Thursday, October 9, 2014

St George Marathon 2015 - Time with friends is as good as the runner's high

This year marked my 5th year running St George and I absolutely LOVE it!  A sentimental favorite since it was my first ever marathon that you can read about here.  I know the course well now, I know what to expect and how to train.

This season has been weird.  Ever since running Boston (which you can read about here), I just can't get the mojo back.  I've already described it during my Big Cottonwood recap here, but I thought maybe things would be different for this one.  I was excited to race, I was excited to be in St George, I was excited to be with my friends.  I haven't done any speedwork training so a sub 4 was not realistic.  Instead, I decided that a sub 4:15 would be awesome but more importantly, I wanted to find the "high".  The "mojo".  The "I run because I love it" feelings.

Alex and I left SLC about 4 on Thursday and headed down south.  A quick meet up with Darrell and Marissa and then getting a good night's sleep.

Friday morning Alex and I went out for a quick 20 minute "shake out the legs" run which felt good.  I felt confident.  No niggling pain.  Cardio felt good.  I figured I would shoot for the best come race morning.

The expo is one of the funnest parts of St George marathon for me.  I LOVE people watching, interacting with our customers that come and say hi, and meeting new people.  Since I knew that there would be no BQ or sub 4 in my plan for the next day, I decided I wanted to capture as many friends as I could.  I wanted to make it FUN again!


Bill & Tracy

Jody & Josh


Susie & Glenn


Adrian - a new customer and first time marathoner!

Kandi, Wan and Janae

I left the expo about 3 and headed over to Doug's office.  He very KINDLY agreed to be on the course at about halfway through with some more Ucan for me.  I had it all prepared and just dropped it off to him.  Seriously, I have the best friends ever!

After the Ucan drop off, I hit the grocery store, found my maple bar and some bottled water, then headed to Pier 49 and picked up my pre-race dinner.
Doesn't that look so good?  It's been my go-to meal now for all 5 years I've run and it's never let me down! 

After a phone call home to the Splenda Daddy and some dinking around on my laptop, I turned it all off and went to sleep.  All by 8pm. I know right?!?!  Love going to bed that early.  The downside was, out of habit I flipped the lock on the hotel door and poor Alex was locked out when she tried to get in later that night.  No biggie, woke up, let her in, and back to sleep.

This year, I decided to forgo getting on the early bus.  I never win the stinking raffles anyway and instead I wanted to ride with friends and then meet more at the start line.

It was cold at the start!  Like brrrrr cold.  Which is okay since we know it's gonna be wicked hot a little later on.  I was grateful for the space blanket, and for meeting up with more friends.

There is a fun running group on Facebook that I belong to called Run4Fun.  We usually draw a 4 on our calf or shoulder so we can identify each other during races.  Thanks Kimberly for your perfect 4 on my calf
Nothing makes the start line better than being with friends and having fun!
Paul & Molly (seriously my bro and sis from another mother)

A bunch of Run 4Funner's.  We did a flash mob of Thriller.  Really wishing I would have had the foresight to have someone video us.  Hysterical, in that most of didn't really know how to do the dance and instead just tried to follow Molly and Kimberly  Such fun times!

By then it was time to get in line for the porta potties, and then line up with a pacer.  Enrique and I got in between the 4:10 and the 4:15 pacers, sang the National Anthem and then we were shuffling our way to the start line and the timing pad.

Started in a nice comfortable pace.  Leaving the bathrobe on was a good idea since it kept my legs warm and I knew that I could dump it quickly and I didn't care if I didn't get it back.  Lot's of weaving around people, and finding open space on the road but overall. my pace was staying fairly even and I felt good.

At mile 5, I decided to use the restroom (bladder full from Monster and Ucan) and while I waited in line, I got my metronome going.  When I headed back out, I had lost Enrique but now was feeling fantastic with an excellent pace going.  I swear to you, that steady cadence in my ear is, yes boring, but does such a good job of making me keep my foot turnover quick.  Even when I stop and walk through water breaks, I could easily get right back on cadence.

