everything you went through. Great feeling I bet when it was all over. Loved seeing your fan crew!

    • Glad you’re caught up on the posts – and yes, I’m a fan of my fanclub too! I’m glad my next competitive run isn’t until January. Time to slack off a bit 😉

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