Friday, September 29, 2006

RR Omaha

Race Report
Omaha Marathon
Omaha, NE
Sun, Sept 24/06
#272 – State # 45 (2nd loop)
3:40:39 – 1 AG - 1st Senior Masters

Where did I leave off in my last report? Oh Yes! I was hurting at mile 23 of the Crested Butte Marathon and worried about my legs recovering for this marathon! I knew I would be running the Omaha Marathon the following weekend because I wanted/needed to run Nebraska to scratch State #45 off my list as I complete the 50 States for the 2nd time.

Thus we left our summer home in the High Country of Colorado on Fri in a snowstorm to begin our drive home to Florida for the winter. We arrived in Omaha Fri night so that we could rest and explore the city on Sat. After picking up my race packet we decided to take a free bus tour of the course. I had researched the Net to learn that the winning time in my age group last year was 4:12? That seemed very slow so I needed to check out the course. It was described as “hilly and tough” but surely it wasn’t that difficult?

The course started at the Civic Center in downtown Omaha and ran east to the Missouri River and past the Lewis and Clark Landing. The first two miles were downhill and/or flat as they ran along the river and through the ConAgra campus (an agriculture and food conglomerate). Then began nine miles of hills including four nasty/BAHs (Bad Ass Hills) as the course headed south through the Henry Doorly Zoo to a turn-around point about 7 miles and then back past the Rosenblatt Stadium (home of the College World Series) before it looped back to the initial course through ConAgra and back to the Civic Center. The Half finished in the Civic Center while those lucky/crazy enough to run the full marathon got to run a 2nd half marathon loop north of the city. That loop ran north through a depressed/dilapidated section of the city to Carter Park and along Carter Lake that separates Nebraska from Iowa. At 20 miles the course climbed out of the Park into an old/poor neighborhood to a turn-around point at 21 miles. From there it was a straight and boring 5-mile shot back to the Civic Center. The 2nd Half was relatively flat except for the BAH at mile 20! I was glad we had taken the bus tour because I realized that the 1st Half would beat the crap out of our legs and I would have to run SMART!

Thus I finalized my goals:
1) Win my Age Group
2) Finish at least under 4 hours and hopefully under 3:45

The rest of the day we spent exploring the city and the Old Market – an old section of the city with warehouses that have been converted to shops, pubs and lofts.

Sun was ‘M’ day. I lined up at the start line with another 1500 runners – 350 in the marathon – the rest in the Half and 10K. The weather was good – cloudy and temps in the low 50s. The wind was the only concern since it was 10/15 mph? The sports manager waited at the start line to collect my warm-up clothes (perhaps she read that report from Stowe?) Since the first 2 miles were downhill/flat I passed mile 2 in 15:41. Then the hills and pain began. At mile 3 an old fart passed me. He was wearing a ’50 State’ T-shirt with the name ‘Rick’ on it. A ‘Rick’ from FL had emailed before the race asking to share a room so I asked if he was Rick from FL? Yes! We started running together and I told him I planned to run ‘smart and easy’ (an 8:30/9:00 min pace) through the hills so that I would have something left for the 2nd Half! But somehow we started pushing each other and I felt we were pushing too hard/fast through the hills? When we crested the final BAH at mile 10 in 1:23:06 I was concerned that we had used up too much energy in the hills. When Rick decided to make a pit stop I continued on and expected that I would not see him again? I followed some Half-marathoners to the Civic Center and passed the Half in 1:48:31 – about 5 minutes faster than planned?

I slowed my pace a wee bit to let the legs rest but that didn’t last long! As I turned a corner at mile 14 I glanced to my right and saw Rick closing on me - fast! Soon we were back together and pushing the pace again. I became concerned. We were in the same age group and I really didn’t want to run the whole race with a competitor. What would happen when we approached the finish line? How serious and painful would the pissing match be? I didn’t want to find out so I played a mean game. I figured Rick had to be hurting more than me because he had to play catch up so I lowered the pace to 8 min/mile. He stayed with me until mile 16 and then started to complain about a side stitch and slowed down. I continued on to the turn-around point at 18 miles in Carter Park (2:30:19) where I was able to confirm that I had built up about a ¼ mile lead on Rick. I slowed my pace again until I reached the BAH at mile 20 and charged up the BAH to gain more lead! I passed mile 20 in 2:47:10 and reached the final turn-around point at mile 21 where I noted that my lead had increased to about ½ mile and Rick was still having problems with his side stitch.

