Deseret News Marathon, 2:37:55, 2nd overall, 1st master. With the double-dip this would be $750, without $500, with the modern socialist "everyone is a winner" "it is not fair that masters with all their experience rob younger runners of the money they deserve" it goes down to $250 - the official policy is not stated on the website and I have not yet received my money, so I suppose I'll find out later.
The time was not very fast, but it was fast enough to be the fastest master time for this version of the course. I get extra perks for being old, I suppose.
James and Allie were nice enough to let me stay with them the night before. James gave me a differential equation problem to solve before I went to bed which I worked on in my mind while trying to fall asleep. Once I solved it I fell asleep immediately completely forgetting about the race or anything else. I highly recommend this method. I recall a study a while ago that recorded the highest number of yawns per student during a lecture among a number of technical courses in the one on differential equations.
The race went like this. In the first 4 miles which are a very steep downhill I ran with Jon Kotter and John Rosswog. The splits were 5:13, 5:10 (10:23), 4:59 (15:22), and 5:33 (20:55). Around 4 miles Jon pulled ahead while John fell back. It stayed that way all the way to the finish with each gap increasing by about the same amount with just one exception. I stopped for a VPB shortly after mile 5. So mile 5 was 5:27 (26:22), then the VPB mile had some uphill on top of the standard time loss, so it was 6:18 (32:40).
Then the climb up the Little Mountain started. I thought I was going to get 6:30 on the next mile, but the perception of strength apparently was deceptive. My split was 6:44 (39:24 at 7 miles). Then I knew that 2:36 would be really good, but things could go as bad as slower than 2:40. To keep it from being slower than 2:40 I adjusted the effort listening carefully to my legs and my heart. I feel that this early pace adjustment was critical for being able to hold it together reasonably well and running under 2:38.
Next mile which starts up but then changes to down demonstrated that 6:44 was not just from being cautious on the climb - 6:19 (46:43) - that mile should be under 6:00. Do not recall my split at 9 miles, but at 10 I was 57:35, which gives me 11:52 for the next 2 miles. So I am finding some kind of a rhythm, but still lack the power - both in the legs and in the heart to move like I did last year.
From 10 to the half I moved at a fairly steady pace and hit the half split in 1:15:35 - so 18:00 for the 5 K. Not stellar, but still sub-6:00. Then somewhere around 15 I needed to go to the bathroom again. 5:30 AM start leaves me helpless - I went three times before the start, and still could not get all of it out - it is just too early. Knowing that I was fairly safe in second place and first master I considered using the official one due to the heavy presence of the half-marathoners, mostly ladies, but when I ran past it it was hopeless. There was a line of about 5 people. So I did not have a choice - failure to VPB would have had tragic results. I quickly realized that it would be better to be seen squatting by one lady runner that will try hard not to look in your direction anyway than to have all of the spectators on the course and at the finish see the consequences of your failure to squat at the right time. I was able to find a decent spot and resolve the problem quickly enough to have 6:18 split for that mile.
Around mile 16 I saw Steve Ashbaker running towards me. He ran with me from that point to the finish. It was very helpful to have him around and meant a lot to me. As expected the Hogle Zoo Monster attacked me when I ran past the zoo and things became difficult from that point. I made it to mile 20 in 1:58:33. From that point I set a goal not to bleed too much off 6:00 pace. My next uphill mile was 6:38 (2:05:11). I was quite happy with it. Then I ran 5:56 for the downhill mile (2:11:07). I was quite happy that I put a gap on the 6:00 pace, but I knew this was going to be the last sub-6:00. 4 more to go. Plus 385 yards, just like the sales tax. Always remember to add the sales tax, commissions, and fees into the advertised price or you may find yourself not having enough money to pay for the purchase.
Next mile was 6:16 (2:17:23). It was mostly downhill had some minor uphill - you bust through it as it if it were nothing in the third mile of the 10 K, but in the marathon that uphill hurts. I was happy about it. One more mile - 6:06 (2:23:29). Two more to go, plus the sales tax. Calculating the marathon sales tax this turns out to be only 0.84%. I think if we could get enough people in Utah to run we could reduce our sales tax to 0.84%. A runner could just run, maybe literally, for office, win the elections and then push it through. We would also be able to afford it economically - it is my belief that as people remove physical fat from their bodies they also remove mental fat from their thinking. Thinking lean they will figure out how to run the government better than we do now off less money.
Mile 25 - 6:16 (2:29:45). Not too bad, but there is the last mile which is a subtle and steady uphill. We all know that mile.
Mile 26 was as miserable as it is always. After running it one more miserable time I think I have an idea of how to deal with it. I need to verify prior to the race that the blocks are indeed exactly 1/7th of a mile as advertised. Then I need to have a clear idea where the boundaries are and run from block boundary to boundary targeting 55 seconds (or maybe faster or slower depending on what condition I find myself in) for each block. When you are hurting having the accurate immediate feedback and a very immediate challenging but attainable goal is absolutely critical to achieving top performance. When you push and it hurts a lot, if you can feel that this brings dividends you will dig deep and find that extra strength.
At the end of it I met my family. Benjamin, Jenny, Julia, Joseph, and Jacob, along with Stephen and Matthew in the stroller were awaiting me. They joined me but unfortunately the front wheel on the stroller did not get properly attached and fell off as Benjamin was running with it. So he stopped to fix it and we continued without them. Sarah and William were running ahead of us. Seeing a target in front I instinctively accelerated and passed them shortly before the finish line - this got me to dip a little below 2:38, which was nice. Even though we had that stroller accident, I felt happy to have my family with me at the finish.
So it took me 8:12 to run the last 1.219 miles. That is 6:43 pace. This can be improved. I think with the intermediate block-to-block approach I can improve it by 15 seconds prorated for fitness next year (so compare it to the mile before it in other words).
Afterwards I took Benjamin to Greensboro, NC for the national USATF Junior Olympics meet. We almost did not make it. When we got to the SLC airport, United told us that our connecting flight to Denver was cancelled. Their proposed alternative arrangement would get us to Greensboro after the start of his race. So we started scrambling for alternatives which included visits to the Frontier and Southwest ticket counters which we had to do ourselves because United does not have a deal with them. If only Frontier flew to Greensboro every day we would not have even been dealing with United - Frontier can fly to Greensboro and back for $459 one way for two people in two legs vs $786 (cheapest alternative) by United in three legs. Finally United figured out a way to put us on a Delta flight to to Denver and the problem was solved except we had to hustle to make it and I had to run, or, rather, speed-limp, through the airport on severely damaged marathon legs.
This was Benjamin's first flight since he was 1.5 years old, and he really enjoyed it.