I dare say that there aren't many people that crossed the finish line today that are happier than me. Every time I think about the race I just smile. I'm ecstatic about how things played out. I overcame some physical and mental battles during the race that I've never come close to getting through during a marathon. The goal was sub 3. I didn't care if it was 2:59:59 (and it was close), but I wanted to break it. I've raced and trained great over the last couple months and I felt like this was the best, legitimate chance I had given myself to hit the goal. I knew I couldn't give in and walk around the 20 mile mark and I knew I had to stay strong the entire way or else it wouldn't happen. I didn't want to get sucked into anybody else's race or pace, so I planned to just run according to the chart that Paul P. had created and try and just hit an even effort. It was sprinkling a bit while we waited for the race to start, and then once everybody dropped their clothes into the bus, it started pouring for a few minutes. Luckily it let up right before the start, but the rain was coming down hard off and on throughout the race, especially in the canyon.
2 6:34 13:11
3 6:33 19:45
4 6:40 26:26
5 6:36 33:02 The goal here was 33:44. There is a group of about 7 or 8 of us that are running with the 3 hour pacers (there were 2 of them). My legs don't feel great here, but I'm doing okay. It is raining off and on.
6 7:14 40:16 I adjusted my watch here to go from auto lap to manual.
7 6:50 47:07
8 6:42 53:49
9 6:53 1:00:43
10 6:54 1:07:37 The goal here was 1:07:52. It is right around in here that I start wondering if I should pick it up a bit, because I felt like I was holding back and I was scared I wasn't going to bank enough time for the last part of the course. Still in our pack of about 7 to 8. Being with the group helped a ton. The pacers planned to hit the half around 1:28:00 to 1:29:00.
11 6:52 1:14:29
12 6:47 1:21:17
13-14 13:30 1:34:47 The goal was 1:28:56, and we crossed the half in about 1:28:40ish. I'll admit, I was worried about hitting the sub 3 mark at this point. I'm still feeling good though and pretty relaxed. Our group is still intact. There was not much of a tail wind coming out of the canyon, and I remember that it poured rain right in here and it started hailing. My shoes were so water logged, but at least the temps were cool. One of my favorite parts of this race is when you see all the spectators at the mouth of the canyon. It was great.
15 6:47 1:41:34 The goal was 1:41:33. The course seems to flatten out a lot here and this is where one of the pacers fell off pace and it felt like the other pacer picked it up.
16 6:46 1:48:21
17 6:40 1:55:01 Right around in here our group is pretty much down to the one pacer, 3 other guys and me.
18 6:47 2:01:49
19-20 14:02 2:15:52 The goal at 20 was 2:16:27, so I gained a bit of time in here. We lose one guy off the group here. I'm having some bad stretches in here, but I just keep trying to work through them. Getting through the uphill sections and staying on pace is giving me confidence. The hard part is that I stop at the aid stations and the others in the group gap me a bit....but I keep catching up to them.
21 6:53 2:22:45
22-23 14:20 2:37:06 I fell about 10-15 yards back in here, but right around mile 23 I catch up to the pacer and the other 2 guys and I start to feel good. The pacer and I gap the other 2 guys and we start pulling ahead by quite a bit. We start passing people. I'm dying in stretches in here and I'm starting to talk to the pacer to help me keep going.
24 7:01 2:44:07 We got a little downhill in here and it helped a ton. I take the water and gatorade on the run at this station and we pass one more guy right after the 24 mile mark. Feeling good......then feeling bad. Good, then bad.
25 7:03 2:51:10 The goal here was 2:51:26. I gap the pacer by about 10 yards (I was feeling good for a bit) and I get up the uphill portion and I'm still feeling good. I take the next water station on the fly and I think I've got the sub 3 in the bag.
26 7:05 2:58:16 Interesting thing happens here. We round a couple of corners and start on the street behind the tabernacle. I start to feel real bad and the pacer catches up. We talk for a bit and I tell him I want to walk so bad. He gaps me a bit and is still ahead of on the 2nd to last turn by about 5 yards. I've been looking at my watch a lot for the last bit now and I can tell it is going to be so close.
0.2 1:26 1:26 We round the last corner here and the pacer slows down a bit (he let me finish ahead of him). The last stretch here was awesome. I knew I had to push it. It was cool to have everybody screaming. My bro. was yelling like crazy to push it. Awesome, awesome feeling to get in just below the 3 mark.
If you can't tell, I'm really happy with this race. The pacer helped me a ton over the last 4-5 miles. It made a huge difference. i couldn't believe that I stayed with him, and that I was the only one that stayed with him. This is about a 3:25 PR (St. George 2009 3:03:03). The conditions had me worried. I wasn't sure how the rain would affect me. Maybe it slowed me down, but it helped keep things very cool. Funny how the doubts started creeping in over the last few days, and I never would have thought I could pull off the second half of this race as good as I did. Overall, just a great experience today.