Hello fellow runners of the St. George Marathon 2011. This was my 13th running of this marathon (SGM) on Saturday the 1st of October 2011.
I came into this marathon with high hopes and dreams. This marathon was my 8th marathon in virtually 8 months this year and one of my most favorite marathons to run in the world. After all it was my first full marathon way back in 1998. This year is also a personal challenge year for me. I have challenged myself to run 10 or more marathons from February 2011 till February 2012 and a bunch of other assorted races like 5Ks, 10Ks and half marys.
I got out of bed Friday morning at about 5:am, got the rest of my stuff packed into the car and I was outta Sandy headed to St. George to meet up with old running friends and new friends that needed to be met. MarcE and I are sharing a room in St. Geo.
I arrived in St. George about 10:am Friday and got into our room at the Suntime Motel where I was to meet up with Marc. As quickly as I arrived and set up in the room I exited the room and went straight to the SGM race expo. After all, this is where you go to meet up with all the runners new and old and buy stuff that you really don't need, especially for Saturdays race. I met up with Marc, from Texas, there along with Ronnie and his lovely bride Candy from Kentucky and many many more.
At the expo I met up with many many runners and friends from everywhere! From places all over the United States and from home and on the FRB, FF, MM. Just so many good friends and runners to meet and greet.
Then it was off to the SGM pasta dinner where we met up with many more runners and exchanged hopes and prayers for the upcoming marathon on the very next day.
It seems like Saturday morning at 3:am came along rather quickly. And as usual there didn't seem to be very much quality sleep to be gotten that night. Not much at all before it was time to get on the running gear and get out the door to the bright smileing faces of Ronnie and Candy coming to pick up Marc and I to head down too the bus.
We gathered at the first bus prior to 4:am to try to win some of the offered "bounty" for getting to the bus early to speed up the process of getting 5000 plus runners to the starting area. As usual I didn't win anything but a really neat space blanket to sit on while at the starting area! Where were the cotton gloves that were promised? I must have missed them! Of course you didn't need them anyway as it was a warm morning at the starting area.
The starting area was well organized with many many POPs and a double row of warming camp fires burning in soft red tones.
And as in years past we made our way to the third camp fire from the end on the inside closest to the road and set up shop to meet and greet all of our running friends who were nutty enough to make their way to The SGM and get ready for the tasks at hand. There were Forum Flyers and Fast Runner Bloggers and Marathon Maniacs all over the place getting ready to run the SGM.
I made my last minute adjustments, trips to the Green Temple of Doom, predictions and my way to the grab bag vans and the starting line area. Today was going to be a great day at the SGM. All I had to do was survive.
It seemed as thought the race started right on time with the wheel chairs heading into the darkness first never to be seen again.
I lined up with one of my "Boys", Dave, just ahead of the 3:25:00 pace group. We had no plans to run with them, we just wanted to get into the mix and get out on the road running. We talked about our running plans and how we would acheive them.
I, myself, had made plans and predictions of running any where from a 3:30:00 to a 3:45:00 marathon that day, knowing full well that if I could just pull off a sub 4 hr marathon I would be happy.
The race was under way and I immidately felt tired and out of sorts. I think it was just the fact that I didn't feel like the two weeks before the SGM was enough time to fully recover from running the TOU just two weekends before. Oh well, there was a job to get done and nobody else could do it for you......so just go and "Getter' done".
The first five miles were rough, nothing on my body wanted to work together. At about mile 3 "Dave" had some upset stomach issues and had to leave the race for a few moments and me to fend for myself. Somewhere out of the dark, Huans32, MarkO, appeared and ran with me off and on for many miles. Thank you MarkO, I meeded that.
I continued on thinking that today was going to be a disaster and had thought of catching a ride down to the finish area with the Sick, Lame and Lazy Sag Wagon and putting myself out of my misery.
In those first few miles before the hill at Veyo I manage to keep some steady miles paced at @ 8:25s, then the Veyo.
Veyo extended my pace out a little bit but that was to be expected and I knew that I was going to be rather tired when I got to the top. At the top I started to strugle and have many self doubts about even being able to finish this race and then a strange and wonderful thing began to happen to me, time and time again as I ploded down the road.
As my many many friends passed me along the way my spirit was renewed and and my hopes and dreams were refreshed and I finally got my act together and got it down the road, with all this great motivation from my friends.
One piece of motivation came from the great "Gumpchump", Teena! We have a special slapping thing we do as we pass one another. Of course, it seems to be her doing all the passing and slapping on me these days!!!! Oh well, it works for me!!!!
The miles between 9 and 20 were pretty rough this year! My pace lengthened out to the mid 9s. I just wanted to get it over with. The weather on the course was just a bit warm, but nothing that hasn't been overcome before. It seemed like I was getting dry mouth between water stations more frequently during this run. I continued to double up on my hydration at each water station and that seemed to work. I just kept telling myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and get it down the road.
Oh well, then it was the last 10k of the SGM and I felt like I wanted to get this ordeal over with. I started to kick my pace up as best I could. Hey I even got back under the 9s for a few miles. I really got a boost when I could see St George between the valley walls out there at @ 20 something miles. I knew the finish line was getting close.
And then it was finally time to finish the SGM 2011 and was I certainly over joyed. As I was running into the bright hunter orange chutes with my cigar leading the way, all I could see was the clock and it was yelling at me to go a little faster. I just didn't have another gear to shift into and finished with a 4:00:01. Not quite a sub 4 but very respectfully close.
Well that's it. 8 marathons in 8 months, 13 SGMs, 42 marathons overall. I think I was something like 33rd in my old man age division at SGM. In the Grand Slam competition I took first place my age group and a very nice trophy home.
Oh yea, I went to the SGM Ten Year Club dinner with Marcie and Mindy and at the very end of the evening, the last number to be drawn was mine. Can you believe it, I was selected and won a 5 nights all inclusive gift certificate to the Green Valley Spa in St. George Utah.
Don't you just love the St. George Marathon!!!! I do!!!! See ya all out on the road, Take care and train smart......