Well I typed out a great entry for this race, and the computer ate it... so I will type until I don't want to anymore.
This race turned out exactly as I hoped it would. We drove down to Salt Lake City and stayed at my grandma's apartment across the street from the LDS Conference Center. Friday activities consisted of: a morning shakeout run, two easy walks around Temple Square and the Church History Museum and then the expo of course. These things were all within two blocks of the apartment, and the rest of the day was spent relaxing. Throughout Friday, I ate about 4 bagels with plum jam, a clif bar, lemon rice, butternut squash soup, pickled beets, and two servings of Quaker oatmeal packets. There might have been more, but I can't remember. On race day morning, I had half a toasted bagel with plum jam and a banana before setting out on a mile walk-jog to the TRAX station. The walk-jog really helped me to wake up without being too much effort. I rode to the start line with a nice guy named Tom who is finishing a marathon in each state (this was #23 or 24). Arrived about an hour before race start. Relaxed for a bit, then did a half-mile warmup and lined up. My goal was to finish this race under 3:30, and so I focused on staying under 8:00/mi with some wiggle room for all the ascents and descents. Got passed a lot in the beginning but stayed calm. I started getting pretty nervous by the halfway point, where I finished in 1:45:11. My legs were gradually feeling heavier, and I was worried if I sped up then I'd end up walking close to the end. Around mile 19, I felt like speeding up was worth the risk, and floated around 7:50 for the rest of the race. I don't think anybody passed me in the race until about 25.5 when I got passed by someone who apparently was trying to quickly use up some energy they had left over. This was a great target to follow for the last 0.7 when my legs were starting to burn. I focused on this speedy one with a maintained gap, and then let out the best marathon kick I have done and passed in the last 0.2. This race was a slight negative split, and a PR by almost 9 minutes! My best time previously was at STG in October, and this race is at least slightly harder than the St George course. Increased weekly mileage has definitely helped. Now for a good recovery phase and transition into training for St George again in October!