I knew that we were 1st and 2nd in our Age Group and figured Rick would fade/slow on the last 5 miles so it was decision time. Should I slow and coast to the finish line - OR? The race provided the answer! At that point I could see about one dozen runners spread out over the next mile in front of me. I decided to use this as an opportunity to teach the old bod how to cope with pain while pushing the pace to pull all those runners in! I passed 12 younger runners – the final runner on a short steep hill up to the Civic Center at mile 26! When I passed mile 25 in 3:30:26 I struggled desperately to finish under 3:40 but that last short hill felt like a friggin mountain and slowed me down so that I entered the Civic Center and crossed the finish line in 3:40:39!

I was expecting cheers and a nice hug from the Sports Manager – but NO sports manager? I had told her I expected to finish between 3:45 and 4:00 and she wasn’t there – I was too early? But to be fair and to give her credit she had left to bring the car closer to the finish line so that I wouldn’t have to walk too far to the car. So she was forgiven!
After the required finish line photos we headed to the hotel for a quick shower and late check out and then returned to the Civic Center to check the results. My official finish time of 3:40:39 was good enough to win my Age Group and also collect an additional award for the 1st Senior Master to cross the finish line.

No time to celebrate – we had to continue our drive back to Florida – 3 more days and 9 more states to drive across before we finally arrived back in Florida.

Now that I have had time to reflect I am pleased that I achieved both goals on a tough course. Even Maddog seems pleased that I ran 4 marathons in the past 3 weeks and won my age group in all four! He is giving me this weekend off from racing so that I can rest up for our international trip next week to South America – 3 marathons and 2 countries in one week!

Stay tuned for the trip reports!

Monday, September 18, 2006

RR Crested Butte

Race Report
Mountain Air Marathon
Crested Butte, CO
Sun, Sept 17/06
3:52:43 9th OA – 3rd Male – 1st AG

Why did I run this marathon? I seriously asked myself that question when I lined up on the start line on Sun morning. It was not on my race calendar. It was a last minute decision based on a good race the previous weekend in Vermont and a personal goal/desire to run every marathon in Colorado. The Mountain Air Marathon was held in Crested Butte, CO which is a pretty area in southwest CO and close to Black Canyon National Park that we wanted to visit. So I registered on Tue and then watched the weather forecast become very ugly! It called for a deep freeze to hit the Rocky Mtns over the weekend with snow and temps plunging into the 20s. Oh Goody!

Thus we left Summit County on Sat morning in a blizzard – the 1st snowstorm of the season to reach down into the valley – and a definite sign that it is time for us to return to Florida! As we drove south we escaped the snowstorm but noticed that the peaks were covered with a nice new blanket of white powder. And the temps continued to plunge! We arrived in Gunnison, CO in time for lunch and picked up my race packet before exploring Crested Butte and Gunnison. It was the end of the tourist season but we didn’t expect the towns to be completely ‘dead’. We had planned to stay two nights but decided one night would be enough. We would visit the Park on the way home on Sun. We drove the marathon course to check it out. It was a point-to-point course starting in Crested Butte (8880 ft) and ended at the Mountaineer Bowl at Western State College in Gunnison (7700 ft). The first 20 miles was along the paved shoulder of Hwy 135 from Crested Butte to Gunnison. There were several rolling hills but no nasty hills (no BAHs). At 20 miles the course finally left the Hwy and turned on to a side road for the final 10K into Gunnison and the finish line in the stadium. It seemed to be a relatively easy course except for the altitude?

After our traditional pasta dinner on Sat we checked the weather channel. The news was BAD/UGLY! The temps were forecast to plunge into the low 20s and the marathon started at 7am in Crested Butte so it was going to be very COLD! I prayed that the 20 to 30 mph winds that had prevailed all day Sat would stop? I had wisely packed cold-weather running gear but was still not eager to run this race.

