Definitely not a PR course
So, I didn’t have a plan really – other than to get a nice solid last long run in ahead of Umstead, plus I was using it as a guide to see where I am at compared to last year. Last year’s time was 4:58, and it was also three weeks out of Umstead – so yeah, I did think that beating last years time was a suitable target.
It was bitterly cold at the start, winter’s death grip had returned, it was barely above freezing! I ran the first half mile or so with Amy, but we both wanted to “run our own race”, so she kicked it up a gear and was gone. The next couple of miles or so, I got into a good rhythm as the temperatures warmed up. I was feeling good. Frank Maguire kept me company to about mile 10 – if I am close to Frank, I always know that I am having a good day. Frank stopped to get rid of his long sleeve shirt, said he would catch me up. If being close to Frank means that I am having a good day, being ahead of him means I am having a fantastic day.
About 10 miles in
From that point to the half-way mark is pretty much all uphill, my original plan was to walk the ups, much like I will do at Umstead, but I managed to jog most of the way to the half-way aid station. My split at the half-way point was 2:14. It was at this point I started to think about the possibility of a PR (4:26). 10 minute miles for the second half would do that. Let’s see how it goes…. but the decision was made, I am going to give it a shot. I caught back up with Amy here, and she was also on a PR pace.
Fred who had been pacing Captain Ivan for the first half, started running with me, I told him I was shooting for a PR – he very kindly stuck with me all the way, his exceptional course knowledge helped tremendously. The key piece of information; “save some for the last two miles, it is downhill”. The miles clicked by quickly, Fred was great company and the conversation made time fly. I pushed the pace every now and then, then eased off to save my legs for late on. I walked parts of the occasional hill.
Somewhere around 20 miles, I started thinking of what has been my long term “secret-dream-time”, which had always been 10 minute miles for a marathon, 4:22 (well, once I did dream of sub 4 hour – but, LOL). It started to look like that this was a possibility. At 23 miles, you get back into Ellerbe, and most of the rest of the course is flat or down hill (with the exception of the last ½ mile).
Let’s go for it. I just let it go and thought to hell with the consequences, the worst case scenario is that I fall apart and walk some – and STILL get a PR. – besides, any fool can run a 5K right? Mile 24 begins a long downhill stretch. I pushed the pace close to my “red-line”, Fred dropped back a little which was perfect timing, and allowed me to focus. Towards the bottom of the hill, I started to run out of steam, and my legs felt like Jello. Just the one more climb to the finish, I had to walk a little - Fred caught back up to me and passed me, again perfect timing it really helped pull me along.
The last 100 yds were painful. Finishing was awesome. I had a beer, it was awesome too. Then I had another one.
Approaching the finish with Fred who had finished a minute or so earlier
and came back out to drag me across the finish line
Jello legs. But I finished with a PR. YAY!
Amy was pleased I think with her PR and later she
found out she won 1st in age group
Sharon and Connie - finishing with a smile. Sharon will
also be running Umstead, Connie will be pacing for me again.
Thanks to Ricky Scott for most of the pictures - the rest of them are located here.