As opposed to a bad one which is what I had the last time I ran this marathon in 2005. Back then I was every bit as stubborn as I am today but was undertrained and therefore trying for a 3:30 that time was really not a good idea. Today was a different story. I wasn't exactly 'trained' for the marathon but clearly had enough miles in this season. My biggest concern was that I would hurt myself. I am pretty sure if I had felt pain (other than normal 26.2-miles-on-road-pain) that I would have slowed down a lot or stopped but thankfully I didn't have to think about that. Other than one twinge in my right glute at mile 24 I felt remarkably better than I expected. I could tell my core was nowhere near as strong as when I ran my PR last year but I never felt like I was risking injury in the way I did in 2005. That year I ended up walking a lot from mile 16 and enjoyed sharp shooting pain in my lower back at around mile 20. Followed by several months of recovery...
The odd thing was that even though all sense of freshness was gone from my legs by mile 12 they still felt really strong and I was able to keep a 7:45-ish pace. I crossed halfway in just over 1:44 and carried on at that pace until around mile 18 I think. I was debating slowing a bit until mile 21/22 but seemed to do okay continuing on. Once I hit Summit I picked it up nicely and had a smile on my face the whole way home. It is one fantastic feeling to be strong at that stage of a race and especially with all the great support. I saw loads of people I knew - both running and spectating. Adam was somewhere on Nokomis I think and later Steve and then Matt and family at mile 24 or so. Kate Havlin was out there and several others I recognize from the trails. Art was at the MN Tri club post and I saw loads of folks from the run club including Debbie and Jennifer at mile 25. Susan and Marta at mile 20 - great buzz running with Susan for a few hundred yards until she was politely told to leave the course! A few others called my name but I was gone past them. I was delighted that loads of people recognized the Afton shirt I was wearing! I even saw 2 other runners along the way with it.
On the downside I did a pretty crap job of pacing Igor though I suspect he knew that might be the case... from running a lot more trails this summer my sense of pace is way off and I knew I was going out faster than we had planned. But he ran well and PR'd. As did Eric. Paul almost did. Tons of other Plymouth runners out there today. Met Anthony at the start and saw Jodee (PR!!) and John along the way. Val ran strong though her hamstrings started to cramp early enough. Sounds like Molly was having a great day - after running 50 on the Ice Age Trail yesterday! Jim & Heidi both qualified for Boston! It was so cute seeing them at the finish - they were thrilled and how cool to both qualify at the same race. And Julie - awesome PR and BQ! WooHoo!! Saw Jim at the start and he ran a great race - another PR I believe? Also got to witness a marriage proposal at around mile 17!! - it was a busy day out there - the guy was running the marathon and his bride to be was cheering. As you can imagine he was pretty happy with himself! Oh and I met Joel at the start with food and coke - Joel ran 50 on the IAT yesterday also. AND then got up at some crazy hour this morning and ran 13 to the start of the marathon! I was looking out for him at the drop bag area but it was getting late and I thought I'd missed him. So I was glad when we spotted each other. Didn't get to meet Scott at the start but ran into him in the Corporate tent afterwards which was kind of funny. Discovered he works for the competition :) Which reminds me I must find out how our team did... I'm not even sure how many from work were running but I saw Jan at the end, he was looking very fresh. Todd R had a good race but missed BQ by a minute. Bummer or what. Met Todd W in the tent and just saw he ran 3:22 - solid run for him I expect some way off his PR though I'm not sure. And I finally met Theresa who also works for BSC and was volunteering at sweats pick-up. She is Joann Fallis' daughter and it's funny as I just recently talked to Joann at a race and then had an email from Theresa but never got to meet her at work as she is at the other campus. But she just heard me ask for my sweats bag and caught my accent!
Also in the Corp tent were Shelley and Paula - both volunteering today as they are running Chicago next weekend (which I still am signed up for now that I think about it... don't worry, I ain't that silly...). Shelley ran the 10 miler this morning - as did Pam - both had a good run. Paula is having foot issues so I really hope she is ok for Chicago she has trained so well this year and is in shape for a sub-3:00 but she's smart enough to listen to her body if it's not happening on the day. Kami was working the event as she has the past several years - got to see her at the finish. They do such an amount of work over the weekend on very little sleep. One of her less glamorous tasks today was gathering the castaways along the course - she reckoned there was about 3 times the normal amount as so many people had started out with multiple layers given the sub-50F starting temps. And I'm sure with all the rain the layers got pretty heavy so people were dumping stuff right throughout the course and not just a few miles in. Cathy was volunteering also and was at the finish line. A great job by all the volunteers - I found the aid stations very well organized and easy to navigate.
A great day overall. But how about the weather - talk about opposite from last year. At first it was nice to have some rain but running along Calhoun with the wind coming off the lake was just nasty! After a while there was no point trying to aovid the bigger puddles as my shoes were soaked through. It did dry up eventually and my shoes stopped squelching around mile 25.
Now, time for more HOT coffee and an ICE bath. Let the fun begin...
Before I finish - huge congrats to Joe Z who ran 2:54 today!! A PR I believe. 4 weeks after a sub-24 at Sawtooth. I am thrilled with how good I felt today but that is something else. And to John Storkamp - 2:55 today - not a PR but a very nice run!
End of post.