Masters Running


St. George Marathon report (Read 354 times)

    The short version (but you've probably seen it in the daily): an experience so wonderful it was hard to put into words for a few days.  You can go to my log and see the splits, heart rate info, elevation, etc.


    The long version:

    There are many sayings about the marathon that ring true.  One is "trust your training."  I felt undertrained going into this and just wanted to enjoy the scenery.  My longest run this year-yes, I said year-was 17 miles.  Instead of peaking at 50-60 miles per week as I've done in the past, I hit 48 about the time I hit the road.  I had this crazy idea based on another saying that rings true, "Train high, race low."  My home elevation is about 1,200 feet so I trained with SeeMomGo and Wildchild anywhere from about a mile high to 9,500 ft.  After that, I continued training on my own in the lower part of that range, on trails in the beginning and on pavement as race day got closer.  I hoped that the altitude bump would make up for the lower mileage, and I remember thinking a day or two before the marathon, maybe I could run negative splits like 2:10 and 2:00 for a P.R.  My mental state was very solid compared to many of my previous marathons.


    There is a Buddhist saying which also rings true, "The arrow that hits the bull's eye is the result of a hundred misses."  I came across this in a book I read while camping a few days before the marathon.  So I knew this could be one of those hundred misses but also could be a bull's eye!


    I got to the Expo Friday morning and it was well-organized.  The cap on the lottery this year was raised to 7,400 runners (5,716 ended up finishing so I'm sure many couldn't make it).  Bart Yasso was the keynote speaker and I chatted with him for a minute before his talk.  We had tweeted each other and then exchanged e-mails about my gallbladder story.  His talk was hilarious but on the other hand, I learned, sadly, that he suffered chronic Lyme disease running in Africa and it makes him limp on one side.   I went to the pasta dinner.  I learned some valuable tips about the course from guys who had run the marathon before.  They all agreed with Yasso's comment that the course should be run in negative splits if it's done right.


    My roommate finally showed up, a Maniac from Silicon Valley, and we were like the Odd Couple.  I was slouched down in the comfy chair drinking a beer while he demonstrated his OCD skills at wiping off every surface in the room (which was clean) with moist towelettes.  Anyway, his money helped because the hotel was expensive.


    I took the hotel's 5:00 shuttle to the finish line (he drove his rental car) and then joined the crowds lining up for a school bus to "the top" or the start of the race in a canyon above town.  I like point-to-point races and it was a fun ride.  Porta-potty stop up there and then I stood by one of the fires a few minutes until the race started.  It was chilly and Spareribs, I had a White Rock cotton long-sleeved shirt on as a throwaway and Dollar Tree gloves.  Photos courtesy of Clif Bar...




    I was going to use my Garmin to keep my pace from dipping below 10:00 early on but then I was faster than that and just let it go.  I did ease off in the middle section known as Veyo,  It's got some serious rollers they had warned me about at the pasta dinner.



    Miles 16 and 18 are really tough for someone who went out too fast thinking the second half was all downhill.  Fortunately, I knew there were still some rollers.

    more rollers



    I let it go after that and the whole town is out cheering you on the last few miles!  I knew I had a P.R. in the bag then and just soaked it in.  Sure, my right quad was hurting but I didn't let it distract me.  It was getting warm and right before the finish, there are cold towels available so I mopped my head with that and it felt great.


    mta-Pics are in and I like this one from the finish



    After getting my medal, some chocolate milk and some food, I saw Bart Yasso again who had just finished in 4:32:54 and obviously in a lot of pain from the Lyme disease.  I congratulated him on his marathon and told him about mine.  He congratulated me and what a great guy!


    I do not have any immediate plans for another marathon.  It took a while for this and yes, I would like to break 4 hours now!

    "This is my approach as both athlete and coach: (quoting Steve Magness) Even if the training is perfect, if you don't buy into it, you will not run fast.  Chase Consistency, Not Perfection."  Neely Spence Gracey

      ...sounds like the OCD Roomate Plan worked//..........very Strong Racing..........

      ..nothing takes the place of persistence.....

