I ran a personal best on Saturday with a finishing time of 3:41:54, a personal best by 57 seconds. Regardless of it being my personal best, it was my most complete marathon I have ever run because I was consistent across the board and never walked…which is a first.
This was a big accomplishment for me because as I stated in a previous post, I have been in a major funk since the California Ironman 70.3. In march when I did that triathlon I was in the best shape of my life by far. My trend weight was 163 and I even had a daily weigh in under 160. Now I am nearly 10 pounds heavier in less than 2 months…but hey, 1.5 years ago I almost hit 200.
Anyways, without a lot of training over the past couple months I still had to run the marathon because I paid for it and it has been my favorite course. Emily drove me to the bus area at 4:30 in the morning and I met my friend Ben. We loaded up on the bus which took us to the start area. We spent the 1:15 before the race started standing in lines for the bathrooms and crowding next to the bonfires to stay warm. We then lined up for the start and took off. Ben was gone and I knew I wouldn’t see him again because he was going for a Boston qualifying time, which would be more than a half-hour faster than I can run.
The first mile I clocked at a 7:30/mile pace which I knew was to quick so I slowed up. My ultimate goal was to finish under 4 hours which would be a 9:09 pace. I then started getting passed by just about everyone but I was able to stay at a 8:10-8:20 pace for the next 7 miles. The first section is down the first canyon with a river flowing right next to the road and tons of campsites with the smell of campfires burning. It is a beautiful course. The next section goes around Pineview Reservoir.
This is the ugly part of the course, which says how awesome the course is because the ugly part is running around a lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains. This part is flat and also has some uphill. My pace was steady here at around a 8:30 pace. Again, it was very consistent.
The next part is down Ogden Canyon which is beautiful as well. You are running next to another river with steep canyon walls. I was able to drop my pace to around a 8:20 and even clocked a 8:05. Some parts of this section has a steep downhill which really hurts after 18 miles of running. I thought “18 down, 8 to go…aw, what the crap am I doing.” I have always had a moment like this during all my long distance races but I was easily able to overcome those thoughts today. I just kept kicking one foot in front of the other. I stayed on top of my nutrition pretty well and the adoption of an Ibuprofin strategy has worked well my last 2 races.
At the bottom of the canyon you have a 5K to go. I thought that this could be my first race where I never walked. Last year I was about 4 minutes ahead of this years pace but I walked 3-4 times through water stops. This year I pressed forward. It was hard but I averaged about an 8:50 pace and in the end only had one mile where it took me more than 9 minutes (9:05). The last 5K is critical. I ended up 63rd place in my age group (top third) but I had the 6th fastest last 5K time.
The Marathon was testing a new system where they would send a text to your loved one when you had 5K to go. Emily and the kids were waiting for the text, but the system didn’t work so I surprised them when they were sitting in the park waiting. Emily felt bad because she didn’t get to see me finish. It was the first time she has missed that, but I appreciate her and the kids so much for being there anyways, and also for allowing me to spend time training.
So now I am re-energized. I looked at my first marathon time and now, 6 marathons later, I am almost one-hour faster. I am signed up for St. George and am looking to make it more than an hour in October. I am looking forward to training for the Utah Half (another 1/2 Ironman triathlon distance). The triathlon training may dampen my St. George time but it could help as well…and then at the end of the season, I will try to sign up for my IRONMAN…2.4 mile swim / 112 mile Bike / 26.2 mile run.