St George Marathon – My 1st Marathon!

This summer has been full of some of the most amazing adventures of my life, and it all culminated into last weekend. I have done a bunch of long 100 mile bike tours, 5ks and 10ks, and in August I did the Olympic distance triathlon in Bear Lake. The latter part of September a few friends and I ran in the Dirty Dash, a 10k mud run up in Midway Utah – it was one of the funnest, craziest, and for sure dirtiest races I have ever been in.

Then last weekend, I went to St George to help a friend at a booth (www.gelout.com) for the St George Marathon expo. It was awesome talking to people about fitness and running, etc and promoting my friends anti-inflammatory products. The energy was intoxicating! Many of the people asked if I was running and I jokingly said “I wish.” Near the end of the evening Angela’s distant cousins came by and recognized me and we began talking about the race the next morning. Ryan mentioned that they had an extra race entry that I could use if they could get it from the race coordinators. Generally it’s very difficult to get the race packet if the real person is not present.

So I said, “I’ll do it if you can get the race packet,” but I truly did not think they would be able to get it. 20 minutes later he came back with the plastic bag and handed it to me. Yikes! I was shocked, and yet somewhere deep inside of me something said “DO IT!” Adrenaline rushed through me as I got the details of the race start time and what I should expect. I cruised around to a few of the booths to get GU’s, electrolyte drops, compression socks (these are amazing by the way), and other things that I would need for the race.Now I had never run more than 8 miles in my entire life, but I felt confident because of all the biking and cardio exercise I had done this year.

Well 3:30am came very quickly and we headed up on the bus to the starting line to mingle with some 7000 people in the dark for a few hours before the gunshot. Right before we started I linked up with a guy names Paul, he is a Jeff Galloway pacer who has done 9 marathons. We started out running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute. We made it to the 13 mile mark and I thought, “this is it, this is a half marathon, piece of cake!” He said I’d hit a wall at 16 or 18 miles, and even though my legs were achy, I felt amazing there too. We changed to a 2min/1min interval to save the legs because the heat was getting to us. At mile 23 Paul had to slow way way down and I told Paul that if I didn’t keep going at that pace the pain in the legs might become to much to bear.

I ended up finishing the 26.2 miles in 5 hrs 21 minutes, on my own two feet and with a smile on my face. The feeling of crossing that line was absolutely awesome! I believe, an unshakable Positive Mental Attitude helped me finish the marathon. True I didn’t set any record, but I finished, and I truly enjoyed every moment along the way. I was laughing and soaking in every moment all along the 26.2 miles. At the beginning of the race I told myself that I need to do everything in my power to stay completely positive during the entire race. I didn’t want to complain or whine about the pain because by focusing on it I felt it would make it much harder to complete.

This was one of the most amazing and crazy experiences of my life, and I am so glad I had the chance to run the St. George Marathon. A year or more ago if someone would have asked me if I would run a marathon, I would have said no. However, having now completed one, without any marathon specific training it has gotten me real excited to train and race in future marathons. I will most definitely do the St George Marathon again and hopefully I can beat my time. One thing that Paul taught me while running was to follow these 3 rules:

  1. Finish
  2. Finish strong
  3. Finish with a smile

That’s exactly what I did, though my legs would argue they didn’t finish so strong. My cardio and fitness level felt amazing, and I glad to have done so much training and other races during the year.

Here is a list of things that helped me complete the race:

  • Jeff Galloway‘s run/walk interval running – this is the bomb! I has helped make me a runner.
  • Gel-out, the MSM gel that I applied during and after the race to recover and reduce the pain and inflammation.
  • CEP Compression Sleeves, this was actually my first time running with these, and they helped a ton to reduce the calf and leg pain.
  • Elete electrolyte drops – this helped me stay hydrated.
  • Many, many thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who throughout the race delivered refreshments and massaged the legs with Bio-Freeze and Icy-Hot to help relieve the pain.

About Tyler Toone

Web Manager for Canyons School District with a passion for web design technologies & social media. Cyclist, triathlete, fly-fisherman, and outdoor adventure seeker.