Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Top of Utah Marathon Recap - Sub 3, Sub 3!!

I wrote a full report of the Top of Utah Marathon on my training blog and since my parents don't know how to find that one I decided I need to copy paste it onto this blog.  Plus I love this little blog and really want to start utilizing it more.  I am currently in the quest for a new at home computer (sadly I'm without one for the time being) and as soon as I get one I will be updating more often.  I've received so many questions about my training, ect and I'd really like to strive to be a better resource to the running community.

Before the report I need to thank a few people that I'm not sure I've had the opportunity (or can ever come close to repaying with all the ice cream in the universe) to thanking enough!

My many mentors.  Jake and Andrea who blog at Wasatch & Beyond are not only my running idols but also quite likely the nicest people I know.  They have truly both taken me under their wings and literally taught me how to run.  Their support, friendship, and constant encouragement has truly molded me into the runner and person I have become.  I also have to thank Allie who went out of her way to give me all of the details about the TOU course and always had the confidence in me that I was capable of that elusive sub-3!


Allie on the left and Jake in the middle.  Jake not only won the race in a smoking fast time of 2:22 he came back to watch me finish and cheer me in the final stretch!  Seriously awesome! 

My Mom.  This lady is just amazing and as I got thinking about it last night I truly don't think she's missed a single race.  She's traveled to Moab, St. George, Mt. Pleasant, Nephi, ect...literally everywhere I go whether it be to race a marathon or speak at a charity event she has been there right by my side.  Her love and support mean the world to me.


My family.  Seriously they just rock and I don't know what else to say but I do know that without their constant support and encouragement I would not be where I am today.  One of my favorite moments of Saturday's race that I will cherish forever is when I crossed the finish line and my sister had tears streaming down her face.  It was just such a special moment.  Any runner knows that being a runner supporter is the hardest job in running and it is truly the supporters that deserve the medal at the end of the race.


All of you.  So many of you through your comments, facebook posts, words of encouragement, ect helped me on Saturday.  Sometimes I feel almost undeserving of all of the support I get through the blogging & social media community and I just want you to know that I do not take any of the support for granted.  I am so appreciative for every single person that has supported me throughout my training and along this journey.

The quick stats for those that don't have 12 years to read this full report.
Finish time:  2:58:45
5th place female
37th overall finisher

Now onto my race report with some pictures thrown into the mix. 

I went into this race quite frankly not exactly knowing what to expect. When I would tell someone who hasn't seen my training my current PR was 3:12 and I thought I might be capable of breaking 3 just three months later they would laugh in my face. But the truth is I (and those that have seen my training) knew that it was absolutely possible. Sure it was scary and maybe a risk but after I read Jake's quote on Friday "If you live cautiously, friends will call you wise, you just won't move any mountains" it really resonated with me and I realized that I really had nothing to lose. I could go out cautiously and just run a PR or I could compete for top 5 and go for sub-3....I wanted to compete!

Now onto the race. I rode up to the top on one of the later busses with my friend Janice and Smooth was on my bus as well. Such a fun ride up with no real talk about running. Just chatting about life, family, ect...perfect distraction. Once we got to the top I noticed it was about 6:40 and I only had 20 min. No problem. Quick porta potty stop and then down to the start line. In the rush to get to the start I accidently threw my iPod in my drop bag...oh well no big deal I run w/o music all the time and really only brought it as a crutch that hopefully I wouldn't need. I have to admit that the start line was incredibly intimidating to me standing there amongst an entire plethora of amazing runners. I felt out of place but Jake was good to calm me down and tell me I was running completely under the radar and people were in for a surprise today. That gave me the little boost of confidence I needed and I oddly felt relaxed.



From the start I positioned myself with a group of people that indicated they were going for sub-3. Perfect maybe I would have a little pack to work with. The pack would not last long but it was beneficial while it lasted. I started out as 7th female which seemed like a good position. My plan was to run 100% based on effort. I am very good at pacing myself and knew exactly what effort level I was going for. The first 5 mile splits 6:36, 6:38, 6:37, 6:43, 6:45. By mile 5 I had moved to 5th place female and I was bound and determined to hold this position. Everything felt easy my breathing was completely controlled and I was running consistent and just enjoying the canyon. Fall leaves and perfect temps!

