splits: 6:39, 6:49, 6:30, 6:30, 6:55, 6:27, 6:59, 6:58, 7:02, 6:59, 6:36, 6:48, 7:17 (what!), 6:59, 6:35, 6:44, 6:51, 6:59, 6:57, 6;54, 7:05 (it's over), 7:09, 7:05, 7:05, 7:18, 7:16, 1:16.
half #1: 1:29:15 half #2: 1:31:22
my goal for today was 2:58:00, and maybe slightly under that if i could pull it off. basically i wanted to give myself enough of a cushion so i didn't have to strain my way to the finish line in a frantic battle with the numbers 2, 5 & 9. well, there was no battle today. i crossed the line with the clock well past 2:59 -- a peaceful 3 was clicking it's way through it's first minute, and i gazed at it in defeat as i approached it and its fat zero friends. the sub-3 marathon is no more.
i started the race running with devra. she made for great company through the first half of the race, and kept me going at a pace that i probably wouldn't have been comfortable maintaining on my own. i knew it was only a matter of time before she dropped me (she beat me by 3+ minutes at striders half just two weeks ago). i had no delusions that i would stay with her the entire race, but i appreciated the company and encouragement she offered through the first 12 miles or so.
we were in the lead for the women from the gun, although it was difficult to tell until the half and full courses split. i had splits for every three miles written on my arm, and for the most part we were staying on pace, give or take a few seconds. the rolling hills in sugarhouse park took their toll on me, and i started breathing much harder than i was comfortable with at such an early stage of the race. there were two more uphill sections over the next few miles, and both times i went too far into oxygen debt. i gasped to devra that it wasn't a good sign.
devra stayed with me until just before mile 12, and then she really turned on the speed and dropped me hard. i knew this was coming -- she was running so much more relaxed than i was. it was obvious that she had more gears, while i felt like i was hanging by a thread on my final gear that was rust-laden and begging to be put in park. i was happy to see her go and chase the time that she wanted to run, but of course it was also a bummer because it meant i lost my company. i also lost the bike marshall lady who was in charge of escorting the lead woman through the race. dang. this is where i experienced my mental crash. mile 12! i still had 14 more to go -- devra-less and bike marshall-less. luckily, a mental crash can be treated a lot easier than a physical crash can, and physically i was alright. so on i went.
i put several band-aids over my mental bruises and hoped they would stick long enough to at least get me to mile 20. i hit the halfway mark just 10 seconds off my goal split, and the fact that i was still on pace gave me a bit of a lift over the next few miles. i really had to focus on the van winkle segment. it's tough running that part solo -- the road is huge and it really makes you feel tiny and alone when you are running down the middle of an expressway. my focus turned to getting to mile 16 to see rachelle. i desperately wanted to see a familiar face at this point. i ran through the several thousand offerings of cups so i could grab one from rachelle at the very end. i pointed to her cup and probably pulled some awful face, but she kindly (and perfectly) handed it off to me while cheering. what a great boost that was for me. okay. i can make it to 17. if i can get to 17, i only have to run 3 more miles, and then i'm at 20. i'll deal with 20 when it comes, but i need to get to 17 so i can get to 20. this was my thought process.
the stretch along 500 east is where things really started to get tough. my pace started wobbling, and i knew once i started seeing 7:xx splits, i was done. i spent the next four miles with my head down, staring at the lines on the road and putting all of my energy and concentration into maintaining 6:50's. even 6:59's -- just don't cross that line!
at 2100 south, i relaxed slightly, as i run this section of the course almost daily. i knew exactly how much further i had to go before making the turn into liberty park -- a refreshing thought after running along 500 east for several hours.
liberty park means mile 23, and mile 23 means just about 5k to go. this is usually a stronger mile of the race for me because of this thought, but today it was just not happening for me. my body was protesting, and my brain band-aids were soggily strewn all over 500 east. i knew this was going to be a tough finish, and that wasn't even factoring in the hill on state street. oh no.
my pace slowed even more over the next two miles. i was weaving through half marathoners as i slowly trekked up state street, and i didn't have the energy to tell them they were in the way. this is why i wanted to stay with the bike marshall! i kept saying: "on your left" but each time i had to say words i lost more energy and hunched over a little bit more. by the time i reached the top of the hill at south temple, my face was nearly touching the asphalt.
the finish stretch was really cool this year -- a straight shot down south temple with a nice downhill to let you coast along. unfortunately, i wasn't able to do much coasting. i was still weaving in and out of half marathon traffic, and i had nothing left to burn.
at this point my watch was giving me 2:58-something, and i knew sub-3 was gone. it was just about finishing at this point. i saw my family with about 400m to go, which was a nice boost. then i saw andrea cheering me on and that helped a ton as well. the best part was james off in the distance, standing in the center of the finish chute. i could see his orange singlet and that became my ultimate focus. just get to james. the clock was at three and change, and i was already feeling waves of disappointment. however, i was also very happy to be approaching the finish line. i was definitely tired, but not broken -- no injuries in 2012!
i crossed the line in 3:00:37. emily b. and james were there to greet me with a nice shower of cold water. that was wonderful. i was very happy to be done and just wanted to lie down. this was a difficult race for me today -- definitely one of the hardest marathons i've done in the past couple of years. i felt confident that i could run a 2:58, but the pace today felt forced and i couldn't hold it together in the end. i have a lot more work to do. hopefully i can bounce back for des news.
congrats to everyone that ran today. great showing by the FRB: fritz, andrea, emily, rossy, steve, james, ben, rachel, toby...awesome! big congrats to devra as well. it was great to see so many friends -- this is a huge part of what makes racing so fun.
this is james in the med tent after the race.