A couple of weeks ago I was wondering why I entered this race and wishing that I hadn't. I had already been signed up for the Ellerbe Half which is next weekend and I really didn't need to be racing two weekends in a row this close to my marathon. Somewhat reluctantly, I made the decision to use this race as a workout rather than going all out but exactly what kind of workout I really didn't know until just before the race started and by mile two I changed that plan.
Since I wasn't racing and with the 22F starting temperature I didn't do my normal pre-race warmup and planned to just go easy the first two miles. Mile 2 is just over the summit of the big hill and at that point I would do 2 miles at race pace (8:15-8:20) with half mile recoveries at marathon BQ pace (9:00-9:07). Well, with a slight downhill start and getting caught in the flow of runners as we narrowed down onto the greenway at 1/4 mile, I went out faster than planned in 8:39 and even mile 2 up the hill was barely slower than I'd planned for the slow recoveries(9:11).
I took off then and began moving by people. I didn't feel all that good and somehow ran mile 3 in 8:03. Too fast. Already I was regretting wearing a jacket as I was sweating so I zipped it down to allow air flow and decided then to just alternate faster miles with MP miles, Hit mile 4 and failed at that too. Too fast that is in 8:49. Took off again and now I'm sure all the runners I was leapfrogging were probably thinking I was some sort of novice that didn't know jack about pacing ! Next sequence was another fail with mile 5 another 8:03 and mile 6 another 8:49.
Despite running too fast in each segment I still wasn't feeling all that good. Mile 7 is probably overall the hardest one the course as it goes up to and around Anderson Point Park so I took another easy mile through there. The hills along with a pee break gave me a 9:27 which would have been just about right without the break. I took off again and started seeing runners behind me now on the out and back which is always fun. Saw quite a few friends over the next couple of miles. That mile 8 was 8:17, finally one on pace ! At this point I didn't want to run hard anymore so the plan now changed to just running BQ pace the last 5.
That went ok for about a mile. 9 was an 8:54, still a tad fast so I backed it down slightly but then by 9.5 I started feeling some stomach pain. I didn't feel like I was going to throw up but the pain was similar. Mile 10 was a 9:21 and then I slowed way down to 9:49 for mile for mile 11 and couldn't believe how hard it felt. I took a couple of short walk breaks and then walked all of the steep hill so it was a terribly slow 10:26. With a little over half a mile to go I was passed by the 2 hour pace group and of course they were encouraging me to come along with them. I wasn't much interested in time but just getting it done without feeling worse. Mile 13 was 9:58 and then finally I was done. That was a lot harder than I planned. I actually ran the course faster last Sunday on an easy training run.
Looking at the results I was surprised I was still 4th of 11 in the 60-64 age group and even more surprising was there were no 65-69 runners and only 1 over 70 ! But I think that maybe that could be because they don't give awards to age groups? Anyway, they do a great job putting on this event and depending on whats going on next year maybe I'll come back ready to rumble.