First off is that I didn't expect much going in. My training was deficient enough that I couldn't reasonably expect a PR. I wasn't really mentally focused going in either. It was only a few days before the race that I actually did some math to figure out what I should expect. After some back of the envelope calculations, I decided that I could probably pull off a 3:20 but I would hope and try for 3:10 to get another Boston Qualifying time (even though I have no intentions on using my time to run Boston).
Picking up my bib at the expo went fine. I was able to get in and out without waiting which is the way I like it. The bag was still mostly filled with stuff that went straight in to the trash. Sorry, adverts in my bag don't get read by me. So I got everything ready (food, clothes, watch) and went to bed.
Got up and made it to the buses and up to the start. The buses were actually really nice and I managed to fall asleep for a few minutes. I guess I wasn't feeling chatty. Once at the start I had some time to kill. I ate some food and walked around. Having never been a to this area before I was stunned by how pretty it was in the canyon. After the normal waiting and quick stop at the lovely porta-johns, the race started. Thank goodness, because my hands and feet were freezing.
Of course I started out way too fast. I figured since there was so much downhill that I couldn't not take advantage of it. I was feeling fine and just kept going. I was on track for besting my goal.
The first few miles went by just fine while I tried to find my rhythm. Eventually my stomach had some issues, but since I didn't have a say in the matter about 75 seconds at a porta-john took care of that. I was still feeling good and was on track. I was also feeling sticky on my face and hands from the powerade and gels, but hey, that's what I race is all about for me. I'm not about to worry about spilled drink on my shirt.
Once at the halfway mark came I decided my brain needed a strategy to survive what I was sure was going to be a grueling second half. Because I was feeling good and running too fast I needed a way to help me get through the rest of the race. I was pretty certain I was going to bonk before the end. I decided that I was going to just get through each mile and run one mile fast and then one mile slightly slower and go back and forth for the rest of the race or until I couldn't do it any more.
It worked from mile 14 to about 23. At 23 there was a turn around and then a good headwind that, while was certainly strong, I was able to push through alright. I passed a few people too. It's always nice passing people in the final miles of the race because you're feeling good and still have some strength left.
One thing I though was funny was that there was an aid station at about 23.5 that was on the outside edge of a corner on the course. Even if it was only a few extra yards, no way was I going to run the extra distance to get anything from there. I stuck to the inside/shorter edge of the course and just kept truckin'.
There was a small hill now that wasn't too steep or long and the wind wasn't really a factor. I decided that I had to change up my plan from the slower mile/faster mile from before. I started doing shorter segments of faster and slower paces. Instead of a mile, it was more like 1/5th of a mile fast and 1/5th of a mile slow. It worked for me and that's all that really matters.
I was still feeling good, surprisingly (VERY surprisingly). The course from mile 24 to about 25.5 seemed like forever long but I was passing people, which felt good, and knew that I could hold on till the end because I was nearly there. Easy!
I passed the finish in 3:07.26, or something like that. I am very happy to have another Boston qualifying time in the books. It was a fun race and I wouldn't mind coming back.
- ► 2016 (15)