This was definitely a learning race and not as blazing fast as it was intended to be. The plan was to run with my girlfriend Lauren who had been training for this race in an attempt to break the 2 hour barrier and beat Eric’s 1/2 time. (She always beast Eric, usually by 30 seconds, no matter the distance)
We woke up late, had issues with our race day breakfast at DD, technical difficulties had made them late with the bagels and with the unexpected traffic we were even later for the start. After parking, downing a gel and walk/running to the wet start, we realized we were the only ones without rain jackets, umbrellas, or garbage bag ponchos in the nice 50 degree rain. Oops.
A short time later the cannon goes off announcing the start and we don’t move. Then we are running! Then we are stopped again. Finally we cross the starting mat and are jogging in a thick crowd of people. We let our inner noob out again, and get too ansy and start darting through the throngs to try and keep our sub 9 min goal pace… So we are jogging then sprinting and weaving, then jogging again looking for openings for the first 2+ miles before things settle down and we get into our groove.
I had heard that this is a flat course… Of course I never bothered to actually check, so I was a bit supprised when around mile 5-ish we hit a series of hills, which we were unprepared for. We trudged up and down those, before hitting the turn around and letting the Marathoners continue on their way. So we redid the hills before getting back on the flats and checked our progress, we were a few minutes behind our 2 hour pace and our legs were smoked from the hills.
We picked up the pace in a valiant effort to make time, but it was not to be. Then with 2 miles left Lauren put on a surge to see if she could pull it out. I had no answer, my unique strategy of tapering the last two weeks by not running at all and drinking lots of beer failed me for some as yet undetermined reason, as she slowly pulled away.
She crossed with an unofficial 2:00:57, and I crossed with a 2:01:59.
5 Weeks until the Manchester City 1/2 Marathon; I’m going to try and actually train for this one, and with any luck, come in under the elusive 2 hour mark.