The sun was up, it was getting warm, I had long ditched my bathrobe, long sleeve T and gloves.  Veyo hill was done and over and I was enjoying the scenery.  Seriously, love this course.  It's so pretty!  And since almost everyone I know runs it, I am constantly running (literally) into a friend!

(photo cred goes to Kandi and I love the photobomber in the back)

Doug had told me he would be at about mile 15 (the last place spectators could be and not get stuck there), so as I neared I began to watch for him.  
Be still my heart, there are these cute little red headed boys holding signs and cheering!!

I wish I had a pic of those cute little boys!  Doug handed me my blessed cold bottle of Ucan, wished me well, and off again I went!

Again, settling into the steady cadence and nice pace.  I honestly felt great!  I made sure to drink the Ucan without sucking air and just waited until the next aid station and tossed the bottle.

Mile 20 is when it all fell apart.  Somewhere between that mile marker and mile 21, but gut went south.  Cramping, pain and gosh dang I need a porta potty!  
Jumped into the first one I could get to and spent 3 or 4 minutes trying to convince my guts that they needed to stay put and not dump everywhere.

As I stepped back out on to the course, I noticed how much time I had lost and figured my sub 4:15 was gone.  I felt deflated and discouraged.  Enough that I whipped the ear piece out and turned off the metronome.  Instead of posting a personal PR for this course, I was going to be lucky if I finished based on the anger my gut was giving me AGAIN.

'Twas the story until about mile 23.  In and out of porta potties and feeling like crap.  And then, as suddenly as it came upon me, it was gone.  Not completely, but I found that I could run pretty steadily and was wishing for my metronome again.  Huh.  Weird.  Okay, so alrighty then, goals back on.  

I look at my watch and figure I can't pull the sub 4:15, I had lost too much time for that, but dang it, I was gonna run as hard and strong as I could and just see how close I could come.

The last couple of miles through town are always a crap shoot.  Some years I feel great and some years I want to die.  This year was good.  There's the little kids with the popsicles, and here's the people with the cold, wet towel, now here's the last turn and the finish is in sight!

I stayed steady and gave as much push as I could at the finish and ended with:

A minute off my PR for this course, but you know what?  Considering I spent so much time in the crapper, I'm okay with it!  

I walked through the runner's finish area, got my medal, found the coke tent and then some shade to sit down and call Splenda.  I wasn't feeling good again and didn't trust my legs to take my another step without some stretching and rest.

After chatting with a few friends, I made my way over to the WRC Grand Slam tent, plopped myself in the shade and basked in all the glory stories of everyone who came by


Ron and Cole

Monte, London, Carl, Jenn, Wan and Adrian

Vince & Kathy

My girl Brenda - amazing!  She was on crutches just 5 weeks ago!

Ellen and Brenda

Adam - one of my favorite Slam customers!

I walked away for a minute and came back to find more love from friends - thanks Kandi!

I can never say it enough - I have the BEST friends!

We packed up and loaded the slam tent, Alex and I got some frozen custard and then hit the road.  I was thankful that she would drive.  I laid back my seat, relaxed and we listened to conference.  
Okay, so maybe Alex listened to conference and I took a nap.

Lot's of time to think this one over.  I feel good about my time.  I feel good about my performance.  Not what I wanted but certainly not my worst.  The runner's high is still eluding me, but what made this year so special was all the friendships that I enjoyed during the weekend.  Runner's make good people and I am blessed far more than I deserve with so many good friends in my life.

I decided that I would take a break this winter and cut back on the running.  Maybe three days a week and incorporate more yoga, weightlifting and spinning.  In fact, I have the Tour de Tuscon coming up next month that I reeeeeally need to get ready for.  I'm hoping that by mixing it up a bit and cutting back, I'll find the love.

At least that was my plan until the Runner's Series opened and yep - register I did!  
I guess I could have worse vices right?

Thanks STG Marathon RD's for another fantastic experience.  Thanks to all my friends who made a point to say hi, take a pic, give encouragement, and cheer me on.  I am indeed a very blessed girl.


PS - I'm riding the Tour de Tuscon for the JDRF and am needing to raise funds.  If you feel so inclined to toss a buck or two towards my goal, I would GREATLY appreciate it! Link is here