Monday, May 30, 2011

Stefanie Talley Race Report - 2011 Zion's Bank Ogden Marathon

First of all, I have to agree with Fritz about the "cool" VIP bus ride up to the start line!  I was planning on riding up in the yellow school buses, shivering in the cold for more than an hour and trying not to choke on toxic smoke fumes when I did try to find some warmth by the fires.  So I was almost "giddy" when I found out I could sit on a nice warm, roomy bus until 6:40 am and have a bathroom only steps away!  It was nice to finally meet Fritz, too.  I've been really impressed with all he's accomplished in the past year.  Glad we were both feeling "on" and able to repeat with wins.
    Ogden is my favorite marathon course (of the 2 courses I've run!).  I love how it is broken up into different sections (1st canyon, around the lake, "hill", 2nd canyon, parkway) that make it more manageable for the mind to cope with.  I kind of knew going into the race that I would probably not be seriously challenged.  The other two top ladies were planning on going out in 3 hour pace for the first half and then seeing if they could negative split.  My training hasn't been quite as 'sharp' this spring as it was last year so I honestly just wanted to be sub 3 and hopefully around 2:55-2:56.  In my two years of experience with it, I think Ogden can be a tricky course.  A lot of people "blow up" on it for some reason.  Going out too fast can definitely be a big mistake but I don't believe it has the kind of negative split potential that St George has either.  So, with that in mind, I usually try to set my goal for as close to even split as possible.  The first 8 downhill miles were wonderfully relaxed and easy, as usual.  The weather was amazingly perfect. I tried to run with guys when I could and enjoyed the entertaining aid stations :)  The next section around the lake was a struggle for me last year.  I remember thinking many times then that I would not be able to keep this up for another whole half marathon!  But this year, my running continued to feel smooth and rhythmic and controlled right through the halfway point.  I won't go into all my mile splits (I kept missing mile markers anyway) but I was about 1:25:30 at the half mark.  Then came the "big hill" at mile 14.  It didn't really bother me much.  It was actually nice to have a short, 7 minute challenge to focus on (instead of the gloomy thought of 12 more long miles to go!).  I did start to worry after the hill that maybe I had been overzealous in my first half split but as soon as I started the next downhill section into Ogden canyon I felt like I could handle it til the end.  Though it began to get more uncomfortable, this canyon section was a lot of fun and I got to see quite a few people I knew, including Allie in her very bright orange vest at mile 21 :)  The pace through here still felt "uncomfortably comfortable".
  Then came the parkway stretch... even more painful and esp challenging for me mentally.  But it is also my favorite part of the race.  I ran at Weber State (many years ago) and this 2 1/2 miles along the parkway always brings back some great memories of doing mile repeats here during the cross country season :)  It's nice to half all the half marathoners along the course at this point cheering and distracting me from my increasing fatigue.  Of course the last mile of this course is the worst.  It seems soooooo long.  I was proud of the fact that I was able to keep my last 3 miles of the race all in the 6:30's.  When I finally broke the tape, I had this weird sensation of "emotion" come over me and I felt like I wanted to cry.  I didn't- but I came close.  I've never felt emotional like that before.  I think it was partly due to realizing that I had run faster than last year and I wasn't expecting to do that :)  I broke my own course record from last year, finishing in 2:51:48.  My second half was 1:26:18- so, close to even.  It was my easiest marathon win (second place was 10 minutes back) but with the struggles I've had in my training leading up to this point, it was a welcome "lucky break".  That's what I love about the marathon.  It can be so unpredictable.  Of course this works both ways (good & bad)!  But I love that there are so many factors and variables- not just pure training and mileage.  It's fun when your heart and mind can triumph over your body (and stomach!)  :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fritz Van de Kamp - 2011 Ogden Marathon Race Report

Typical race day routine. I woke up at 4 AM, three hours before race time, drank lots of water, took a shower, gathered up my race gear and drop bag then was dropped off at the buses at 4:45.  The best part about the morning was that I was allowed to go on the "VIP" bus because I won the race last year.  The two major benefits were that there is a bathroom on the bus (no porta potty!) AND I didn't have to get off the bus until 20 minutes before race time.  That was huge, especially for this race, because I always dread shivering sitting on the ground and fighting for space near the fires.  So basically the morning couldn't have gone any better.

