June 11, 2011

Utah Valley Marathon

Keeping it together at the 25 mile mark

Today was a great, great day for us. The Utah Valley Marathon & Half was the capstone of our spring season. This was my marathon debut, and it was probably the most competitive field Andrea has raced against all year. If you've followed the blog, our recent races and workouts have shown that we were primed and ready for this.

The short story is that Andrea led wire-to-wire in the half-marathon and won the race in 1:17:54!!! In the marathon, I had the race of my life and ran 2:21:47 to take fourth place, which I am extremely happy about. Andrea took home $500 for her efforts (along w/ another watch and what appears to be a replica of the Stanley Cup), and I won $300. A nice payday... but what's even better is that after today, qualifying for the Olympic Trials Marathon seems like a much more tangible goal for both of us. At least in 2016. The 2012 trials might be pushing it... but who knows?! :-)

We'll get some more photos from that race up in a few days. For now, here are our race reports...

Andrea: (full report from her Fast Run Blog)

YAY!!!!! What a great day.

I woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the buses that took us to the start. I was relieved to not wake up hungry, meaning that I ate plenty yesterday (must've been the Moose Tracks ice cream). The ride up was good - I sat by a super nice lady and we chatted. The staging area had tons of fires to keep everyone warm. The next hour went by pretty slow...I didn't know anyone around so I just sat quietly. I did a short 1 mile warm-up and my legs were feeling great.

When we lined up for the start, I didn't realize that I was standing RIGHT next to the guy that shot the gun. That came as a surprise! Oh well - we were off. There was a lead pack of about 5-6 guys that created a quick gap on the rest of the crew. The first 2 miles were pretty downhill, so I ran what I felt was half marathon effort (5:54, 5:56). That was a good feeling! The third mile was all uphill so I came in that mile at 6:15 - exactly what I expected.

Now all I had to do was cruise the downhill until a short hill at mile 11. There were two guys running together about 25 yards ahead of me. The next few miles I just tried to stay in check with them. Miles 4, 5, 6, 7 were 5:39, 5:45, 5:56, 5:55 respectively. Those miles flew by...miles go by so much faster when you're running faster (who would've thought?!).

Miles 8 and 9 were uneventful with times of 6:01 and 5:56. I started to feel the pace at mile 10. This is not surprising because the downhill gradient was less steep and I was going much faster than my goal pace (6:05/mile). I hit 10 in 6:10 and knew that I needed to pick it up and start racing. I passed one guy which lifted the spirits a bit. The next mile had a short hill, hence the 6:07. I was a little disappointed in the cheering for this section - people watching would just look at me and not say anything at all! It was kinda weird.

Anyways, I hit my goal pace in 6:04 for mile 12 and really tried to pick it up for the end. 5:45 last mile with :31 finish! I saw 100m away and knew I could break 1:18. Finished with a total time of 1:17:52. That's 2 minutes faster than my goal time and 4 minutes faster than my PR set a month ago. I honestly had no idea who was behind me or how far behind me they were because I did not see a girl after the very start of the race, but I think second place was 20 seconds slower.

The race was great overall - perfect temperature, VERY well run by the race director, every mile marker was right on, aid stations and bathrooms everywhere. I was super impressed. The only thing I really wish was better - the massages! I think it was more of a soft pet than a massage :o)

I took a shower then ran to watch Jake race. I was getting nervous about his race, but WOW he was running so fast with a mile to go and ran in 2:21:47. What a marathon debut.

I was very happy to put some names to faces today from people on the blog. Everyone is so nice and friendly - can't wait to see you for more races!

We got Dairy Queen after the race. Nothing like a large dip cone in celebration!

Jake: (full report from my Fast Run Blog)

The short story: Marathon debut, 2:21:46, negative split (71:10 / 70:36), and actually ran a half-marathon PR for the second half of the race.

The long version: Today was a most excellent day. It was fun and rewarding and just felt damn good to run fast. I've put in a lot of miles this winter in an effort to get myself back to a competitive level of running. Four to five months ago my goal for this race was to get to the starting line healthy and run under 2:37 (~6 min pace). As the spring (or endless winter) progressed, consistency was the name of the game, and my fitness steadily improved. A week after running a half-marathon PR at the Provo City Half, I did a 13 mile tempo that told me I had jumped to a new level. For the last 3 weeks leading up to UVM, my workouts were fantastic, and I felt great pretty much every single day as I tapered down the mileage. I knew I was ready for a special run today. My goal was to run ~1:13 for the first half and then negative split... but even with that objective in mind and realizing that the marathon is a long race that deserves a lot of respect, my real "plan" was to run without any external or internal limits... to just go out there, lay my cards down, and let it happen... I woke up almost every hour last night hoping it was finally 3:30am and time to get going.

