Well, Marathon, you and I have had a long and tumultuous relationship together. I first met you in 2003 at the Top of Utah, and have experienced your company about 10 times since. Ever since our first encounter, I have known I had unfinished business with you. I have known all along that our relationship needed to break 2:37:12 (6:00 pace), and preferably faster. I had such high hopes at St. George last year but was crushed when you rejected me with the wind and rain. But now, our business together if finished. Over. Done. I am officially dumping you. I can't say that I won't ever cast a sidelong glance in your direction at some point in the future, but I am moving on to my true love: trail running. Don't come begging me to come back, because it won't work. I am satisfied I have gained enough from our relationship and I am now content.
My bib for this race was #10, and based on the field, I felt I would do well to place that high. AdamRW prepared a nice pacing template that I used to check my time every 5 miles- I had 2:32:30 and 2:35 goals on it. My "Oh crap" goal was 2:37, and my "Really Oh crap" goal was 2:39. Slept about 4 hours last night, which is pretty good for me. My 3 year old was up puking and dry heaving all night, but Marci was kind enough to take care of it. Warm up was normal, with lots of bloggers hanging out at our secret bathroom. Temperature was good, maybe 50 deg- I would have liked it a bit cooler.
Race started out at a good pace, with Paul immediately jumping to the lead and a group of 6 in pursuit, including 4 Kenyans. I settled into 11th place by mile 1, with Ashbaker just ahead and a group of FRB-ers behind who eventually disappeared. Splits were 5:39, 5:46, 5:44, 5:37, 5:52, 5:51, 5:56, 5:59, 5:35. I caught Ashbaker at mile 9- he was going through a bit of a rough patch. We ended up running together for the next 9 miles. I was very worried at this point because my quads were complaining loudly about the pounding- this normally never happens to me, including on TOU 1/2 which was a faster pace. I knew I was running as fast as I dared and was very concerned that I had over done it and would crash. The tailwind wasn't as strong or long as I hoped, but it was definitely there at miles 13 and 14. Splits were 5:20, 6:22 (mile marker off?), 5:45, 5:44. Half marathon split was 1:15:50, which was about 2:33:30 pace based on even effort for the course. Steve and I caught a Kenyan at mile 12 and another at 14, moving into 8th and 9th place.
We exited the canyon and started down the always enjoyable Hollow Road. I like this part of the course, and I hate the highway portion that follows. Splits were 5:38, 5:50, 5:51, 6:00 (worry about my quads became worse with this slow mile), 5:55. When we hit mile 18, I got a second wind (though my legs felt the same) and pushed hard up the hill. Ashbaker dropped behind. The uphill was a 6:06, 6:05, then into my oft-traveled Providence with a 5:59 and 6:04. On the long straight downhill into Providence, I could see 3 runners several minutes ahead of me but figured they were too far ahead to catch. Marci and Bethany were by my old house at mile 21.5 to cheer, though they didn't see me coming so I had to call out to them. My legs were screaming, but really not much worse than at mile 8, which was a good sign.
I really pushed hard in this section and started counting down what I needed to do to break 2:35- "Ok, 26 minutes for 4.2 miles... now 19 miles for a 5k"- I was working all out for the sub-2:35 and trying to do math, which is not an easy task at this juncture of a marathon. On the 700 S road in River Heights, it became clear that 2 runners were quickly coming back to me... and one of them was Sasha. I have never beaten him and it gave me some extra incentive. I was closing about 20-30 seconds per mile on these two. Splits were 6:10 and 6:01 for 23-24. I got my third wind and started pushing hard, knowing now that I could sustain this pace and my goals were in reach. Somehow, my legs started feeling better.
Turned onto 300 S and could smell the blood in the water with Sasha and Eric Held, a local runner whom I have never met before. I finally caught them on Main Street at about mile 24.5, which gave me a huge rush of adrenaline- I have never passed people at that point in a marathon. I surged hard to make sure they didn't chase me, and ended up beating them by about 40 sec and 1 min, I believe. Mile 25 was 5:56, and 26 was a 6:05. I was going to finish in 6th place!!!
I have been accused of looking grumpy and tired in my marathon finish photos, so I wasn't going to let that happen this time. I started pumping my fist above my head with 50 yards to go and was greeted by a big roar from the crowd, especially when they announced me as the 2nd local finisher. Final .2 in 1:12, giving me a 2:34:16 total time (5:53 pace). 5th place was 3 minutes ahead, so there was no way I could have placed higher. Second half of the marathon was 1:18:26, meaning I only slowed down 2:36 (with even effort giving a 2 min slowdown, so really pretty even).
I was extremely pumped and excited afterwards and had loads of adrenaline. I heard the always amazing Paul won it and ran to congratulate him. He was followed by 2 outstanding Kenyans, then Nick McCombs, then Bryant Jensen. Eric and Sasha were just behind me, and I really enjoyed waiting in the finish line for all my friends to finish- Sasha, Ashbaker, Adam, Cody (who out-chipped Joe Wilson even though Joe out-leaned him), everyone! FRB women swept top 3 places, with Nan Kennard killing everyone and setting a course record. Wow! She definitely ran the outstanding performance of the day.
My legs are sore and the balls of my feet are very raw, but I am good other than that. A nice massage and a soak in the nearby canal helped my legs, though I'm sure I will be slow moving tomorrow. But I am happy and satisfied with my marathoning experience- I set a PR by more than 5 minutes today. Now I can shift my focus to ultra trail races and see what adventures await me in that world, starting with pacing Davy at the Bear 100 next weekend.