On the bus up to the start at Central. Not sure what medicine the lady behind me took this morning.
If you have been to Boston this year, well, hey, wear the jacket as much as you can. Great bragging rights here. And a nice pony tail.
A group of us met at 5 am at the southeast corner of the tennis courts by Worthen Park to catch the bus up to the start at Central. As we arrived at Central, the flags were blowing towards the start indicating a 12-15mph headwind. It was raining as we descended from the bus. We pulled out our black lawn and leaf bags, and fortunately I had white running gloves and a black knitted hat, both of which I wore for the duration of the race.
I made a decision on the bus to run with Laura and the 3:40 pace group. The pacer, Andy , was quite a way back in the start pack, and it took several minutes to cross the start line and then we were bogged down with 10 min mile runners in a brick wall ahead of us. Starting with this pace group was looking like a bad decision.... it took 9:30 to get to mile 1, and 9 more minutes to get to mile 2. At that point , I took off on my own, but realized that valuable time was already lost and 3:30 would be nowhere in sight.
Going up Veyo, I met a 6'5" BYU student who graciously shielded me from the wind. We ran 8:15's after Veyo and tried to make it to the half by 1:50. After a potty break at 11, I had lost ground, and made it to the half in 1:53, which would have been 3:46 had I run the second half at the same pace.
Nothing can compare to water sloshing around in your shoes, wet socks and cold legs half way through a marathon. With very little body fat, I was cold and miserable. At Snow canyon, I was cheered on by Nick Stewart and his wife sat huddled up in chairs to my right. Many brave souls were helping us to get through a tough race. it took more to be out there sitting than to be running in this nasty weather.
The downhills sections from 16-18 felt better, I was able to run close to 8 min miles. I stopped briefly for a kind volunteer to put "icy hot" on both patella tendons at the 17 mile aid station. The hill looming at 18 sapped my strength 2/3 of the way up, and I allowed myself a brief walk for 50 yards. When I resumed running I crested the hill knowing that it really was "all downhill from here".
A third potty break at mile 21 took another valuable minute away. I realized that I was overhydrated and did not need any more fluid for the rest of the race. As I scrambled back onto the course, the 3:50 pacer came sailing past, much to my chagrin. "Oh no you don't" I said to myself, and frantically caught up to his group which I then decided to stick with to the end of the race. I found myself from that point overtaking more runners than were passing me, which was very gratifying so late in the race. As we came into town, I passed my good friend Dave Hilmo, who was now walking and looked very weary. ( Dave would finish in 3:55:25)
The pacer was now saying, " Nice and easy, nice and easy". As I looked around, he must have bee talking to me as the 3:50 pace group had completely disintegrated. and I was the only runner with this pacer. I looked at my GPS and decided that I WAS going to break 3:50 to at least get 4 sub 3:50 marathons in the last 5 weeks. The bad news was they were all slower - 3:40 then 3:43 then 3:45 two weeks ago then 3:49:21 today.
As I came across the line , my Dad was waiting at the right side of the finish area with his coat and umbrella. Yes, it was still raining. the other runners int he finish area were frozen, wet and tired. The 6'5" BYU student found me and thanked me for pacing me for several miles and giving him solid encouragement - he finished in 3:55
I stayed long enough to devour a Blue Bunny ice cream cone with 300+ calories and joked with other runners that if we ate 10 of those we could replenish all of the calories that we had burned up in the marathon. I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel, shower and eat a big guilt-free meal at Denny's down the street from the hotel.
As if we had not had enough rain , it poured down all the way back, 4 1/2 hours of rain. Hats off to my Dad who drove the 216 miles from Cedar City to Pleasant Grove.
Let's hope for a dryer and warmer St. George marathon next year !