Now to the race... perfect temps at the start, cool and dry. Bryant Jensen and the 2 Kenyans separated right from the gun, I hung back in the second pack w/ Paul, Dave, Clyde, and Sasha. The first mile felt super easy (5:47). We picked it up a bit on the second mile (5:29) but it was still conversational. The gap to the lead pack was getting big, so Paul and I took off a bit after 2 miles. Mile 3-5 were 4:59, 5:17, 5:23. Paul kept increasing the pace so I let him go, realizing I was going at a nice tempo at that point. Mile 6 was 5:15, then we hit the rolling hills for miles 7-9 (5:32, 5:31, 5:44). The next mile was back to5:15 for a ten mile split of 54:16. A little faster than planned, but I was feeling great, despite running alone since the ~5.5 miles.

Miles 11-13 were 5:25, 5:36, 5:23. I passed one of the Kenyans at the 12 mile marker and moved into 4th place. Came through the half-marathon in 1:11:10. Faster than I thought I would, but I was feeling great, and the plan was to run with no limits, right? I knew that unless one of the guys ahead of me really blew up, they weren't coming back, and nobody from behind was going to catch me, so I focused on running my own race.

Miles 14-20 were 5:28, 5:23, 5:37 (uphill the whole way, I was actually really happy about this split), 5:22, 5:16, 5:24, 5:15. Twenty miles in 1:48:31, and that means my ten mile splits were 54:16 / 54:15. Very consistent. Miles 21-22 were 5:22, 5:17. Now I'm starting to feel it a bit. Not really in my legs, but in my TOES! I could feel a couple blisters coming at about 16 miles. Now they were hurting pretty bad, but nothing I couldn't fight through. Miles 23-24 were 5:26, 5:37 (hill). Hurting a bit but keeping it together... For the last few miles I started thinking "keep every mile under 5:30, and break 2:23"... Mile 25 was5:21. Back on track. Andrea was at this point and cheered me on. Put the pedal down a bit and ran 5:13 for the 26th mile. I'm trying to do the math in my head... can I possibly get under 2:22?... when I hit the final chute I saw 2:21-something on the clock, then put my head down, and just absolutely went for it. The crowd was great, and anyone that saw the finish can attest that I was probably the most excited 4th place finisher of all-time! Ran 57 seconds for the final 0.2, almost tripping over my own feet as I was pumping my fists, and came in at 2:21:46. The second half of the race was 1:10:36, which is the fastest half-marathon I've ever run.

I had to take my shoes off as soon as I finished, so I just sat down on the ground and waited for Andrea to come find me. Needless to say, my excitement doubled when she told me that she won the half-marathon! As happy as I've been about my improvement curve over the past 6 months, I'm even more stoked for her... and I honestly mean it when I say that there's no way that I would been able to run so well today without her day-to-day support.

This race feels good in a lot of ways. I'm sure I'll have a better perspective on it in the next few days. For now I'm just going to enjoy it and not try to over-analyze it. I put in the miles, did smart workouts, had fun doing it, and executed a great race today.

It was great to finally meet a bunch of you guys today. Hopefully Andrea and I will see you at a lot more races in the future. I also want to thank Hyrum and the UVM staff for putting on an excellent event... every detail was covered and very professionally done.

Now we're going to take a few easy weeks, ski, bike, hike, and let the bodies re-charge.

The next marathon is going to be Philadelphia in November. Goal time... TBD :-) ...but if I've learned anything about myself in the last few months as I've built up towards this race, its that I'm not putting any limits on what I'm capable of.

Andrea in the homestretch

Start and finish of the half marathon

Jake at around 15-16 miles

Happy to get those shoes off!

Andrea on top of the podium for the women's half-marathon

New ice cream bowl?

Marathon podium. Hillary and Paul (the top 2 guys) have run 2:16 and 2:17, respectively, so it was a high quality field.

Post race at Dairy Queen. I usually say that "Miles make champions"... but sometimes I think maybe the key to our success is all the ice cream we eat! :-)

Full Results

Here's a video that Allie Scott put together... Andrea comes in just after the 50 second mark.. winning marathon is at 2:10, and I'm at 2:40


  1. I'll comment here and save the time of posting on your respective FRB blogs. Congrats to both of you. I've been following your training and knew what you guys had planned (roughly, obviously, I'm no stalker). Amazing that you ran a negative split by that much on that course. Seriously cool. I hope you enjoy the next few weeks. I would say I'd like to see you out on the trails, but unfortunately I'm in full taper mode as I prep for Laramie. Enjoy the down-time.

  2. You two are amazing. Thanks for the inspiration. Congratulations on your races!


    another anonymous "stalker" of your blog

  3. You two are amazing! Seriously the one half-marathon I've run, I was happy to finish in like TWICE the amount of time as you Andrea! Way to go guys!

  4. Good stuff guys. No surprises on your awesome performances. Maybe 2016 is the focus, but (again), 2012 trials are clearly within reach. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Nick - my high school coach texted me and told me "Strike while the iron is hot." I'm definitely planning to give the OTQ my best shot this fall. If it doesn't happen, it wouldn't be the end of the world, but I really believe I can do it.