First things first: Bear Lake report:
Yeah, so Bear Lake was kind of funny... I realized pre-race that I had very little chance of winning since uber marathoner Chuck Engel was there (he runs a marathon about every weekend and most of them are in the 2:30s) Fortunately though, Chuck didn't want the spot in St George and the RD had said that it would go to the fastest person that wanted it, so I decided it would be rather unwise to try to run with Chuck, so I settled for 2nd before the race even begin. As it started, I immediately felt awful. I knew instantly why people complain about running at elevation; I just didn't feel that breathing was as easy at 6000 feet. I had originally thought the race was lower, like 4 or 5000, but 6000 was pretty nasty. The first half was outrageously boring (not a single spectator for the 106 person marathon) and I hit the split in 1:27. I hadn't worked all that hard in the first half, but I was very much doubting that I could run another 1:27. Mentally I wasn't really there, and I think having the mile marker signs backwards was a huge part of it for me. When you're getting to, say, mile 10.2, starting to feel it a little bit, and you see a sign saying "Only 16 miles left!", it's just really not cool. Near the beginning, it just sort of weighs you down I would say that it should help near the end, but by that point in a marathon, when you've already thought about how far you still have to go around 10 times in the last minute, the markers are irrelevant. Anyway, by the half, I decided to just be lazy until someone caught up with me, at which point I'd just run with him and conserve my energe enough to ditch him at the end, therefore doing the minimum work possible to achieve 2nd place. The point when the guy caught me came at mile 17 (well, mile 9-to-go! or so according their signs). I was feeling even crappier at that point, so I just straight up asked the guy if he was going for the St George spot and he said he had already gotten in via the lottery and he'd pass it down the line if he finished ahead of me, so I was just like "screw it, I don't even want to be here, I'm not going to run hard and keep up with you". I decided to just do the same thing until 4th place caught me since I now only needed 3rd for the spot. I got REALLY lazy, but there was a good gap and 4th place didn't catch me until mile 23 (3.2). At that point, I hadn't really been pushing at all for a good while, especially since my abs were hurting super badly from having done too many static ab exercises out of boredom during my 18 hour drive from MN to UT. However, at mile 23, I finally dropped the hammer enough to own the 4th place guy, gaining a minute back over him in the last 5k or so. I finished in a pathetic 3:12:08, but I hadn't wanted to run it anyway since I felt that I was getting past my seasonal peak, so I basically just did the absolute minimum necessary to get my spot in St George (which I did in fact get) and I got a really awesome 3rd place rock/plaque/trophy thing for my ?efforts?.