Race Day turned out to be a memorable one! So I have run through the worst Boston in history and now the worst SGM in history. I wouldn't say that conditions were as bad as Boston '07 overall; but the wind was there pretty intense the whole time, and this time, I was really working against it on my own for a big portion of the race. Here's how it all went:
Race day conditions were rainy, chilly and windy. Got to the start line and tried to stay dry in my garbage bag until a few minutes before the race. Warmed up by running around the corral for a bit and trying to stretch out a little. Had some tightness in my upper hammies that stayed pretty much the whole race only to be replaced by MAJOR tightness everywhere later!
Mile 1- 6:01 - We watched Jose take off and we all sat back, way back. It seemed that no one wanted to take the lead and have anything to do with the wind.
2- 5:50 (11:51) - Still very easy. We all noticed how very dark it was and this, along with the very slow pace, caused a lot of jostling for position and clipping legs and arms.
3- 5:24 (17:14) - I got tired of this and took the lead (as we had long since passed any mad dashers). Sasha tried to real me in, but I told him that I was just taking my turn up front - really I was just trying to get things moving. Although times seemed to be out the door for the race, we still couldn't just piddle around (this became my attitude for whole race, I guess).
4- 5:21 (22:35) - Group was now moving along and thinning out a few people. By this time, I think most of us had stopped worrying about trying to stay dry and we were just going.
5- 5:29 (28:04) - These miles felt pretty good. I did a few mental checks of key areas of the body around 3 and 5 and tried to convince myself that I really felt great. I really didn't feel sharp yet, however.
6- 5:11 (33:15) - Dropping into Veyo, Danley picked up the pace a little; I noticed that the other guy - Mark Currell - also wanted to be right up front. I made a little push to go up front and position myself for my first water and gu and everyone moved right with me.
7- 5:14 (38:29) - Had a smooth water stop and threw my hat to my dad. Although this isn't the highest level, I kept thinking to myself how cool it was to be doing "championship racing", the strategy forming early, working together, working against people. It was fun.
8- 6:09 (44:38) - This is where the leader/winner made a big move. Right here on Veyo. Danley seemed to try to go with him, or at least move also. And I settled behind Sasha, but he wasn't moving up quick enough and Nick came up, so I went with him, so did Sasha and Jeff. Nick and Jeff actually pulled up a little near the top.
9- 5:59 (50:37) - Knew that I HAD to pull back up with Nick and Jeff, so I surged for 1/4 mile and got back to them. I really tried to put myself in the mindset to stay with everyone, because the way I was feeling, if I fell back, I won't ever get back on track.
10- 5:58 (56:36) - I told the group that we could work to get Danley and then go for the top guy. I was really the only vocal one in the group. I hope it wasn't annoying, but it helped me stay focused. We pulled Danley back during the end of this mile or during the next.
11- 6:17 (1:02:53) - I tried to relax on this mile and stay behind Nick and Jeff as we finished off the Dammeron hills. Pretty slow, but the wind was ripping in here. Ultima stop. It sat fine; I didn't drink too much.
12- 5:51 (1:08:44) - I pushed us across the top and tried to get it moving again toward the half. My hips were so tight the whole race. I remember they really hurt in here.
13- 5:38 (1:14:22) - Wow - a bad wow. Obviously, the times were much slower than last year, but I really was working a lot harder. I hit the half in 1:15:20 - I think. This was really the first time since the early miles that I had looked at the time (hardly looked at the watch at all the whole race. I didn't dare; I didn't want to get discouraged). Through this mile, I decided it was time to make a move - not on the group, but for time. I had originally planned on really moving through miles 13-17. Although I new the time wasn't going to be there, I wanted the effort there. About my move - in retrospect was it the smartest move? Probably not for overall. All it really did was spread out the group and create someone for everyone else to shoot for since the leader was long gone. But I am proud of myself for doing it. I may have been able to hit 5th or a little higher by staying with Nick for longer, but it was time for something to happen in the race and it turned out okay, even with a dead finish. I won't ever need to wonder what I could have got if I would have gone harder today. I went as hard as I could on this given day. So would I do it again? Yes. And hopefully I'll get even better at it next time.
14- 5:41 (1:20:02) - I was originally planning to drop to 5:00 here! Nope.
