Monday, September 16, 2013

Pocatello Marathon Race Report and Video

After our quick visit to Salt Lake we drove north for about 3 hours to Pocatello, Idaho. We checked into the host hotel, which was also where the expo was located. Since this wasn’t a very large race the expo was pretty small. The pick up was easy and included a very nice Adidas gear bag, and best of all, a 5 lbs. of Idaho potatoes! After the expo we headed out for lunch at the Portneuf Valley Brewery. We were meeting some friends of mine and I was very excited. I have known Carolee and Doug for about 10 years through an online fitness group but have never met them in person. What a treat. The beer was delicious as well. After lunch we were pretty much at a loss as to what to do. We should have planned a bit better and went to one of the local hot springs. Dinner was at an Italian Restaurant in a gas station and tasted about as good as you could expect it to taste. 

It was an early start for race day with a 5 am bus up a mountain to the start in the pitch black darkness. The buses were nice motor coaches and all the runners were very chatty. We get to the top of the mountain and we get off at a farm. I had the most pleasant port o potty experience of my racing career. Super clean, smelled wonderful and had a nice tile floor. They had a runner sing the National Anthem and fired a gun to start the race. The gun scared the crap out of me, as I wasn’t expecting it and it got my heart pumping early. 
The course started at an elevation of 6,000 feet and would drop down to 4,500 feet by mile 13. I knew I didn’t want to go flying down the mountain and beat myself up so I tried to hold back. I started slow and started running with another Marathon Maniac, Mary. She was great to talk to and made the first few miles go quickly. I was a bit concerned as I am pretty sure we were last and I was surprised my pace wasn’t faster. We were right around 12:35-12:45. I was worried about the effect of the higher elevation on me. The course was beautiful as the sun was coming up over the mountains all around you. The horses up on steep hillsides were amazing to me. I wasn’t feeling too bad and the foot felt great. I think the constant downhill was good for it as I wasn’t constantly pounding on my heel. Dave was doing his typical astounding job of following me on the course. He was doing so well that it was getting a bit embarrassing. 

I made it to the halfway point and ran into another Maniac, Ed. He is running a marathon in all 50 states as well. Barefoot! He is doing it to raise awareness for kids who don’t have shoes (supporting Soles 4 Souls). I had a lot of fun with him for a few miles. This was where I fell in love with marathoning again. I realized how lucky I was to run in these beautiful parts of the country and to run with some really amazing people. 

Unfortunately that feeling didn’t last and I got to mile 18 and just got tired, hot and thirsty. It was definitely more mental than physical. I just gave up. We were on a long open road that just went on for as long as you could see. I really need to work on my mental game from miles 16-20. This is where I give up my pace and start saying I can just walk from here and make it in. Then I get to Mile 20 and get reenergized and speed back up. I need more consistency. 

The same thing happened in this race. I got to Mile 20 and felt better. My mood improved and I started battling back. I wanted to finish under 6 hours. I almost missed it because Dave distracted me with a beer at Mile 24, but I persevered! The foot was bothering me now that I was on the flat section of the course. It was also getting warm. Thankfully there was no humidity but the temperatures were climbing into the high 80’s with no shade. I finally made it to the finish area and saw the finish line. I ran it in and made my “goal” of under 6 hours. 5:57. Whew. 

The medal was nice and post race area was good if you wanted a substantial meal. They had pulled pork sandwiches and a baked potato bar. I can’t stomach that right at the end, but I did have an ice cold beer. 

The Pocatello Marathon was a first class event for such a small town and the size of the field. I am glad I chose this one for the state of Idaho and I’d recommend it highly. Now it’s time to work on miles 16-20.
Here's our video from the race, followed by Dave's comments.

Dave's Comments

There were good reasons the race organizers discouraged spectators at the start line.  It was pitch black out there with no street lights.  I was wondering about bobcat danger.   The race was also on a 2-lane lane road open to traffic.  It was in the runner's best interest that I wasn't there.   After the start of the race I lingered around for a few minutes to give them lead-time before driving through them.   It didn't take too long until I hit a few groups of runners taking up all the road and decided not to pass them.   So I inched my way along the course.  It was cold for the first part of the morning, but then became tolerable.  During the race I ended up becoming the personal photographer for a group of women running together.   The first snack opportunity was a Sinclair gas station at mile 15 - good thing I self provisioned.....  I had fun on this course because there was a lot of pretty scenery and high desert landscape is new to me.  Took lots of pictures.   I was maybe one of 10 spectators I saw on the course until the finish area.  Overall a pretty fun morning - especially getting the beer at mile 24 - if that bar was in my town I'd never go into it.  But the bartender and one client were very nice and showed a sense of pride in their town when I told them how many people from across the country travel to Pocatello for their race.

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