Killed it. K-I-L-L-E-D it. Very pleased. Turned in a 2:48:17 time (by my watch-formal results not yet posted), which is about 9 minutes faster than last year's time. Plus--and this is huge--I was in such better shape after the race this year as compared to last year. Last year (as longtime readers might recall) was the infamous "Drink orange soda and lived to regret it" day. I also cramped up after the race last year and lay in the car moaning on the way home. This year, I walked around after the race, got some nutrition (1/2 an orange, 1/2 a banana, 1/4 of a monster bagel, and 2 Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts--Yeah. I can eat) and managed to drive myself home with no incident. Blair had gum surgery yesterday and decided, understandably, to stay home.
I couldn't have asked for a better race day. Sunny, with temps still at 68 degrees by noon. I ran the race with my friend Dave, my Wednesday morning trail running partner. Dave had a rough run, with the arthritis in his knee giving him major grief, but he hung with me the entire way for which I am eternally grateful. Very helpful to pace with someone.
My pace averaged a 9:03/mile. I need to hold a 9:09 to run a four-hour marathon. Can I hold the pace another 6+ miles? I'm not sure. The biggest problem is my back. Come about mile 14, it just aches non-stop, like someone is using a crowbar in an attempt to remove my lower spine. Makes me want to stop and curl into the fetal position. I've vowed to devote the next 6 weeks to abdominal work, in the hopes of easing the pain in Richmond.
Legs and breath did okay. Better than okay--great, actually. But here's the tough part about running. I felt good today, and never came near the "I've got to stop, I can't go on" place. Yet with every step my mind says, "Quit, quit, quit. Stop, stop, stop." Even when strong, I want to stop because... it would feel better. The trick is to distract the mind and hope the miles slide by unnoticed.
Everyone in my group appears to have had a great run, with several people PR'ing (Personal Records). It's a relief to know I made my goal today, and comforting to think I still have 6 weeks of training to get even stronger before my race.
BTW, the photo here is my PACE TATTOO. Temporary tattoo that allows me to make sure I'm on pace, Why is this necessary? Because I lose the ability to do simple math after about mile 4.
This has been your annual weekend running update. =)