Running has generally been good to me. But I worry I'm only as good as my last race, so I'm usually making plans for my next fix. One of my goals has been to break 2:40 after turning age 40. That would be a 3 and 1/2 minute PR, but I got greedy and hoped for several minutes faster than that. Unfortunately, between recovering from Where's Waldo, knee pain from pre-patellar bursitis, very limited time to train, and having a fool for a coach, I didn't train sufficient for that.
I picked the marathon that I thought would be optimal- St. George has 2600' elevation drop, not a lot of turns, and plenty of fast people. I consider downhill running to be my strength, and I trained by doing some downhill intervals.
I then tried to justify the extravagance of traveling 900 miles each way for a race by dragging the rest of the family (minus Emily) along, and even brought Grandma Lake with to Las Vegas. They didn't complain much because they got to spend time with the cousins, and we had a couple of hours with grandpa & grandma Ron and Dianne Reynolds. (sidenote: from their place you can almost hit the Jacob Hamblin home with a rock. This is where my Grandpa Neil & Normal Fugal served a mission in ~1983, and where my brother-in-law Chad Gubler started a fire from throwing smoke bombs from his grandpa's place just up the hill.) The kids really were good travellers. After 10+ hrs in the car they were still laughing and having a good time. That is, when they weren't asking "how much further." Fortunately, Grandma Lake's GPS navigator kept the distance remaining constantly displayed, which saved me from answering that question as often.
Morning came early, but with some directions from the police, Pam was able to get me to the packet pick-up and on to a bus before they stopped running. I met up with 3 of the 5 other people from Central Point that I knew, that were also running. We huddled at a fire pit. The rain was generally light, and the temperature not too bad, but the headwind took a toll. I hurried through my pre-race routine. I found lidocaine works wonders for my bursitis. I shed my sweats and worked my way forward as far as the 3:00 pace sign before the gun went off. It was chip timed, so I wasn't worried about being right at the front.
I don't know if it was the 5200' altitude, the headwind, or the training, but even with some gentle downhill the first mile was only 6 minutes. I expected to be going faster, so over the coming miles I went ahead and pushed some. The pace didn't drop much, and at mile 7.5 when we hit some uphill I felt quite sluggish. I drafted behind a guy for several miles, thinking I was pacing myself and conserving energy for the big downhill that was to come. I made it to the half at least on pace for sub 2:40, right about 6 min/mile pace. But about this point I started feeling more and more painful thightness in my quads. Over the next few miles they made it clear that they weren't just complaining, they were done with being useful. I tried adjusting my stride or otherwise convincing them to play nice for a few more miles, but they wouldn't have anything to do with it. I ate some banana, stopped at the aid stations to drink extra electrolyte, walked a little in a couple of places, and contemplated stopping to stretch. I got passed by about 30 people. It would have been a lot easier to quit if I hadn't traveled to far for this, and had Pam waiting at the finish line. I was also afraid that if I slowed any more I would get hypothermic. I wasn't breathing too hard, but rather was grimmacing. A number of people tried to encourage me by saying "looking good", but I didn't feel good. (the other comment I got way too many times was "nice blue shoes!") I was able to limp along, and for the last 3 miles even got my pace back down to 7 min/mile. I finished standing up. I've hurt worse after a race before, but not recently.
We then met up with the rest of the family to visit, for lunch, and to tour Brigham Young's winter home, where we learned that George Smith was called St. George, and Brigham Young named the town after him. I'm taking the week off of running, then I'll see how my knee feels. If (when) I run another marathon I'll follow a training plan for it, or else have more modest goals.
Jason and Isa's wedding
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