I went into this race with a lot of doubts. My training had gone well this summer until 6 weeks ago. Since then it kind of fell apart. I only had one week out of the last 6 that went as planned. I was only able to run more than 2 1/2 miles 14 days out of the last 6 weeks and only 2 days in the past 3 weeks and that was 2 1/2 weeks ago. . On my last real run my hip flexor came up very sore and kept me from being able to run more than a mile and a half at a time. Last Monday I could still only run 2 miles before the pain would come on and quickly intensify. I finally had to admit to myself that this race wasn't going to happen. That was tough. I talked to my wife about it and we decided to go down anyway for a short vacation [since we already had a room and time off] and spend some time hiking in Zions park. We have an orthopedic surgeon [specializing in sports medicine] that comes to town once a week. I decided as a last ditch effort to go see him and was able to get in on Tuesday. I figured I was just wasting money because I was sure I was just going to be told to go home and use the R.I.C.E. method. After checking me out and looking at the x-rays, he said the joint and ligaments looked good and nothing torn [I have no pain exept when I run]. He said it was a hip flexor muscle that became inflamed when I run and figured if I got started on a high daily dose of ibuprofen until the race I could give it a try without risking permanent damage. I started on the meds and went out hoping for a decent run the next day but only made it 3 miles before the pain came. I rested it the next 2 days and went down to the race with very low expectations.
I decided that there was a good chance that I wasn't going to make it more than 5 or 6 miles. If that happened I could borrow a phone at the mile 7 aid station in Veyo and call my wife. She could come in through the back way and pick me up.I let her and my son know that this was a likely outcome and told them I thought my odds of finishing were below 50%. Secretly inside I think I felt it was less than 20%.
I decided to start out the race with Clyde and Logans 3 hour pace group since that is what I had been training for before everything went south. We took off and I was feeling great. We hit the first 2 miles in 6:50 and 6:44 and I was still feeling great. Miles 3 and 4 we hit in 6:27 and 6:18 and the pace was feeling too fast for me. I was running with Steve Piccolo and we both decided we had better back off the pace a bit and let them go. At this point my hip was feeling good. Somewhere before the 5 mile mark the pain started coming back and by the time I reached 5 miles it was getting bad. We got to mile 6 and it was bad enough it was causing me to limp. I decided at that point I was finished as it just kept getting worse and I knew there was no way. I wanted to walk but decided to see if I could just keep running the last mile down into Veyo. I told Steve I was dropping out at Veyo and the decision was made. Just as you come into town the road levels out and I realized the pain was actually a bit less on the level. It was still pretty bad but had improved slightly. Just enough that I didn't have to favor it. We ran through the intersection in town where I was going to quit and Steve and I exchanged goodbye good luck see you laters but I couldn't stop. The aid station was about 150 yards ahead and I decided I would stop there. The aid station came and went and I was still running. It was just too hard to stop and say it was over even though my better sense told me to. I kept running with Steve up Veyo hill as I kept telling myself what an idiot I was because now I was going to have to walk all the way back to Veyo past all the thousands of runners that were now behind me. We hit mile 8 on the hill and the pain wasn't getting worse so I figured I could at least make the aid station at mile 9 before I quit. We finished off Veyo hill and into the next section of mostly uphill rollers. For the past few miles the pace had been feeling a little to hard. My heart rate was much higher this morning than it was a month ago when my training was good. I had known this for a few miles but I kept pushing on because it didn't matter if I burned out since I would be quitting soon anyway. We went by mile 9 and since it was still uphill, my hip was about the same. Steve and I were still running together and I started to realize that I might be able to do this. Now the problem was I felt totally spent and I had a long way to go. In my other marathons I have always felt quite fresh at the half and sometimes even on to 18 miles or so but I was already feeling terrible. At about 10 miles I told Steve that I was going to slow down. He started to slow down with me. He had been running so strong and I told him I needed to really slow down and he ought to keep going. He went on to have a great run finishing in 3:02. At this point it was still uphill and I slowed way down. People were passing me right and left. This ended up being my slowest mile of the race at 7:39. I stopped at the aid station and stretched and walked for about 1/2 minute before taking off again. I felt very slow and in survival mode already and wasn't paying any attention to my Garmin or worrying about time goals. I was surprised that mile 12 came in at 7:22 after stopping at the aid station at the beginning of the mile. I went through the half in 1:31:15 and my hip was about the same. I got to the big downhill that starts during mile 15 and just like I figured, my hip started getting worse. Back to limping mode. I spent time again at the aid station at mile 15 before finishing the rest of that downhill. It did get feeling better again after it flattened out some but took a lot longer this time. I knew there were only a couple more hills that steep but they were much shorter. My energy level was still low but didn't seem to be getting worse. The next miles 16 through 23, I felt about the same and I spent 20 to 30 seconds at each aid station. After mile 23 the fatigue got worse but I tried to keep the pace from slowing too much. The thought of how happy my wife and son were going to be for me when they saw me coming up to the finish just to see I made it let alone in a good time really kept me going those last 2 miles. As I hit that last stretch some energy came from somewhere and I picked up the pace and passed a lot of people.I ran the last .2 at 6:32 pace and finished in 3:05:21.It wasn't the sub 3 that I had been training for earlier but it's a PR by 9 minutes and I was thrilled with that time under the circumstances.
4- 6:18 Too fast slowed down
8- 7:22 start Veyo hill
9- 7:20 Finish Veyo then rollers
11-7:39 Big slowdown mile. Getting passed like crazy. Still uphill gradual
13-7:01 Half in 1:31:15
15-6:48 Big downhill
18-7:26 aid station stop
20-7:14 aid station
22-7:30 aid station
24-7:02 aid station
25-7:31 aid station
26.25-6:32 pace [1:39]
In hindsight I think I underestimated my loss of fitness over the past month. I think I must have lost some speed but my endurance was still decent. I had been riding my bike and hiking to try and stay fit while I couldn't run but it's not as good as running. I may have been able to run a better time if I had run the first 10 slower and saved it for the second half. At least I would have felt fresher for more of the race. At 9 miles I already felt like I had done 20. I'm happy with the race and glad I got to meet a few new bloggers in person. I still would like to run a marathon one day fully trained and uninjured. Just once?