I started back to full-time training after my broken shin in December '04 and I haven't stopped training. All my big races have been back-to-back. I've taken less than 10 days total off from training (that's not included in the rest days built into the training). So I have to tell you I was quite burnt out by the time the marathon rolled around yesterday. I kept thinking of all the different excuses I could come up with to get out of the race. But I ran it and I did pretty well.
The race started late as one of the trains bringing all the runners was late. This was a pretty small race and there was no way to gauge where to line up. We lined up pretty close to the front because we knew it wasn't going to be crowded so people wouldn't be flying past us and we wouldn't have to worry about dodging slower people.
The first two miles were on the road and then we hit the trail. The trail was crushed limestone, although there were patches of asphalt and long plank footbridges. The scenery was beautiful except I never saw any of it because there were hickory nuts all over the course and you had to watch your step.
My dad ran with me the first half of the race. We were pretty conservative as we came through the half way point at 1:47 and change.
Dad and I close to the 6 mile mark. I'm number 207; that's my dad right in front of me.
Way too close-up.
In Peninsula (that's the name of the town).
More of my dad and me.
And off we go to the halfway point.
Bridget ran with me the second half of the race and she had me pushing the pace. We started dropped down to the 8:02/8:03 range and things were still feeling pretty good. I ran all the way to mile 21 and then that damn wall came out and got me. Bridget kept having me run but we slowed down the pace to around 9:00s. I sure cut it close in the end. My time was 3:39:06. That's a PR (by 12 seconds) and requalifies me for Boston. I'm not hugely satisfied by it, but I'll deal.
Bridget and I chugging along.
And off we head towards the finish.
Here we are passing a bunch of people, who in the end, will pass us back.
Nice face! Sprinting at the finish.
Some notes about this race and why I won't be doing it again. First of al, the mile markers were off so I couldn't even use the pace bands I had attached to my arm. Nor could I figure out if I needed to speed up or sow down. Secondly, I struggled with the surface changes. I would have been fine had it been all trail or all asphalt, but switching back and forth was hard on the body. The water stops were approximately 1-1/2 miles apart but they were kinda random. And although there were signs indicating an aid station ahead, those signs were just ahead of the aid stations. for me this was difficult because I had to put all my gel in my mouth at once before the waterstop. It made me gag. It scared Bridget. (Sorry Bridget.) Lastly, there was a detour off the trail through an industrial park at miles 23 and 24. It was a very lonely stretch. To reconnect to the trail, we had to hop a curb, run through grass, run through a gravel parking lot, and finally back on the trail which was now asphalt to the end (except the very end which was grass). I wasn't planning on a cross country marathon.
I'm glad my season's over. I'm going to rest for a few days and then figure out what's nexxt. Thanks for all your good luck wishes.
And a special thanks to my dad and Bridget who helped me through the race. I'm sure it was really hard for Bridget to run a slower pace and even walk. She pushed me when I needed it and knew how to motivate me in the end. Lots of love to both of you.
Update: I finished 2nd in my age group. Now, how do I get that award?