Wow! What an amazing weekend! I am excited to share all my thoughts with you about the marathon! It really was an experience of a lifetime!
We traveled to St. George on Friday afternoon and got to the expo about 6PM! It was a LONG day of traveling.. with me drinking as much water as possible we pretty much had to stop at every gas station on the way there.. seriously.. 6 times.. ha!! I was well hydrated that’s for sure!
The expo was awesome, I was able to get my packet quickly with no wait and walk around and enjoy the vendors there. I stopped by the clif booth and snagged a 3:45 pace band. I chatted to them about the course and instantly felt more confident about the race.
I headed back to my MIL condo and I started to make some dinner.. plain chicken and plain russet potato! I always eat the same pre race meal. It works for me so I don’t mess with it. My potatoes took a bit longer too cook so I ended up finishing my dinner about 9 pm!
While my food was cooking it gave me a chance to set out all my gear and make sure I had everything ready for the morning. I filled one of my bottles with 2 EFS liquid vanilla shots and the other with my BCAA, threw my warm clothes in my drop bag along with two stinger waffles and a water bottle and a small gatorade bottle, pinned my bib to my top and put my socks in my shoes and made sure my garmin was charging!
I headed to bed by 9:45 while my family hung out and watched a movie! I prayed for a good nights rest, and thanked my heavenly father for my health and for strength to make it through another 26.2. I woke up probably 4 times to go to the bathroom and even had a nightmare that I had woken up with the sun shining through the blinds and jumped up (in my dream) knowing I had missed the start! I told myself it was just a bad dream and pinched myself and I woke up and it was 2:30am.. so glad that was all in my head and not real life!
My alarm went off at 3:45AM I got up, put on some mascara and sunscreen and made myself a peanut butter and honey sandwich to eat on my way to the bus. My friend Lindsey picked me up at 4:30am to take me to the buses. We chatted about the race and I was about to cry again because she was meant to be there and I instantly wished it was me that was injured so she could be the one to experience this instead. She had trained so well and ended up with a stress fracture and made the smart decision to skip this race. She gave me a hug and I got out the car.. ran back to the car and gave her one more hug.. I needed it..
The bus line was LONG.. They had a different loading procedure from last year and I overheard people saying that it was better last year. I found a few of my friends and they waited in line with me. It took about an hour for us to get on a bus.
Once we got of the bus, they had photographers take pictures as we made our way to the starting line. It was amazing to see the cyclist all lined up and all of the elites ready to take off.
We got in line in for the bathroom and made it just in time to hurry and throw our drop bags in the Uhaul and head to the starting line! As we made our way to the line, I realized I forgot to turn on my GARMIN! uh.. duh. So I stood by the starting line waiting for my garmin to “locate satellites.” It was ready pretty quick and we had crossed the starting line about 5 minutes after the gun! The weather was in the low 50’s so just PERFECT.. but realized it would be a hot finish!
I had a great start! I caught up and passed the 3:45 pacer. I was feeling strong without really pushing the pace to much. I knew veyo was ahead of me and wanted to get a head start on that hill because I know I’m no mountain goat and I would struggle up that hill. My pace was great and by the time we reached the bottom of veyo there were so many people cheering along the sides. I had a strong start up the hill but knew I had about 6 miles of climbing to tackle so slowed myself down to save my legs for the downhill that was sure to relieve my legs a bit! I struggled up that hill… about half way my friend lindsey was there. She had climbed to the middle of the hill because she knew that I would need her right about there and she was SPOT on!! I was already hurting going up that hill! My lungs, my hips and my calves were on FIRE! She yelled for me and I ran over to her and she gave me a big hug. I almost cried tears of joy to see her because I thought I had missed her at the bottom with the crowds down at the bottom. She gave me the fire I needed to keep truckin up that hill.
By the time I reached the top of Dammeron hill which is about the half way point at 1:58 I was 3 minutes behind my pace. Time to kick it up a bit. I literally could not move my legs fast. I pumped my arms faster and my legs followed.. about 2 miles into the downhill, I was feeling good. I reached the “overpass hill” @mile 19.. the 3:45 pacer came and went. I had her in my eyesight but lost her somewhere through a aid station! I mentally gave up a little bit there. I was not going to reach my goal. (LOFTY goal) I know.. but I still wanted to try and push. It was only getting warmer and I was feeling more and more tired. My legs were getting heavy and wouldn’t turn over. I was just putting one foot in front of the other at mile 24 I ran into a blogger friend Rachelle who is an amazing sub 3 marathoner and was pacing this race with one of her friends. She chatted with me for a bit and said we were on track for a sub 4! I made it a new goal to get that sub 4. My previous marathon was a 4:10 and I knew I would get a sense of accomplishment if I could at least get that. She gave some words of encouragement and pointed out that it is a beautiful day and I told her thank you and started to push a little harder. As we headed into the city of St. George people lined the streets. I grabbed every popscicle that was offered by spectators, ran through every sprinkler and poured as much water on my self going through aid stations as possible.
I was still feeling good and knew if I could push the last mile I would get that 3:55. I buckled down and went for it. I looked down at my watch at 25.92 and could not yet see the finish line? I knew I was almost there but where was it?! Then about 10 steps later I saw it! FINALLY! I saw the clock that said 3:58 and I pushed past the few people in front of me, “sprinting” (you know like a sprint is 8:30 mile at this point in a marathon.. haha!) to the finish!
I crossed the line and hit my garmin 3:55! I did it!
My husband called my name and my kids came running toward the gate! I saw one of my friends from high school at the gate too and she chatted with me and could tell I was struggling to just stand at this point. I let go of the gate and made my way into the finishers corral. I snagged a water, chocolate milk and clenched the diet coke my husband handed me at the finish! Judge me all you want.. a Ice cold mcdonalds diet coke is my go to post race.. ha! Great recovery I know.. I feel good about it.
My kids were happy I swear.. haha! The sun was in their eyes.. I sat down for awhile and chatted with lindsey while our kids all played at the park.
She was so nice to listen to me talk about how sore I was already feeling and talk about the course. I know she is going to KILL her marathon once she gets better!
This course is overall a GREAT course. I however would not say it is the “fastest course” It has some tough hills. SO if you are planning on running St. George make sure you include hill training! I didn’t do as much as I should of and I realized that about 12 times throughout the marathon! Ha!
This is a well supported race. I never had to wait for a cup, or help at any point. All the volunteers were so helpful and kind. They cheered everyone on and seemed so encouraging despite having gatorade and water being splashed all over them the whole time!
This race is fun because it is such a large race. Every mile was pretty entertaining when everyones garmings beeped at the same time! I have a deep respect for the full marathon distance. It is no joke.
I love the half distance but also love the 26.2 because it makes you dig so much deeper and at the finish you finally realize that you CAN do HARD things.
Thank you all so much for every comment and encouragement on Instagram @hungrymotherrunners I am so grateful for you all and lucky to have such amazing followers/friends!