St. George Marathon. 2:26:35, 4th overall. This was the final race of the Grand Slam circuit, and turned out to be the best, with a 9-minute PR. This was easily the best race I've had since college, and you only get races like this every few years; a "dream race." My goal coming in was to break 2:30 and place in the Top 10, and both those goals were exceeded. A true breakthrough! Two weeks of chiropractic put my lower back in good shape, and blantant abuse of ibuprofin has been keeping my knee in check since July. I do not think that running TOU made me run any slower, and if anything added to my fitness.
In the other Slam races I pretty much ran my own race and ignored everyone else, so that I could recover well. In this race, I let it out all out and ran with the pack. I figured in a race this size, I would have a chance to run faster by being pulled with a large group than by myself. We had about a pack of 9 through the half, then Joe and a few others broke away, and I was left in a group of 4 or 5. At Snow Canyon, I surged and broke away from that pack and started to vie for a Top 5 spot. Everything was feeling so effortless, and I was starting to get excited that this race was finally "the one". By Mile 20 I new that there would be no Wall and that I would certainly break 2:30, which had been a goal of mine for the last four years. I nearly started crying. Marathons do weird things to your emotions. I started to struggle a little the last 2 miles, but held strong enough to fend off those behind me, and was not challenged. Passed the "rabbit" with less than a mile to go, bumping me up to 4th. I held on to 4th, which I was ecstatic with, and 3rd was about 40 seconds ahead. It would have been awesome to take 3rd and win a travel package, but I gave everything and could not gain on the 3rd place guy, so that's okay.
As far as organization and course layout, St. George is top notch. I now know what all the hype is about. It is simply the best-organized race I've ever done, in every aspect, including the expo. Great job, St. George Leisure Services!
Mile Splits/Ave HR
5:36/136 - very comfortable start
11:11/170 - 2-mile split, so 5:35 pace
5:13/171 - fast mile!
5:50/182 - vejo hill
5:52/183 - vejo hill/recovery
5:53/181 - still recovering
5:50/186 - flat/rolling
5:45/183 - getting the pace back
5:25/181 - back on pace; 1:13:40 at half
5:17/179 - Snow Canyon, time to move!
5:11/177 - HR is dropping, good sign
5:19/183 - I can't believe I'm pulling these kinds of splits this late in a race...or any point in the race for that matter. Did not intend to run this fast.
6:02/188 - fatigue setting in, but doesn't matter; I will shatter 2:30. Now just want to hang on to 4th
5:47/191 - HR is soaring
1:21/198 - last 0.2; HR hits max of 201. I'm done with the Slam! Second half split of 1:12:55, a 45-second negative split.