Sunday morning was the Tobacco Road Marathon and for some reason, I had signed up for it so I was standing at the starting, trying to stay warm, and hoping that the sun would come over the horizon fairly soon.
The weekend started off with a road trip to Cary, NC with ultra runner Jon Savage and ultra racer Bobby Aswell. Jon was pacing the 4 hour marathon group as a final tune up before Umstead 100 miler next weekend and Bobby was continuing his ultra racer strategy by racing the Shamrock 4 miler in Charlotte on Saturday and doubling back for a marathon on Sunday.
We arrived at the host hotel in the afternoon, checked into our room and then headed over to the Expo for packet pickup and to check out the various venders.
Jon was working the pacer's table until later in the evening so Bobby and I headed out around 4pm to find some pasta and do a little drive over the course.
Then it was back to the room for a little TV i.e. some hoops action before heading off to bed.
4:30 AM came rather quickly the next morning. We met in the lobby and head off to the race start. A couple of other pacers joined us for the ride over.
With the time change, Cary is still fairly dark even at 7AM when the gun sounded.
Although, it was little chilly on the hands standing before the start, I warmed up quickly in the first mile.
I am not sure why but I was not feeling particularly good for this race. There wasn't much bounce in my legs and honestly, I was felt like I was struggling even in the first mile. I hoped that the feeling would shake off after a few miles.
The ½ and full were started together so I was looking around and trying to sort out which runners were in which race. At 3 miles ½ turns right while the full marathon runners turn to the left. As I watched the runners ahead of me, most runners seemed to be turning to the left.
I was running just over 6ish pace at 3 miles and there was a guy just ahead of me – maybe 20 meters. I figured I would expend the extra energy and catch him. Maybe we could hook up for some miles together.
When I caught up to him, we chatted briefly and I found out that he was planning to run 2:50ish. I looked at him and thought, you are going out way to fast.
He soon faded back. I could see another guy several hundred meters ahead dressed in an orange outfit. With nothing else to do I just focused on chasing him and see if I could close the distance any.
At this point, I was about 7th in the race order and about 7 miles into the race. I caught him a few miles later and just after I passed him, I looked back. He darted off the course for what I am guessing was a nature break. I would see him later in the race but many minutes behind me.
Crossing through 10 miles I was hoping that I would start to feel better but it just didn't seem to be happening. I was feeling more and more tired.
The ½ marathon point went by in a little over 1:21 minutes which is way slower than I usually do it. But given how I felt, it was probably pretty good.
Through these sections, I passed by a lot of the full marathoners. Bobby passed by me heading to the first turn around. Jon and his pace group passed by me. Actually, he told them my name so it was like having your very own moving cheering section. I loved it.
Rolled through 15 miles and was starting to catch a lot of the ½ marathoners by now. Also I noticed that my mid foot on both feet was starting to hurt. I thought maybe it was the sock doubled so I tried working it out, but nothing seemed to help.
I passed by the ½ marathon turn around on the way out to the marathon turn around. The 2nd turn around was a lot tougher than the first one. The legs were really starting to get really tired now.
Headed back through all of the full marathoners and was starting to catch many of the ½ marathoners.
Miles 20-26 really didn't have any downhill sections. I was either running on the flats or uphill. Most of the way I was darting between and around other runners. Sometimes, I had to take the wide side of the trail or road to pass them.
I was never happier to hit the 25 mile point. My feet were hurting pretty bad at this point.
Just after passing the 26 mile point, I thought I saw the 5th place runner ahead of me. Sure enough, it was the 5th place guy.
When I went by, I caught out of the corner of my eye that he was trying to respond but at this point I had the element of surprise and with the finish line insight I wasn't about to let him catch me.
Crossing the finish line and stopping my watch at 2:43:56, I was like darn that was a hard day. I was only about 11 seconds slower than OBX but felt like a truck had hit me and then dragged me along to the finish.
I waited around for the awards cermony which took a lot longer than anyone expected.
I placed 2nd in the Masters Category. A Master's runner from Morocco beat me with a 2:30 marathon time. I joked to Jon and Bobby that races are now bringing in runners from other countries to beat me. LOL
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel and then drove home. My sincerest thanks go out to Jon for driving. It was really nice to stretch out in the back seat after the race.
By the Garmin, I ran 26:46 miles which make sense because it was impossible to run anywhere near the tangents along the course.
Here are my mile splits for those that are interested:
- 6:13 – 12:21
- 6:18 – 18:39
- 5:59 - 24:38
- 6:12 – 30:50
- 6:09 – 37:00
- 6:05 - 43:05
- 6:03 – 49:09
- 6:09 – 55:18
- 6:03 – 1:01:22 – 10 miles
- 6:00 – 1:07:22
- 6:17 – 1:13:39
- 6:16 – 19:56
- 6:05 – 1:26:02
- 6:04 – 1:32:07
- 6:00 - 1:38:07
- 6:17 – 1:44:24
- 6:10 – 1:50:35
- 6:22 – 1:56:57
- 6:16 – 2:03:14 – 20 miles
- 6:20 – 2:07:35
- 6:21 – 2:15:56
- 6:26 – 2:22:22 (all up hill)
- 6:22 – 2:28:45
- 6:17 – 2:35:03
- 6:00 – 2:41:03
- 2:52 – 2:43:56 (.45 mi.)
Hope you enjoyed it – thoughts from the Cool Down Runner