The 2011 St. George Marathon was really great, despite having high temperatures again this year. This was the race most of our Galloway runners were training for, so I was really excited to run with and support them.
On Friday morning I left my house at 7:00am and picked up fellow Maniac, Liz Gotter in Orem to start the 5 hour drive to St. George. I like leaving early. I hate feeling rushed and getting into town early gives me the opportunity to enjoy the town a little bit.
Liz and I pulled into St. George at around 12:00pm and headed straight for the Temple. We thought it would be an easy landmark to meet our friend and fellow Maniac, Galen Garrison for lunch. You can't miss the big white building in the middle of town.
The St. George Temple is so beautiful!
Liz and I walked around the Visitor's Center and I relived fond memories of my mission there. Then Galen pulled up in a car that made him look like he was in the FBI (a rental from Las Vegas, which we made fun of all weekend) and the three of us headed a block over where they were setting up the finish line. We stopped for a few photos then it was off to Cafe Rio for lunch.
I am just practicing my finish photo pose!
After lunch we headed to the expo to pick up our race packets and to soak up the pre-race excitement. We got our stuff and had a fun time walking around the booths. The Select Health booth was giving out free mouse pads with your photo on it!
Doin' the Mari on our free mouse pad!
St. George is a fairly small town, so finding a place to stay on race weekend is harder than getting into the race if you don't book early and the prices are out of control (Super 8 at $180 per night, really?). For this reason our Galloway group has always rented a house, which when split by 6-8 people is much more affordable. My Co-Director, Jim levy found a beautiful house for us to rent. It looked like a Spanish hacienda and was perfect for our needs (good job Jim!).
Our Home for the Weekend!
The back yard.
I was on double duty this weekend, first as coach to my Galloway runners and second, as a Marathon Maniac. I decided instead of trying to be at two places at once, I organized the Galloway and Maniac dinners at the most convenient place I could find for a large party... the St. George pasta dinner. The food and the company was great! It was awesome to see our first time marathoners mixing with the seasoned veterans.
Maniacs at the Pasta Party!
Me with a few of my Galloway peeps!
After dinner we headed back to the house to hit the hay.
Diane, Julia, Marci and I decided to get the 4:30am bus to the start, just to beat the porta-potty lines. A decision I may not have made if the temps were normal (40 degrees F) at the start, but we knew it would be warm up there and it was. 60 degrees F is perfect for running, but scary when you know how hot it will become once the sun comes up!
Marci and Julia on the bus and ready to run their first marathon!
St. George is famous for it's organization. When we got off the bus we were handed a foil blanket (St. George is the only place I have ever got one of these BEFORE the race) and a pair of gloves. We wrapped up and headed to the porta-potty line. I was glad to see there was no line...yet! After that we went back to the St. George sign, laid out our blankets and waited (it was a little warm to sit around one of the many bonfires they had).
Just waiting for the start!
At 6:15am I organized the Maniac and Galloway photos at the St. George sign. It was cool to see so many Maniacs there, but like Teresa and I at TOU, a few Maniacs took later buses and didn't make it. We still had a great group though.
Maniacs at St. George!
My Galloway runners ready to go!
At 6:45 the gun went off and so did we. I had lost most of my group in the rush to hit the porta-potty one last time and get my drop bag checked. Teresa had set it up that we would all meet at the 5:00 pacer if we got separated. Unfortunately, she was the only one that stuck to the plan (good job Teresa!). Luckily, I saw two of my first timer's Marci and Julia and we crossed the mat together. We were off!
Marci and I having fun!
Marci and Julia lookin' sassy!
I wasn't worried about finding the rest of my crew. I have run enough races to know that if we run about the same speed, we will find each other eventually. That's exactly what happened. Around mile 2, I heard Teresa behind me talking to someone else. Within a minute, we saw Rob and Chris. Before you knew it, we had a nice little group with us.
As the race continued Julia, Marci and I were going pretty good. Then at mile 7 we hit Veyo. The longest, hardest part of the race, Veyo is a very long hill that teases you as you make your way up it. Just when you think you've hit the top and head down the other side, you turn the corner to be met by another hill. This happens three times in the 5 mile stretch. The good news is, it's still early enough in the race that you have the energy to do Veyo. The bad news is, use too much of that energy and your race is spent way to early.
Just a small part of Veyo in the distance!
We tackled the hills where we could and conserved energy where we could. The 5:00 pacer passed us on Veyo. Once we off Veyo, I pushed the pace to make up some time. We wanted to get ahead of the 5:00 pacer. At about mile 12, Marci fell behind us with a sick stomach. We slowed our pace so she could stay with us, but she told us to go ahead, so Julia and I went after that pacer again.
The course is beautiful!
At about mile 17, I pushed the pace again and Julia responded, though I could tell she was nervous. At that point I decided, it didn't matter if we caught that pacer or not. This was Julia's first marathon and I wanted her to finish. I backed off the pace and just had fun.
Me and Snow Canyon!
At mile 21 it was very HOT (almost 90 degrees F). It was there that we saw Teresa again. I continued to push Julia as we left the canyon for the last few miles in the city. I knew she had it in her physically, but at mile 23, I tried to push her mentally. This was a great part of the race because there is so much crowd support. People were even out handing out ice pops! YUM! The signs were great too! I love the Metcalf Mortuary signs!
Hey! Somebody is rooting for me! ;-)
This said it all once it got HOT! Hee Hee!
When we came around the last corner, I told Julia she could walk for 30 seconds, but then we had to run the rest of the way to the finish line and that's what we did. When we got to about 100 yards from the finish, Julia started sprinting! I could barely keep up! We finished strong in 5:10 which is just where Julia wanted to be! We just hugged, went and stood under the "cool zone" misters, got our medals and hit the grass where we reunited with all of our runners that finished before and after us. They all did AMAZING!!
When all of our runners came in, it was off to the house for a shower, some food and a relaxing night of massage (thanks to Jodi and Jeannetta for coming over to give massages to anyone who wanted one) and hanging out on the patio with friends. What a great night!
Running the Galloway group is time consuming and challenging at times, but it makes it all worth it to see our members, both old and new, cross the finish line. I would like to give a HUGE THANK YOU to our FABULOUS group leaders. There is no way I could run this program without you. Amy, Diane, Kimberly, Rosa, Kathy, Shanie, and Crystal. You guys are the BEST!!!
To our runners, Wow!! That's all I can say! YOU ARE ALL AMAZING!! There were some triumphs and disappointments, but no matter what, you should all be so proud of yourselves for the hard work and dedication you put into your training. I know I am super proud of all of you.
The St. George course is challenging and the heat didn't help things. If your race didn't go as planned, don't give up. There are so many races out there you can take on! Keep going! Remember a DNF (did not finish) is better than a DNS (did not start).
Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey.