There was genuine concern, going into this race, that I would not even finish. My training has been severely hampered by a case of the "WTFs!" and runs over 16 miles had been perilous for me.
I ran this race "blind". I put some black duct tape over my garmin so I would have my splits, but no idea what pace I was on. I actually really enjoyed this part of the race, it made me focus more on just putting one foot in front of the other.
Phase 1:Big Mountain (5:47,5:51,5:48,6:08) 2:22 behind last year
I ran these miles as slow as I could, frankly. This would normally be an ultra conservative start for me, but my legs were cramping up badly (as can be seen by the 6:08). I remember that the leaders had taken off and that a secondary pack had formed about 400m ahead of me.
Phase 2 Little Mountain(6:12,6:31,7:12,6:42) 2:15/4:37
Now going up little mountain my legs were cramping and my breathing was really struggling. The pack in front of me started to splinter and I kept myself going by picking off the stragglers. 4 in all. One guy, David Bishop, passed me on Little Mountain and I had no response. At the big switch back, I looked back and saw the lead woman along with many, many people. Up ahead were Bishop and the two remaining members of the original 2nd pack, running together.
Phase 3 The turnaround (5:51,6:30,5:56,6:05) 2:13/6:50
Going down the other side of little mountain, I finally got in a rhythm and started to feel like the "old me", but this didn't last long as I had to stop to tie my shoe. When I crouched down, it felt like I had already run a marathon and this kind of stinks because I'm was consciously being conservative. Going into the turnaround, I can see that Steve Anderson is probably 3 mins or so ahead of me. Then I see 4 people within striking distance: Rossy, Bishop and two other guys:Mr Neon and Mr Black.
Although I feel good at the turnaround I never regain my rhythm from before tying my shoe and that's that. The next couple of miles down Emigration canyon suck the life out of my. I pass Rossy, who is struggling due to his hamstring but I can't close the gap on the other 3 guys, although they are always in sight.
Phase 4 Emigration Canyon (6:12,6:17,6:17,6:28)2:18/9:08
Wow, this is awful. I'm pretty sure that I'm running about 8 min mile pace here, but that's clearly not true as I'm not being passed. However, I'm really wishing that I'd done more emigration canyon runs this year. Unfortunately, I focused more on running uphill than downhill.
I start to fall behind the guys I'm chasing, so I guess I'm not really chasing them just sort of trudging meekly along behind them. Right at the mouth of the canyon, Mr Black pops out of nowhere. He was probably tying his shoelace and not harming the watershed :). Anyway, I'm ahead of him only briefly before he takes off.
Phase 5 Wasatch/Foothill (6:33,6:59,6:34,6:57) 2:41/11:49
This is pretty uneventful other than I start to slow down/cramp up more and more. The people in front of me are getting further and further away, it seems inevitable that I'm going to get passed.
Phase 6 THE END (7:20,6:15,6:50,6:55,7:01,7:12,2:00 for last .3:garmin error) 3:11/15:00
Last year I fell apart a little at Mile 20. I see Mr Black's form start to deteriorate a little as we go up the little hill crossing Sunnyside. I push weakly up the hill and I'm close the gap, but I hear cheering behind me and look back to see Trent coming towards me. I decide that I want to pass Mr Black before Trent passes both of us so I push it a little and catch him. We go back and forth a bit for about 2 miles until finally Trent passes.
When Trent passes me I raise my pace just a bit to stay with him but when we turn on South Temple my legs are just too far gone for the steep grade. Trent gaps me quickly here and I start to struggle again. Finally, the downhill is done except for one block turning onto 3rd East. I feel like I'm running pitifully slowly. Way up ahead I can still see Trent and Mr Neon and they seem to be getting closer, but slowly. I put in one final effort and catch Mr Neon with about 600 meters to go and finish about 40 seconds behind Trent, which isn't bad seeing as he passed me in mile 22.
I didn't know what time I was going to get until I turned the final corner but I was unsurprised with the result, based on my position in the race.
This wasn't really a bad race for me, I'm just not in shape right now. I've had way more setbacks this year than I ever have. All I want to do right now is get back to training and racing. I take consolation in the fact that my splits mirrored the ones from last year which I think reflects the fact that I have been getting the miles in and my base hasn't totally deteriorated.