15- 5:20 (1:25:23) - Saw my XC kids here and they got me my gato and a loud shout out. It was fun to see them out. Came off the volcano okay. Again, my hips really seemed to play a role in keeping me from really rolling. They were - and still are - very sore. Had to force myself to drink some of the gato. I knew I needed to, the race was still long. But the cool temps and rain gave a false sense of hydration.
16- 5:16 (1:30:39) - Did okay dropping to Snow Canyon. Finally a little crowd. It was very lonely running out there by myself. Throughout the race, I could see the cops up with the leader in the distance, but I felt totally isolated from everything and everyone.
17- 5:33 (1:36:12) - The Winchester hill loomed and I told myself, "They are coming. Just keep pushing." I was right; they were coming!
18- 5:42 (1:41:55) - Tried to keep focused. The wind was tearing me apart. I tried not to think about it at the time, but I knew the factor it was playing on me.
19- 6:06 (1:48:00) - I was so slow up the hill. I wanted to look at my watch, but refused to let myself. I was sure it would say 7-8:00 minutes and that would have killed me. I just though, "I am racing for 2nd at St. George! Keep it going. Keep it going." I did what turned out to be my last little mental check after going through my ward's aide station. I was out of it. I don't remember anything about going through except a lot of yelling and the neighbor girl who gave me my drink. I tried to convince myself that I could finish, but I wanted so badly to stop and just be done. Marathoning is so hard. So hard.
20- 5:56 (1:53:57) - I realized I was fading fast. My pace slowed for a section of this mile to nearly a standstill. I drank a little more of my flat Pepsi from 19 and hoped the gu would kick something to me. Then just tried to gut something out.
21- 5:35 (1:59:32) - My nemesis miles, through the twist. If I could just get the legs going again, I could maybe hold on to this. 10K left I thought. I focused on trying to get leg turnover where there was none.
22- 5:54 (2:05:26) - I held them off for a mile; do it again. Here is where Steve A. and Clyde got me last year. I tried to get anything on the little climb out of the twist.
23- 5:37 (2:11:03) - Held them off for another mile. But now the cheers are closer behind me. The girl at the aide station held out my water, but I was on the other side of the road from the tangent. I yelled to her to bring it to me; I hope she didn't think I was a jerk, but I could barely keep moving forward let along sideways.
24- 5:45 (2:16:48) - My long battle of attrition was over. After running alone and pushing the wind for over 12 miles, someone came up on me dropping into town. I gave a quick backward glance; it was Nick. I gave him a fistbump and he encouraged me and was gone. What now? Try to hold off the next one.
25- 5:59 (2:22:47) - A major goal of mine, and a key to my goal time, was to really keep on it at the finish. I have never once had a finish of a marathon where the last few miles were something to write home about. How do I feel about today's? I am not sure. I didn't quit. That's a positive. It wasn't a whole lot slower than even last year. But I was D.E.A.D - dead! 3rd place got me just before turning off diagonal.
26- 6:03 (2:28:50) - I knew some big dogs were still hunting me down and I didn't want to lose all I had worked so hard for, so I tried to grit down. I got a little boost when the PVHS pep band hit a little fight song for me as we turned on Tabernacle. It was exhilarating for a short minute (I wish they would have pushed me all the way in!).
26.2- 1:19 (2:30:19) - Coming down the end it was gone. Everything was gone. 4th caught and passed me with about 200-300 to go. I wish I could have held it, but I was hoping not to fall down. I have to stop making a habit of these dramatic finishes - I really am not doing it for the attention. As I ran, my legs would just drop lower and lower and I started to weave. I tried to stand up straight and the whole process would start again. I really just hoped to cross the line. My legs were cramping and there was not one ounce of anything in there. Made it and was caught at the line by one of our trusty men in uniform.
Well... That one is over. Really nothing left to say or analyze that I haven't already. I was an amazing training season. The Circle of Trust totally pushed me through. My wife and kids are an absolute amazing support. And congrats to everyone. I am especially proud of James who qualified for Boston, broke 3, and hit a 30(?) minute PR. Good job big bro. It was a ton of fun running with you.
I guess I should also note for future reference when I am an old man (yes pvxc I am not an old man, yet!) that I won the Silver Shoe for top local finisher. A nice trophy, bread for a year, and a treadmill, and don't forget that cool jumbo candybar with the SGM logo on it. That was pretty neat. Also top 10 and top finisher for my age division. I got 3 bags - one for each of the girls!