Going into St. George this year, I knew I was not in the condition I wanted to be – so plans to PR went totally out the door. Instead I was willing to hang with several friends at the back and motivate them.
Marcia and I drove down on Friday afternoon. We ended up eating dinner with my nephew Jon, Janilee and Olivia Miles – my nephew and his family. Visited with my former neighbors, Vic and Judy Mason for a while. I sure miss them.
After dinner we hit the expo and I picked up some Brooks shoes and a couple of pairs of cheap sunglasses. (Good thing they were cheap because I have already left one pair on a plane).
Saturday morning, Marcia dropped me off at the finish and I met my friend, Leslie Peterson, and we rode the bus up. Leslie ended up being the only runner that I hung with – and we had a great time (even though the stupid timing chips said she never made it past 10K).
It wasn’t too cold up at Central that early in the morning, but colder than the previous years – so temperatures should be better. We saw Smooth (Suzanna Lew) right before the start and visited with her until we all wandered across the start line (10 minutes after the race began).
I had my Gym Boss set for run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute. Leslie hadn’t done anything over 13.1 miles since last April – so we expected the day to be a challenge for her. Good thing I love talking to her for hours on end since we were joined at the hip all day.
I always love the start of this race since you can often see runners spread out for miles. We ended up both wearing pink bike shirts and became known to those around us as the pink pair. Since we had no time expectations, we just enjoyed ourselves through aid stations, taking pictures, etc.
One thing new on the route this year – some unthinking cheer groups had painted encouragement signs on the road instead of just using signs on the side of the road. This made me mad – because I knew that was semi-permanent and was going to be the responsibility of the race crew to clean it up.
Marcia was waiting in Veyo with a sign and cheered us on. She is always so good to come out and support me in races when she can.
I don’t know why it was – but I swear they put more uphills into the race this year. I kept saying, “Yep. St. George is a downhill course.” It does have a lot of downhill – but there is also a lot more uphill than people who have not run it are aware of.
At mile 9 my left foot started hurting. I thought I had bruised my heel a month earlier and figured the bruising was coming back. This would hurt me the rest of the race. Painful, but something I could handle. It did slow me down some.
Then, at mile 14 – just when the race gets really beautiful and the serious downhill sections start up, the left IT Band began to flare up. I was so annoyed with myself for not bringing an IT strap or KT taping it. I knew I had to manage it or it would take me out of the race. At mile 15 they found some tape and put as much pressure on the IT band as they could. I also started running the downhills with a straight leg, which took pressure off the IT Band, but put more pressure on the sore heel. No winning whichever way I looked at it. I would occasionally feel the left knee starting to give on downhills which also concerned me.
The first half of the race, I was there to support Leslie and keep her moving. The second half of the race, she kept me going. I had to avoid thinking DNF several times and Leslie and I both slowed down significantly.
The race committee and citizens of St. George were much more prepared for heat after the previous two years. We loved the ice water and ice in the last 6 miles.
I saw Marcia a couple more times and Leslie’s husband rode alongside us for several miles on his bike. The slogfest continued and we finally finished at around 6 hours 20 minutes. Leslie and I cracked me up because we would be debating if we should start running at the end. We finally agreed we would run after we got into the corral. Luckily – they had taken down half of the finish chute – so we had to run even less.
St. George Marathon number 6 and marathon 20 were in the bag. My second worst marathon ever (worst was my first SGM).