This was going to be my attempt at my fastest marathon time of the year. The course features a net 2500 foot downhill and promised to be fast. I planned to take advantage of the downhills while running conservative on the uphills.
I flew into Vegas early in the morning the day before the race. I didn't get much sleep the week of the race due to a hectic work schedule and the extremely early flight didn't help. I picked up my rental car and then picked up my Maniac friend and drove the scenic 1:45 drive to St George,Utah. We headed straight to packet pick up which had a larger expo that expected for a smaller race. We didn't stick around too long before going to get lunch and then check into our hotel. I had forgotten toiletries and had to head over to the drugstore for replacements instead of taking a nap. We had an Italian dinner and went to bed early for the 3AM wake up call. I was on a shuttle shortly after 4AM and headed to the start.
The course is a point to point starting in Central, UT and winding through Veyo and Snowfall Canyon before finishing in St George. The start area featured dozens of campfires and a thousand port-o-potties. Runners set up camp with mylar blankets and gloves provided by the race waiting for the 6:30AM start. There was a delay to the start as a bus was still on the course. We eventually were sent on our way about 10 minutes late.
Miles  to 
In spite of the lack of sleep, I felt pretty good early on. The first 5k was basically a warm up and I ran it in 24 minutes. The next 5K had some of the most perfect downhill running I could dream of and I ran it in 21:45 with hardly any effort at all. I was beginning to really like my chances of having a special day.
Miles  to 
My optimism didn't last for very long. Mile 7 was basically a 250 foot climb. I didn't take things as easily as I should have and still had a 9 minute split in spite of taking a walking break late in the hill. I hoped to recover on the descent, but the course rolled pretty heavily until mile 11
Miles  to 
The course turned downhill again after mile 11. Some of it was steep downhill. My legs became pretty chewed up from the previous section and the steepness of the downhill here didn't help matters. I actually managed to stay on PR and 'B' goal pace until the 30K split. I wasn't confident in my ability to keep it up and with the sun now out, the temperature was quickly rising.
Miles  to [26.2]
There was a bit of an uphill at mile 18. Some kids were handing out otter pops though so I grabbed one and walked and enjoyed it while ascending the hill. I became a bit self defeated in this section of the race. I walked a lot more than I needed. There wasn't any sense of urgency to really run. I started talking to some other walkers who had also blew their goals about other later fall races that were supposed to be fast. We all did agree on trying to break 3:40 since it was still in reach and started jogging again. This didn't last all that long before walk breaks took hold again. I managed to get myself going just enough to finish in 3:48:00.
St George became my 16th state completed and 20th race finished of a marathon or longer. It was also my 11th state with a sub 4 hour finish. I was happy enough with this, but disappointed in the overall performance as I should of been able to run a much faster time. I learned my lesson and need to do more hills if I'm going to run a course like that. Getting ample sleep would help as well. All sadness was washed away a couple hours later when I had an amazing old fashioned burger from an old drive-inn type place near the hotel. The next day I headed to Vegas and really celebrated my finish with a slab of ribs and beer.