Monday, October 05, 2009

St George marathon 2009 Race Report

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

Background:
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.

Pre-race:
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 :(

Morning:
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...

Goals:

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 :)

Race:

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!!!

Results:
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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