I left for St. George kind of stressed about a few things. First being , getting everything in order for our Galloway booth at the expo, second, how I was going to get my eight hours of sleep in Thursday night (the most important night to get a good night’s sleep is the night before the night before the marathon), and third, the expected high temperatures in St. George on marathon day. And of course, Murphy’s Law prevailed! We had all kinds of shipping problems getting our inventory we were going to sell at the expo, I got very little sleep and it was HOT!!!
This was the first group of new marathoners Jim and I were taking to St. George since we took over as Program Directors for Jeff Galloway Training in Salt Lake City and we were super excited to see them reach their goals!
Jim and I manning the Galloway booth
We got to St. George and went straight to the expo to help Christi (our St. George Coordinator) at the booth. There we met a lot of great people from all over and quite a few Marathon Maniacs! I had a great time at the expo. Even though we never got our inventory, we were able to sell a few books and some tech shirts we had on hand as well as hand out literature for the 26.2 With Donna: The National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer (http://www.breastcancermarathon.com/) in Jacksonville, Florida on February 11th.
Maniac #1572 Ward Sullivan and I at the Expo
Maniac Bob Karlik #2131 and his cute mom & step-dad! They did the Mayor's Walk!
After the expo & pasta dinner, we all packed up early and headed for our rental house, which was walking distance from the bus pick up/finish line. I went right to my room, laid out my race stuff and hit the hay about 8:30pm. At 2:30am the alarm went off and started wondering if Jim had the right idea in not running!
At around 4:30am, I met Kimberly (who was running her 1st marathon) and my Maniac friend Chris downstairs and we headed for the bus to the start. We were all bundled up because it is usually 30-40 degrees at the start, but we all were surprised/concerned how warm it was outside. We all thought it would be much colder when we got to the top of the course though.
Maniac Chris Scott #2664, Kimberly and I at the Start!
We reached the start and the energy was electric! There were awesome volunteers handing out gloves and foil blankets, and bon fires all over the place all in the effort to keep us warm. It was great! I saw a few more Maniacs, took some photos and went and sat by a fire (even though I wasn’t that cold).
The volunteers and organization of this race is awesome!
Maniac Aaron Braunstein #1398 and I at the start.
Maniac Steve Kissell #1608 at the start.
As I was waiting at the port-a-potty, people in the line were talking about how warm it was at the start this year. At that very moment the announcer came on and said it was 60 degrees! The warmest start in the history of the race!! I got a little nervous. The high in St. George was forecasted to be 95 degrees! To put this in perspective for those of you who don’t run, a couple of years ago the Chicago Marathon closed the course for safety reasons half way through the race when the temperatures reached 85 degrees! Running in 95 degree heat is extremely dangerous, especially for less experienced or older runners.
Kevin & Josh at the start.
Bon fires at the start to keep us warm.
As we all lined up, I saw few of our first timers, Jessica, Kimberly, Rosa and Gary! I was so happy to get to start with them. They all worked so hard and it was way cool to see them toe the line! The gun went off and the race was in full swing! By miles 2-3 I was already full on hot! Yikes!
Kimberly, Rosa and Jessica in the first miles of their first marathon!
Gary and Robert heading up the hill!
The five of us stuck together for the first couple of miles. Then Gary and I lost Jessica, Kimberly & Rosa. They were right behind us but we didn’t see them. Gary was a trooper! We tackled the monster hill Vejo at mile 7 where we ran into Robert (another one of our first timers). He stayed with us for a little bit then went back to doing his thing. Gary and I stayed together for 19 miles where I lost him at a water stop. One of the great things about this race is that every aid station has people there to rub icy hot on your legs! OMH! It felt so good!
Gary had me cracking up for 19 miles!
Right before mile 20 Kimberly came up behind me looking strong and smiling! I stayed with her for a few minutes and told her to go on when I started feeling nauseated and really hot. I walked a little up the hill and saw Jim waiting at the 20 mile mark. We ran together for about a mile when I started feeling really sick. I needed to get my last GU in me, but was so nauseous I couldn’t even think of eating it. I asked Jim if he had any chews. He didn’t, but a girl running next to us gave me some sports beans. I took a few of those, poured water over my head and down my back (Jim was nice enough to pour it down my arms to cool me off as well). The last 3-4 miles there were people lying all over the ground. There was no shade anywhere and it was HOT!! The shuttles were full of people as well.
I asked Jim to set his watch to 1:1 intervals. I knew I did not want to walk the rest of the way, but 1:1’s was all I had the energy for before I felt like barfing. I ran slow, every once in a while having the energy to run 2-3 minutes. As we rounded the corner at the last mile, Jim shouted to everyone “iced cold towels around the corner!” At that moment to our (and more Jim’s) horror, they had run out of iced cold towels! I was OK with it because there was a guy there spraying water from a hose, which felt great, but poor Jim felt sooooo bad.
Now that's what I call commitment to the 26.2!
I knew at this point, if I didn't laugh, I'd cry!
In that last mile, Jim took my water belt from me (thank goodness) and I rounded the corner to the finish. As I crossed that line in 5:15:20, I went right for the cold water misters and stood under it for a good minute! I picked up my medal (which is made of polished sandstone unique to the area), saw Jim and Kimberly (who kicked butt!), sat on the grass and kicked off my shoes! Whew!! At that moment, I saw Jessica and Rosa come in!
Little by little we saw our group members finish. It was AWESOME!! Jim and I were so proud of all of them. We had a few people not make it in due to the heat, but we are proud of them too! They all worked their butts off! WAY TO GO!!!
Just a few of our AWESOME finishers!
Later that day we had a celebratory party and barbecue at the rental house. Lots of good food and plenty of Diet Cokes! Then Jody came over and gave a few of us the best massages ever!! To top off the night Jim, Josh & Kevin went and bought us all milk shakes! YUM!! By 8:30pm, we were all ready for bed!
St. George is a very organized and nice race, but for anyone that thinks it’s a super fast course, you are crazy! I was shocked how hilly it was. Yes, there are a lot of downhill sections, but the 4 mile uphill sections make up for it! In my opinion, there are lot’s prettier and faster courses to run in Utah that you don’t have to get picked by a lottery. Top of Utah, Ogden and Utah Valley just to name a few! I am glad I did it though!
Chris and I at the finish!
This year's t-shirt & medal.