My plan this weekend was to run 20 miles on Saturday at a slow pace. Problem was, when I woke up on Saturday it was storming and the weather was calling for rain and storms all day. I didn't want to be running in the rain for three hours. So, Dave and I decided to do the Homestretch 20 Miler race on Sunday with the intention of just using it as a training run.
That's never the case.
We say we're not going to race a race, but we always do. There's something about competition and being able to catch and pass people that makes racing racing and training is something different.
I started out conservatively. My first mile was 9:40 with the next couple miles just under 9:00, but then I started picking up speed. The miles started going down to 8:26, 8:25, 8:24. I even through in an 8:08 somewhere in there. The course wasn't a true out and back. It started down Cleveland Avenue to Sharon Woods Metro Park and went around their walking path, which is 3.8 miles. Then we headed to the Alum Creek Trail for the remainder of the race. The turn-around was approximately 12.75 miles into the race. It was at the turn-around that I noticed I wasn't too far behind Doug and Andrea. So I kept my consistent pace hoping to catch them. Dave was about a mile behind me at the turn-around. My miles continued to come down in time. I was now doing 8:15s pretty steadily. I missed the mile 16 marker, but around mile 17 is when I saw Andy and Andrea walking. I started running with Andrea for a little less than a mile and I went on ahead of her. I walked the mile 18 water stop. I was feeling really tired. Mile 19 was my fastest mile--8:04 uphill. And mile 20 felt like it would go on forever--8:40. I finished with 2:49:21 which is an 8:28 pace. I was 24th overall and 5th in my age group. Dave ran a 3:11:31 to finish 13th in his age group. Doug finished one minute ahead of me; Andrea finished one minute behind me; and Andy finished one minute ahead of Dave (I guess Andy is having achilles issues).
I know I wasn't planning on racing this, but I was a bit disappointed by my pace. An 8:28 won't even qualify me for Boston. My last three out of four marathons have been 3:39, 3:39, 3:40 and I really want to be running between 3:30 and 3:35. Now I know I didn't taper for this race. Heck, I didn't even decide to do it until 24 hours before, but how am I going to go at an 8:00 to 8:15 pace for 26 miles when I can't do it for 20 miles? I have four weeks to figure it out.