Monday, October 05, 2009

St George marathon 2009 Race Report

6:45am, St George, UT
Temperature: 43F-59F
Humidity: 23%-19%

I had started thinking about running St. George when Jon visited me in Seattle and told me that he and HH would be running it for sure this year (Ironically, I could not get to meet them during the weekend :( ). Then at the Mardi Gras 'thon, I found out about everyone else committed. There was no way I wanted to miss out :p

At St. George 2007, my right knee gave way at mile 24. I could not run another step. I had to walk 2.2 miles to the finish. That experience is something I will never forget. I had wanted redemption on this course - a course which is fast but difficult/brutal when not appropriately trained. Unfortunately, my training was non-existent (averaging less than 20mpw with no speed-work). The one thing I got right is that most of my runs included long, steep hills.

The night before the travelling I had "liked" Anu's FB status of her checked in bag missing the flight. That was really tempting karma - the next day I was late for my checkin and I was warned that my bag might miss my plane too (luckily it made it) :( :p [Note to self for future: never tempt misfortune :p]

I reached Olive garden where we were supposed to have the FE only to find no-one there :- Thankfully, I found Chuck and his wife before everyone else came in! One of my regrets of this weekend was that I did not get to spend more time with everyone post-race :(

I decided to sleep in and take the 5am shuttle. I ran into a couple in my hotel parking lot who were desperately looking for a ride :goodkarmapoints: It was nice having some company for the drive. The guy (who I ran into post-race) would end-up with a 3:00 in his debut marathon!
There was a long shuttle line which got me a little antsy. I knew how well organized St. George was so I was sure they'd pull it off. We got to the start with about 20 minutes left. This meant there was no time to partake in the campfire and other festivities...


I really did not know what sort of a goal to have. So some random thoughts at various points of mental sanity:

- Finish: Could I?
- Not suffer like '07: Could I?
- 3:20: Would sound nice?
- PR: Heck why not when you are being completely unrealistic anyway :)


mile 1: 7:55 (30s shoe lace stop)
Ugh. Could I not have tied my shoe laces properly before the race started :shakeshishead:

mile 2: 7:44
My left calf was a bit stiff but I knew from prior experiences that it would loosen up by mile 3...

mile 3: 7:36

mile 4: 7:21
mile 5: 7:24
mile 6: 7:19
mile 7: 7:19
I had gotten into a nice zone and was feeling good. I tried to be careful and conserve energy for the hills. I started dreaming about a PR! As the darkness melted away I marveled at the beautiful scenery. In '07 I could not care less!

mile 8: 8:08
mile 9: 7:57
mile 10: 7:46
mile 11: 8:10
mile 12: 7:57
The sun rose as we hit the Veyo hills - beauty and misery side by side... These were not difficult hills - it's just that they seemed to go on forever!

mile 13: 7:39
half: 1:41:34

mile 14: 7:58
Coming off the hills I had started struggling... I decided to take a GI break at the end of the mile :(

mile 15: 9:07 (90s GI stop)
I felt much better once I started running. My HR had gotten a chance to recover. However, I knew that I could no longer get a PR. I decided to play it safe till mile 20 - I did not want a repeat of '07!

mile 16: 7:39
I knew Anu and Neil would be at mile 16. Mentally, this was something to look forward to. I did not want to look like I was struggling when I passed them :) Sub-consciously that made me believe that I was feeling great and that's how I felt for the rest of the race!

mile 17: 7:36
mile 18: 7:42
mile 19: 7:53
Cautiously optimistic while admiring the scenery... Beautiful. The mile 19 hill was uncomfortable but manageable.

mile 20: 7:26 + 0:15 (long)
I was gradually cranking things up! I was generally feeling happy. High-fiving kids. I pointed at/posed for a official race photographer lady. I noticed she got a six picture sequence of that :)

mile 21: 6:57 (short)
mile 22: 7:28
mile 23: 7:11
mile 24: 7:08
I thought a lot about '07 and my walk to the finish. I was glad that I was still running at this point!

mile 25: 7:18
mile 26: 7:35
mile .22: 1:41

A strong happy finish!!!

Chip: 3:21:23
Gun: 3:22:05
OA: 630/5629
AG: 88/376

Considering the circumstances, I have to be very satisfied with how this race went! This was my 3rd fastest time with my worst training cycle.

Onto NYCM in four weeks :fingers-crossed: After watching the race with a boot last year, I hope I will finally get to run it for the first time this year!!!


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