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.