Quick report on TOU - will add more later. Top of Utah Marathon, 2:33:12, 5th place. It was the most competitive year in the history of the race - the top three finishers broke Hobbie Call's course record of 2:25:12, including Hobbie himself who got booted into third. I ended up first in the Utah LDR circuit, which also gives me the win for the whole thing.
Now a full report. First, the results
to a great extent speak for themeselves. Now the story.
The morning started with me discovering that the toilet broke in the middle of the night. Since everybody was still asleep, I put the warning sign on it and jogged from Paul's house to the bus loading area.
It was 26 degrees at the start, accoding to the announcement of a race official, and it did feel cold. I decided to start in a long-sleeved shirth and gloves, and then disrobe as it got warmer. It never got warm enough for me - I kept all of it until the finish.
At the start I saw Leon Gallegos (expected), Hobbie Call (surprise appearance), and George Towett, a Kenyan 1:03 half-marathoner living in Georga - how about that - a Kenyan George from Georga. So I knew that in order to win, I would either need to super-perform, or organize a crash or a DNF without crashing myself. Super-performance was not likely, and there was no 7% downhill grade to organize a crash. I decided to focus on running my best.
Because of the cold, everybody was taking it easy on the first mile. After about a half mile, I was done with the warm-up, and switched into a race pace. The competition was still warming up. First mile in 5:37, then 5:27. Leon caught up. Next mile in 5:22. George Towett again appropriately for his name came by towing another runner - Jason Delaney from Colorado, a 2:19 marathoner. That reminds me of drafting behind a guy named Matt Pulle in Huntsville, AL in 2003.
George and Jason looked like big trouble - good form, running relaxed at sub-5:20 pace. Hobbie was duing his leisurely Hobbie-start, for which he did pay later. I think he could have hit the qualifier and second place, had he taken George and Jason seriously.
5:22 felt too aggressive, which was not a good sign. I decided to back off to what felt right, and ended up with a few 5:35 miles, which later became 5:40-5:45. 5 miles in 27:26, 10 miles in 55:50. I let Leon go, Hobbie came by looking like he was jogging around 6 miles. I could have fetched a ride to Leon, but decided to play it safe.
1:13:41 at the half, 1:24:29 at 15. Got passed by Carson Cambpell from Preston, Idaho at around 16.5. He recognized me, but I did not recongize him. I then knew he was having a break-through race. He looked relaxed, like he was jogging. I considered going with him, but decided it would not be wise.
I started seeing Leon, which was a good sign. I could still win the circuit without beating him, but I wanted to prove Bill Cobler wrong. He told everyone before the race that Leon would beat me and win. So focused on playing it safe, and slowing reeling Leon in.
Engery-wise I felt fine, but I could feel that my form was gradually deteriorating, which caused me to gradually slow down, although it appeared that I was putting in the same amount of cardiovascular effort. This has happened in every marathon I 've run, but I think in this one I was particularly noticing it because this became the primary cause of the slow-down.
Ahead of me, and past Carson I saw Leon, and I thought I saw another runner with Leon. I started getting excited. Then as Leon turned the corner, I noticed that the other runner looked exactly like Leon. I was having a little bit of a double vision, not fatigue related, just an eye problem. Maybe the mind too - I really wanted that other runner to be there.
Hit the uphill miles in 6:12 and 6:14. 20 miles in 1:54:29. Watched Carson passed Leon. Leon did not resist, which is a good sign. Next downhill mile in 5:59. Then a steady 6:15 pace. Passed Leon at 23 - he did not resist. Started closing on Carson a bit, but not enough to get him. He was still fairly strong. 6:25 on mile 26 which had a climb and then a drop. On that mile saw Paul's dad. Did not recognize him at first. He yelled: "We've fixed the toilet". I then knew who he was. For some odd reason this gave me some warmth of the soul, knowing that the toilet was fixed as I was working through my last half-mile of the race.
2:20:02 for George, 2:21:38 for Jason, 2:23:08 for Hobbie, 2:32:24 for Carson, 2:33:12 for me, 2:33:52 for Leon.
Won the Utah LDR circuit - courtesy of Joe Wilson who chose to miss Alta Peruvian 8 K and this marathon to run well in St. George. But again, who says there is anything wrong with the strategy of showing up for every marathon and other leg-trashing races to make it not worth it for the competition. If you have a strength, use it. If you cannot win with speed, win with persistence.
Also, turned out than me passing Leon at the end cost him fifth in the circuit ($100), and gave it to Steve Ashbaker, who did not have a good race, but toughed it out to the end and scored just barely enough points to be even with Bill Cobler but beat him because Bill had more races. Again, the lesson repeated - when things do not look good, hang in there, there might be some hidden reward.
Afterwards, felt very good, more like I've run a tempo 15 with 5 miles of additional jogging than a marathon. Hardly any soreness in the leg muscles. Some stiffness and tenderness in the joints.
Cooled down to Paul's house. Took a shower, then jogged to the awards ceremony. Got a moose an a consolation cash award ($50) for getting booted out of the top three (won 30-34 age division) to make me feel better. It is very nice of TOU to offer that - they understand how somebody feels when they are close to the money but for one reason or another get booted out.
Ran with the kids in the evening, and lifted weights - regular workout with 105 pounds.