Monday, October 9, 2017

Ain't it Grand!

I don't know how I did that, but I did that! If you read my last post, you know that I was essentially positive I was going to feel massive pain the entire race and probably not finish. I hadn't done a long run for the first time for a marathon (>16 miles) and I basically didn't run for a month (i jogged but didn't run since my 1/2 marathon in VA in the beginning of September.) So what happened?

I flew in to Vegas and had a quick look around. It was eerie seeing the Mandalay Bay where the shooting took place the week before. There were FBI and police EVERYWHERE. I headed down the strip and saw a make-shift memorial with lots of mourners out. From there I drove out to St. George. There aren't a lot of St George pictures because there wasn't much there. They had a Mormon cathedral that was pretty and had some of the only grass in town. I'm not a huge fan of the desert motif so that typically gets old fast for me.

As for the race, they bused us up 26.2 miles at about 3:45 AM and it was FREEZING at the start. They had some small fires but not enough for the 6,000 people there. After shivering for about 2 hours, it was time to start the race.

I told myself that if I ran above a 7 minute first mile, I didn't deserve to finish. And I took that advice. I ran a 7:20, 7:20 for the first two miles. Those would turn out to be my slowest miles of the race! The race is very NOT downhilll the first 15 miles. In fact, it had 1 very memorial uphill into the sun. But my biggest surprise was that after the first mile, I didn't have any posterior tibial pain. I told myself to check in at mile 4, 8, 12, and 16. If i took advil before 8, it was a bad day, if i took it at 16, that's a normal day. And as it turned out, i took it at 16 (Actually 15 but that was for water purposes). 

I got stronger and stronger as the race went on. I was able to fight through the typical late mile mental hurdles and finished with a 3:07! I was definitely helped by the downhill sections, but I could have easily broken 3:06 if i didn't jog the first 2. This is definitely a PR course. 

During the race, I just concentrated on the normal gait (as described in the chart below). This helped me concentrate on foot placement on my foot strike. 

I outpaced a guy at the end with a kind of gallop (since my calves were ceasing up as per typical at the end). It felt good beating folks again!

After the race, I quickly showered and headed on down (a 5 hour car ride) to the Grand Canyon! I hung out in the village that night and then went for a 3 hour mule ride on the edge of the canyon. I was given "Big Steve" who is a 1700 lbs mule. A guy on the trail walked up and announced that Steve looked like a Clydesdale. He was a biggie alright. Had a great time. Here is Steve and I on the very edge looking over.

Next up, its back to Vegas in a month with Emily! Its a unique evening/night time race which should be fun. It's the desert so it will likely get cooler as the race goes on (which should be ideal for me). We'll see!

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