Top of Utah Marathon race recap

This is me putting my thoughts into words, five weeks post-race.

I’m not quite sure where to begin, so I’ll unconventionally begin at the end.  I’ve never felt stronger at the end of a race, and it feels so good to be able to say that.

That Saturday morning, after being rushed and panicked at the start line with too few port-a-potties, my gear bag unchecked, my fuel not ready and stuffed in my sports bra, my ipod not ready to go in my armband, I finally made it to the start line with three minutes to spare.  The weather was cool and crisp, ideal race-day conditions.

I didn’t have any goals for this race until about four days before race day.  You see, I wasn’t planning on training for a marathon this summer, I thought I’d save it until just before the end of the year.  My only summer running plans were to keep my weekly mileage around 35-40 miles.  For my body to maintain the new{ish} mileage, I couldn’t focus on speed work until I adjusted and was feeling comfortable.  When I signed up for the race, I had 4 or 5 weeks to get in a couple longer runs, with my highest weekly mileage peak at 50 miles.  Basically, I wasn’t training for a PR, but [spoiler] I was by no means complaining when I walked away with one.

My only real concern going into this race was the altitude being at 5,500 ft compared to my training at sea level all summer, so I wanted to be conservative.  I was only running this for the miles, right?  I started the race with the 4:00-hr pace group and felt comfortable.  My legs felt good, lungs felt good, I was enjoying myself and the mountain scenery was beautiful.  I wasn’t the biggest fan of the 4-hr pacers [they were pacing about 30 seconds/mile faster than they should’ve in my non-professional opinion] and I was feeling great, so I caught up with the 3:55hr pace group.  At about mile eight my IT band started bugging me–I was caught off-guard and was trying hard to not let it psych me out so early into the race.  I rolled with it and figured I’d know if it was of real concern later.  Mile 11 rolls around and I felt my stomach churn.  Fantastic.  This is what happens when you don’t have time to finish your business before a race because the port-a-potty lines were forever long.  My time at the half-marathon split was 1:58:xx and I thought it was as good time as any for a pit stop.  Once I was out and running again, I spent the next few miles slowly trying to catch up to the 3:55 group, but I never quite caught up.  Instead I comfortably coasted right in front of the 4-hr group.

Picture 1

My IT band pain never quite left me.  From the time it started hurting at mile 8, the pain was a constant 4-5 on a scale out of 10 [on a scale of ‘how bad my IT band could have been hurting’ and not ‘worst pain I could ever imagine’] with surges of pain that were 8 out of 10.  Make sense?  It’s amazing what adrenaline and a little determination can get you through.  Had my IT band been bothering me this bad on any training run, I most likely would have stopped and called for a ride home.

The miles rolled by, I turned my ipod on just after mile 17, and I was still feeling good.  The first 15 miles were a rolling downhill terrain, that turned into a flat course with a couple hills at mile 19 and 22.  It could have been in my head, but I wasn’t feeling much effect from the altitude until the course was flat and had those two hills at the end.  That or I was just getting tired from already running 20 miles.  Probably both.  Yeah, definitely both.  But I’m convinced the beginning downhill miles made all the difference for my victimized lungs.

I saw my main squeeze cheering for me at mile 22, which made my eyes tear like a little girl.  I always get excited to see him on the course, it’s just the boost I need.  At mile 24 I realized I was most likely going to break 4 hrs and I can’t even describe what I felt.  It was a combination of excitement, disbelief, and confidence. I knew my body was capable of doing it, my mind just needed the proof.  Hope that made sense.  I crossed the finish line with a PR of 3:59:09.  I was elated.  I was sweaty.  I was emotional.  The areas on my body that chaffed, they were stinging.  It was a magical moment to say the least.

Once I stopped, my IT band hurt even more.  After grabbing my banana, a handful of goldfish, and chugging a chocolate milk, I had the race medics wrap ice packs around my knee.  When I saw my husband I got teary eyed all over again.  I could see it on his face that he was proud of me, and that look just makes a girl feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  I’m so cheesy.

marathon #3…done!



One thought on “Top of Utah Marathon race recap

  1. Pingback: My goal for this week | Keeping Pace

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