marathon #30. TOU #10.
splits: 6:24, 6:25, 6:14, 6:16, 6:16, 6:22, 6:22, 6:10, 6:13, 6:19, 6:21, 6:18, 6:15, 6:15, 6:24, 6:33, 6:46, 6:57, 7:32, 8:04 (zonkers), 7:41, 7:59, 7:50, 7:04, 7:24, 7:30, 1:16
today was my tenth and final time running TOU. i am left feeling pretty crushed, as i really did not want to go out on a flop. it was basically a repeat of des news. complete meltdown. again.
the plan going into this race was to run with devra for as long as i could. i thought i could hang with her for at least 20 miles and then see where things went from there. we were hoping we could snag the 1 and 2 spots, and i was pretty confident about pulling off a sub-2:50.
we started off together at what felt like a very comfortable pace. there were a few other women around for the first three miles or so (who eventually went on to take the 2, 3, and 5 spots), but we slowly pulled away and had a comfortable gap by about 10k. i was feeling okay through 10 miles, and then everything started to break down in the exact same fashion as des news.
it started with an overwhelming feeling of nausea. i poker faced it for the next three miles, but it was clear that things were not right with me. devra started putting little gaps on me about every 20 seconds or so. i would fall back, she would encourage me with a "come on" and i would catch back up briefly...then i would fall back again. i was determined to stay with her to the canyon exit, and i thought maybe things would turn around if i could get some fluids in me.
we came out of the canyon and saw amiee with her lenzes. i gave her a thumbs up and a smile to show her i was better off than when i saw her at des news, but it was a lie. i thought if i faked it enough i could somehow stop the drowning and find another gear, a second wind, a third eye, a ninth life. but it was not going to happen. once we turned onto hollow road, i felt this sudden drop in pace, and my form/stride/rhythm completely shut down on me within a matter of seconds. it was like all the batteries fell out of the plastic square on my back. it happened so fast.
devra put a more significant gap on me almost immediately. she kept encouraging me to hang, and i tried three or four times to surge back up to her, but it was not happening. she gapped me for a final time and i knew she wasn't coming back. she slowly started pulling away and she looked so strong. my eyes filled with tears as i watched her take off -- this was my last run with devra for a long while, and it was ending prematurely because i was failing. i was mad at myself. i felt like i was ruining the plan. i felt weak and i felt like i was just giving up, but i honestly could not go faster.
i slowly made my way down hollow road, watching devra's pink singlet fade off into the distance. aerobically, i felt okay. i was just feeling this intense overall bodily fatigue that left me unable to do anything but The Survival Jog. at this point, i started worrying about getting caught from behind. my pace had slowed enough that i knew it would probably happen, but it happened a lot sooner than i was expecting. apparently, the gap we had on the rest of the field wasn't that big, and i was caught and passed by heidi pugmire at the mile 17 aid station. i reached back to grab a cup and saw a pink singlet out of the corner of my eye. zerp! she passed me with ease and was moving at a very strong pace.
i spent the next few miles fighting against my failing body as i continued to slow down. i saw my friend may at mile 20. she jumped in with me and offered some much needed encouragement. i expressed my current mood via #$*&@* and she responded with lots of kind words and positivity -- keep going and finish no matter what.
just before mile 23, i was passed again, this time by mandy ashcroft. another blow for sure, but it was nice to see mandy running so well and on pace for a sub-3/PR. she is a TOU regular, and she ended up running a PR of 2:56. i gave her a wave and a "get it" as she passed, and had to accept the sting that i was now in fourth place.
with three miles to go, i realized i could still break three hours, so that became the ultimate goal for the day. when i reached the final mile and saw that i would be sub-3 with some time to spare, i just focused on soaking it all in and "enjoying" it as much as possible. my emotions took over as i ran through the finishing stretch one last time. i was saying goodbye to it all -- my favorite race, logan, utah, friends, etc. even though the outcome was not what i had in mind, i really tried to appreciate those last few moments of the race.
a huge congrats goes out to devra for winning the race (in moose ears!). she is one of the strongest people i know and she can fight through anything. i am really going to miss her. she has been a great training partner for me over the past couple of years and i've learned a lot from her. that woman is made of tough stuff.
as i process this race i can't really say what went wrong. just like i said after des news, my workouts and overall training have led me to believe i'm at a certain level of fitness, and then i totally miss the mark when it comes to racing. right now i feel like i am broken -- like my body just can't do it anymore. i need to take a big break, i think.
admittedly, the training for this marathon was a huge struggle for me. there were many days leading up to the race where i felt like i wanted to quit. i would tell myself that i was just going to drop it and focus on the other areas of my life that i have been trying to manage (moving, finishing work, etc). i was so tempted to just stop pushing through the training because i wasn't very enthusiastic about it anyway. i was also so nervous about running the marathon again after the des news implosion. but i also knew that i would greatly regret not running it, and i really wanted to finish out the 10 years.
in those 10 years, TOU has been good to me. i have many great memories running this race, including the best race of my life in magical 2013. it was here that i won my first marathon and broke three hours for the first time (2008). it was here that i first saw the beauty of cache valley and connected to the community when i ran it my freshman year of college (2005). it was here that i saw steaming port-o-potties because it was so cold out (2006). it was here that i've had painful physical and mental breakdowns that have forced me to dig deep and face failure (2007, 2009, 2014). it was here that i've experienced some of my best days of running, where everything clicked into place and the plan somehow just worked out (2010, 2011, 2013). it was here that i stayed in a mansion house with a sitdown shower (2012).
so, this is goodbye to the utah racing scene. i am going to miss it, but i am excited to start something new. i have been away from james for 46 days now, and i am more than ready to get myself to atlanta and begin the next stage of our lives.