I know, I know. I was going to update weekly on my training. I hate admitting my fails on here, but I failed. I haven’t updated since week 3 in September. After that week it rained, and I hate running in the rain. Then I got sick, got busy, yada, yada, yada. Next thing I know it’s race weekend and I haven’t posted a thing about my training in 2 months! So, I’ll summarize for you: Aside from the rainy and sick week, it was awesome. I found a couple friends in the neighborhood to do my long runs with on the weekends, and generally had a good time training.
My training was so good, in fact, that I blew away my personal record of 1:52:35 by just over 6 minutes! The old PR was set on a much flatter course, though this course isn’t really that hilly. In case you haven’t already done the math, I finished 13.1 miles in 1:46:51. My average pace was 8:06 per mile and no mile was over 8:34! I actually had a couple of miles (not consecutive) that were under 8 minutes! One of those was down hill, but I’ll take a 7:30 mile any way I can get it!
I ran the first 7 miles with a Chad, a new friend from the neighborhood that I’ve been running with on the weekends. This made those miles fly by. We had originally intended to keep about an 8:30-ish pace for the first few miles and speed up as we went. The weather was perfect, if a little on the chilly side at the start, and we kept running faster than we wanted. Mile 1 was supposed to be our warm-up at about an 8:45 pace. We passed the 1 mile marker at 8:34. Not a big deal, but it was faster than we originally planned. Our plan fell apart from there. I’m not sure if Chad was pushing me or the other way around, but the 8:30-ish pace quickly turned into 8:10 or faster for the next few miles.
Chad and I split up after mile 7 in Bryan Park. I put my headphones on and planned to slow down for a couple miles to save energy for the finish. Mile 8 was an 8:24 pace, but this was all due to slowing while I put my headphones on and drank some Power-Ade at a water stop. The rest of the miles went quickly, and there seemed to be more crowd support as we made our way down Brook Road. My plan to slow down for a couple of miles didn’t work out, I just kept going fast!
Making the turn onto Grace Street in mile 12, I kicked it up a notch. The finish was not in sight (I still had two turns to make), but I could feel it. I did have to watch my step a little bit, as Grace Street is in dire need of resurfacing. I passed by the Brander-Mom’s, I think on 3rd street, and blew by them so fast that they didn’t recognize me until I gave our neighbor Jennifer a high-five. I would have said something before I got there, but I was in a zone-already knowing I was going to beat my PR.
I ran the final .25 miles down Cary Street as fast as I could. I learned last year in the marathon that everyone’s advice to the finish of these races is correct: just pick up your legs and control the fall down that hill. The last 1/4 mile is about a 95 foot elevation loss, and really does feel like you’re falling. I extended my strides and very nearly sprinted through to the finish line.
Following the race, I met up with all the Brandermill runners (at least, the ones who hadn’t run the marathon–they were still out there) for smiles and pats on the back. I think everyone was happy with their times and almost everyone has a new time to beat next year. Overall, I finished this race in 817th place (out of 5548 total finishers) and 90th in my age group. I’d call the day a success!
- 13.1 Miles! I CAN DO IT!