Not a good race. Felt ok to 10 miles, injury started barking loud. Nearly dropped out every mile from 11 to 19 miles. Found a pace that was runnable but slow to keep going. Justin took me in from 22 miles and helped keep me going. Did not want to DNFin what may be my last marathon. More later.
The story. Got up early and my father in-law (who is snowbirding in Apache Junction, AZ) drove me to the buses. Met the RD and thanked him for the entry. Told him my goal and about my injury. Rode the buses to the start, nice area with about 80 little 1 log fires right at the base of Superstition Mountain. Lined up and chatted with a few runners up front and we were off right at 7am on a nice cool morning (55 degrees). The first 10K is on dirt road and mostly easy downhill. A couple of young guys took off and I was just running easy at around a 6:20 average. Right at 10K we come back onto asphalt and turn onto the highway 60 at mile 7. Lots of police and lane closures for the race which was nice.
About 8.5 miles, another runner (a guy from Toronto, just turned 40) caught up to me and we ran together for the next few miles. Turned into Gold Canyon area and into a neighborhood loop. We both missed a course marker and ran and extra 0.35M (into a culdesac, we knew we missed something). At mile 10, my hammy/glute tendonitis started barking pretty bad. I knew going into this race that I could handle the pace or the distance, but the combination was my worry. It was a true concern. The guy pulled away at mile 11, then I was passed at mile 12 by two other guys. I was really struggling and figured I would drop because physically I did not know if I could finish. Just past the half, I slowed and the pain subsided and it was runnable. It was a hard decision to not drop at the 14 mile aid station. From that point to mile 20 it was mile to mile, gauging whether my body could handle the running. I did not want to quit and give up mentally, but if physically I had too that was ok.
At mile 17 one of the guys in front of me dropped. I came up on him as he was nursing a cramp and a car stopped to pick him up. At the turn around just past mile 19 I saw a couple of guys closing on me. At the 20 mile mark it is a straight shot for about 1.5 miles and lots of rollers (from mile 10-26 it is all rollers!). I knew if I could make it to 21/22 Justin would help me in. Justin was waiting at 22 miles right after another guy passed me. I was hanging on with what I had. He helped me not walk and kept me motivated (and threw water on me to keep me cool...it was not too hot but it helped). I limped in with what I had left for 6th place and 1st in my AG. Only beat the women's winner (45 years old!) but 3 minutes.
I feel proud that I did not quit mentally and was able to adapt my race to my physical capability today. I knew my injury was still a question mark. I did not want to DNF unless I had too (do not like that feeling, don't like the message to my kids, felt bad if I did to the RD for giving me an entry). I am still dealing with this injury, this may be a year of continued recovery (strength training, track) and a focus on shorter stuff (1 mile, 5K, maybe HM). No more plans for marathons in the near future for now.