Got up at 3:45 and was at the Ashton school by 4:15 for breakfast (mostly coffee!). Talked with some runners from Missoula and a guy from Boston, great people. Waiting for the bus to leave, I jump back out to use the facilities and on the way back ran into Chuck Engle (the marathon junkie) who was racing today, here was the race for first place! Sat next to Chuck on the bus ride (behind Dane who slipped on the bus while I was inside...awkward).
I wore my Saucony AMPro compression socks for this race and loved them! They helped a lot with how my legs felt, especially near the end in the heat to stave of any form of cramps!
After getting to the start, Chuck indicated that he was shooting for sub-2:40 and the course record. I, on the other hand, was running this as a training run and somewhere in the mid 2:40's. So, I had a decision to make early on, race with Chuck or stick with my training plan for St. George. Did a 1 mile warmup with Chuck.
We took off and before the first mile, it was Chuck and I out front and alone. About mile 4, Chuck indicated he wanted to run faster...decision time. I let him go and was running comfortably in the 6:15 range and just watched him take off. This was a bit of a struggle but I knew that running with him and the recovery was not worth the possible win here at the expense of a chance at sub-2:30 at St. George. This was my first mental challenge here and was the reason that my dark spot emerged so early in the race.
Next, around mile 5-6 mile I started to have the "what the !#%$ thoughts (why so early for my dark spot?) and my hips and feet started hurting, I also dropped my gel and stopped to pick it up and saw third place about 1 minute back. I was starting to think about dropping at the half or just running to my camper. This lasted through mile 8 (and a quick pee stop!) and finally to mile 9.5 where we came off the forest service road and onto the pavement. This seemed to refresh me and the darkness faded. Hit the half at 1:22 (nice and easy) and was told I was about 3 minutes behind...Chuck was rolling! I felt good from 12-16 running between 5:32 and 6:06) then into the campground to see my family cheering for me. This was when I realized I really had to make a choice...pit stop or fight off the discomfort. So, I stopped in the toilet in the campground and lost about 1 minute. Now the hill was looming.
Ran the hill easy and well and topped it feeling mostly good. I actually felt better here than at mile 8! Next 3 miles were actually good miles on the rollers, but it was really hot! I was thankful for the aid stations and kids with hoses dousing you as you ran by...thanks kids. The last 3 miles were just junk miles, slowing to about a 6:45 on the hot, flat finish. I knew that 2:45 was gone and 2:48 was pretty easy, so I just cruised home. I ended up taking 4 PowerBar Gels during the race, 2 I brought and 2 I got from the aid stations (had to stop to pick them off the table, oh well!).
Chuck ended up at 2:39:30, 8 seconds faster that the old course record. Chatted with him a bit afterwards and saw the next few marathoners finish (Dane was 6th about 3:15 range). Stuck around for about an hour chatting with runners, the RD and getting my first place master's award. Feeling a bit conflicted about my race today if I should have pushed harder to stick with Chuck. Now (Sunday) I feel great with no pain, while Chuck was indicating he was toast after his run. I feel I could have run with him but wasn't in my head to do that and I knew I was training for this race. Overall, I feel really good about my decision and know that I actually ran faster than last year with the stops I had to take this year. Plus, "I knew I had to race the formidable Rob Murphy next weekend at the Pocatello Half Marathon." (Is this better, Rob?). I feel good about my 25th marathon!
Spent the rest of the day with the family, soaking in the river, having a few beers, visiting Mesa Falls, getting ice cream, and just relaxing at the last camptrip of the summer in beautiful weather!
Splits; 6:12, 6:11, 6:07, 6:17,6:20 (dropped gel), 6:19, 6:42 (pee stop), 6:15, 6:17, 6:20 (transition to pavement...thankfully!), 6:03, 6:16, 5:48, 5:32, 6:06, 6:06, 7:12 (pit stop!), 6:46, 7:28 (major part of the hill), 6:59, 6:08, 6:24, 6:24, 6:44 (hot!), 6:47 (hotter!), 6:38 (just finish!), 2:18 (0.36 miles).