St. George Marathon - Berner's BQ (Read 1100 times)

    Edited 10/13: It took me a while to finish, but I finally put together my "real" race report. Its more for my own enjoyment and for posterity, but it does include some race pictures and course photos. You can read it at http://mattkleiman.com/races/stg2008. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I'm going to write a longer race report when I have the energy, but I'll do a short-ish version now. Two words: mission accomplished! I needed a 3:20:59 or better to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and I'm pleased to report that I completed the St. George marathon this morning in 3:14:37. That also betters my marathon PR by exactly 15 minutes. ETA: This morning I realized I also hit another milestone during the race: I passed 2000 miles for the year right around mile 20 on the course. (For a recap of my training leading up to this race, follow this link to the thread I posted in the "Look What I Can Do" forum summarizing my high-mileage training experiment.) Mother Nature could have been kinder today: unfortunately, we had steady rain from about 5:00am continuing unabated through to the end of race. The storm front also dealt us a steady headwind for the entire point-to-point course, with wind speeds ranging from about 18mph at the start to around 12mph by the finish. On the plus side, the rain and cloudy conditions kept temperatures pleasantly moderate, hovering around the mid-50's for the time I was on course. Out-of-towners like me come to St. George for the fast, net downhill course. I'm happy to report that the course delivered as advertised. As you'll note from my splits listed below, there are places on the course where you can flat-out fly. You'll also see a few of the slowest miles I've ever logged in any marathon on account of the often-overlooked uphill portions of the course. The Veyo Volcano is probably the coolest landmark I've ever passed on a race course, but its hard to fully appreciate the natural beauty when you're struggling up a four mile stretch that climbs almost 400 feet. Even the downhills get painful by the end of the race. I remember a point about mile 22 when I thought to myself, "I wish this downhill would end so I can rest my quads with a little flat running." Before today, I never imagined that I would ever try to wish away a downhill. Negatives aside, the downhills give you an undeniable boost, especially since they come more noticeably in the second half of the race. As a consequence, its not only common to negative split at St. George - its pretty much common sense. In my case I ran a 1:39:09 first half, followed by a 1:35:28 second half. Interestingly enough, my second-half split would be a new half-marathon PR ... and even my first-half split would have been a PR but for the HM that I ran in August during my current training cycle (1:36). I think I did a pretty good job of devising and following a pacing plan for the race. For a flat-lander like myself, these elevation changes are a real challenge. I took my own advice and adopted the RYR mantra: Run Your Race. Make a plan; stick to the plan. I know some people mock them, but I would have been lost without my custom mile-by-mile pace bands. And, for the most part, I stayed true to the plan. On a mile-by-mile basis, my average deviation from plan pace was only 8 seconds per mile. And in fairness to myself, some of the pacing deviation came when I decided around mile 20 to go for a 3:14:xx instead of my original goal of 3:16. (In retrospect, I guess reaching for a more aggressive finishing time mid-race kinda violates the principle of "make a plan; stick to the plan" in a fundamental way. Oh well; sue me. Let's face it ... 3:14 sounds a lot sexier than 3:16. Wink ) I don't want to close even this first version of a race report without heaping compliments on the race organizers and the city of St. George. Even though this was officially my smallest marathon (around 5000 runners), a race of this size demands good planning and is substantially improved when the town supports the event. Both were true in spades here. Everything from the expo, to the start line transportation, to the on-course support was first rate. Spectator support was what you might expect for a rural marathon on a rainy day, but there's no question the town rolls out the red carpet in general for runners. Kudos in particular to the race management for starting the race on time. No one wants to stand around pre-race and listen to speeches and other nonsense, especially when its pouring rain. At St. George, the gun fired within about 20 seconds after we finished the national anthem ... and that was that. Good job folks. Thanks for reading, and best of luck to everyone running a marathon tomorrow or later this Fall. I'll admit that its nice having my race done and in the books -- now I can cheer loudly from the sidelines for all the other Fall racers without those nagging self-doubts about "will I ever get that elusive BQ." As of today, the answer is "yes!" Big grin ----------------------- For the data curious, here's my mile splits, which I've laid out along-side my target pacing plan. ETA: finishing stats are listed also.
    Actual Target
    1 7:49 7:40
    2 7:42 7:36
    3 7:12 7:18
    4 7:05 7:09
    5 7:16 7:26
    6 7:00 7:26
    7 7:03 7:26
    8 8:16 8:20
    9 8:01 7:58
    10 7:47 7:44
    11 8:04 8:02
    12 7:42 7:40
    13 7:27 7:26
    14 7:29 7:18
    15 6:52 7:04
    16 6:51 7:18
    17 7:23 7:18
    18 7:20 7:18
    19 7:47 7:40
    20 7:16 7:18
    21 6:59 7:00
    22 7:28 7:18
    23 7:12 7:22
    24 7:20 7:22
    25 7:26 7:26
    26 7:19 7:26
    0.2 1:31 1:38
    3:14:37 3:15:58
    Overall3215030 6.4%
    Gender (Male)27728509.7%
    Age Group (M40-44)4637312.3%

    How To Run a Marathon: Step 1 - start running. There is no Step 2.

    A Saucy Wench

      Awesome job Berner!

      I have become Death, the destroyer of electronic gadgets


      "When I got too tired to run anymore I just pretended I wasnt tired and kept running anyway" - dd, age 7

      Non ducor, duco.



          Fantastic, Berner. It has to be satisfying for all that training to pay off that way. Really nicely done.

          I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.


          Queen of 3rd Place

            YEAH! hard work = results Like Dave said - nice to see it! Arla

            Ex runner

              Incredible! COngrats! see ya in Boston. Cool

              Jennifer mm#1231

                Hey Berner, First, awesome race. There are few things more satisfying than executing an intelligently crafted plan. I'm curious as to your thinking about planning occasional easier and harder miles--varying the pace. I assume that these were uphill and downhill miles. Did you find that to be a helpful strategy? Did the paces match your effort or did you find some tension between your planned paces for the hills and the effort it took to maintain or drop down to those paces? Would you consider planning a faster mile or a slower mile outside of the context of the geography of the course?

                Another Passion

                  (In retrospect, I guess reaching for a more aggressive time goal mid-race kinda violates the principle of "make a plan; stick to the plan" in a fundamental way. Oh well; sue me. Let's face it ... 3:14 sounds a lot sexier than 3:16. Wink )
                  We'll (we here at RA) file a class action lawsuit against you for this screw up later, Berner... in the meantime, CONGRATULATIONS!! Awesome news, dude! Great race, even if you did deviate from your RYR slightly, and congratulations on the BQ! Savor your accomplishment. Smile

                  "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." - Juma Ikangaa
                  "I wanna go fast." Ricky Bobby


                    Well heck, you really did find the X, and in a much sexier way too! Big grin Great job, Congratulations!


                    Runners run

                      Dude! Awesomeness squared! Dude! And yes. 3:14 is so much sexier than 3:16. How could we have pi without those numbers? Or pie even? Great job!

                      When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

                        Congratulations. It's no secret how hard you worked this year to get to this point. Can't say I am terribly surprised by the result. Way to go!
                          Congrats on the BQ! Hope to join you in Boston this year.



                            Awesome Berner. Congrats on the BQ!
                              Fantastic man, congratulations. What a great run good for you! Have fun in Boston!! Cool

                              "The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling." - Lucretius


                                Berner, I finally followed the link to your website. You actually posted the phrase "Apropos of the foregoing". Damn. You're a FAST nerd. Big grin

                                I ran a mile and I liked it, liked it, liked it.