The expo was in Ogden the day before the race, I drove there, picked up my bib #12 and headed to work after doing a quick browse of the vendors. I also asked the organizers if they were doing anything recognizing those who have done all 5 of the races since 2012. I guess I wanted some kind of recognition :) I got off work 2 hours early hoping I could get a bit more sleep than I usually do before a race and I think it worked. I got around 5 hours. 4:15 the first alarm went and I was up before the second one could go. On the road just after 5 a.m. and arrived in Huntsville a few minutes before the buses departed.
They had us line up like school kids and we boarded the buses. Bus #1 wasn't full so I switched over to that bus and ended up sitting with Robert Merkley for the ride up.
This was my 67th race and my 15th marathon. Not too bad for only intending on doing one marathon in my lifetime back in January 2012 when I decided to give this running stuff a try.
I met up with Joshua and after a few attempts we got an acceptable selfie done.
|Four awesome people who have done the Five Year Streak. Well, three and me.|
They were running a tight schedule and we ended up not spending too long at the starting area before having to dump our drop bags and hike down the road to the starting line.
Rachel encouraged me saying I'm going to do great today and I've got this! The running community is awesome with encouraging one another. They had a lot more confidence in me than I did.
I got my 92 bpm music ready, Garmin set, and we were off.
The canyon is beautiful, its not like the rugged Cottonwood canyons, but its got a beauty of its own with the colors and it keeps going, and going, and going, which I love.
I tried not to push it or go out too fast or back off too much and after 10 miles I was within 18 seconds of that goal time, 1:20:18. The next 6 miles weren't as steep and I noticed my times were getting longer for each mile,
A couple of people saw the 4 on my calf and knew about Run4Fun, Ethan was one and there was Tim who had run with us out on Antelope Island last year, I apologized for not recognizing him.
I did really well with getting water at every aid station. I tried to fuel every 5 miles or so, GU, oranges, skittles, banana chunk, whatever they had available. And I also would put water in my hat to help cool me off.
My shirt came off as it was heating up some. At one point this girl went flying by me saying. "shirts off, must be Robert!". All I had the strength to do was feebly lift my hand. I had no idea who she was, but later found out it was Dyanna Wallace a fellow Run4fun member.
Mile 20 was almost right on the money, 10:28, but I was realizing I couldn't keep this up and knew my BQ buffer was done. I was also doubting the BQ itself by this point, but thought I'll try to hold on. Mile 21 was about the same. 10:36/m and even mile 22 wasn't too bad at an 11:08. I thought well, I'll still get a sub 4:00 finish time. Maybe. But then mile 23 had me doubting everything. I was at 3:24, had 3.2 miles to go and only 36 minutes to do it in. Even if I could do them all in 12:00/m miles I'd still be over the sub 4:00.
Mile 24 was around 13:34 and the next goal was being threatened, Ryan Delany's PR. The wheels totally fell off the final 2.3 miles. It took me 34 minutes to complete that distance and I was trying to play all kinds of mind games. Run for 25 strides, walk for 25 strides. At one point this young girl came bouncing past running with an older guy and she invited me to run with them, I said "I'll catch up to you in a minute" Lies, all lies.
It seemed to take ages to get through the final miles and it I felt like I was going to puke in this stretch. At the last aid station I had to make a pitstop which I had no choice over. That wasted about 2 minutes I'm sure. I came out of the porta-pottie and asked for some more water before I left the aid station, I must have looked rough as one lady kindly told me to have some Gatorade along with the water which I did and she followed me for awhile to make sure I was okay.
I was quite familiar with the course and knew we were coming to the final turn. There were three guys ahead of me who all looked like they were around my age, really old. I thought I've got to get ahead of them, just in case. Pushing with all I had I did pass them on the slight hill before the turn. I got around the turn and had to take a walk break. Then out the corner of my eye I thought one of them was trying to pass, so I got into a jog/shuffle mode again, it turned out it was Galen. He encouraged me once more and it helped but I couldn't keep it up even though the finish was only 2/10's of a mile away. I told him, one more walk break, and I slowed to a walk for a few moments then figured I can do the rest. The crowd was great, they were hooting and hollering for the runners which helps so much. I finally crossed the finish line and bent over so glad it was over with. They asked if I was okay and I told them I just need to lay down some place. I was thinking along the lines of some grass, but they had a tent set up with recliners and I happily went there with some water to recover. London came in soon after as she has seen me finish and offered to get me a creamy which I thought would be great.
One of the things I should have done was taken some Ibuprofen. I had it with me and that might have helped those last few miles.
I also met up again with one of the girls who had also done the race 5 times after the race. I wanted a picture with her so her husband ended up taking our picture in front of the race logo board thingy.