Monday, October 8, 2012

St George Marathon Race Report!

Click to enlarge! (TWSS)
What goes up (via painfully long school bus ride) must come down (via 26.2 miles of leg crushing downhills).  On Saturday I ran the St George Marathon. Today, Monday, I can barely walk.

Time: 3:07:29
Pace: 7:07
Place: 275 / 5696
AG Place: 33 / 377
Average HR:  I don’t know! Forgot my HR monitor. Doh!  Let's assume it was a billion beats per second.

My race weekend actually started Thursday night with a flight to Las Vegas.  It turns out that St George, UT is essentially tucked in the middle of nowhere and is nearly impossible to get to without flying to another city and driving 2+ hrs in.  It honestly didn't bother me because that meant that I got to stay a night in Vegas on my way to the race.  VEGAS!!!  WHOOOO!!!  PARRRR--TAAAAY!!!

Of course, since I had a key race in 36 hours, that means that I didn't want to drink at all.......drink too much......wanted to be able to remember my name, didn't want to be on my feet a whole lot, and certainly didn't want to be sucking in a lot of smoke.  Sooooooooo, I sort of saw Vegas from the view of my hotel bed.  Oh well, I guess I could say that I spent some time in Vegas.  Of course, there are no pictures of Vegas because whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas......or else some mafioso comes and bashes in your knees.

The next day, I got some french toast at a casino buffet (carbo loading?) and headed north to Utah.

Is this the part of Vegas where they hide all the bodies?
Or, is it where the hookers go to die?  "Cause of death? Being a hooker....."

This is what I do when I'm in the car.
The vein in my head means that I am really scared of hitting a hooker's body

After I drove through 2 hrs of barren wasteland that both God and time forgot, I went directly to the expo.  While there, I needed to grab 3 things.  My bib, my free T-Shirt, and booty shorts a new Spi-belt (fanny pack) to put my phone while I ran.

While I was hunting around for my bib, I noticed that they didn't have a "booth" for bib numbers 1-500.  Turns out that is because those runners are considered "Elite Runners" and have their own separate "area"!!  I have to admit, I felt both strange and entitled to be considered "Elite".  Sort of like how I envision vegans feel after they tell people they're vegan.

Bwhahahaha.  Yeah, they were WAY off on that one

One of the reasons I left Vegas when I did was so that I could see the Keynote speaker - Bart Yasso.  Bart is the "Chief Running Officer" at the Runner's World magazine. So much as I can tell, that means that Runners World sends him on trips and he writes 1/2 a page stories about his adventures. Make no mistake, it is GOOD to be Bart.

Bart Yasso, the Mayor of Running, and I!  I'm basically famous now.
Is it just me or does it look like he is giving me a diploma or one of those big million dollar checks?

Race morning was essentially like any other.  I got up way too early, got ready to run (pooped), and hopped on a bus that took us up and up and up, 25 miles on the course to the starting line in the middle of nowhere. If there is one thing I can say about the St George Marathon, it was extremely well organized.  You could certainly tell that they had been doing this for 30+ years.  Things were well marked, there was enough of everything, I have zero complaints.

Elite starting area!? I really hope this elite crap doesn't go to my head....

One thing that I didn't even think of was that being at 5200 feet of elevation meant that it was COLD. Much colder than the city of St George.  Fortunately, they were hollering about this at the expo and I bought a pair of disposable gloves and a disposable shirt to stay warm.  Or, basically the best $10 I've spent in my life.  After 6 months of running in 80 degree weather, anything below 60 feels like I have two ice cubes firmly tucked between my legs.

I haven't seen temps this cold in 10 months

Pre-race nerves = self photos.  I still get nervous every single time before a race.

REALLY? Is it a good idea to have fire this close to port 'o' pots?
Haven't they heard of methane??

