Saturday, September 17, 2011

Top of Utah Marathon

Where do I start? So much to tell, and so little time.

Weather: upper 40s and low-to-mid 50s (8-12C) for most of the race; warmed up to about 60F at the end (15C). Soaking downpour 5 minutes before the start left us cold and shivering! Then it stopped and we just had intermittent showers for 15.5K (9.5 miles). But then the heavens let loose and it poured on us until 19K; from about 17.5-18.5K it was hailing little BB-size hail. YUCK! Quite miserable! I was chilled but not too cold; and it stopped from 20-21K only to start up again with the pouring and hail. It stopped again pretty quickly and then was intermittent showers until about 3 miles (5K) to go, when it was partly sunny and warmed up quite a bit. Not ideal weather, but it could have been worse; hot would have been much worse.

The race: in a nutshell, I was on pace for a sub-4:25 PR until the last 10K, when my legs became glycogen-depleted (yeah, I "hit the wall" for the first time in a marathon) and I lost a lot of time. A lot. I finished in 4:29:07, which is still a 9-minute PR, so I'm very happy with it. a little disappointed that I couldn't keep it up. Well, when you ramp up the miles quickly to get ready fast for a marathon, these things happen. Details: I felt good (but not great) on the first 14 miles, which were a very nice downhill, interspersed with some flat and a few short uphills. I got to 10K in about 1:01:30 and felt good, and to 20K in 2:03-something, still feeling quite good. The half marathon (21.1K, 13.1 miles) came at 2:09:58, and I figured if things continued well I'd be sub-4:25 (my goal for today) for sure. I was able to keep the pace pretty well from miles 14-18, though I was tiring. Then came the uphill from mile 18-20. It wasn't a big hill (not steep) but it was long and took a lot out of me. I slowed quite a bit and was never really able to pick it up again; in fact, mile 21 to the finish was pretty much a disaster, as my splits which had been 9:50s and 10:00s per mile (my goal was 10:06/mile) suddenly spiraled out of control to 11:00+. Ouch. My heart rate decreased and I was not able to push hard. I didn't even want legs were heavy and I just was in survival mode, wanting nothing more than to finish. About 35K (22 miles) part of me wondered if I was going to finish, as I felt nauseated in addition to the heavy legs, but still I knew I wouldn't quit. The only way I could push was by telling myself that the finish would be there sooner if I did; when I realized at mile 23-24 that I would not be sub-4:25 I lost the will to keep pushing. It's a very weird experience, hitting the wall...and quite unpleasant.

They called my name and city at the finish, and I managed a wave and maybe a smile. I was soooooo tired - when I crossed the finish line I walked slowly and felt VERY wobbly - someone asked me if I was OK, and I managed a "yes" but was not so sure. My legs could barely hold me up. They gave me my very cool moose-print medal, and I wobbled off to the bathroom (no GI trouble until about 35K, and then I was able to keep things in check until the finish).

I am SO proud of my friend Sarah, who did the race with me and her brother Tim and her brother-in-law Daniel. It was her first marathon, and she had a goal of completing it in under 5 hours, and she did a 4:57! Wow!!! That's faster than my first marathon (4:59:49). I'm really happy for her!!!

More pictures here.

Garmin Connect data here.


Nyle said...

we never doubted for a moment that you wouldnt PR

But wow you really gave it your all and it is a tremendous spirit that got you through!!

well done to you, I am so very proud of you!!!

Harriet said...

Superb performance under tough conditions!