Updated: Oct 23, 2018
Guest Article by: Curtis C. Eppley, @kid8heartrunner
Early in the year I had decided to make the St. George (STG) Marathon my focus for the year. In the past I would run a couple of races a month, everything from the 5k to the marathon or longer. I figured if I cut most of those out I would have more for my single A race.
My training through the season went well. I ran Mt. Timpanogos every Tuesday morning before work. I got in my long runs on the weekends and speedwork mid-week. My training mileage peaked at 110. I stuck well to my strength coaches plan. I have found that lifting has been very helpful for all my running. I just felt pretty good about what my result would be.
We drove down Saturday and went right over to the expo. I had once again been accepted as an Elite and so I needed to get my personal fuel/hydration checked in. I did see a few friends in the short time I was at the expo.
We then went to my Aunt's place in Washington. It’s where we always stay for St. George activities. I got a text from Amber Harper that her brother Golden was looking to use my recovery boots. I told him to come on over.
While he was there in my boots I questioned him about his race strategy and experience. We ended up making some changes to my custom pacing program. I also remade my personalized pace band for the race. It wasn’t anything drastic, just adjusting for a bit of a more negative split.
I am not a fan of pasta for dinner the night before a race. I was converted to pancakes a few years ago by a running friend a co-worker. We went to village inn and had a nice dinner of pancakes and steak.
Bryce Peterson was staying with us and I made him drive to the bus pick up in the morning. I am an early person for races. I got up at 3am and we were at the busses by 3:30am. We were first in line of course. I just like getting to the start and then relaxing for a while. I had my mini pop-up tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, booties, etc. By doing this I am usually able to get in a little nap and relaxing time before the race warm-up.
I was really glad I had that stuff this year. I knew that there was a chance of rain and I was dreading it. When we arrived at the start I immediately went over and popped my tent and got in. I was out of the weather, wind and rain. I stayed dry and warm while the others were out in the weather.
I followed my usual routine for nutrition etc. before the race. I had brought a garbage bag with me in case it was raining, I was glad I had it. I also brought several different shorts, shoes, gloves and other gear. I chose what I thought would be the most appropriate for the weather I was expecting. I always say, “Be Prepared”.
I put away my stuff and took it to drop truck. I started warming up, at least trying to with the drizzling rain and cold. It was difficult as there was an issue with the busses. The race started over 30 minutes late. It is difficult to get things timed right when the schedule is off.
I had run a lot of the race the last 2 years with Reed Seamons. I figured we would do the same this time. The race finally got underway and I was still feeling confident. The first few miles passed, and I was sticking close to the planned paces. I was colder and wetter than I wanted to be though. I even got up Veyo hill still with the plan. I held to it until about mile 12. I was now wetter and colder. My quads felt thrashed, like I had just run down the side of a mountain. I think it was the cold. I could not get my glutes and quads to fire. My legs were just dead. The rest of the miles just ground through in the mid to low 6-minute pace. I couldn’t even get going on the downhill at Snow Canyon. Usually the downhills are my strength, but this time nothing was working well.
My nutrition, I felt, had been pretty good. I had switched to using Maurten gels about 2 months before the race. I really liked them as they were flavorless and not syrupy like other gels. Somewhere around mile 22 though, the GI tract started to rebel. I had to stop and vomit a couple of times. Once I got it out I was able to get back to it.
Just as we entered the city I caught some guy. He seemed to be in the same pain I was. I told him that we should hang together to the finish. Well he hung with me for about a ½ mile and then I lost him. Most all the race was this way, just a lonely run for me.
I finally made the last turn before the finish line. I tried with everything I had to get a finish sprint going. I am sure it looked pathetic. I couldn’t get going. I got through the finish and saw 2:43:55. Ouch. This is 7 minutes slower than my usual and 10 minutes slower than my goal.
I went right over to see Heber in the massage tent. My lips were blue and I was freezing. It took forever to get results. They didn’t print the usual things to post. It was all on the app. I finally figured out that I had still won my age group. At least I had that small victory.
It was great to see so many other friends have success. The Runner’s Corner team really cleaned up as far as awards and accolades go. I am just going to chalk it up to the weather and an anomaly race. Like I always tell everyone, “you never know what’s going to happen until you cross the finish line”.
I still had the Huntsman Senior Games to look forward to the next week for redemption.
I didn’t start running until I was 40 years old. My mother was my inspiration as she had started running a few years before for her heart health. I had a brother in law who lived next door while he was attending BYU. He was a runner from a young age. Most every day he would ask me to go running with him. I always told him that running was stupid and had no purpose. Once I stared with my mom and then with the group at work I was hooked. I have always been competitive and running gave me a new outlet. In the past I had raced horses, cars, and motorcycles. In running I could compete against others and myself.
Since I started so much later than most people I knew that I would always be working against my biological clock. I knew that I would have to work at least twice as hard as the others to keep up. My training mantra is “IWBMATTKYT”. I voraciously read every book on running that I could find, I went to every class or seminar. I scoured the internet for any improvement information. Every run I am constantly thinking about my form and how to improve my running.
I saw pretty quick improvements in my pace over the first few years. I then looked up all my brother in laws records for distances from the mile to the marathon and I set these as a goal to beat. Once I had completed this goal I decided that I would just always work to “beat my yesterday”. I really enjoy the racing atmosphere and so I do all kinds of races. One of my favorite things is, once I finish, I like to go back and cheer on everyone else. I always say, “It doesn’t matter where you finish, just that you give it your all”. I have competed in everything from the mile to the 100 mile race. I just recently did my first track events and have now completed the 400m, 800m, 1500m, and the 3000m.
I have done most of my training as a lone wolf. I am working to be more social and participate in more group runs to meet more people. The last 3 years after completing the St. George marathon I stay in town and compete in the Huntsman World Senior Games the following week. This has been such a great experience. I have met some great people and seen some great examples of endurance later in life. I would encourage everyone who can to participate, volunteer or just come and cheer on all of us Seniors.