The 55 gal drums were cool though, had carvings in them all over the place

Miles 0 - 6.2 - Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee  (Overall pace 7:01 / mile - 3:03 marathon pace)
The first 10k went by in a blur.  Part of that was because it was DARK.  Since it was in the mountains, there were few street lights, no spectators, and very little chatting among the runners who were on pace for a 3 hour marathon.  In fact, because of the race's course, there were really only spectators at a few points during the race which was quite a bit different than the Rock and Roll races that I've done in the recent past.

One nice thing was that when it was light out, I noticed that there were hand made signs on EVERY SINGLE reflector on the side of the road.  I'll bet there were hundreds of them - one very 100m or so.  It was amazing to think of all of the time and effort everyone put in to put those out.

My race plan came together for these miles.  I ran a few around 7:20, one around 7:00 and the rest around 6:45.

Miles 6.2 - 13.1 - Oh.My.God. I have to run UP that hill?? (Overall pace 7:08 / mile - 3:07 marathon pace)
The downside of running a mostly downhill race is that you can almost always see what is coming in front of you.  That means that the "little" hill at mile 7 (elevation below) could be seen for 2 miles.  What looks like a little blip was essentially a mile of hell.  I went from running 6:50 pace to running 8:20 pace.  It was TOUGH!  Somehow I only let my per mile pace slip to 7:30 on the 2 miles covering the hill.

By this time the sun was out and I could see the runners in front of me.  I have to admit that I was surprised at how many runners there were in front of me.  This was a FAST field of racers.  I know that a lot of people use this race to try to get a BQ, and I guess most of those people must have gone sub 3 hours!

Miles 13.1 - 20 - Welp, there goes my "A" goal. (Overall pace 7:05 / mile - 3:05 marathon pace)
When I crossed the half in 1:33, I knew that sub 3 was almost entirely out of the question.  I did some quick mental math and realized that I would have to run 6:30s nearly the entire way in and I just couldn't get my legs to go that fast.

It wasn't that I was tired or out of breath, my legs just didn't have a second gear on the downhills to go any faster. I could "only" chug along at a 7:00 pace, breathing fine, but with strong discomfort in my legs with every step.  I'll admit that it was a bit frustrating to know that I had the cardio to go faster but I didn't have the leg strength.

Around mile 18, my hamstring started to ache and my quads really started to get sore.  In spite of that, I tried to stay on pace as much as possible - even gaining a few seconds here and there where I could manage to block out the pain and kick it up a notch.

Miles 20 - Finish - Ouch... Ouch... Ouch... Ouch... (Overall pace 7:07 / mile - 3:07 marathon pace)
I wasn't prepared for the hills.  I had originally planned to do MUCH more downhill running than I did in prep for this race but I didn't.  I knew on the starting line that this would come to bite my in the ass (quads) eventually, and it did around mile 21.  I was still holding pace, but it was PAINFUL.

I finally did start to get out of breath, like you'd expect from 23 miles of running.  More than anything, I just wanted the race over.  I missed my A and B goals so I was sort of running for second best at that point.  That sort of middle ground between "I'm not going to set a PR" and "I don't want this race to last any more than humanly possible".

Oh yes, it was every bit of this downhill

The tongue sticking out means that I felt like I wanted to die

Bart Yasso Seal Of Approval

Cool info-graphic that the race had put together on my time.

Overall, I'm basically happy with how the race went.  If you remember to my race preview post, my "A" goal was sub 3, "B" goal was 3:04, and my "C" goal was sub 3:15.  So, I didn't hit my A or B goals, but I hit my C.  I think that it is interesting that I somehow seemed to thread the needle between having a spectacular PR race and blowing up while shitting myself.  If I am being honest, I am not overly happy with the result, but not particularly disappointed either.  I knew that my legs would struggle with the downhills, and I was right.

However, as I sit here on Monday, quite literally barely able to walk because of the beating my legs took, I know that I left it all out on the course.  In the end, that is all I ever ask for of myself.  Give everything that day and live to race another.


Bonus!!!  These two videos were posted on the St George marathon website.  They are worth a watch if you are looking for inspiration or are curious about the course.  The first one is shorter, a bit more commercial, but WAY inspirational   The second one is longer and more of a summary of the St George race in general.  Enjoy!


