Yesterday, I ran the St. George Marathon for the 4th time…also my 4th ever marathon. It was a wonderful experience. Before I get down to the results, I have to preface it with, of course, my story. So, here goes…
Being that I took 10th overall in the women last year, I was awarded a free entry into this year’s race, as well as “elite” status. I ran elite last year, but this year, I was allowed to have my own drinks at the “elite” water table. I was a little…well, a lot nervous about this . For one thing, if there is one thing I am bad at, it is packing water/Gatorade when I run. I hate the water pack, and am not really used to running with hydration (I am a bad example of this, so do not follow my example). During the the race last year, most of the fluids and even half a thing of GU, ended up all over my arms and in my hair, because of my lack in coordination. But, knowing that the lack of hydration and energy supliments were some of my downfalls last year, I decided that I better take full advantage of this.
So, and hour before I went down to pick up my packet and drop off my drinks, my mom helped me to put them together. We filled them up with “Exceed,” which is a drink my high school coach made for us after work-outs. It is half Gatorade, half Kool-aid. It is not nearly as strong a taste as Gatorade, but has a light sweetness to it. I really like it. We also wrapped pink duct tape around them so I would recognize them, as well as taped a small bag of Sport Beans and a piece of gum to the bottle.
That night, I was still trying to figure out my sleeping arrangements. I was going to stay at my friend, Megan’s house, because she lives right next to the starting line. But, Adam (my husband) had planned to go mountain biking with his friend, and needed the car. My dad came up with the great idea of having me sleep in his office (a nice couch reserved for his therapy clients 🙂 ), and arranged a carpool for me the next morning to go down with some friends. It worked out perfectly!
When we got there, I entered into the elite area. In order to enter this area, you have to have the special orange or green bib. I always feel so silly in this area. When thousands of runners are waiting in extremely long lines to use the port-a-potties, I was able to gain access to one the second I got there. We had our own little area to warm up, and numerous fire pits to keep warm. Although the perks are incredible, it gives a false sense of importance, and just makes me feel a little strange, that’s all.
Right before the start of the race, an older gentleman took it upon himself to rub my back for what seemed like forever. I was a little creeped out, but had no time to react, when the horn signaled us to begin the race…weird.
Anyhoo…going in to this race, I had a goal to beat last year’s time of a 2:58, but I really had my sights set on a 2:55. My main plan was to be conservative at the beginning, by going out at a 6:40 pace, and to make sure to get my fluids and fuel.
The first 3 miles, it felt so comfortable…almost slow. I resisted the urge to go fast, and settled into my pace, and found myself between to women, whom I have raced with before, and knew that I could stay with either of them. The one in front of me was going at a faster pace than I wanted to, and instinctively, I would have gone after her, but I decided not to. I was a little puzzled by the lady behind me, but decided then, not to focus on anyone, and to keep the focus on my watch.
***funny little story–right at mile 3, there was a guy who was majorly gassy, and wasn’t holding back. When I heard it, I giggled (because that’s what I do when I hear a fart). Then I looked around to see if anyone else was laughing, and they all had ear phones. Boy, did they miss out!***
…Moving right along…At mile 7.5, there is Veyo Hill, which is a pretty steep climb. I have trained on hills, so this wasn’t too bad, but I knew that I wanted to keep an even pace of 6:50-7:10 up the hill. Before I knew it, the hill was over. And, of course, what goes up, must go down, so there is a pretty good downhill after this. When it comes to downhills, I always say “let gravity do it’s job.” I don’t hold back on hills, BUT, I don’t let it fly, either. There is a good balance between losing control on a downhill, and fighting gravity. I made sure that I took short, relaxed strides, as to not tear up my quads too much. After all, at this point, I still had 19 miles to go, and wanted my legs to work the whole time. I kept a 6:15-6:20 pace on the downhills, and that worked great.
At about mile 9, I noticed that I could no longer see the girl in front of me, and I knew that she wasn’t that far ahead of me. I met up with a guy, and asked him where she went, and he thought she had dropped out. I was then told by a spectator that I was the third place woman. I assumed she was no longer in front of me, because I knew that there were two girls in front of her.
From here on out, I would not see another female until mile 23.
I kept a good, comfortable, solid pace the rest of the way. I made sure to keep an eye open for the drink table, so that I could grab my drink–which, by the way, was a little hard, because the volunteers didn’t to a super job of getting them to you. There were a couple of times when I had to backtrack slightly to get my bottle. I figured that it was well worth it, though. It was so nice to have my drink, so that I could make sure that I got the fluids I needed, as well as my sport beans for energy, and my gum that I use to help me breathe better, and to help maintain a good rhythm.
I was feeling so strong. At mile 18 or so, there is another good down hill, followed by a steep climb. Last year, I CRUISED down that hill. I remember passing quite a few people, and really feeling great. BUT, all that went away when I hit that hill climb. I completely died…a slow death…all the way to the finish. This year, I was not going to do that. I resisted the urge to surge down the hill, and had more than enough energy to get up the hill.
There is another little hill before mile 20, but once you hit mile 20, it is downhill for the next 4 miles or so, and then flat to the finish. I was blown away when I looked at my watch and was still running sub 6:40 pace, at mile 22, and going strong. I was passed by a lady at mile 23, with her posse of male pacers. I was actually okay with this, because I expected her to pass me. I didn’t go with her, fearing that I would lose my legs at the end. With exactly one mile to go, I was passed my one more lady, who was just cruisin’. Again, I stayed true to my pace, and opted not to go with them.
I rounded the corner to the finish. I heard my family cheering, and then looked at the clock seeing that I would reach my goal. I relaxed and finished strong, with plenty left. I finished with a 2:54.04, and 5th place overall. Results here.
Here is a video that Adam took of me finishing:
More finishing pics:
I felt great, and could hardly wait to see my family. I grabbed an ice cream sandwich for each of my kids and two of my brothers who were there, and hugged them all.
The award’s ceremony was pretty cool. Last year, I was denied this, because there was a girl, who had a number, sneaked in to the finish area tor run her best friend in. And because she had a number, she was awarded the 10th place finish, even thought she didn’t run the race. They fixed it, but it wasn’t until a few weeks later. So, it was cool to be able to be a part of it this year. I got a super cool bag filled with St. George Marathon paraphernalia and other gift cards and greatly appreciated other stuff :).
It was a perfect day! Can’t wait to do it again.