Woke up this morning and was watching the weather channel in the hotel lobby. The current temp in St George was 76 and Veyo near the start line was 66 with both places having 10 mph winds out of the south east [headwind]. Once the sun came up it would quickly get to over 80. I sat next to a guy named Tracey Fifield from Westpoint Utah on the bus ride up. He ran the 6th fastest time ever on the course 20 years ago in 2:16. He ended up with 2:31 today to win the 45-49 age division. He's 49 now and runs some of the same races so I guess I'll be competing with that next year in my age group.
The race got started and my plan was to just run by feel and not try to hit particular splits and hope to hit the half somewhere around 1:30-1:31. I really felt I had a good chance of breaking 3 hours for the first time even though my training hasn't gone well the last 7 weeks. It seems like I've missed at least 1 or 2 planned days of running each week trying to play it safe with different injuries. I've done some biking to try and make up for the missed runs.
Miles 1 and 2- 6:48 and 6:49. It was too dark to see my garmin and I didn't want to use the light but I figured they would be around 7 min each because of the uphill. They ended up a bit faster. I had a hamstring/glute issue crop up the past week that even cut my last 4 mile run on Thursday short. It had me worried and I tanked up on the Ibuprofen yesterday and today. I hadn't felt a thing from it until I started to run. It started to get sore before I had run 100 steps. It got worse all the way to mile 3 then stayed about the same for the next couple of miles. by mile 7 or 8 it actually improved and after that it was gone. Don't you wish all injuries did that?
3- 6:35 It is still dark and I'm already starting to sweat a lot. Wishing it was the normal 15 to 20 degrees cooler at the beginning.
7-6:29 Miles 3 through 7 seemed a bit fast but the pace felt good and my heart rate was low around 154 to 155.
8- 7:33 This mile is the beginning of the big Veyo hill. The first 1/4 is downhill. Just before starting up the hill I noticed my overall pace was 6:38. The next 4 plus miles are all net uphill and I figured if I could finish the end of the uphill and still be around 6:55 overall pace I'd be in good shape. I just stayed relaxed and tried to keep the pace easy on all the uphill.
9- 7:20 Finish Veyo hill
10-7:09 still uphill
11- 7:15 more uphill
12- 6:57 Finish the uphill then gradual down. Start getting a lot of headwind that lasts most of the rest of the race.
13- 6:42 My time at 13 miles was 1:29:22 so at 13.1 I was probably right about 1:30 and I was feeling good except my right calf was starting to get sore. Right at 6:52 overall pace.
15- 6:32 some nice downhill on this mile
16-6:23 more downhill but the sun comes up somewhere around this point and you can instantly feel a rise in the temperature.
17-6:33 I don't think there was that much downhill here but I was feeling pretty good and just picked up the pace.
18-6:44 still feeling good other than my calf keeps getting tighter.
19-7:09 most of this mile is climbing Winchester hill with .2 mile downhill at the end. I just relaxed and kept it easy.
20- 6:44 calf is getting tighter but everything else is feeling good [at least compared to 20 miles in other marathons I've done]. I looked at my overall time [2:16:19] and figured I had about 43:40 to run the last 10K and still get under 3 hours. I can't do math very well at this point in a marathon, but I figured that was around 7 min pace.
21-6:25 A good downhill for some of this mile. Every mile this far below 7 min is that much slower I could finish and still get my goal.
22-6:58 Calf is getting worse but everything else feels ok. Just want to be done.
23-6:37 Some more downhill and it's not likely I won't get that sub 3. I'm thinking around 2:57
24-6:43 this was my last good mile and still on track for 2:57.
25-6:58 I'm really feeling it bad now. It's hot and my calf feels like a rock. Not a good split but still under 7. I know I can finish under 3 with 8 min miles now and it's tempting to slow down.
26-6:58 these last 2 miles are taking forever and pretty much took the 2:57 out of the picture. That's just fine.
.23-1:20 [5:49 pace] I passed a guy here that I had been running with a bit as I started to kick. He started hollering encouragement to me as I took off and that and the roar of the crowd really got me going. I figured I probably wouldn't quite get under 2:58 but figured I'd try anyway.
Finished up at 2:58:18 [6:48 overall pace], Last 10K in 41:59. I've been after this goal for a few years and it was sweet, especially considering the nonfavorable conditions. I finished 5th out of 354 in the 50 to 54 age group. 4th place beat me by 1 second. The guys that beat me were from all of the country from New Jersey to California. The awards went 8 deep so I got a real nice sandstone plaque.