Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Race Report: St. George Marathon

Of course I'm always nervous leading up to race day. But I was especially nervous when I heard the weather report for race morning was 30 degrees. Yikes! I was not prepared for that. That's all I thought about for the two days before the race. And when we arrived in St.George and it was 48 degrees and super cold...I knew I was in trouble.

Luckily my dear husband helped relieve my fears by picking up some throw-away clothes at a thrift store the night before. I knew this would help, but I still didn't know what else I would wear. My whole outfit was under construction!

And forget about what I was wearing....how fast was I going to run? I still had no idea what I was planning on doing. I had never properly trained for a marathon before, so I wasn't sure how fast I could run. My last stand-alone marathon time was 3:58, but that was a training run for Ironman last year.

Since I am under 35, my Boston qualifying time is super fast. I never planned on qualifying until after I turned 35. This was never in my training plan. This was never a goal. But since Boston registration happened recently, it got into my mind that maybe I could qualify. So I decided that maybe I could do it. And if I didn't succeed, then I would still probably be able to PR, right? So that's the thought process I had when I decided to make 3:34 my goal. But then I heard that you had to be 1:38 faster than your Boston time to be able to register this year. So what if that happened again next year? I needed to re-do my plan. And so that's why my pace bracelet became 3:32.

Race morning came and I was sick to my stomach. Skyler and I didn't have to take the buses to the race start since we were staying at his dad's place that was only 10 miles from the start. I could barely eat anything, but I forced it down so I had the right nutrition. We drove to the race start without a problem. I was near tears because of how scared I was. Scared of the cold, scared of the race, scared I would fail.

Skyler and I huddled around a bonfire for about 30 minutes. It was so cold! I had chose to wear running shorts with a Sparkle Athletic skirt over, a black tank top, cheetah sparkle arm warmers, a pink sparkle visor, gardening gloves, and race legs. I was also wearing a blue sweatshirt and black carpis over my race outfit. We used the port-o-pottys one last time and cuddled until it was time. I ditched my capris right before the gun went off, then it started. We separated and that was the last I saw of Skyler for a few hours.

I began running and felt great. It was cold, but I never really thought about it again. It was dark out so I couldn't see my watch. I knew I was supposed to keep a certain pace, but I hated having to turn on the light on my watch so much. I changed my watch settings to only show distance and total time.

The sweatshirt came off around mile 3 or 4, right as the sun was coming up. It was still chilly, but my body felt fine. At every mile, I would check the total time with my pace bracelet. I was right on target. But THE hill was coming. Veyo Hill was a killer. When I first laid eyes on it, I was shocked at how steep it was, but surprisingly just kept a good even pace. I stayed right on pace through the hill. Mile 9-11 were killer too, uphill mostly. Mile 10 went right past Skyler's dad's house. He was out there cheering for us and captured this photo of me.

Every time there was a downhill, my legs felt good. The downhills weren't too steep that I felt like I was going to be wrecked near the end. There were aid stations every two miles, which made the time go by quickly. My first 1/2 was finished in 1:47, right on target since I would be speeding up at the end (I hoped).

My favorite part of the race was at Diamond Valley at mile 17. This is where a steep downhill started and the scenery opened up to view all of Snow Canyon. It was beautiful and I felt great! Less than 10 miles to go and I knew I was going to make it.

Not much interesting happened for the next little while. I had to stop myself from thinking in time. I could tell myself I had 7 miles left, but couldn't tell myself there was 60 minutes left. Too hard to think in big numbers. After Ledges, the rest of the race was mostly downhill. The only issue I had was that my calves felt rock solid. At one of the aid stations I stopped so someone could apply Icy-Hot. It helped. 

I ran past the intersection that led into town and was surprised that there were still 3 miles to go. I know that's what my watch said, but it didn't seem that far to go. I was about a minute or so ahead of pace so I knew this was going to happen. I wasn't going to walk, but if I needed to I could slow down to catch my breath. My legs felt slow, but not heavy. Does that make sense? I didn't look at my watch anymore because I knew I couldn't go any faster despite what my watch said. With one mile left to go I began counting in my head. I figured I would be close when I got to 300.

I could see the finish chute and was so happy to finally be close to finishing. I glanced at my watch and couldn't believe that it said 3:28. I only had 100 yards to go and I could make it under 3:30. I pushed hard and did it! How?...I don't know, but I did it! 3:29:45. Wow, I couldn't believe my eyes! Skyler was there to meet me and he was just as surprised as me. Later I looked at my splits and my last 3 miles were some of my fastest of the day. Go figure! I guess that's where I found those extra minutes.

I crossed the finish line and nearly collapsed. My legs were jello. I hugged Skyler and started crying. All of my hard work had paid off. I didn't know I was capable of accomplishing this, but my brain was saying it was logical. Hard work = good results. I ran through the showers of the finish line and received my finisher's medal. It was beautiful. I am going to Boston. Boston, baby!!

Skyler finished his race just under my goal. His time was 3:09 (his goal was 3:10). I am so proud of him and am thankful to have such a wonderful husband. I know he would have liked to qualify too, but I also know he would give it up for me if he could. He's just like that. He has 11 months to try to qualify, if he wants. I know he can do it.

After the race my legs were so stiff. I could barely sit down or stand. Looking back, I wish I could have gotten in an ice bath. I'm sure that would have helped immensely. We celebrated with a burger lunch and a long nap.Three days later and my legs are still so sore and stiff. At least today I'm able to walk like a normal person. Going downstairs is another story though.

So there you have it, my St. George Marathon recap. A beautiful race, a wonderful finish to my summer of marathon training, and a beginning to my journey to Boston. I couldn't have asked for a better day.


Total Time: 3:29:45 (7:59 pace)
71st of 363 in age group
262st of 2634 females

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