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St. George Marathon - Run


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St. George, Utah
United States
City of St. George
Sunny
Total Time = 4h 11m 10s
Overall Rank = 1868/3967
Age Group = F50-54
Age Group Rank = 40/127
Pre-race routine:

Background / Race Goals / Expectations

This ended up on my calendar as a racecation event. My husband is a mountain biker and this summer, he did a trip to ride the Grand Canyon rim trail. He wanted to ride in St. George when he was on that trip but the trip was in June and his research indicated that was a terrible time to ride in the Mojave desert -- just too hot. He asked me if there were any events in that area that I wanted to do and I signed up for this. My goal was to have fun and finish within 4:15.

Logistics

Flight to Vegas on Thursday. We can easily fly to Las Vegas from Raleigh. Flying into St. George is another story. I met some folks from the DC area that were able to get an inexpensive direct fly to St. George so your mileage may vary.

We picked up a rental car and made the 2 hour drive to St. George.

Stayed at Best Western Coral Hills on St. George street. This was walking distance to the bus/finish line and walking distance to some restaurants. The hotel was serviceable and hand a nice pool (well, nice enough that we used it every day) and a good location. Fancier digs could probably be had along the highway.

Food: I would recommend Bear Paw Coffee Company for post race breakfast, Perk coffee stand, and Vuduu Pizza (it’s thin crust, if you like thicker crust, consider other options). The bread twists at The Pizza Company were good, I just wish they used the same dough in their crust. The pizza there was disappointing. Even Stevens was fine as well.

Harmon’s grocery store was very nice. I actually think that I could probably have just eaten there! They had a coffee bar with a nice looking searing area and they may have also had a cafe.

Friday

AM - I did an easy run while Kevin mountain biked (https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/4091943/hurricane-rim-loop-imba-epic)

Then we had a late lunch at The Pizza Company (it was only OK) and went to the expo. At the expo, we checked out the vendors and I picked up my packet. I also clarified the start info since the notices said something like line up by your number. In reality, you just line up where you want. Then we went back to the hotel, hung around at the pool and got a light dinner at Even Stevens (roasted chicken sandwich). I hydrated all day. I was concerned about the dryness which was a huge change from the humidity of North Carolina.

Early to bed...
Event warmup:

3:45 wake up call

Breakfast of bagel with PB (ate 3/4 of the bagel), banana, cold brew, water with Nuun.

Left on the bus to the starting line at 4:15. Was on the bus by 4:30. Was at the start line sometime between 5:00 and 5:15.

When we got off the bus, there was already a race announcer going and volunteer handing out space blankets and gloves. They also had coffee, hot chocolate, bananas, etc. at the start area in Central, UT (elevation 5,216 feet) where it was much cooler than St. George itself (elevation 2,860 feet) and much much much windier -- like had to hold the space blanket with both hands to keep it from blowing away. The start area was a 2-3 lane highway -- UT18 -- with wide packed sand/dirt areas on each side. On one side, there were more than a dozen bonfires and on the other side, a very long line of port a pots. I swear some people were hiding out in them to get away from the wind (some doors simply never opened!)

Weather: It was clear and 41°F (feels like 35°F) and windy at the start in Central and it was in the low 60s and sunny when I finished. I ran in shorts and a short sleeved shirt with my race belt. I had some Cluf Shot Bloks before the start and a Gu every four miles starting at mile five. They had water every two miles starting at mile 3 and then water every mile starting at 21.

I had on throwaway sweatpants, a full zip hoodie, a trash bag vest and the space blanket I grabbed after getting off the bus. I also had some cheapo magic gloves and long boot socks with me.

Time went pretty quickly. I used the port a loos and sat by a fire and generally tried to stay warm. After they called for us to put our gear in the gear bags that would be transported to the start area for us, I gave in and shoved the hoodie into the bag, put the socks on my arms and donned the gloves. I hit the port a pot one last time, they played the national anthem, I quickly went to the side and chucked my sweatpants, space blanket, boot sock arm warmers and trash bag vest (but kept the magic gloves, which I wore until about the second mile and then tossed to the side of the road) and found a spot between the 4:05 pace group and the 4:20 pace group. The wheelchair and handcrank racers started at 4:40 and the runners started promptly at 4:45. I was over the start line about two minutes later. (Note that the runners instructions said line up by your number but we just self seeded.)

Run
  • 4h 11m 10s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 35s  min/mile
Comments:

Downhill in the dark -- race start at 6:45 with sunrise at 7:30

Sunrise was beautiful as the light reflected off the mountains and rock outcroppings. The soft morning light made the landscape really beautiful.

Pee break sometime around mile 5 or 6 despite the 37 times that I went to the bathroom before the race started. Maybe I was overly concerned about the dry conditions?

Veyo hill - There is a steep (5 and 6% uphill grade) section between 7.8 and 8.9 -- 1.1 mile at 5.2% It levels out to a more reasonable 2% and then flattens by mile 9 or so before turning downhill again near mile 12.

Race starts at mile 13, tried to negative split this sucker and did -- just barely.

A lot of people took advantage of the spectator viewing area at Snow Canyon State Park near mile 15. This was the first time that we saw a lot of people.

Pee break at mile 16 or so. Yes, again.

More and more spectators were out as we approached St. George. There were people on the bridge and along the road at the interchange for The Ledges. Once we got to Bluff Street, there were more and more spectators.

What would you do differently?:

Not have to pee during the race. More prep for quads -- more wall squats, etc.
Post race
Warm down:

Great post race setup in a park.

Event comments:

Do your hill training! This is 75% or more downhill but also 25% uphill and not all of that is at a gentle grade.

When looking at the race day forecast, check the weather for Central, UT or use an app like Epic Ride Weather to predict your start/end weather conditions.

Look at the route in Ride with GPS or similar. The map the race site provides does not show the 6% grade of the Veyo hill. With the info in a GPS mapping app, you can more easily plan for your race.

This is a great event if you like magnificent splendor but a poor choice if you want crowds along the entire course. The expo is good for a mid size event. This was the 43rd edition of the event and they have the organization down. They said they are the 16th largest marathon in the country.



Profile Album


Last updated: 2019-04-01 12:00 AM
Running
04:11:10 | 26.2 miles | 09m 35s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/127
Overall: 0/3967
Performance:
Course:
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall:
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Evaluation
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

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2019-10-18 9:52 AM

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Master
8159
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Raleigh, NC area
Subject: St. George Marathon


2019-10-18 6:54 PM
in reply to: #5263419

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Royal(PITA)
14262
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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: St. George Marathon

That was some serious climbing grades! Great way to stay at your goal pace!!

2019-10-20 2:33 PM
in reply to: #5263419

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Master
6726
5000100050010010025
Orlando
Subject: RE: St. George Marathon

Great race and great write up! We stayed at that BW on our way out of the area after the Zion HM, it's nothing special, but it is clean and not spendy, so I liked it! 

Congrats on making your goal time ! I imagine Kevin had a good time too.

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