- I woke up at 2:45 AM, 10 minutes before my alarm was set to go off – if there’s anything positive about time zones, it’s that a MDT early race morning doesn’t feel quite so bad when your body is still on EDT!
- The busses were set to start heading off to the start at 3:30 AM – last bus at 4:15 AM – departing from the parking lot behind the Provo Marriott Downtown, the same place where the Expo was held. To my surprise, our ride was pretty plush – fancy tour busses! I grabbed a seat and had a pretty lively conversation with my seat-mate about races and running in general.Once we disembarked, volunteers directed us to the waiting area (a big open field with lots of little bonfires) and the port-a-potty area.
- I quickly found a spot to relax – kinda wish I had brought a blanket or sleeping bag – but was pretty comfortable, temperature-wise since I brought along a throwaway long-sleeve tee. I stayed in the waiting area until about 5:40, thinking that would be enough time to get in one last bathroom break – kind of cut it close and had to run to the start, in hindsight, but nevertheless, I was running my third full marathon!
Miles 1 through 7 were a happy blur – my first mile was 8:35, due to congestion – but then the next few miles were ticking off nicely in the low 8 range. I was feeling confident about a conservative goal of 3:45 and hopeful at hitting even lower (BQ?!) assuming the race continued in that fashion.
Assuming. Right. We all know that is not something you should do!
Right when I crossed Mile 7, which was a slight uphill, my arch nemesis – WIND – reared its ugly head. I was still moving, but literally felt like I was in the twilight zone- going downhills, it felt slow; when it was flat, I felt like I was hardly moving and uphills? Yeah..by Mile 9, realized today was not going to be the day, because I could literally WALK up the uphills faster than running up them – and despite feeling totally fine, I could feel that my heart rate was climbing due to the elevation.
I made up my mind: today was going to be about enjoying and finishing the race. I took out my phone, called hubs and told him to expect me later than anticipated and grabbed a photo to remember the moment…
How could I be ‘upset’ about ‘throwing’ a race when I was in such a gorgeous place? It was impossible. It was going to be okay.
So, I did the run-walk…I’d pick out a landmark ahead and either run or walk to it. I breathed in the cold air. I retrieved my hat as it flew off my head several times. I readjusted my sunglasses that were shaking on my face because of the wind. I just kept going.
The middle miles were kind of a blur. Since the course was point to point, I knew mentally that it’d feel more ‘real’ once we hit the half point – and it did – I reached the half marker at 2:01.
The start area there had a pretty dramatic downhill and I logged a pretty good mile there which felt nice (8:52) considering the surrounding miles had been double-digits! I kept going…going…
I was on auto-pilot for several more miles – pretty much until we reached town! It was a little scary when we initially exited the canyon, since there was traffic everywhere, but once we left that area, I was so excited to see spectators! It definitely is harder to feel tired or defeated when the energy of the crowds are there – I gave hundreds (!!) of high-fives (my favorite thing, ever) to the kids watching and I smiled and waved whenever someone called my name (love wearing my name on my shirt, feels like I have friends everywhere!!)
Oh, and mile 24? OTTER POPS. Best thing ever.
The one issue I had with our run back in Provo was this – it was soo flat and long. Okay. I know, flat is nice, but wow, at the end of the race, when I could see 1 mile+ straight and see the finish line way in the distance? AGH! Mentally crazy!! I was still feeling pretty good though – no leg cramps like I had had in my past two 26.2′s…
At Mile 25, a guy that I had seen throughout the race passed me and said something to the effect of, “We’ve been neck and neck this whole race.” It wasn’t in a mean way, but I felt kind of like, “Um, is that a challenge?” So I let him pass…I was getting closer to that finish…(note: the finishing shoot was crazy narrow)…and then the shoot divided into 1/2 and full marathon…I kicked it up and crossed the finish right before him.
“Hey that was a dirty trick!” I heard him call.
Oh well. If I am not gonna BQ, PR, or sub-4, at least I am gonna beat some guy that thinks he can defeat me! Hah.
Here’s where the recap is going to get all philosophical – see, I finished this race feeling strong, happy and confident, despite the outcome. As I threw back a carton of chocolate milk, I thought, “self, good job. Now, rest and do other fitnessy things until the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. Marathons can wait til later.”
…in typical fashion, post-marathon thoughts and post-post marathon thoughts have taken over. Was that really my last full marathon of 2012? Can I mentally and physically stand not training for another endurance race this summer? When is THE TIME for me seek marathon redemption?
So many questions…
At least I knew the answer to hubs first inquiry when we reunited at the finish:
“What do you want to do now?
Dorky stat stuff, in case you were wondering…
- Nutrition: pre-race – 1/2 plain bagel, 1 glass Starbucks Via Iced Coffee; in-race – Vanilla Bean GU at miles 6, 12 and 18 – water every 2 miles, powerade every other mile, Tropical nuun in handheld and post-race – chocolate milk at finish, In’n'out double-double + half order fries with a chocolate milkshake for lunch
- Outfit review: great choices all around, I think the CEP compression socks kept any potential leg cramping at bay, in conjunction with the proper refueling, of course. One thing I’d change – my tank was a size M but kept twisting around, especially in the wind. Probably better to size down in this brand.
- Race feedback: I think this event was very well organized and a great value for the cost – with ONE exception: bag check retrieval. All the bags were just laid out in the lawn at the finish (in bib order) but I couldn’t find mine at first! We left and came back (so I could shower, etc) before I found my bag.