Miles 6-10 I ran with Ryan from Boise. He had a PR of 2:58 and our paces were matching perfectly. I thought maybe we could work together the entire race. I got to know him quite well over the next 4-5 miles and both of us were running very relaxed. 6:46, 6:42, 6:27, 6:35, 6:42. I never once tried to figure out splits but Ryan indicated that we were averaging 6:41 pace up until this point.  Unfortunately Ryan dropped back right before mile 11 and the rest of the race would basically become a solo effort. Miles 11-halfway point 6:40, 6:27, 6:22. From memory I think I hit the halfway clock right at 1:27:38. I saw James at the halfway point aid station and was concerned. He reassured me that he was okay and that I looked incredibly strong. His encouragement was a great boost and after basically running a new half marathon PR in the marathon I carried on feeling pretty darn good! The theme of the race for me yesterday was relax. Don't try to strategize, overanalyze, or questions yourself....just relax and run!

And with that I just kept running by myself down the canyon. How could there be 3,000 runners in this race and I am all by myself? There was an awesome tailwind through miles 11-15ish and I literally felt like I was flying. It was fun! Miles 14 and 15 came in at 6:14, 6:27. Seeing the first cheering section at mile 14 was a huge boost and I was feeling great. I really love this section of the race but it was also at mile 15 that my feet started burning. I knew this was coming but I was hoping it wouldn't present itself with 11 miles to go in the race. Crud! To make a long story short I run on my toes when running downhill/uphill and have metetarsalgia. I wore inserts and was hoping they would be enough to protect my feet but alas they were not. I am used to running through this but knew I needed to slow my pace and lighten my landing if I wanted to finish this race.



Physically I still felt great but I slowed down my pace through miles 16-20. 6:49, 6:46, 6:46, 7:03, 7:11. I had a biker pass me at mile 16 and she told me I looked way strong. I told her my feet were on fire and asked if she had any Motrin. She said she would ride up to the aid station at mile 17 and see if they had any. Thank you random biker! She road back to me and told me they had it ready for me. I was so incredibly excited to see my cousin Travis when I ran into mile 17. He was ready with my 1 200 mg Motrin and a bottle of Gatorade. Travis ran with me for a half mile and was incredibly encouraging. I thanked him, took one more swig of Gatorade and carried on. At mile 18 I was shocked to see my family. I was not expecting them until mile 20 and this was such a pleasant surprise. My feet were absolutely killing me and as I flew passed them I shouted IB profin 800, IB profin 800! The 200 mg was great but I knew it was not going to cut it. The hills through miles 18-20 that I didn't even notice when I paced the half were definitely apparent this time around. With my feet killing me at this point I just kept reminding myself to relax. I just needed to relax!


Out of some freak miracle my parents had 1 IB profin 800 in their car and handed it to me at mile 20. I fumbled and dropped it but knew it was worth losing seconds to turn back and grab it. I quickly swallowed the IB profin and carried on. My family was seriously awesome and basically met me at every single mile until the end of the race. This was huge as still with the exception of about 2 guys I kept leap frogging I was still running solo! Miles 21-23 were probably the toughest of the race for me. 6:49, 7:02, 7:19. My feet were just really bothering me and every step hurt. I knew I would be okay once the ib profin kicked in and just had to mentally distract myself from the pain. My Mom road her bike with me for a little bit during miles 21 and 22. She was encouraging but kept getting in my way and was having a hard time keeping up so it was decided that she needed to just go back to the car. I'm told from my Sister and Dad it was quite comical watching her try to keep up with me. They were both laughing hysterically when I ran into mile 22 about 1 minute ahead of her. haha leave it to my family to find something funny about the last 6 miles of a marathon. Seeing them laugh helped me to relax and I just started laughing too and thanked them for being there. Love my family!

My feet felt much better the last 3 miles once the medicine kicked in but I realized for the first time that my quads were shot. Every little incline hurt but one thing never changed for me in this race and that was consistency. My legs were locked into the effort at this point and baring a catastrophe I was not slowing down! Miles 23-26 paces were 7:06, 6:58, 7:00.  I saw my family for the last time at mile 24 and thanked them again for the support as I ran towards main street.  The little hill at the end of mile 24 looked intimidating but once I got to it it really wasn't so bad and was over before I knew it.  It was after I reached the top of the hill and the 25 mile aid station that I realized that sub-3 was not only possible but it was going to happen.  I was overwhelmed with confidence and just kept telling myself to relax and finish strong!  I was not going to be satisfied with 5th place female I wanted sub-3!! 




