I didn't want to end my year with disappointments in Louisville and Cedar Point. So I decided to use all my training and put it towards some running events. It's very rare that I have a weekend without a photo booth event, but this weekend I didn't and luckily there was a very long race in town: the EAS Distance Classic 20 Miler. Sure I hadn't done a long run since Louisville. Sure I hadn't done a long run before Louisville since the start of August. But, I was prepared to do a full iron distance race last weekend so certainly I had the conditioning for this.
I really had no expectations for this race. I knew it would be lonely out there as it was all inside Three Creeks Metro Park, so I decided to run with my iPod and treat the race as training to gauge if I wanted to sign up for the marathon next month. Luckily when I got to the race site this morning I ran into several people I've run with in the past. I felt right at home. My friend Patty, who've I've run with for this 20 mile race before and the Columbus Marathon, lined up with me and we decided to keep the pace around 9:00 or under.
I was a little concerned when we hit the first mile at 8:41. That was faster than I wanted to be going that early in the race but to my surprise, we held almost that pace for nearly the whole race. We soon realized there were two other women, Molly (who is the sister of a mutual friend) and Shawna, in our group and the four of us ran together from the start of the race until mile 15.
That's when I started to feel the effects of having absolutely zero training at the pace I was trying to run. Seriously y'all, I've been training for a 9:00-9:30 for Ironman. I had absolutely no right to think I was going to be able to sustain an 8:45 for this race. At mile 15 I noticed Molly and Shawna slipping away. Patty continued with me and we hit mile 16 at 8:42. Still on pace. At mile 17 I walked through the water stop, as did Patty, but when she started moving again it was quicker than me.
I only walked one more time in the race, but at this point I was pacing over a 9:00. I was all alone. I restarted my iPod and just tried to put one foot in front of the other until I got to the finish line. I finished in 2:56:16, which funny enough, netted me a 3rd place age group finish. Three years ago I ran in this race in almost exactly the same time and it got me 7th in my age group. I love me a small race! :)
Will I run the marathon next month? Probably. Will I be able to qualify for Boston again? I don't know. But, there's still some good training left to be done and a fantastic pace group to run with. Hopefully, I can, but I will be happy to end the season with any success. And finishing itself, is a success.