28 miles (no really.)
Manchester City Marathon. USATF-NE GP #7.
Went in with the full knowledge that I only stood a chance of running this thing well and to the end if I started out easy, no matter how much the pace and the prognosis hurt my pride.
I knew the majority of the first 5 miles would be uphill, but I still thought that the excitement and the adrenaline would take me to the 6:15 world at least. Nope. 6:30-ish for the first 5.
Ok, so maybe this is going to be a 2:50 day. Tough to swallow that one, but I kept my wits about me and carried on. Sudden;y, as the course evened out and we got some down to go with the up, I started seeing 6:00 pace and a few 5:58's here and there. Next thing I knew, I hit 10 in 62 and change and went through the 1/2 in 1:22:37. OK, now we're talking.
I still kept it all reined in. I didn't want to fool myself into thinking that I could get to 16 and race the last 10, as 60 mile weeks will in no way make that happen.
The whole race, I'd been picking people off, never getting passed. Now, as I came up to 18, I really started to get people and I found 6:00 pace to be pretty easy. By 23 I picked up Titus and at 24 I got the amazing Martin Tighe. at 24 I caught up to Matt Germain and now it was just me trying like hell to catch Jason Porter- the one person who I don't want to be chasing in a long race. Nonetheless, I was gaining, but by 25, I was struggling as much as anyone and suddenly, 6:21 was as fast as I was going to go. He maintained a 20 second lead for that whole last mile and that was it. 2:44:38. 2nd Master, 11th overall. Gave me the overall title with a good lead to boot and left me feeling tired, but not broken. Could I have mustered anything else to chop off a little? Likely no, as I honestly came away from this race feeling as if I ran about as smart as I ever have at any distance.
April will bring a whole other dance with the devil, as the training will be considerably more focused this winter and the strategy will be considerably more aggressive.
Still, this was a lesson learned in marathoning in how to dole out the energy for the best result. Tough course, cold day, perfect ending to a weird but successful year.
week- 48.75 miles