The Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, Michigan - a unique spot for a running marathon. You start right next to the high school track and by the first mile marker you are running along Lake Michigan - the third largest of our Great Lakes. Traverse City also has the North American Vasa ski marathon.
With a starting time of 7am, cool temps are always assured and today was no different. Race temp at the starting line was 48 deg. I sat in my van listening to some iTunes and relaxing until about 10 minutes before race start (1,400 entries today), then jogged to the line. I situated myself in the top 50 or so runners and asked around for people's goal time - it ranged from 3:00 to 3:30 so I figured I was in the right spot. Three minutes later, bang and we're off.
Going along Lake Michigan is very scenic and nice. A cool lake breeze just light enough to keep you comfortable was there the whole race. At a couple points I got a tad cold, then the sun popped out and I got a little hot. But, overall, perfect temps running along the shoreline.
Caught up in the excitement I run a silly 6:40 first mile. Geez, you'd think an experienced 39 yr. old distance runner and coach would know better than to go out too hard, but I did it anyway. My training has gone much better than my last marathon (2 years ago, same course, 3:21) so I thought I could meet the Boston Qualifier (3:15). Second mile 6:50, third 7:00, lots of people passing me as I slowly eased back to a better pace time. At ten miles I hit 61 minutes = 7:06/mile - still too fast if I wanted to finish still standing. The Bayshore Marathon is out and back so at the turn around I hit 1:33:30 - on pace for 3:07 if I could hold the pace.
By mile 16 I began to get some tired legs. I had eased back to 7:20 miles but still felt some deadness in my quads and calves. My breathing was fine. I've got a great endurance base from years of running (25 to be exact) and lots of racing this winter (I cross country ski race all our of great snow filled, northern Michigan season) so my breathing was fine. Not enough long runs this season, however, was beginning to take its toll.
At mile 16 I decided to purposely slow down just to hold on to a decent finish. 7:30, 7:20, 7:30, 7:40 went the miles until 20. At twenty a few people started to come back to me. I thought I went out too hard but these guys went out WAY to hard!! Ouch. One guy was just sitting on the ground next to the race course. I said, "Need a Gu" - he just said "no" and sat there. Glad I wasn't feeling that bad!
About mile 21 I caught a guy going real slow. I made the decision to run with him for a few miles just to preserve my legs. As long as I hit 7:50's for the last 5 miles I was still sub 3:15 and qualified. We went 8:05 then 8:10 then 8:00 - ouch, slow. I knew if I stuck with him I wouldn't make it, so I picked it up a tad and went 7:45, 7:50....
ONE MILE TO GO. I quickly calculated I needed a 7:20 + a pace of the same for the last 285 yards. Here we go.... no legs left, breathing hard... I pumped out a 7:20 and had a finish time of 3:14:52...
EIGHT SECONDS TO SPARE!!!
Race temp at finish 58 degrees. Perfect.
Boston here I come.
I walked slowly to my van, hopped in and drove home. The kids helped me out of the van since walking was difficult and my wife had a pasta lunch waiting then big fat steak for dinner followed by a nice Fosters oil can.
Motrin for breakfast this a.m.