A.M. Top of Utah Marathon, 2:36:06, 5th place, $250. I feel like I have just piloted a plane with a missing propeller blade, or perhaps a couple. It could not go as fast as it normally does, but I landed it safely without being too much off schedule. Not that I had ever flown a plane or ever would (my uncorrectable 20/800 vision in the right eye will not permit it), but I image that is how something like this would feel.
I woke up in the AM. Relatively minor congestion in the throat and nose. HR was 52, a bit high for that time, but no fever. I do know from experience that even a minor cold can prove disastrous in the marathon. You can fake it in the 5 K, or even 10 K, but the marathon is a different animal. The health needs to be perfect at the starting line or else...
Decided to give it my best shot anyway, then jog to the finish if I had to. Ran the first 2 miles with Sammy Nyamongo and Peter Omae (5:32, 5:22), then about half way through the third mile the pace increased, and I realized that I did not have the health to keep it. So I backed off and cruised with the goal of keeping my head above water, being thankful for everything under 6:00, more thankful for under 5:50, and exceptionally thankful for a few miles under 5:40.
Hit 5 Miles in 27:58. Steve Shepherd and and Ben VanBeekum caught up to me around 7. I ran with them for a couple of miles. Ben was just doing a tempo run - 13 miles. Steve was racing. Steve's pace was too fast for me, I backed off. Ben stopped to go the bathroom, then caught up and was nice enough to pull me to 13. That helped a lot. 10 mile split was 56:52 (28:54), 1:14:24 at the half. Not a complete disaster yet, but the body is weak and there is another half to go.
1:25:32 at 15 (28:40). Encouraging. Now I have only 11 miles to crash over. And I am still in 4th. Meaning I can get passed once and still be in the money. And even if I get passed twice, I am not going home completely empty handed, it is $50 for age division win. But the way I am feeling I can get passed multiple times once the eggs of trouble hatch. Slightly sub-6:00 average for the next 3 miles, 1:43:29 at 18. Only 8 miles to crash over, that is encouraging. Also, the fact that I could keep sub-6:00 that late in the race means the crash will not be exceptionally bad, that is encouraging as well. Maybe I might even hold on to 4th!
The two uphill miles in 6:15 and 6:24. Second one shows a sign of weakness, but I am still moving my legs. 1:56:08 at 20. Brandon Reiff from Reno came up on me during the 21st mile. I tried to hang with him, but could only do it for a minute. This however pulled me through the next mile in 6:00. This was the last respectable mile, then I started laying goose eggs with nothing approaching 6:00 anywhere close, but at least I kept my head above water with nothing slower than 6:40. During that time I started praying for the Lord's mercy so that I would not get passed, and the Lord heard and answered my prayer. I ended up with a time that did not deserve 5th in this race, but at the same time I ended up with a place that I believe my true fitness without that trip would have earned had the race been more normally competitive. The trip was not my fault. I did not go to Montreal for pleasure. I did not have a choice, it was a mandatory company trip, and I need to feed my family, I could not say no. But the Lord was merciful to me, and made up what I lost after all that I could do.
The top finishers were Sammy Nyamongo (2:24:06), Peter Omae ( 2:25:02), Steve Shepherd (2:25:30), Brandon Reiff (2:33:31), then right behind me Joe Furse 2:38:15.