Sarah G said...

Congrats, Adam, you elite runner, you!!!!

Gracie said...

Your race number says it all. Coincidence? I think not. Congrats on a solid race!

Runners Fuel said...

Wow!! Congrats to the elite runner!

Nobel4Lit said...

45 degrees... amazing! I should look around more, but I wanna know more about your HR relative to speed. I'm totally all about the bpms now and need some guidance as to how high is too high, etc.

Congrats on the amazing race... believe it or not, more exercise actually helps with the soreness.

Chad Chisholm said...

That's a sweet info-graphic!

Cori said...

NICELY DONE! All you needed was a lower bib number to meet your A or B goals :) It locked you in when you had Yasso sign it...

HS Matt said...

you totally should've bought a bald cap and stayed for the Huntsman Senior Games in St. George.

I'll be you would've cleaned up

Jess said...

What a report! Congrats on reaching the C goal! It would have been highly likely that I would have just tried to sit down and slide on my butt.

Pam said...

You know those shoes that kids wear that have the wheels in the soles? I vote you buy a pair of those and try this one again next year. :) Let's hear it for a sub-2! haha

MotherRunner said...

Holy crap! Your bib number! Your finish time!!! That's Yasso voodoo right there!

A said...

I am reliving the pain that was Ogden. Ouch. You nailed it though!! And dude. You're elite.

Jen said...

Awesome report… Elite runner… WOW. I can say I knew you when you were just Andy from the block.

Meeting Bart Yasso is pretty cool too.

Sue's Ramblings said...

Yay! Yay! Yay Adam!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Great job - I'm thinking the plaid shorts are what got you in with the elite.

Denise said...

Bart Yasso sat right next to me at the luau at the Maui Marathon weekend last month and it took me entirely too long to realize it was him. I sat their bitching about how crappy the food was and then put two and two together about who he was. Such a dork!

I've been looking at various halfs in Utah to satisfy my 50 states goal and I noticed that a lot of them require quite a drive.

I'm glad it was a good event overall for ya.

2 Slow 4 Boston said...

"Super fast race. Congrats." Or so I would say before I noticed that:

1) It was downhill.
2) You're 15 years younger, and 15 pounds lighter than me.
3) You only hit your 'C' goal.

Now I must downgrade my comment to:

Very respectable time. You'll get 'em next time. And I still wish you 'Congrats'.

All kidding aside, I wish I had your speed.

That Bart Yasso is everywhere.

Heather said...

Great job considering the downhills do get you in the quads. Ever consider doing the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati? Lots of hills but a great race!

funderson said...

Crap on a cracker... Where have I been? I didn't know you were doing St. G! I was there too only waaaaaaaaaay behind you and not hanging out in the fancy pants elite area. Well done...pretty medals, eh?

Jill said...

If only you would have gotten bib #300...I think that damn bib jinxed it for you!

I ran StG in 2008 and I couldn't walk afterwards for about 2 weeks. And I DID do a lot of downhill and quad strengthening. It's a very tough course and though it may be considered "fast", if you haven't trained your quad muscles to respond to the demands it's going through, they will be the first to let you know you haven't trained them.

I am so proud to have met a real live elite in person :). Well done, got that 3-hour in you, you'll get it! Congratulations!

Pat said...

We already knew you were elite. After all, doesn't ADAM stand for A Damn Amazing Marathoner?

Suz and Allan said...

Great job on another marathon!

Layla said...

Fellow St. George survivor here -- though I blew up in the most spectacular/horrendious fashion ever, with a PW by a landslide. I'm pretty sure it would have helped if I hadn't had bib number 982364827346823749, which was my finishing time...

Anyway, great job on the race, and that was fun to read! I'm jeaous of your carved barrel bonfires! We had "regular" bonfires that were nowhere near the potty lines. Darn us non-elites!

She Is Out Running said...

Hi, I am thinking of running this race next year and came across your blog in search of reviews. Fun post! Nice to see elite runners have good senses of humor. The videos were inspiring.