Great race today. Race time temps were about 5° higher than predicted. Helped me decide on shorts and a tshirt(36°) with arm warmers. Goal was to hit 6:3xs each mile. I started up front but behind the guys I knew would run sub 1:20. The race went off and within the first 1/2 mile as expected Im doing 5:50. I purposely slowed down to 630-645 and ran along a guy matching me stride for stride. I thought maybe Id have company as the other 7 in front me were gone! Before the first mile, though, my partner had slowed way back and was gone. I was about 20yds behind #1 female. At least I felt like I had a target. I thought to myself that she was going to drop back the pace by mile 4. Sure enough, at 3.5 I started gaining on her and passed her. I was on my own the rest of the race! I hit a few miles in the high 6:20s but I was feeling fairly relaxed as I approached the turnaround. I was seeing 1-6 coming back at this point. I felt like #6 wasnt too far ahead of me but a minute is deceiving. Turned around grabbed my first water drink. The next few miles were nice as I saw all my friends on the course and lots of “good jobs”. It was a slight downhill. I intended to use this to my advantage and gain some speed. I ended up maintaining the pace and relaxing some. Once back on the flat, after the time spent relaxing, I sped up as i was feeling good. Mile 8 was the fastest in the 6:18 range and I could tell it put the hurt in my lungs beyond that. After mile 9 we went up the middle school hill on Stafford. I tried to use my quads and hammys more to go up the hill. I felt gassed for about a 1/4 mile after the hill.
Right turn off Stafford and the 3 mile sign. I know I only have around 21 minutes of running for the final 5k. I look at my watch and read 1:04. Im on target! After this right-hand turn I realized that I was starting to notice the wind for the first time. I looked at the flags nearby and could tell the wind was from the north. The way the last stretch goes to the finish. I power through the next mile going down under 267 again and up a short, steep grass hill. Watch those footsteps! There were some big dirt mounds i almost turned an ankle on.
Things are starting to get tough, now. I make the 2nd to last turn to head north to the finish and like a clap of the hands the wind hits me! Woah!!!! The records show the wind was never more than 6mph in the morning. No way that was 6. I would guess a steady 15mph, honestly. Everyone was commenting about that section post race. My effort level goes up another 20% and I cant even maintain 6:40 anymore, crap! One last water drink and push. I redlined to keep my pace in 630s. Turn the final corner and kick it. As I approached the finish I could see my wife and she was tugging a little hand behind her. She had brought my daughter, Lillian! (My wife did the 5K so she went back home to get her after her race) They smiled and waved and I got a big grin and smiled and waved too. Then I turned back to the finish line and looked at the clock. It just ticked over 1:24! So much faster than I was expecting of myself! As i crossed the line I grabbed my sock hat off my head and flipped it up into the air not knowing where it was going. I didnt care, haha. I put my hands on my knees for a second and then took my medal from one of the ladies. I turned around to the race director who was congratulating me and asking if I was headed to Boston next month. I had to tell him, “nope, but I’m qualifying the weekend after in Toledo!” I briefly looked for someone that might be handing me my hat but nothing. I didnt care one bit I lost it. Come to find out I flipped it back over the finish line about 20ft away right by my wife and daughter! Haha, they had it. I finished in 1:24:08. I was 7th overall and 2nd in my age group. I was 2+ minutes faster than this race last year and lost 2 spots, hah. The course read short on a lot of Garmins but I dont question the RDs ability to measure a route.
I wasn’t nervous going into this race but I had a lot of question marks about how well I would do. I am putting in 65-70 miles a week pretty regularly. More than ever by a long shot. I’ve stayed healthy and have hit all my hard workouts. This was kind of the payoff for all that work. Now, though, the real treat awaits at the Glass City Marathon on April 23.