Friday, September 21, 2012

Top of Utah and On Top of the World, Part II

Part II
Sat. 3:40 AM,  I wake up, just before the 3:45 alarm clock.  coffee, yogurt, raisin bread, and 1/2 banana, shower, get race ready and out the door just before 5:00 to catch the bus to the start.  Everything is going as planned.  I feel totally relaxed as I ride the bus.  We had a 10 min ride, change buses,  and then a 30-40 min. ride up the canyon.  When we made the turn at mile 14, to go to the top of the canyon, the wind is blowing HARD! ......wasn't expecting that!    the day before was totally calm.  I quickly calm my nerves by telling myself , "I'm ready , the wind doesn't matter." 
Note to self !  

I represent Strength and Mental Toughness!

When we arrived at the top, the winds are calm and the weather is perfectly chilly for running.   (potty line, wait, potty line, go to start, shed the extra clothes, and ready to race)  The race oddly starts almost 15 minutes late.  (1st marathon out of 24 to start late)  Normally that would be no big deal, but at this race, Terri is meeting me at mile 14 to run with me - eeekkkk. 

Off and running, finally!  When I ran the St. George marathon in 2009 (my 1st BQ, my current PR race - 3:49), I used a weighted pace chart.  I enjoy technical running.  I think the concentration required to run different splits each mile serves me well in giving me something to focus on.  It also kept me from going out too fast which is crucial in running a good race at SGM.  I was happy and surprised when I googled "weighted pace chart TOU",  and I found a weighted pace chart.  The top of the pace chart has the following information:

"Top of Utah Marathon Pacing Matrix and Elevation Profile
In Advanced Marathoning, Pfitzinger and Douglas state that the optimal pacing strategy is to run at a relatively even effort, depending on the particular characteristics of the course. Surging will waste valuable glycogen (energy stores), and running slower than pace will force
you to make up for the lapse later. The Top of Utah Marathon course’s main characteric that controls pace is the downhill gradient of the first 2/3 of the course followed by the small rolling hills in the last 1/3. In The Lore of Running, Noakes describes studies that showed the
energy savings of running downhill to be about half of the enregy cost of running uphill at the equivalent gradient. The matrix below applies these principles and uses the TOU elevation profile to predict appropriate mile splits for an array of goal finish times. These splits take
into account elevation gain and loss for each mile, and will help TOU runners maintain an even effort over the varied terrain of the TOU course, and give guidelines to avoiding tactical pacing errors and to conserving glycogen.

My goal for the race was 3:44:59.  This is my BQ time, at my younger age bracket (40-44) which has remained as my recent goal. (for Boston purposes my age group is 45)  The pace chart offered 3:45 so I used that, and planned to run 4 seconds faster for each mile.   
As we head down the canyon, everything is perfect.  I haven't forgotten anything, (garmin, pace chart, ipod, gloves, race shoes, etc - check) and the weather is great.  low humidity running - Gotta Love It !  I intentionally start the first mile slower than the prescribed plan,  and then plan to get on pace starting with mile 2.

First half - 
slowest mile - Mile 1 - 8:40
 fastest mile - mile 8 -  8:11
13.1 - right around 1:50:05 ???

At mile 13, the crazy wind that we noticed on the bus was back, but get this - IT WAS AT OUR BACK!  Today is my day because I'm running downhill, and the wind is at my back.  SWEET!

At mile 14, Terri and Chad are waiting.  Terri is ready to run, Chad is taking pics.  I tell them about the race starting 15 minutes late, which they had already figured out by the pacing balloons.  We make the turn at mile 14, and head into the flat area of the course.   The wind quickly dies down.  I get a "Terri bounce" and the next few miles are fast - 8:08, 8:04, at some point Terri asks me about the pace.  She wanted to make sure I was aware of the fast pace.  I tell her that my plan was to wait until mile 16 and then make a move, but I was feeling great, so I was "going with it".  I tell her it's a gamble, but I'm willing to take the it.  8:02, 8:07, 8:20.  I stay well under the weighted pace chart until mile 23.
At 23 the "weighted" pace is 8:56, I ran this one at 9:09,
mile 24 - should have been 8:36, I ran it at 9:00
mile 25 - should have been 8:45, I ran it at 8:48
mile 26 - should have been 8:40, I ran it at 8:50

2nd half
slowest mile - Mile 23 - 9:09
 fastest mile - mile 16 - 8:02

I finish the race at 3:43:28. 
6 min PR  (BQ minus 11)
15 out of 78 in my age group (40-44)
Average heart rate - 152
Max Heart rate - 185 -  (almost blew up :) :) )  (220-44 = 176)
Garmin 26.4

(This course has a lot of turns which I knew from the pre-race ride.  In addition, the canyon part is constantly curving back and forth.  I came out of the canyon already .1 over and aggravated with that because I was focused,  and running the tangents.  I ended the day at 26.4 (which is almost 2 min. extra - urgh) 

Terri in pink shorts, Me in black 
Terri has been the BEST training partner this summer.  She's FUN, energetic, motivated, trains hard, and has BIG goals like me, and we are working hard to achieve them. We support each other,  and I was thrilled that she was there to share this day with me, and helping me.   I was so honored that she traveled from MS to help me finish strong.  She gave me the best encouraging and motivating comments along the way.
Thank You Terri ! 
We did it!  
We Celebrate!  Thank you Chad for supporting me. 
Ginny (me) & Terri
Kristi, me, and Terri
Oh Happy Day!

More post race thoughts and pics coming for part III


Tina @GottaRunNow said...

You make it sound easy, but I know it took a lot of training and mental toughness. Congrats on a huge PR!

HappyTrails said...

WooHoo - Nothing better than a PR!! Let's see, St George... Top of Utah... Maybe Ginny is a mountain girl after all ;-) Congratulations!!!

Lisa said...

Awesome job! And so nice to have training partners and others to support you :)

Love the "Ginny's part mountain goat" comment!!

Gracie said...

Wow, congratulations on the huge PR! And to think you trained over the summer for that! Great job and nice BQ!

Anonymous said...

Wow, you did everything right! Great training and even greater race execution!! Congrats!!

lindsay said...

wow! great job ginny! congrats on the PR and "old AG BQ" :) you executed the race very well.

Host PPH said...

I think that writing those words in your hand are a great idea because you always can keep them on mind.