Last weekend I ran the beautiful Sedona Marathon with my brother. Racing together has been in the works for a long time. Our schedules finally aligned, and we met in Arizona to take on a very challenging marathon course together (or at least until the very end).
The race start and finish area was staged at the Sedona Cultural Park, which provided panoramic views of Cockscomb, Chimney Rock and Coffee Pot Rock. The Red Rocks were glowing as the sun rose from the east, while we made our final preparations before the race. This is when I crossed paths with San Diego native, Nick Hollon, a freshman at Northern Arizona University who made the drive down from Flagstaff that morning for the race.
My brother and I started the race with a comfortable sub 8-minute mile pace, and we both noted that the 4,500 feet of elevation resulted in an heart rate of about 10 bpm higher than at sea level, where we both live and train. The out and back course changed from pavement to dirt road near mile 7 when we entered The Coconino National Forest .
Here were our splits for the first half:
1:40:45 half marathon split
We were less than 2 miles out from the turn-around when the race leader passed us going back the other direction so I began counting the runners going by and at the turn around point we were in 21st and 22nd place.
Despite the hills we climbed on the 13 miles out, my brother and I agree that the return trip was way harder. Check out the elevation profile below and the spikes (yes, walking) in my pace. (aka mile 23).
During the final 5K of the race, my pacing was off from the climbs so my brother pulled away to finish in 3:37: 49, 21st overall and 4th in his age group. He rocked it and finished strong after 4 solid months of training in the cold climates back east. I finished next in 3:39:32 for 22nd overall and 4th in my age group.
Here were my splits for the second half:
Its hard to explain the silent understanding my brother and I had as we ran togetherhe would pull ahead on the climbs and I would go ahead on the downhill only to regain our pace together again on the flats. We had such good energy flowing and being surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Red Rocks added an exciting element to the experience.
Im currently focused on recovery so I can make my 2009 Southern California Ultra Series debut on 2/21 at the Orange Curtain 50K and keep working on my consistency. This incredibly flat (aka boring ) course features a 5K out-and-back on paved bike paths which will enable me to closely track my splits and build a strong foundation before a significant increase in mileage in the months ahead.
Thanks to all of you out there for the encouraging comments and emails during my trip to Sedona for the race. It feels good to know people besides just my Mom are reading about my shenanigans If you want to keep up with my updates, check me out on Twitter @TobyGuillette. Or subscribe to my RSS feed to receive auto-updates (if you havent already) on my latest posts.