The last 2 miles of this race are hard, daunting and painful but I was so incredibly focussed.  I dedicated mile 25 to a girl from my hometown who was recently in a terrible car accident and paralyzed.  Whenever my quads would scream I would remind them how grateful I am that I can feel them and I ran for Sam.  The last mile was all for Trevor.  The pain was intense but I managed to pass two guys in this mile and oddly still felt relaxed.  I kept wondering where in the heck the finish line was?  It is totally a blind turn there at the end and I was way to focussed on running to look at my garmin so I didn't know where I was time wise until I saw the clock.  Jake & Andrea were there cheering for me.  Jake told me to get up on my toes (yes I heard that), Andrea told me I was going to get 2:59 and to push it, My Mom was screaming, My Dad and Sister were waiting right at the finish line and I was bawling like a freaking baby!  And now I am bawling again as I relive the moment.  Had I seriously just broke not only sub-3 but sub-2:59 with time to spare?  I was elated and just so incredibly proud!  I had medics come jumping up to me at the finish because I had tears streaming down my face but I assured them I had absolutely never been better!  What an incredibly journey! No pace band or strategic pacing plan just good hard consistant running!  24 hours after the race I am still smiling and everything still feels extremely surreal to me.





It was exciting to talk to people after the race and hear how well everyone had run.  Jake running a solo effort and winning his first marathon!  So deserving and so happy for him.  4 girls breaking 2:55?  What?  Wow just some amazing runners out there and so cool to say I was in the top 5!  After the race we walked up to my Grandma's house .25 mi from the park and then went back for the awards ceremony.  I was so excited to place 5th. 



  I can't believe I just started running when I was 23 and ran my first sub-7 minute 5k about a year ago and now a year later I ran a sub-7 minute marathon!  I am not saying this to boast myself or because I think I'm awesome but because I am proof that a lot of hardwork, smart training, and dedication combined with a whole lot of heart truly pay off!

Congratulations if you made it to the end of this report and thanks again for the continued support!

27 comments:

  1. I read you report on your training blog and was so impressed. You work so hard and it is so awe inspiring to see how far someone can go with determination. My training goals have changed over the last few months, but I know when I get back into it that I'll be able to still achieve new heights- I know this because of watching you. Thank you!

    I loved the mental picture of seeing your sister crying at the finish- sisters are the greatest!

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  2. Oh my goodness!! You are amazing!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are such an inspiration.

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  3. What an amazing race! You captured the emotions so well in your writing! I am so happy for you. I knew when I first met you that you were capable of incredible things but you have freaking blown me away! You are an elite marathoner. So very cool! And I loved that you dedicated some of the toughest miles to those you love. Congrats!

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  4. You are freaking AWESOME!!! I read every single word, and could have kept right on reading. What an accomplishment. I can only inagine the high you are still feeling! YAY!!!

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  5. So great! Congrats. I love your finish picture...that's how I invisioned mine at my first half....not the case. I was seriously dragging about to pass out. I think I was low on salt or whatever. I was so pathetic looking. Luckily nobody took a pic of that moment. :) I'm happy for you!

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  6. all i needed to see what that face. that smile. It says it all. You are amazing! Way to go!

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  7. I seriously read every word. I have been waiting for this recap for days...guys I wasn't aware or missed out on your other blog. I was crying at the end with you just thinking about the overwhelming emotion of such an AMAZING accomplishment. I know how overwhelmed I was when I just finished my first marathon, I can't imagine what this feels like. You worked so hard and accomplished something most runners only dream about!!! I have to say when I saw you post the 2:58 time I couldn't believe it and was kind of surprised you were only 5th!! There were definitely some great runner out there, but you were right there among them. And it couldn't happen to a sweeter more honest person! You are always so positive and upbeat! Congrats Rachelle you are a FREAKING ROCKSTAR!!!!

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  8. I don't know if I've ever commented before, but I've been following your blog, and you are SO amazing! (I'm in UT too). This report was awesome - I almost teared up at the end imaging the emotions you must have felt. Congrats, congrats, congrats. That is simply amazing and I'm so happy for you!

