I'm still not sure why, but the St George, Utah marathon did not fill up this year through the normal lottery process. Registration opened up for about a week and I took full advantage. I had not planned on running another marathon in my life, but am happy to make a St George exception at the encouragement of my wife who has run it several times.
There are some trail ultras in my future, partly because of this, but my pavement marathon days are numbered. Why? Pavement marathons are unnatural. I realize the oddity of that statement. Running 50 - 100 miles on dirt seems unnatural enough. I am more talking about the toll pavement takes on a body. Although humans are physiologically intended to cover great distances over varied terrain, we are not constructed by evolution to stress such a limited muscle range in such a concentrated period of time as required by a pavement marathon.
The best reason to run a pavement marathon is the event itself. The pre-race expos, speakers, other runners, cheering fans and witnessing the pure life accomplishment for many make for a satisfying two days.
Since this is likely my last marathon, I want to do well. I got my training plan off of runkeeper.com with some modifications. For example, I will be running four days per week instead of five as suggested. I will make up the difference with some heavy cross-training. I refuse to give up mountain biking. I will also add in some high rep weight lifting and core strengthening along with some plyometrics. According to Janae Jacobs, the Hungry Runner Girl, her best marathon came after incorporating a spin class into her training.
I plan on weighing in at 205 the day of the marathon. I am currently at 227. This puts me in the Weight over 40 category. I am a big fan of weight categories in endurance races. They encourage participation to a demographic most at risk. Last year's top ten results had the slowest runner in the category at 3:49:44. I have made this my goal time.
The elevation map makes the run look rather easy. There is a ton of downhill, but according to Golden Harper, former course record holder for his age group, there is a ton of up hill and a strong need to train on hills. Golden also expressed the importance of holding back and negative splitting. Quad shredding will doom the end of the race.
I will be doing a significant amount of trail running (another recommendation from Janae), mostly because I prefer it. I have a rule, however, to do at least one pavement run per week.
So we will see what happens. I will be posting training updates occasionally.