So here is the long version of my race. Now that I have had a few days to analyze it, it seems quite normal that if you put 5,000+ people together to run 26.2 miles in some heat you are going to see some gross things, and probably some of them pretty grizzly. I’ll just say that as far as grossness goes, I saw it all and felt some of it too: Farmer blows, spit in every nasty form imaginable, pee, lots of pee without regard to the viewing audience. Puke and sweat. Enough sweat to even make Burt proud. I saw worse, but there might be kids reading this, but I digress…
I arrived in St. George kind of late, and ended up only getting 2.5 hours of sleep, but when I woke up I was actually feeling really good. I was meeting some friends at the Crystal Inn at 4:45, so I ate breakfast, got ready and met up with them in time to catch the bus up to the start. Most of the guys I was with had done this race several times, so they were giving me low down on the course and what to expect and it actually made me a little nervous. When we arrived at the start I went on my own because my friends were all in the elite corral, so I headed over to the looong line at the POP and waited for about 45 minutes for my turn. I should have just found a bush, but what else was I going to do? After my less than one minute stop in the POP it was almost time to start, so I adjusted my gear and took some Cytomax and headed over to the HUGE wall of people waiting to go. I never heard a gun go off, but I heard a loud cheer and then everyone started walking and within about 30 seconds we could jog, although it was really crowded.
The first 7 miles were incredibly fun and I really enjoyed almost everything about them. It wasn’t too hot yet and I was feeling strong. My pace was between 7:20-7:40 for the first 7 miles and I didn’t feel tired at all. I was really starting to think I could have a really good time if I could keep this up and then we hit Veyo and the hill was a bit harder than I thought it would be. My pace slowed a lot busting up that thing and it was tough to keep up a good pace. I decided to take my first gel and at the next aid station I had a gel and a Gatorade. I had to stop to drink it as I walked and I noticed it was a bit tougher getting into my groove starting back up.
About mile 9 I started to feel a hot spot on both of my big toes. I was a little worried that I would get a blister, so I decided to stop for some Vaseline, but I would wait as long as I thought I could. I also noticed I had to pee, so at the next aid station I found what I thought was an open POP. Well, it was open, but to my surprise I was half way in with my pants half way down when I realized there was a guy in there sitting on the toilet. It wasn’t pretty at all let me tell you. The hair, the pasty whiteness, the UGH!!! Ummm lock the door. It was one of those awkward life moments that will forever be seared into my brain. So I quickly jumped out and found another one that was open. I made sure to lock the door. On my way out I grabbed more Gatorade and from that point on I was drinking two cups of Gatorade or water the rest of the way. It was starting to get hot.
I was still feeling really good when I hit mile 13, but I decided to stop to take care of the hot spots, so at the aid station I took a few minutes to rub Vaseline on both toes and I also noticed a big blister forming on one of my other toes, so I took care of that one too. I hated stopping, but if I hadn’t it could have been much worse later in the race. I also had another gel, an S-Cap and some more Gatorade and then took off. I hit my half marathon at 1:45 and I was happy with my time up to that point and hoped I could keep it up.
14-17 I really noticed the heat more. I was sweating a lot and even though I felt pretty good I was slowing down. My pace gradually slowed. There were a few hills to deal with but the one that was really difficult for me was the hill around mile 18. Combined with the heat it was tough. I never stopped to walk once during the race except to grab water, but I was really tempted to at this point. Several runners were walking, but it motivated me to keep pushing.
The rest of the race was just hard. It was hot and now my hamstrings were starting to cramp up. It made every step hurt, but I could still run. I was really looking forward to the downhill at the end of the race, but I couldn’t push it as hard as I would have liked. I saw a lot of people struggling. Some dry heaving, a few that had collapsed and I was thankful that I was at least moving along.
Once we got out of the canyon there were crowds of people there to cheer us on. Normally this gives me a big boost and I can pick up the pace, but not today. It was just hard. The last 3 miles might have been the most difficult I have ever run. My hamstrings were now screaming and my energy was depleted. I tried to push it and at times I could, but it wasn’t what I had hoped for. Somehow when I saw the balloons at the finish I was able to find a boost and I actually picked up my pace considerably and passed several people at the end. My Garmin said I had run 26.3 miles. I got my finishers medal and instantly felt sick. My hammies were cramping bad and I had to go lay down for about 20 minutes. It was torture because I wanted a drink so bad, but couldn’t stand in the line. There was a really nice guy that had two cups of water and offered me one. I felt a little better, but it took about 30 minutes to start feeling good again.
This race was so much fun. It was incredible. Even though it was really hard, I learned a lot and enjoyed almost every minute… well, except for the last hour. I didn’t enjoy that much, but I love putting my body in those types of situations to see how I can respond and I learned a lot. I will definitely be back to do it again. Next time I know I can shave off quite a lot of time, so I am excited for that.