I have tried to run this marathon for 3 years and was finally able to get in this year because I was guaranteed a spot. There are so many people who want to run this marathon that they have a lottery where about a third of the people miss out. I was one of those losers for 2 years in a row, which meant I was guaranteed a spot for this year. They call it the “third time’s a charm” which means the next time I will be able to run it is 2013.
With my triathlon training interfering with run specific training I knew I wouldn’t break 3:30 but I thought I could at least get a P.R. The course has a ton of downhill, almost 2000 feet more than Ogden, where I have my P.R. It is also at lower altitude but there is a lot more climbing as well. But still, I am in good shape.
After 3 years I was ready except five days before the race I got a cold. I had an awful runny nose, the kind where you need to lay a towel down on your pillow so your pillow stays dry. I slept like crud for 3 nights and pounded orange juice and Gatorade to try and stay hydrated.
RACE DAY MORNING:
I was finally able to sleep pretty well the night before the race but I still had to get up around 4:00 AM to make it to the bus pick-up area. We drove to the finish line, boarded the bus and drove the 45 minutes to the start line up in the mountains. The weather was unseasonably warm. I heard many people mention how this was the warmest St. George Marathon they have ever experienced. I didn’t even need to go warm myself by the fires.
This was my 7th marathon and the 2nd largest crowd. My first was the San Diego marathon which has something like 15,000 participants. This one has 7,000-7,500. It was quite crowded and annoying when you have people who you question if they will even make it to the half-way point and they start near the front. I got close to the 3:40 pace group at the start line. One minute in and it felt like we were barely moving so I took off to the side of the road and picked up the pace big time. Ben and Clark were following and then Ben took off ahead Clark stayed behind and i never saw either again, even though Clark passed me somewhere in the last 2 miles.
I felt great for a long time. The downhills were around 7:30 paces which is well ahead of my ideal pace. An 8:00 pace would put me at 3:30 which I would like to get someday but at mile 20 I knew there was no way. I had passed the 3:30 pace group at about mile 7 and then after 13 miles they passed me back and I didn’t have the strength to stay with them. I started walking through water stops. I was looking for anything to give me energy but they failed to have Clif shots where they were supposed to be. I had brought 3 of my own which was great for 20 miles, but I could have used 3 more (one at each of the stops where they said they would be). Oh well, you have to adjust, but it is difficult to adjust strategy in the middle of a race and not have it mess with your head.
Eventually the 3:40 pace group passed me with about 3 miles left. I really wanted to stay with them because that would guarantee a P.R. but alas, I couldn’t. The only thing I was happy about at this point is that a piece of pulp from an orange that I ate at mile 4 had finally become dislodged from my teeth…Freedom.
It was nice coming into town because the crowds were great and they help to keep you moving. With a mile left I knew that I would have to push it to stay under 3:45. It hurt…but I ran a 9:00 minute mile and came in at 3:44:30, my third fastest marathon.
As I compare it to other marathons I’ve run, at mile 18, I was almost 5 minutes faster than my P.R. race. That goes to show you that the heat, a cold, lack of sleep and not having the nutrition on the course that you expect can sure hit you like a wall.
I enjoyed it and look forward to running it again, hopefully next year and not 3 years from now…but whenever it is, 3:30 will be mine.