2014 St. George Marathon Race Report – The Hongs PR!

So, the plan to go big or go home in the 2014 St. George Marathon went really well. I ended up running a eight minute PR at 2:51:58. And I was so excited to watch my wife pull off a 39 minute PR at 3:49. It was awesome for both of us to meet our goals. My little sister also got a PR so it was a big day for the Hongs.


The whole crew after the race!

After looking at the site findmymarathon.com I got a general feel for what a even effort 2:50 St. George Marathon would be like and decided to use that as a template. I basically knew that I needed to run all my miles under 6:30 except for the hilly ones and be at about 6:36 average pace at the halfway point and then speed up.

The morning went pretty well. We got to the starting line about 20 minutes before the scheduled start and didn’t try to catch a super early bus. Went potty in the woods next to the starting line which was a bit scary with thousands of other runners with the same idea also up there. I’m sure those trees are well fertilized. The race started a bit late at 7:00 AM rather than 6:45. I did get to use the elite corral which was nice since they had an area to warm up in.

The start was a bit congested but the first mile was 6:28. I picked up my pace and had my fastest mile leading up to Veyo hill with a 6:07. I did well through Veyo with mile 8 at 7:11. I may have pushed it a bit too hard since my heart was up to the 168 to 170 zone which is a bit high for that early in the race. I made it through the half averaging 6:34 so I was just a bit ahead of schedule.

I didn’t talk to many people. There were a couple of fresh out of college guys who looked like track runners who were shooting for 2:50 as well that I chatted with for a bit but I wanted to run my own race. The one guy that I saw the most of (because he was hard to miss) was Elvis. There was a guy in an Elvis suit with a pace close to mine that was within site almost the entire race. He passed me in the first five miles and I joked with the college guys that it was a bit embarrassing that we were getting beat by Elvis and that we needed to step it up to beat him. That would come back to haunt me later.

The Elvis.

After the half I got into a bit of a rough head space. I was having a hard time maintaining pace and I ran into a guy that was also going for about 2:50 that I paced for a bit but he fell off pace and I slowed down for a bit as I matched him. Miles 18 to 23 were still fast but not what I needed to run to hit the 2:50 mark. But I was running out of my head – faster than I had ever run a marathon before so I was still feeling good about the race and knew I would have a nice PR if I finished strong.

As far as nutrition goes – I didn’t eat anyting early in the morning as I left my Mom’s house. I just didn’t think about grabbing any real food so I only had two packs of Gu Chomps and I didn’t want to dig into them too early. I got a bite of a protein bar and a banana from my wife and grabbed a banana at the starting line. I would have liked to have eaten a bit more earlier. Luckily my Mom made us an awesome Pasta Feed the night before so I had plenty to sustain me. I did eat a lot of caffeine which may have played into how I finished the race. Before the start I ate a pack of caffeinated gu chomps. Then on the course I had three caffeinated cliff shots.

When I get too much caffeine and am running sometimes I get a little angry. I entered that mode at about mile 23. I know there was only 5k left and I wanted to step it up. I got a bit of a runners high when there were more folks around and they were cheering me. I yelled – “Let’s do this” and picked up the pace. You can see in my race data how my heart rate starts picking up at this point. As I passed people I would yell “Let’s go. Come on!”. I started yelling at people in the crowd to cheer louder. Then I saw that I was closing in on Elvis. As I passed a few other guys I used some colorful language and yelled at them to join me in chasing down Elvis. I passed Elvis in the last mile and I’m proud to say I didn’t get beat by the guy in the Elvis suit at this Marathon.

That’s right Elvis. Stay down.

I also sprinted the last 100 yards to beat a woman and a 57 year old man. My heart rate climbed all the way up to the 180s as I crossed the finish. It was a great day to race and I was super happy with the result.

Elvis turned out to be a pretty cool guy. As I passed him I said “Come on King” and he picked it up too and only finished like 10 seconds behind me. I asked him if he had any chaffing and he said “It’s not good to be the King right now”. He said he had considered trying to break the record for a Marathon in an Elvis suit but the record was super fast 2:42.

I got some ice cream and enjoyed the finishers area and signed up for a massage. I was able to see my friend Rachael cross the finish line with a BQ at with 3:27 which was awesome and also got to watch my super wife cross the finish line with her PR.

Grandma and the kids showed up for a post race celebration. Thanks grandma!

Love coming to this race. The course is great for me since I spend so much time on the trails and the last two times the weather has been awesome. The area has a spectacular beauty to it that is the complete opposite of Seattle – so it’s a nice change of pace. As long as my Mom lives there I have a feeling we will run plenty of St. George Marathons.

Quick Notes

  • Fitness level was good going into the race. I ran the Hong Family Challenge the Monday before the race in 9:36 – only six seconds off my record which was from the taper leading into the SMUT 100k.
  • Went without headphones and liked it. I was able to be more present in the race and push myself. I may have been too fixated on my splits but overall I think it was a good decision. It may have been nice to have some music during those tough miles from 18 to 23 but I probably would have zoned out even more and lost more time.
  • It was nice to run with the Garmin Fenix 2. It fed me all the data I needed to make sure I was where I wanted to be. Then again – maybe I watched my splits a little too much and could have opened it up a little more.
  • Gear: Wore my Seattle Running Club singlet of course – I think I’ve raced in that every race I’ve run this year. Brooks shorts and Brooks Trance 12 shoes. I have enjoyed the Trance’s as a heavy trainer / marathon shoe.
  • Finished 71st out of 5733 (more data)
  • Runkeeper


  1. The worst part of running the same race as you is that I don’t get to watch you cross the finish line, which sounds like it would have been quite hilarious this time around. The best part of running the same race as you is celebrating together when we achieve our goals after many months of hard work & training. Love you coach.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s