Sunday, August 30, 2009

Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon

It has been a while since I blogged , and I need to do that more often so here goes.

I had long looked forward to the TOU 1/2 marathon. Speaking of per mile pace, I am a much better 1/2 marathoner than a full. I love downhill running and can keep a pretty brisk pace up for 10+ miles on a good gradient so was hoping for a decent time today. Plus , I have trained a lot on hills this summer, especially the Cedar Hills Trails and I felt confident going in to this race.
I had arranged to pick up one of the elite female runners whom I know - Mary Ann Schauerhammer ( who did a 3:00 hr flat marathon at Utah Valley in June to win the ladies division). Bad news.....she lives in Provo, the opposite direction from where we were headed this morning.

I went to bed at 10:30 'ish but was so nervous that I couldn't sleep. So, close to midnight, I hopped on to Facebook to see that one of my friends had said " good luck" . Yes, I need more than luck, I need strong legs, a tailwind and all the 10 min milers NOT to stand on the front row like so many of them seem to do. ! Back to bed, and I just lay there for 2 + hours looking at the clock every 10 mins. Finally at 2;58 I decided to get up, put ice and water in my cryocuff, load everything into the car and head to Provo.

The off ramp was closed at Center St. so I had to go down to University Ave then come up that way to get to Mary Ann's place. She slept in the passenger seat while I drove, and we made good time on the 2 + hr journey to Providence, outside of Logan.

We parked 1/2 mile way from the Zollinger Park and then walked to where the bus loading was taking place. Holy Cow, there were a ton of runners in the race. There must have been 40 + busses in line and a couple thousand runners. This race has really grown in the last few years.

As I walked over to get in line for my race packet, my best friend in High School in England, shouted my name. Yes, Mike had flown in from Vidor, Texas where he is an emergency room M.D.
He was here with his wife, 3 of the four children and a daughter in law who were all doing the race. Mike is flying back here in three weeks with a 23 yr old son to run the full marathon.
After we collected our race packets, I lost them for a while, hopped to the back of the line where several nervous girls asked me lots of questions. - That's what you get for wearing a Boston jacket before the race. You must know all the answers about marathon running - NOT ! They were all great and wanted to know about pacing, qualifying for Boston etc. I was happy to oblige and didn't feel quite so alone as I did earlier, since Mary Ann had joined her elite racing friends and I wouldn't see her again until after the race.

When I took off my sweats and threw them in the bag on the bus I walked up the hill to the start. It was packed, yes there were over 2000 runners in this race. I decided to start on the 10th row - big mistake there were several 10 min milers blocking my way once the gun went off - girls that would keep you warm in the winter and shade you in the summer if you get my drift.

Even after the announcer said that if you are not running 5 min miles do not get ANYWHERE near ther front nobody moved. . I was planning on 7 min miles for as long as I could so figured that close to the front was in my best interest.

The other problem was that we were 30 secs from the gun going off and my Garmin still hadn't found a satellite. It didn't until 1/2 mile into the race and I was then fumbling to reset the darn thing, then start it, all while running down hill and trying to avoid a myriad of plump females who had lined up way closer to the front than they should ever have been allowed to !!

The first mile I hit in 6:40, 20 seconds too fast so I tried to slow it down bit..

Mile 1: 6:40
2 6:59
3 7:06
4 6:51
5 7:00
6: 7:04 with a 15 second break to glug down two cups of gatorade and water
7: 7:14
8 7:18

then we came out of the canyon at the 14 mile point on the full marathon course. I was dehydrated as usual after this many miles in spite of drinking like a racehorse before the gun went off an hour or so earlier . I took 3 cups gatorade and walked for 30 seconds. Focus, focus, get back on track

9 7:54 my slowest mile split due to the rehydration, now I needed to pick up the pace.

10 7:42 going up the first of the hills, but I just picked my knees up a bit and leaned in. This is a half not a full and I can bear the pain for another couple of miles.

11 7:48 almost to the top of the hill. Now I see a few runners I want to pick off on the downhill portion. I lean in and decide to hammer out two decent last miles

12 7: 22. that's more like it. there is still some gas in the tank

13 7:23 About 1/4 mile from the finish I see my good friend Seth Wold ( who finished 4th overall in an astounding 1:08 and change) running back from the finish. I shout at him " Seth, bring me home) Seth runs with me urging me to pick it up and pass another runner as the finish banner is just ahead like a mirage. Seth peels off to the right and I cross the line....

1:34 : 39.9 ..... Not a PR ( I ran a 1:27 at Hobble Creek 8 years ago ) but good enough for 106th place overall out of 1980 finishers. This is top 5%. Not bad for an old man, I think, as I mingle with the pseudo -elites at the finish line rehydration tables. I see Mary Ann - she finished in 1:24, but she has another race this afternoon so she wasn't out to kill herself here.
Mike's son , who is 23 , finishes in 1:42 and congratulates me on a stellar race. Mike comes in much later in 2:24 - pretty hot and humid at sea level in southeast Texas so che an't train well for these altitude races.

So I drove home with a cryocuff on each knee till I couldn't feel anything, then an ice bath, then cottage cheese and french fries, plus fruit and anything I could get my hands on for the next few hours.

I was so tired I slept for 10 hours straight after the half... feeling much better today... 5 days break until the 174 mile Red Rock relay next Friday and Saturday.

Oh, did I mention I ran the Park City marathon with Jill last Saturday ? I will try and post about that this week... bye for now.

This whole race was miles 6 to 19 of the full marathon course. I will be back here in 3 weeks trying to BQ. I need a 3:30:59 or better to get back to Boston for the April 19th party next year with some really cool friends.


Leslie said...

"girls that would keep you warm in the winter and shade you in the summer if you get my drift."

LOL! I love it Jonathan! Great race!

elaine said...

Great job! Thx for the update

Jill said...

Loved your story, Jonathan. Thanks for all the details and congrats on an amazing job!!!