Tuesday, October 06, 2009

St. George Marathon 2009

I finished my 7th (and possibly last) marathon this weekend. For those not on my journal list, here's the full write-up. I had a hard time finding quality photos of the marathon this year, but I still included some to help break up the length of this post.


St. George Marathon Course

Usual dreams about the race, getting ready, and forgetting stuff. Woke up off and on, but not too much. Glade woke me up at 3:30—I probably got about 6 good hours. Thrilled about that. Dressed and geared up. Met Jake who had been up since 1:45. Poor guy. I drove the 3 of us over to the bus loading area. We got a great spot being early and all. We were on one of the first busses to leave.

These will be keeping us warm the following morning

Long drive out of town to the starting line in Central. Feels like you are driving forever. All the while you know you have to run it back. Freezing cold when we got out. I had on a hoody and sweat pants with gloves, and I was still cold. Made our way to a fire pit to get warm. Stayed there for the next 2 hours, chatting with runners and trying to stay relaxed.

Starting Line

Stripped down to my shirts and sleeveless running shirt at the last minute, tossed my bag of stuff into the U-Haul, and lined up just after the wheel chair racers took off. Had my music and Garmin ready to go as the race started at 6:45. I as glued to the 3:30 pace group for several miles. The balloons the pacer carries are easy to spot, even in the dark. Warmed up quickly and was glad I didn’t keep any extra clothes on.

Mile 1 8:14
Mile 2 7:47
Mile 3 7:36


To get a 3:30 marathon time, you need to average an 8:00 min pace through all 26 miles. Since we started slow with all the congestion, our next 2 miles were a bit faster to balance it out. However, once I settled into that pace, I didn’t feel like slowing back down to 8:00, so I slowly moved ahead of the group. My pre-race goal was to finish in 3:30 without injury, thus beating my previous record of 3:34.

Mile 4 7:42
Mile 5 7:37
Mile 6 7:19 (start of downhill into Veyo)
Mile 7 7:07 (More downhill into Veyo)

Base of Veyo

Feeling great and relaxed. My goal begins to change mid race. The new plan is to try and catch the 3:20 pace group. This isn’t easy, as they are maintaining a 7:37 min/mile pace. In order to catch them, I have to significantly speed up. I’m having to walk through a few aid stations in order to drink properly and grab a banana section here and there. I downed a couple GU’s already too.

Mile 8 8:04 (uphill out of Veyo—long and fairly steep)
Mile 9 7:48 (rest of uphill before crest)
Mile 10 7:42 (for a downhill race, there seem to be a lot of hills)

Aid station debris

It hits. Both my knees go at the same time. Painful throbbing in both of them. Calves are getting tight too. At the 11 mile aid station, I pull over to have Bengay rubbed onto my legs. I can barely feel the soothing burn over the knee pain. I’ve already accepted that this may be my last marathon if my knee problems continue, so it’s easier to ignore the pain and keep running. I have the rest of my life to recover.

Mile 11 7:55 (aid station)
Mile 12 8:11 (more hills I think)
Mile 13 7:23

I gave out quite a few of these myself along the way. The kids eat it up.

My ½ marathon time is 1:40:26, 9 minutes off my all time best. Not bad. If I ran the second half in the exact same time, I’d finish in exactly 3:20. The 3:20 pace group is within sight, and I keep in hot pursuit. Pain has subsided a bit and I’m feeling better.

Mile 14 7:27
Mile 15 7:04
Mile 16 6:37 (downhill section. I’ll pay dearly for this later)

I’ve caught the 3:20 pace group and begin to stupidly dream of qualifying for Boston. I’ve already made up 10 minutes, and I’d need to cut another 5 off my time in order to get the 3:15 qualifying time. Easier said than done. There’s 10 more miles at this point, and I’m starting to feel it. I’d either have to run the next 10 miles at about 7:00 min pace, or do 5 mile in the 6:30 range. I decide on the second option.

Mile 17 7:10 (I get a little ahead of the pace group)
Mile 18 7:31
Mile 19 7:58

The pacer takes a bathroom break and the guy he hands the balloons off to speeds past me at 7:00 min pace. What gives?!? I hang close by for awhile, but I can’t seem to catch them. Even on the downhill I can’t get below 7:15 pace anymore. Leg’s are really hurting now and I start having serious doubts.

Mile 20 7:36
Mile 21 7:14 (I’m really trying to hang in there)
Mile 22 7:57

I’m dying. I only have 4 miles to go and my goal is all but out of reach. We are nearing city limits where it will flatten out. I’m using everything I have to stay under 8:00 min pace now. It really really hurts.

Mile 23 7:50
Mile 24 7:23

I give it one last push before my legs completely die. At 2 miles to go I no longer can make them obey me. I’m in horrible pain and a part of me still thinks I can sprint these last 2 miles to qualify. Stupid Boston Marathon. I’m grunting with every stride. I want it to be over so bad. People are lining the streets, cheering, so I try to keep my groans quiet.

Mile 25 8:03

I give up hope. I simply can’t make myself go any faster. In fact, I’m half delusional at this point. I start running 5-10 second intervals with my eyes closed. I don’t even know why I’m forcing myself to run anymore. There’s a part of me that is just too stubborn, stupid, and competitive to start walking and make the pain stop.

Mile 26 7:37

At the time, I felt like I was barely moving. I have no idea how I ran that last mile in 7:37. I couldn’t even focus on faces in the crowd anymore. I only remember being in complete agony and wanting to die.

.2 Miles 8:07

People were passing me the last 200 yards, using whatever they had left. I almost always do the same thing, but not this time. It took everything I had to stumble across that finish line. As soon as I stopped, my calves seized up and I couldn’t stand. One of the volunteers helped me walk a bit and then they suddenly relaxed. Big relief. Got my medal and spotted Sammy.

Hobbled into the finisher area where I loaded up on food and drinks. Felt so good to sit, although getting up and down was very difficult. Oh, my final time was 3:19:59. There was no way I could make up those 5 minutes. I gave it EVERYTHING I had, so I don’t feel too bad. Jake arrived a little later. I think he was about 3:38—an amazing time for a 1st marathon.

It appears I came in 599th out of 5,631 finishers. I was 107th of 434 runners in the men's 35-39 age group. Beat my old PR by 15 minutes.


Amy said...

Awesome Shane.
I loved the pictures in addition to your mile by mile writing. Thanks for being a great host while we were there. It was so nice to visit with you.

HHM said...

Congrats, even your injured times are faster than my fast days; but you have been training more consistently than I. Very good time, but...4:59 faster and you would have qualified for Boston :) (qualifying time for Boston in your age group is 3:15).

Blaine said...

Maybe we should have done more hills for training? As much as I hated them, it got the job done. You'll be back for more next season and I'll be on your hills as my BQ qualifying time is the same.

Deanna said...

awesome. Turns out it wasn't you at the Rec Center...but maybe you already knew that.

Kelsey K. Hartley said...

Way to go Shane!