I'm chugging some Pepto, trying to get my stomach back under control. That is a good sign for me, means I gave a hard effort. Today was the final race in the USATF NE grand prix (7 races from 5km-marathon). I've never done all seven in one year and was close last year until I ended up on the IR with a Stress Fracture. This year I had four done when the SF hit. The only good thing was that it hit much earlier than last year. That meant the water would be warmer for running in and I'd have (just enough) time to make it back for the final three races.
This is definitely the least I've ever trained for a marathon. My highest mileage was 51 and my longest single run was 8 miles. I was hoping that memories of marathons long gone by and the brutal 3-4 hour water runs with the brothers Qunital would be enough to carry me through. The plan was to run as even as possible and finish as close to sub-3 hours as possible. DQ and Huck were both on board with the pace and planned to join me.
The race started a few minutes late, but the rain hadn't started yet so it wasn't too bad. We went a bit too fast the first mile (lots of looking around to gauge off of others) and slowed it gradually. By three miles we were clocking 6:52's on the nose. The couple of slightly rolling miles into a light breeze had us slow a bit from four to eight miles when we hit the Tyngsborough bridge and headed back towards Lowell. I fronted our pack which was about 20 strong and included Abby Mahoney and another woman both looking to run under three hours. I felt very good and we clocked some faster miles at this point. Dave Q made a pit stop and I wouldn't see him again for a bunch of miles, but Huck was still in the big pack as we motored down the boulevard.
We ran strong through the half hitting it in 1:29:36, so about 20 seconds "in the bank". I was still feeling very good and started thinking "if I get to Tyngsborough bridge feeling good I'll pick it up for the last 8". I was definitely being patient, but I was also towing the entire pack. Pat Ard joined us in just after the half and we both fronted the pack for the next five miles. I took a peek back at the bridge and our pack had broken up. It was just Pat and Mike Toomey and me. We hadn't picked it up so I just went with it. Pat looked and sounded like he was going very easily and Mike was in the zone (headphones). After 20 I started to feel a bit tired but kept thinking, "go one more mile with these guys" at 21 Pat pulled away and started picking off people. I was just happy to be still putting sub 652's behind me. The lack of training was catching up, but the desire to race never diminished. I saw groups in front of me and worked on hauling them in.
The last couple of miles were tough but I only lost a couple of seconds from 24 on. The Billerica crew at the 24 mile water stop were quite supportive when I yelled "BMHS class of 82!!!". The conditions got lousy over the last 5 miles and I was getting cold and very tired towards the end. I kept it rolling and met my goal of a sub-3 hour with a 2:59:43. All in all a pretty fun day!
Next up: Three weeks from now, the US trail marathon championship in Oregon. This was my marathon training.....
648 (1:08:22) (3417)
648 (1:42:30) (3408)
648 (2:16:39) (3409)
700 (2:51:05) (3436)