A.M. SLC Half, 1:11:23, 6th place.
Ran a warm-up with Jeff. Ran into Julie Thomas. Found out she has 6 kids now. So that raises the fertility rate of the top 3 in St. George last year to 3 children per woman (assuming Christina does not have children), which is 1.1 higher than the national rate, and 0.8 higher than the Utah rate. To make Julie's accomplishment more remarkable, she raced St. George with her baby being only 6 months old. 150 years ago tough women crossed the plains while bearing children. 150 years later their equally tough descendants run fast marathons in between bearing children.
The plan was to hang out with Jeff, Seth, and the Kenyans regardless of the pace, and then do the best I could once the marathon and the half split. So I was up for a surprise. I could be running a survival race, or a negative split race, or anything in between. And in all honesty I did not care, when there is no chance for prize money I am happy to be a participating spectator and do not mind running a minute slower by running somebody else's race.
Today, however, being a participating spectator helped me run better. Details to follow, mile by mile:
Mile 1: 5:21. Teren and Alexander Thomas in the lead of the half far ahead, Nate Hornok trying to hang on with them, James Moore (Fiddy) out there between them and us. I am with the lead pack of marathoners which includes Jeff, Seth, evenutal winner Joseph Mutinda (2:13:19 PR on March 1, 2009), Moses Kororia (28:05 10 K, 1:01:49 half in Nairobi, 2:12:04 PR in Dallas in 2006, since then not so hot in the marathon (2:15-2:17), which I suppose why he was here instead of Country Music), and Ezekiel Ruto, the Top of Utah winner of last year. BJ Cristenson, who was supposedly out of shape (is he ever really in shape?) and told us he was going to run 1:15, and Jason Shoenfield. I believe we saw Fritz there for a little bit as well. Others in the pack I did not recongize.
This mile was downhill, but even still it felt so easy that even with the downhill adjustment I questioned its length. However, there was a red mark on the road, and Seth's Garmin beeped right there. So I was willing to believe it was right.
Mile 2 - 5:33 (10:54). A little down and about the same amount up. Felt harder, believable, but still not straining myself.
Mile 3 - 5:23 (16:17). Downhill. Felt too easy, like I was slacking. Started feeling antsy to go, but decided to stay true to the original plan.
Mile 4 - 5:15 (21:32). Downhill. This was the most educational mile of the race. I pulled alongside Moses and a thought occurred to me to try to follow his rhythm stride for stride. I tried and succeeded, it felt right, and the pace started to feel a lot easier. I have had those experiences before, and consider them significant. They do not happen very often. It is possible to borrow somebody's better rhythm. You need to be going the right pace, and you need to have the right rhythm instructor. Two requirements - he needs to have a good rhythm period, and that rhythm also must be within the optimal range for your body type. Chances of it happening are very rare, but I've raced enough to have it happen. So far the following runners in addition to Moses have been able to feed me the rhythm: Craig Lawson, Nick McCombs, and Hobbie Call. Now that I am thinking of this I could possibly add Mike Dudley and Lewis Jones. There may have been more cases when I was not aware. I'll discuss the concept of rhythm on the forum later.
Mile 5 - 5:32 (27:04). Slight uphill. During this mile the half and the full split. I ended up with BJ and Jason. Jason and I contended for the coveted spot right behind BJ. If you've ever seen BJ you would know why. 6'6 tall and a solid frame to support the height. Felt a lot harder. I tried to remember the rhythm I had borrowed from Moses earlier.
Mile 6 - 5:15 (32:19). Appeared flat. Even though BJ pushed the pace, and the mark was painted on the road, I was quite sure the mile was short. I was expecting the next one to be long. Around this time we caught James.
Mile 7 - 5:11 (37:30). Slight downhill. Also painted on the road. I suppose mile 6 was not short after all. That cheered me up quite a bit, which I needed because BJ kept pressing the pace, and I was hanging on for dear life.
Mile 8 - 5:16 (42:46). Slight downhill. Eventful mile. First Jason fell back as BJ kept pressing the pace. I stayed with BJ but quickly got miserable enough to drop back as well. Jason caught me but I was able to latch on. A little bit of downhill relieved my leg strain and I was able to relax and find a good rhythm again.
Mile 9 - 5:21 (48:07). Very slight down if any. Still with Jason, and BJ is not moving away from us. In fact, maybe we even closed a second or two. Feeling a good rhythm.
Mile 10 - 5:34 (53:41). Flat. Jason surged and dropped me. Lost the rhythm, trying to survive. Legs are starting to cave.
Mile 11 - 5:37 (59:18). Slight down. Trying to find the rhythm, legs caving, but still strong in the 5:40 range.
Miles 12 and 13: 11:35, probably around 6:00 for 12 (uphill), and 5:35 for 13 (up for about 0.1 then down). I am basing the breakdown off James' split of 5:59 for mile 12 along with him saying he was keeping the distance neither gaining or falling back. When I realized how far uphill we had to go, I started doing disaster calculations of what time 19:00 for the last 5 K would give me. 1:12:41, still respectable. Fortunately it was not that bad, last 5 K was 17:42, almost as fast as I was racing flat 5 Ks at the beginning of the year, at least in the same minutes. Felt stronger on the uphill than I anticipated I would when I saw it at mile 11. There was a surprise of a different kind. There was a wall of 5 K walkers, that was expected. What I did not expect is a wall of slow moving bikers from the bike tour. Then on the downhill the bikers started passing me back.
Kick: 30 seconds. Was surprised that I had some kick in me.
Finish: Alexander Thomas 1:06:22, Teren 1:07:09, Nate 1:09:15, BJ 1:10:38, Jason 1:10:43, me 1:11:23, James 1:11:37.
Afterwards ran with James back to Jeff. Did not quite make it to Liberty Park before we saw Joseph Mutinda. We stopped immediately and timed him at the spot a little after mile 23. 2:01:23. I figured he was headed for around 2:17 and commented that the economy must be really bad if $2500 with a possibility of not being paid for a year produces 2:17 on this course. Moses Kororia 2:03:05, Seth 2:07:23, Ezekiel Ruto 2:07:55. Finally Jeff 2:13:05. We ran with him back to the end. He was out of fuel badly. He does not run well on fats. So only about 7:30 pace on fats, that is what kills him. When he runs 5:30, there is pleny of leg power, and there is plenty of aerobic support, but he is burning carbs like a semi because his fat base pace is only 7:30. One advantage of bonking in the marathon is that you find out your fat base pace. For a comparison, mine is 7:00. On the positive side, in St. George his fat base pace was 8:15, so there is a substantial improvement.
So Jeff finished in 5th with 2:35:07, $100, first marathon prize money (not counting St. George age division appearance fees), first W-9, first running-related media experience. His interview was hillarious - he showed KSL his check which he said he was in a hurry to cash.
P.M. 2 with Jenny in 18:50, Julia ran the first 1.5 in 14:35.