Marathon Training and the Big 2-0

I woke up and opened my email.  I always do a quick scan of senders but any time there is one from “St. George Marathon” it gets my immediate attention.

It was from the race director, Kami Elsworth reminding runners that we are  a mere one month and eighteen days away from the race.  My heart skipped two beats, somehow in my head saying six weeks sounds so much longer than one month and eighteen days.

As race day approaches, it’s a relief to have the twenty mile training run crossed off my list.  Yesterday my friends and I met dark and early at Vernon Worthern Park where the race will end.  My friend’s mom was willing to wake up early and drive us up the course, she does this at least once a year and it always makes me so grateful for the people who love and support us runners.  My plan was to take the first 9 easy, tempo for 10, and cool down for the last mile.  It doesn’t always happen but this run went as planned.

Here we are a few miles beyond Veyo hill.  We stopped to soak up the sunrise.

Here we are a few miles beyond Veyo hill. We stopped to soak up the sunrise.

It was at about this place in the marathon last year that a man yelled for no one in particular but for everyone to hear, “I thought this marathon was all downhill!”  The St. George Marathon is not an all downhill course.  Veyo is a monster hill ( my pace was a 9:29 running up it) and then it’s followed with eight-ish more miles of rolling hills.  This is the toughest section of the course for me, it just feels long.  It meant so much to get to run those mentally hard miles yesterday with my friend Courtney.  She is the type of person who radiates goodness and passes on positivity and encouragement to everyone.  She shared this wisdom with me, “The potential for greatness lies within all of us, our “greats” may look different, but our common pursuit of it strengthens us and unites us. ”  On race day I will go back to that moment, where a friend took the time to build me up with powerful words and draw on that good energy as I pursue my “great.”

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This is a happier place on the course.  It’s just above Snow Canyon at about mile seventeen.  This is where I began my tempo and where the downhill advantage of the course can be felt.  The downhill is great for helping you get the miles times you want but it takes a toll on your body.  This is because of DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness), which is caused by microscopic muscle damage from eccentric muscle contractions.  Your quad muscles contract with downhill running to resist the pull of gravity and keep your knees from buckling.  If you are training for the St. George Marathon be sure to have hill repeats as part of your training.

Vernon Worthen Park.  The finish line of the St. George Marathon.

Vernon Worthern Park. The finish line of the St. George Marathon.

I usually don’t run the three miles through town to the marathon finish line but I’m so glad I did.   I was running solo at that point and it was the perfect opportunity to reflect and visualize how the run will be different on race day.  I visualized the last three speedy miles, the friendly faces of strangers, friends, and family cheering runners on.  The music blasting in my ears, the sweat dripping down my face, my muscles aching, and my lungs burning but believing  knowing that my “great” is possible-and so is yours.  Less than one month and eighteen days away.  Happy running friends!

 

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