The short version in list form:
- No PR
- No PW
- Warmest start EVER for this race
- High on marathon day - 93
We flew into Vegas on Friday morning, rented a car and drove to St. George (about 2 hours). It was HOT, there was no getting around this fact. We hit up the Expo right away, picked up our packets and checked out all the goodies. The race shirt is awesome, I absolutely love it; it is a long sleeve dri-fit and has just the race logo on the front. It is not full of advertising; in fact, if you didn't know what the race logo looked like you would never know what event the shirt was from. A nice change from shirts that have way too many sponsors and graphics.
We checked into our hotel, which I would highly recommend, and went to see what the City had to offer.....now keep in mind that I was in Southern Utah, in a town of less than 50,000. Our first stop was the Mormon Temple and lightning did not strike me as we walked onto the grounds. It is an older building and the grounds are very well kept. I couldn't believe how much the Church influenced everything in the State; it is very different from what I am used to regarding the separation of Church and State.
We found a place to have all you can eat pasta for dinner and then walked from our hotel to check out the bus loading & finish areas. The buses began loading at 4:00 a.m. We decided we would try to catch the bus around 4:30 a.m. The bus loading was smooth that early and we got to the start by about 5:15 a.m.
They had Gatorade, hot chocolate, water and coffee at the start; there were bon fires lit to keep the runners warm while we waited. I didn't think it was that cold, but they normally have temps in the 30's at the start. My only issue at the start was that the porta potties ran out of toilet paper very early and they didn't seem to get re-stocked. I need to add that this is my only complaint about this event.
I was wearing two birthday tiaras; it was interesting how people responded to the tiaras. Some wished me Happy Birthday, some called me Princess but largely I got weird looks - oh well, I really didn't care what anybody else thought.
My goal was 3:53 and my friend Vicki was shooting for 4:15 so we said our goodbyes and jumped in with the respective pace groups. The first 7 miles were absolutely awesome, nice and easy downhill; I was already warm though and was having some GI distress. There is a decent hill at mile 7 and this is also where we started running into the sun FOR THE ENTIRE REST of the race. I hit the porta potty at the top of hill and hunkered down for gradual uphill until mile 14; I was pretty warm by this point and was realizing this course wasn't nearly as "easy" as I thought it would be. I think I hit the porta potties 3 times :-(
I slowed down and at mile 11 Vicki came up behind me; I had lost the 3:50 pace group during my potty stop but was still ahead of the 4:00 group at this point. Vicki's plan had been to get some time in the bank early and have reserves available as the miles grew and the temperatures went up. We were really glad to see each other at this point and settled in together. I was pretty darn sure at this point that a PR wasn't in the cards.
I don't have my splits with me right now, but the wheels kind of fell off on the hills and the heat was getting to me. Vicki was really feeling the affects of the heat as well so we decided to walk the hills and run the flats & downhills and just get to the finish together. This was the 20th marathon for each of us.
I dumped water over my head and down the back of my shirt at every aid station; I have never done this before.
The course was not a spectator friendly course at all; the road is closed and it is very difficult to get around so until about mile 22 or so there was hardly anyone on the course to cheer us on. When we got to town though the spectators were great; there was one neighborhood where the residents were handing out popsicles - a popsicle has never tasted so good.
I finished in 4:24, this is pretty far off what I had hoped to do, but I'm o.k. with it. My pace when I was running was decent, but the frequent walk breaks really dropped the average pace per mile. I have never seen so many people walk on a marathon course; the heat took its' toll on many, many runners that day.
The medal is very cool; it is a polished stone and every one is different - a very unique memento from the event.
Photos will follow........