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  9. FREAKING AMAZING!!!! I read this recap - three times. :) Those last few photos show so much pride and happiness. When you were standing up there getting your award, I was telling my dad all about you! So freaking exciting.

    I started running not to long ago too... and following you and your running really makes me believe that I can achieve 'crazy' goals I have for myself!! I would love to read posts about your training/nutrition/etc.

    BTW you are going to have to keep that one arm warmer up, one arm warmer down trend up for all future PR's :):):)

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  10. i snuck over and read your recap the other night and loved it but honestly i feel like the pics dont even need words. they are unbelievably telling with all the genuine emotion and amazingness! you work so hard and earned every single step on saturday! beyond proud of you!

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  11. I love the finish line pictures! That is pure joy right there. Congratulations on an amazing race and a top 5 finish. You should be so, so proud of all your hard work! I can't even imagine what a Sub-3 marathon feels like!

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  12. Congratulations on your surreal acheivement!! What an amazing testimony to the power of love and discipline. I hope you enjoy the high of finishing sub three for a long time. The JOY on your face is indescribable :)

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  13. Oh my gosh Rachelle, those pictures brought tears to my eyes. So happy for you!!! I was running with Julia when she got the text that said you got sub-3... amazing!!!

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  14. You are so awesome!! I loved reading this and totally choked up reading it to my husband! What an inspiration you are to so many people!!

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  15. Rachelle I'm just so proud of you. Seeing you finish was such an amazing moment for me and that smile on your face was priceless. I was so overcome with joy. I know how hard you work and what a wonderful person you are and how much you deserve all the success in the world. Sure love you buddy.

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  16. Great job! You are amazing and inspiring. You helped me with some fueling questions I had before my first marathon and I also appreciate you being so nice and humble. Can't wait to see how far you'll go!

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  17. Rachelle, you are such a genuine gem! You are so sincere, friendly and so humble! It makes you all the more likeable and personable. You're a good friend and I enjoy all your cute comments on my fb, as well as all these fun accomplishing blog posts! So inspiring! Well what can I say other then what everyone else already has? You... are.... astonishing! You as a runner have made incredible improvements and give all of us so much hope for growth :) Im soooo extremely happy for the results of the race and I wish you the best in your running journey!

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  18. I love this recap and am SO AMAZED with your running talent, passion and heart! CONGRATULATIONS, girl, you totally earned it!!! :)

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  19. What an incredible race (and amazing recap!)! I don't even know you, but am seriously excited that you accomplished your goal!

    I'm dying to hear more about the training that you went through to get where you are from where you were a year ago! You have been working your tail off!

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  20. Also, I do hope you start updating more often, including some posts about your training tips and advice. :)

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  21. Girl I read every single word of this. I finally had a chance to sit down and read today (while working - students are watching a movie;) and I had to choke back tears so they wouldn't think I was crazy. I am so proud of you. You are such an amazing person and runner. You worked so hard for this and I am not surprised at all that you surpassed your goal. Amazing recap, amazing marathon time. What an inspiration!! Love you!

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  22. WOW. OH. MY. GOODNESS. WOW! You are UNBELIEVABLE!!!! I can't believe how far you've come! When I started reading you, you were fast but this is incredible! I am sooooooo happy for you and proud of you :) CONGRATS!

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  23. Wow. I got goosebumps reading your race report. You are amazing! I truly can't fathom how it is humanly possible to run that fast for 26 miles. You have definitely earned it through all your hard work and dedication.

    Way to go!!!!!

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  24. Rachelle, I seriously couldn't be more happy for you. That was the best recap I have ever read. You have inspired me from the beginning and continue to inspire me after ever race you run!! You are truly an amazing athlete! Your hard work, dedication and commitment to always improving yourself is such an example to me of the kind of athlete I want to become as well. You deserve all the praise in the world because you are THAT AMAZING!! Congrats my friend!

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  25. i am waaaaay late reading this but i just wanted to let you know how much of an inspiration you are! your improvement over this year has been amazing to follow! congrats on your sub 3!

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  26. Rachelle, how did I miss this!? You are such a gifted runner and I am so impressed with your super fast, super awesome time. Congrats and great job fighting so hard for this!
    I loved reading this recap, you are such an inspiring runner.

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