After running eight or nine marathons by myself or with friends, I was really looking forward to running this one with my wife. We ran my first marathon together back in 2001, but I kind of drove her crazy wanting to go faster on a day that she really wasn't feeling very good.
On Saturday morning we got up at 4:00 a.m. got ready and went down for a runner's breakfast at Abbey Inn. We chatted for a few minutes with a lady from Chicago who was running St. George for her first time, but had completed 35 marathons previously. We spotted Verdon and his son eating breakfast and we went over and talked to them and invited them to ride over to Worthen Park with us. After parking at the church across from the temple, we walked up to the buses and ran into Paul, Larry, Wayne and Kevin. The last of the buses were just taking off, but we managed to get on one of the others that showed up a few minutes later. We got to the starting line with about a half hour to spare (we used the time to hit the porta-potties a couple of times). After the race started we took our time getting to the starting line. It was just getting light in the east and it was warm enough for short sleeves.
We started off at an easy warmup pace and found Verdon about a mile up the road. It was nice to run with him and chat. We enjoyed the scenery and I stopped and took a few pictures along the way. As we started at the back of the pack, it wasn't very crowded and we walked through the water stops.
At the water stop before Veyo we lost Verdon and didn't see him again. We ran up part of Veyo and walked the steeper parts. The sun had been up for a little while by then and it was starting to get a little warm. We took a couple more walking breaks through Dammeron Valley and we both felt more tired and achy than we should of, half way through the race. The downhill sections through the Snow Canyon area felt pretty good, but we really starting to feel the heat through miles 17 and 18. At about that point I started feeling a vague sense of unease about finishing. I just dismissed it as feelings conjured up from past races where I'd crashed and burned about eighteen miles into it. Laureen and I both tried to stay positive and just enjoy the experience. About the time we hit the downhill at 20 miles, I was feeling like were really close to the finish, but I was worried that my calves, ankles, knees and hips were really starting to ache. We'd been on track with our training through July, but with all the disruptions that came in August and September, we ended up skipping most of our long runs. We did get one 20 miler in towards the end of August, but we knew the end of the marathon was going to be hard. From mile 23 to 24 the wheels really came off for me. My legs and ankles were so tight and painful that it became impossible to run and nearly impossible to walk. Laureen was doing a lot better and just stuck with me. We'd caught up with Larry about mile 22 and 23 and it was nice to have him along as well. It was the Death March from the mile 24 water station to the finish, but we just kept moving and got some much needed relief from some popsicles that some nice people handed us and from the shade the last part of the course. It certainly wasn't pretty and it was the slowest marathon for both of us, but considering our schedule for the last couple of months and the heat, it was nice just to finish (Laureen's ninth and my eighth).