Got up about 5, hotel coffee and Cliff bloks. Relaxed for a while as I am not sure why I got up so early. I did get a good deal of TV watching done, including Mr. Fred Rogers helping his young audience deal with divorce ("Just because mommy and daddy don't love each other doesn't mean they don't love you..."). Got ready around 6:30 and got my gear, and drove to the starting line around 6:45, getting there just before 7 to run a bit (1.76 mile warm up, strides, dynamic stretching). Did the strides going down Ohio, looking in shop windows to make sure I was fast AND looking good while doing it. My foot felt great, which was a relief. They had some water at the starting line, which was great because my mouth was dry from the coffee. Temps were just around 48-50 degrees.
The announcer asked people to get ready, did some announcements, but it seemed no one wanted to toe the line . . . because we were several yards from it (diffusion of responsibility I take it). I thought people would move toward the line eventually, but we stayed where we were. Okay. I guess this little gem is going to have a running start (this race at least had timing mats and the big blowup arch things). It was like they had never raced before. We went when the starting, eh, err . . . voice . . . went off. Seriously, can I get a gun? My first race had a cannon fire, which was awesome except it was 10 or 15 seconds early. The next year some guy couldn't get his musket to fire and we had at least one false start. Anyway, off to our running start we go.
Miles 1 & 2: 6:45, 6:41 were straight down Ohio. I started out fast (about 5:30, 5:45) before settling in. The lead guys were out in front and I was in a pack of heavy breathers in gym shorts and cutoff T-shirts. First mile was good, and second was good. Right on first half pace, feeling very comfortable. I passed a guy just before mile 3. He seemed tired, but I talked to him after and he did a marathon race/training run the weekend before around 3:18 pace. He's doing Chicago, hoping for sub-3.
Miles 3-6: 6:39, 6:39, 6:44, 6:34 We started on the trail that we would be on for most of the race. I passed the Chicago guy and asked him what he had on his distance because I hit mile 3 early. Say 2.75ish early. Not good, especially since 1 and 2 were as close as the certified courses I have run (.01-.02 difference). He reported similar findings, sounding like in fact he had run a marathon the previous weekend. 4, 5, and 6 were all on the mark. I picked up two guys during these miles and ran with them. One of them I stayed with until mile 11. We saw the lead guy around mile 6 or a bit after (he had hit the turnaround). He was about a minute and a half ahead (and finished almost five and a half minutes over the second place finisher). No sense telling the chase guys. The guy went on to run a 1:10. We went over some timing mats at the turnaround, which as near as I can tell were just to keep people from running through the woods or taking a bus and popping up at mile 13 to set a world record (I don't see any half splits and I'm guessing the turn was the halfway point).
Miles 7-10: 6:33, 6:31, 6:22, 6:35 : Put down a gel around the turning point and picked up the pace a bit. One of the two guys I was running with fell behind. We started to see the crowd of people who started behind us on the way back. Trail was a bit crowded, but not bad. I talked and joke a little with Chris, my unofficial pacer who was running with me (I wish I had got that guy a beer or six). Got s sip of water at one point to wash my mouth out. Watched some of the interesting running gaits of old folks (bless them for keeping up the running). I felt great the whole time. Chris stopped for more water around 10 or 11 and I took off.
Miles 11-13.08: 6:30, 6:20, 6:10, 25.7 seconds I saw a guy up ahead and put a target on his back around mile 11-11.15. Wasn't sure if I would catch him. I tried to tell myself, "you're running a huge PR, keep it steady until you can see the 13th mile marker." Mile 12 I was starting to feel it, but usually I feel like that around mile 10, so things were looking good. I stayed on the guy's back until I could hear the announcer and see mile 13 and I went. I hit 5:01 going into the finish, seeing the clock about 1:25:24ish. Stopped my watch a few seconds after I went over the mats, which means the partial was shorter than .08 and I was moving at 5 minute pace for longer than the average pace reflects on the partial. Still, the distance is good on my watch to make the equivalent time of 1:25:27 a 1:25:35 and that's going to be my new PR of over 5 minutes. 8 minutes off my PR in late April. 14 minutes off my PR from last October. Sub-1:20 was my "some day when I peak" goals, but even though the minutes are going to come off harder and harder, I know sub-1:20 is possible. I'd like to see what lies beyond that.
The official time had me at 1:24:57.6. Glad we had the running start or it would have been about 13.05!
2.34 mile cool down.
PM: Easy shakeout in the hotel pool :)
Foot was fine during the race, and a bit angry during the cool down. Off to the podiatrist to make sure I can get it straightened out.
This puts 30+ seconds between current half marathon pace and goal marathon pace, which seems reasonable.
Legs are strong PR sore today. Would love to run, but I'm not sure about that foot.