First off I'm really happy about this race. Today went much better than it could have due to the circumstances. I was pretty sick on Thursday and Friday and considered not running the race. But this would make my 7th STG marathon in a row and I just had to do it. And I decided that if I ran I'd just do my best and not just jog through the distance. Then we had some cloud cover last night and it's been really hot so this morning when I got up and left my house at 4:30 a.m it was 76 F!!! Good night but it hasn't been that hot most of the summer and I'd hoped to only have to run a couple mile with temps over 70 F. It was cooler up at the start but today was the hottest STG (yes worse than last year) I've ever ran. Oh and my normal optimum racing weight is 152 lbs... I weighed 160 lbs last night and 157 this morning before breakfast. For some reason I was packing on the weight and not feeling light, fast and efficient. So long story short this race could have been a disaster for me. But I told myself I'd have to run a very smart race to get in the Top 10 and to not even think about hitting a time goal. I took steps to help my chances. 1st don't go out hard at all. Didn't care what time I got to the half in as long as I stayed loose and kept everyone in semi close range. 2nd I put water bottles at all the elite aid station to dump on my head. Plus I got water at all the other aid stations and dumped it on me as well. This really helped cool me off every other mile or so but created some chaffing and blister issues later on (mostly after the race) because I was so wet. 3rd I had to prepare myself to be super uncomfortable and know conditions were going to be less than ideal.
I ran a half mile or so at my house before driving over to the buses to meet the guys around 5 a.m. Once up there Dave and I found a "secret potty" down the road so we ran down there and back to finish off my not really warm up. Figured I'd just warm up for real in the first few miles of the race. Went big boy potty 4 times for the morning and after some stretching the race started on time basically.
A lot of the lads in the race didn't run last year or haven't had a lot of marathon experience so they took it out hard (many... almost all paid the piper later) After the craziness of the first 2 miles were over I was sitting in a big pack somewhere around 12-15th pale overall. We had a nice group of guys (at least 6-7) Ben V, Dave H, Joe F, and several others I'm too lazy to name. But we got dropped hard by the leaders and a few other guys like Dave Danely and the first Japanese runner who were in the mix for the fist 13-20 miles.
My garmin kept splits but didn't show me anything but the current time (the 405 is a pile of junk). So after about mile 10 I totally lost my pace and feel for where I really was. Finally at mile 20 I did the math on a clock to see how I was really doing but I'm not even sure what I hit the half in and I'm not going to do the math and add it up.
1. 5:49- Smooth EZ mile in the darkness and trying to get a feel for the day
3. 5:38- Water bottle to dump on the head. This one felt cold as it was still basically dark.
6. 5:25- A little fast but not for the grade coming into the town.
7. 5:27- Take my first GU and prepare for Veyo Hill on mile 8.
8. 6:13- Took Veyo pretty EZ and this split is faster than I'd have guessed it would be.
9. 6:02- Up the Dammeron Hills... Oh how I hate them. I get dropped here by eveyone.
10. 5:58- The pack I'm in move about one delineator post distance way from me.
11. 6:14- Can't believe I ran slower on this mile than up Veyo. Maybe too relaxed.
12. 6:06- Relaxed but the sun is out in full force now and temps are coming up fast!
13. 5:36- I wish I had a exact split time... I think it was around 1:15:30 but I'm not sure.
14. 5:47- Catch and pass Dave Danely. He looks pretty trashed.
15. 5:32- Wanted to start bringing the avg pace down on all the miles that were aided. Also made a goal on this mile that from here in I wouldn't get passed from anyone from behind and that I'd start to reel in as many in front of me as possible. Also had a GU and gatorade at this aid station.
16. 5:20- Not as fast as some years but today was a different day with different HEAT!
17. 5:39- fuzzy
18. 5:34- memory here...
19. 6:03- Up Winchester hill and got my last GU with water bottle.
20. 5:50- Really slow for this mile but I'm starting to close on the lead Japanese guy and a couple others. I see Mike Shram here spectating on the side of the road. He tells me I'm in 12th and I feel that I can dig deep enough to go get somebody to slip into the Top 10.
21. 5:32- Grabbed 4 water cups from this aid station all full stride. Maybe a PR there for my record books. Got some warm cross/ headwind that starts to bug for a couple miles.
22. 5:57- Around the horseshoe and up that little hill and now it's really hot with that wind in my face. Am I going to fall completely apart?
23. 5:44- First mile coming into STG. Passed a couple guys I think through here and can see Dave H up about a block starting to slow.
24. 5:49- Past Red Hills golf course and by Fabulous Freddies gas station. I'm wondering just how slow I'm going but with no watch splits showing I just don't know.
25. 5:59- Down Diagonal St. Catch a Struggling Holt here. Say a few words to try and get him to come with me but I'm loosing it myself. Quads were starting to freeze up.
26. 6:11- As I round the corner with a mile to go I see Dustin Bybee... Wow! If I can close about a 2 block gap in one mile and pass him I'll win the Silver Shoe. This was so hard to do and it was more him struggling than me closing the gap that did it. But with about .4 left in the race I pass him. I went by strong as to say "don't try and go with me". Dustin was struggling and didn't bother. However Tracy Fifield former 2x STG winner and 2:16 marathon guy who's now 49 years old does catch me from behind... and passes me with around .3 left in the race. Dang... 1,000 thoughts go through my head in about 5 seconds. I finally decide to dig it out and not get out kicked in front of all the screaming spectators that line the finishing area by a guy who's 17 years older than me. I looked pathetic trying to push out any turnover but it worked and I re-passed him to finish 9th overall and win my second Silver Shoe (fastest local finisher award).
So like I said in the beginning. Today turned out A LOT better than it could have. No I didn't PR (which a couple weeks ago I really thought possible). But today wasn't a PR day. Look at the winning time. 2:24 and the kid ran that time at Desnews. Some did PR today... someone always does. But across the board they were few. Later that day anyone who went to the awards set through a very hot, sweaty and fly infested ordeal. On a good year at the awards we wear jackets. Today I wish I would have been naked in a swimming pool.
Made some Memories today!