        What a great race report, karl!


        your new goal may be a sub 4, but you've just set my goal at a sub 4:08! lol


        I'm glad this was such a positive experiece for you and that you got to just soak in the last few miles knowing you had a huge PR in you! I'm so happy for you!


        MM #5616

          Congrats on the PR, Opie!   I like the idea of fires at the starting line for cold, pre-dawn starts. 


          And good to hear that the "train high, race low" strategy worked for you - I might want to try that!  The only times I've run low, it's been so humid that it cancelled out any positive effects the additional oxygen might have had.

          I hammered down the trail, passing rocks and trees like they were standing still.


            Congrats Karl-great report. When I ran it in 1993 the downhills affected my knees and I didn't run another marathon for almost a year.

              Greta job, Opie! Way to go on the PR with only a 17 mile long run. You are proof it can be done!


              I'd love to make this my Utah marathon. Thanks for the info about the course and what to expect. I don't know about negative splits on a course like this, that's just not my style. But still... good info, and thanks!

                Great job and congratulations, opie.



                MM#209 / JapanJoyful#803

                  Few, if any, runners can celebrate their tenth anniversary of marathoning with a PR. Absolutely outstanding, . . . and very well-deserved.

                  annual marathons since 1977, tri's since 1978,

                  ultras since 1986,  running barefoot since 1990

                    Congratulations on the race!  All I can say is looking at the elevation profiles Wildchild posts anybody that trains with her cannot under any circumstances be called "under trained."  It looks like you did just fine!

                    Live like you are dying not like you are afraid to die.

                    Drunken Irish Soda Bread and Irish Brown Bread this way -->

                    Top 'O the World!

                      Sweet! Congrats!! & again, it was great to meet you out here! Smile

                      Remember that doing anything well is going to take longer than you think!! ~ Masters Group

                        Awesome Opie!!!


                        Nice pics too!  


                        No doubt "under trained" (within reason) is better than over trained or injuried for an experienced runner...


                        Congrats and thank you!  

                        Courage ! Do one brave thing today...then run like hell.

                          I knew that reading this race report was going to be a treat. You are one dedicated runner and all your hard work from years of training has payed off. Congratulations on great P.R. Savy the victory!!


                          And of course, You have a sub 4 in you. 


                          Check out Light at the End of the Tunnel It is a great course for your sub 4 goal Smile. And PosieMama and PosieSons will be running it too Smile

                          "Champions are everywhereall you need is to train them properly..." ~Arthur Lydiard

                            Bullseye!!!  Enjoy the PR, monk Opie.

                            "During a marathon, I run about two-thirds of the time. That's plenty." - Margaret Davis, 85 Ed Whitlock regarding his 2:54:48 marathon at age 73, "That was a good day. It was never a struggle."

                            Marathon Maniac #957

                              Opie - congratulations on your most excellent PR!  I am intrigued about the fact that you only had a 17 mile LR. I have heard it speculated that we overtrain sometimes, as masters runners and that less is sometimes better, but I think your higher elevation training also played a part here.  GREAT JOB!!

                              Life is a headlong rush into the unknown. We can hunker down and hope nothing hits us or we can stand tall, lean into the wind and say, "Bring it on, darlin', and don't be stingy with the jalapenos."

                                Thanks everyone!  Holly, I wanted to respond specifically to your point about the LR.  The Coach who trained me up for this marathon owes a lot to Daniels and brought him here for a running clinic.  It's been a while since I read Daniels but I recall he limits the LR by time from being too long.  I know in the clinic he asked for a show of hands on who thinks you should run 20 milers in marathon training.  Most of the room did.  He said that's bunk unless your MP gets you that many miles in 2.5 hours (I think he allows a little time for warm up and cool down in addition to that).  My 17-miler took almost 3.5 hours, so that's even a little long for his plan.

                                "This is my approach as both athlete and coach: (quoting Steve Magness) Even if the training is perfect, if you don't buy into it, you will not run fast.  Chase Consistency, Not Perfection."  Neely Spence Gracey