Wednesday, December 14, 2011

St. George marathon

St. George marathon. October 1st, 2011:

Signing up for this marathon 3 weeks after the Wasatch 100 was probably not the smartest thing I have ever done, but I was really excited to go down to St. George to run this race. I love the atmosphere and it is always fun to see and chat with other runners. I stayed with my friends Rob Bladen and Cody Haycock the night before at Cody's condo and I didn't get much sleep. We were up at 4:20 and out the door at 5:00. Rob had a hook up with a friend that is a volunteer and he gave us a ride up to the start. It was nice not to have to go wait for the bus. We got there 45 min before the start and we looked for the shortest POP line we could find which was pretty far from the start. By time we got out the gun went off. We hoped to be as close to the start as we could, but we ended up being 6 minutes behind the gun in a huge crowd that was not moving fast.

The first few miles were frustrating because we were stuck in the massive crowd that was not moving fast. This cost us at least a few minutes of time trying to move around and we actually ran a lot of the first two miles off the road in the dirt trying to get through. We passed Smooth and Toby and said hello at some point in there. :) After a few miles it thinned out just enough that we were finally able to pass much easier and we spent the next few miles at about a 7:15 pace passing several runners. We were laughing and joking the whole time and having a lot of fun. I decided to carry my handheld water bottle, so that I could stay hydrated and I am glad I had it. I also noticed an annoying stitch in my side that would dog me for at least 10 more miles.
At mile 5 I took a gel and the temps still seemed really good to me and we kept up the 7:00-7:20 pace to Veyo. So far I was feeling really good, but going up the hill Cody asked me for an S-Cap, so I got one for all three of us and then while I was putting them back into the pocket on my bottle the guys put a small distance on me. I tried to catch them going up the hill, but they picked up their pace and I wasn't able to keep up. At the top of the hill I picked up my pace to try and keep up but I never saw them again. I turned on my ipod and ran alone the rest of the way.

At about mile 10 I noticed that my legs were very fatigued. Not only were they tired, but they hurt a lot. This is not normal for me 10 miles into a run and I knew it was going to be a total grind the rest of the way. I had been hoping to run a 3:30, but I started to think that maybe it wouldn't happen for me. I made up my mind that I was going to run as hard as I could no matter what and see what happened.

I loved having my handheld bottle. It allowed me to run through every aid station and I never stopped to walk once the whole race. I would just take off the lid and then grab 2-3 cups of water to dump in at each aid station. Sometimes it was frustrating because the small cups would only be about 1/3 full, but usually I could get what I needed without slowing down too much. Last year I wasted so much time walking through the aid stations to drink. I also think it helped me to be better hydrated, although my stomach was sloshing quite a bit and it was annoying.
From about mile 15 on my legs hurt really bad. They have never ached like that during a run before. I kept noticing my pace getting worse and each time I really had to push to keep it down. It was tough. The worst part is by mile 18 after most of the hills my legs were so wrecked that I couldn't push the downhills at all. I don't think this marathon is easy at all.

When we finally started to make our way out of the canyon I was relieved that this was almost over, but at the same time I was dreading the last 3-4 miles. Luckily the heat never bothered me the whole race. I have been running in much hotter temps all summer so I never felt like it was bad. I knew my 3:30 wasn't possible, but I still wanted to give it everything I had and I am happy with the way I finished. I kept a solid pace in the 8's the last 3 miles. I didn't enjoy anything about the last 3 and I think they are as tough as any miles I have ever run. I wanted the race to be over. I just wanted to be done and I kept thinking I am never doing this race again. Ever.

When I finally made the last turn and saw the finish I was a little demoralized because it looked so much farther than I had remembered it from last year. I did pick up my pace and just grinded to the finish. When I stopped the pain in my legs was severe. I somehow made it over to the grass where I crashed behind two girls and rolled around in pain for about 10 minutes. Then I heard someone say "Hey Kelli, how did you do?" and I looked up to see I had been lying right behind Kelli Stephenson and another blogger (can't remember her name). Kelli was so nice and went and got me two Diet Coke's and offered to go get me whatever I wanted. What a life saver!!! Thanks Kelli! Not only were my legs really hurting, but now my stomach was feeling sick and the Coke really helped to settle it. I could not have walked over there myself. After about 30 minutes I could finally stand, but it really hurt. My legs didn't even hurt this much after Wasatch 100.

I did PR by 10 minutes, but I can't say that I am happy with that at all. I know I can run faster and that is frustrating, but I can't blame anyone but myself for the lack of marathon training that I have done this year. I did have a great time though and got to see a lot of bloggers. Congrats to everyone for finishing. Congrats to Rad who was sicker than a dog and still gutted out a finish. I really am not sure if I like the SGM. I'll have to think about it for a while.

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