I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the sub-3 hour marathon club:
Woohoo!! All the training and preparation paid off as everything fell in to place at today's BayState Marathon. The weather was near ideal (could have used less wind and more cloud cover) with a starting temperature of 55 degrees and low humidity. The fear that my achilles would end up causing an issue proved to be for naught; it wasn't even a factor. My calves hurt most of the race but they held up and there was no cramping. All those months of training had made me into a mean, lean, running, well, not really a machine but more of a person who ran really well.
I was lucky enough to fall into a group of four (and later five) that all ran the same pace for the first half. We traded off being the person in front so we all got some relief from the wind. One of the runners was a female who ended up doing a 3:03 (and score second in the 40-49 division). It was nice running with her for so long. Everyone kept yelling out her name and I was so impressed at how many people she knew! Then I remembered that our names were on our numbers. Doh!
After the halfway mark I was all alone, literally. Strangely enough, no one was within 20 feet of me for more than a short period for almost the entire second half. Weird.
I was nervous on approaching mile 18 because Mary had told me that if I get to mile 18 and want to die "YOU HAVE DONE IT RIGHT" (accent hers). So as I hit mile 18 I realized that I didn't want to die. The calves hurt but that was about it. It was then that I knew, I had this in the bag as long as there weren't any cramps.
So I ran, and ran, and ran. Mile 20, still feeling good. Mile 22. Doing alright, the legs kept turning over. Mile 23, or was it 24? Uh oh, I was starting to get confused; clearly I was getting tired. I had stuck to my nutrition plan though and even though my head was getting fuzzy the legs kept moving. Finally mile 26 arrived. Now I wanted to die. But I kept going. At this point it was all mental. I knew I was going to finish with a 2 as the first number in my time, I just needed to keep running. And I did. Here is where I have my one complaint about my race (I have to nitpick at something); this was the only mile I ended up running slower than 7 minute pace (7:05). By the time I crossed the bridge with less than half a mile left I was sufficiently toasted.
Last turn. Into the Tsongas Arena parking lot and the clock at the finish was just turning over to 2:58. I crossed the finish and let out a roar. I'd done it. All the training. All the pain. All the worrying, the stressing, the being a cranky bastard had paid off. Two hours, fifty-eight minutes and five seconds. I had beat three hours, taken 21 minutes off my best and virtually guaranteed myself a spot in the 2013 Boston Marathon.
And I had a great bottle of beer waiting for me at home. Time to relax and enjoy again. Cheers.
12th place 30-39 division
Boston Qualifying time for 2013