I left the bus at around 6:45 just in time to get a quick warm up.  It was probably around 55 degrees, warmer than usual, and it looked like the weather would cooperate and not rain.  I did a quick warm up down the road and chatted with some friends at the start line.  My legs felt fresh so I knew a good race was possible but I really had no idea how I would place because Seth Wold was in the mix along with a few guys who have beat me in the past. 

The gun went off and Bryant Jensen quickly jumped out ahead as he was running the relay.  Then I was next and Seth was following closely behind. I typically refuse to look behind me during races so I really had no idea how the close the other runners were.  Seth and I were side by side for the first 7 miles until Seth suddenly stopped to tie his shoe lace.  Keeping to my tradition I didn’t turn around and probably built a 5 second lead.  At that point I was feeling good and thought that if I could just keep me pace I could possibly drop him for good.  That was the first time I knew I could win if I could hold on.  The next 6 miles (7 – 13) are some of the slower miles of the race but they felt smooth and I made sure to hold back slightly on the uphills.  I ran into Bryant, who was now pacing his teammate, at around mile 12 and from then on it was only me and the biker guy until I started catching the half marathoners at around mile 18.  I was happy, although a little concerned, to see my 13.1 split at 1:11:30.  Both of my last two Half’s were slower than that but I wasn’t about to slow down because I didn’t want to be caught by Seth and I was feeling good.  I held back slightly again on the big uphill at mile 15, although the quads were still burning, and just made sure to keep it steady until the fun began down the canyon.  By the time I hit the bridge I knew I had a good sized lead but I still had some fast miles left in me and I wanted to see if I could beat my St. George time from 2009.  The canyon miles felt quick and it was nice be around the half runners as I descended.  I came out the canyon in decent shape although the legs were now wobbly enough that I knew the impending last few miles on the path would be struggle.  Of course those miles weren’t exactly fun but I have had worse.  I clocked myself at exactly 2:25 over 26.42 miles.  Chip time came in at 2:25:04.    

Ultimately the race went about as well as I could have expected.  All I wanted to do was beat my 5k time (16:44) from last weekend and see if I could hang on. :)  I think I succeeded (first 5k was16:33) and I set a PR of about 2 minutes on harder course (previous best was a 2:26:48 at St. George).  Going in I thought a 2:27 was possible but it would still be a stretch because the ramp up to this race was very rushed and I really only went into this race with about 3 quality weeks of running training; a 58 mile week, an 80 mile week that included a 23 mile run and the Provo Half, and a 70 mile that ended with 5k.  But what I think I did do right was get in some quality and painful miles by running the Provo City Half two weeks ago and the Law Day Run 5k last weekend and then after the races I did a long cool down.  So although my times in those races weren't great, I think they helped me get mentality prepared and they shocked the system with some threshold miles.  

Now my focus turns to running a fast half at Utah Valley with the team and then building up more speed as I prepare for Chicago in October.

Spilts- 5:17, 5:25, 5:19, 5:20, 5:21, 5:21, 5:27, 5:25, 5:34, 5:29, 5:41, 5:33, 5:39, 5:29, 5:51, 5:31, 5:32, 5:19, 5:19, 5:25, 5:21, 5:19, 5:17, 5:35, 5:44, 5:48, 2:38 (.45 miles)
Gels - 4.5 (more than usual)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 Ogden Marathon Results

Despite a rainy week the 2011 Ogden Marathon went as planned and once again Utah Elite was well-represented at one of Utah's largest marathons.  Defending Ogden winners Fritz Van de Kamp and Stefanie Talley repeated as champions today running very impressive races on both sides.  Fritz won with a PR of 2:25 and Stefanie with a 2:51.  It's great to see Utah Elite jerseys at the top of both podiums!