Going into this race, I just wanted to treat it as a good training run, run a first 1:25 half (6:30 pace), then even or maybe slight negative split, and I didn't want to make my knee worse. Goal time of 2:49:58 (1 second faster than my 2003 TOU).
It was lots of fun to see the bloggers at Logan's party last night (thanks Logan and Katey) and to see TONS of bloggers at the start. I didn't want to go out fast so I stood a few rows back and went out with Andy Browning for the first 5 miles. Mile markers were uneven but we were at 39:10 at mile 6 (6:31 pace). Andy dropped back and I ran with Carre Joyce for a few miles. After mile 7, I was in ~28th spot and was never passed again. I met Jake Saunders at mile 8, and we ran the next 10 miles together. He is a nice guy from North Logan- I was excited to meet another Loganite to train with Cody, Paul, and I. He had a few cheering sections along the way, too, which was nice. Next 6 miles were all 6:22-6:38 over the rollers, with a 1/2 marathon split of 1:25:15 (6:31 pace)- I felt pretty good and was excited how close I was able to stay to my goal pace. My internal speedometer (no GPS for me!) was right on. I knew a negative split was doable, and started to think 2:47 was in my capability if I worked hard after mile 18.
Mile 14 was a bit fast with the crowd and downhill, 6:01, then mile 15 was slower up the hill, 7:31 (marker may have been off, too). Jake and I ran 3 miles at 6:00-6:10 pace, then one relaxed 6:25 right before the downhill. At this point, I wanted to see if I could get a good negative split and even run some sub-6:00 miles, so I wished Jake luck and started picking off runners. Ran 3 miles of 5:51-5:57 down the canyon, which I was happy with. Mile 23 was out of the canyon on the bike path, flatter, and I thought I slowed down, but it was 5:50. I passed lots of runners in the canyon, finally getting the last guy (Bill Cobler) at mile 24. I had never run sub-6 this late in a race and it felt great. Then my speed burst and the heat (plus 23 miles) started to hit me a bit, so my last 3 miles were 6:10-6:23 pace, with a final .2 of 1:18 for a final time of 2:46:55. I felt fatigued at the end, but it was definitely my strongest finish ever and I never hit the wall- 6:03 avg for the last 7 miles! All in all, I ran a 3:50 negative split, passed 15+ guys in the last 19 miles while never being passed, felt great (minimal knee pain, partly due to a super-dose of IBprofin before the race), and am hardly sore now. It was a great workout. 11th place overall, 3rd in age group. And even if I raced right from the start, it's doubtful I could have caught Walter who was 2 minutes ahead of me.
This is my 3rd fastest marathon ever, though my 2005 St. George of 2:46 is probably slower when you account for difference in difficulty. So, it was a somewhat easy race/workout that resulted in my 2nd best marathon performance ever. Hopefully my knee will get better and I can have a great race season. Back to work on Monday!
Bloggers did great. 10 of the top 12 guys were bloggers, and Michelle took 2nd. Plus lots of other good races on a hot day. Congrats to everyone!