It was bitterly cold when we left the hotel in Gunnison at 6am for the drive to the start line – temp was 19F! When we arrived at the start line in Crested Butte the temp had soared to a balmy 21 F. I refused to get out of the car until a few minutes before the start – I was not too enthused about running this race and kept asking myself that opening question: “what am I doing here”? I asked the sports manager if she would take my place? Her response “I’m not crazy – maybe I am – because I should be in a warm bed”!

I wore polypro tights and top with a 2nd layer (T-shirt) on top plus a green garbage bag to trap my body heat. Of course I wore gloves and for only the 2nd race in my life I wore a hat/tuque to keep my body heat from escaping through my head. We were lucky – the winds had calmed to 5/10 mph so the wind chill was only 15 F! Fifty runners had registered for the marathon but only 35 ‘crazies’ showed up at the start line. Sissies!

I tried to take off with the lead pack but my legs were cold and stiff and my lungs were burning from the cold, thin air and all I could manage was a 9-min pace for the first 2 miles? I finally started to warm up and lowered the pace to 8:30s. When I reached mile 5 in 42:38 the sun started to rise and the temps warmed up quickly to the mid 20s and I discarded the garbage bag and tuque. By that point the race positions had already been established. I had lost sight of the lead pack already but there were 6 runners about ½ mile in front of me. I felt confident that I could/would pass all of them before the end of the race. I passed four of them before I reached the Half in 1:51:44. When I passed mile 16 in 2:17:00 I realized that I had slowed to a 9-min pace and the two runners in front were leaving me behind. I was alone and there wasn’t much motivation to push the pace - and hurt. I tried to push the pace just to reach the 20-mile marker and get off the Hwy but the old legs refused to go faster than 9min/mile? I wasn’t sure if it was the altitude or the marathons the previous two weekends (or both) but my legs were wasted?

I finally passed mile 20 in 2:53:34 and turned off the Hwy on to the side road. I couldn’t see any runners in front or behind me. The race was just starting and I was hurting! I repeated the opening question many times to myself! I knew that I was winning my age group and decided that my finish time was not important (as long as it was under 4 hours). I calculated that a 10-min pace would get me to the finish line under 4 hrs so I decided to let my tired/wasted old legs set a pace that they felt comfortable with. That strategy/relief only lasted for 1 mile! At mile 21 I could see two runners in front of me again – they were about ½ mile ahead and slowing. I decided to pull them in. I tried to push the pace but all the push that was left was a 9:15 pace. I passed the 1st runner as he walked up a short steep hill at mile 23. When I crested the hill I couldn’t see the other runner which meant I was not going to catch him/her (turned out to be a her) and I reverted back to my previous strategy. I was now more concerned about my wasted old legs recovering for a marathon next week in Nebraska. I switched to ‘survival’ mode and slowed my pace to 9:45s for the last 5 Km. As I struggled up the final short steep hill into the Mountaineer Bowl I finally removed my 2nd layer T-shirt (it was a toasty 35F at the finish) so they could see my race number as I crossed the finish line in 3:52:43!

After a few finish line photos we returned to the hotel for a long HOT soak in the tub. It was soooooooooooooooo wonderful. Not only did it soothe my tired/wasted legs but I was WARM for the first time that day! We returned to the stadium to check the results and arrived just as my name was being announced – I assumed for 1st in Age Group? Surprise! I had indeed won my age group and I also was the 3rd male finisher! Notice that I did not say 3rd Overall as one would expect? Confused? So was I until I looked at the results. The top three and top 6 out of 8 finishers were females! I was the 3rd male across the finish line and 9th place Overall! In 271 marathons I have never seen a race with results like this? The women handed the men their asses on a silver platter in this race! I asked the race director who the ‘fast’ ladies were? There is a group of very good female athletes/ runners/triathletes/skiers in Crested Butte. I am convinced! No need for any of my single friends to move there – you would never be able to catch any of the females!

After collecting another beer mug for all my painful efforts we left for Black Canyon National Park located 60 miles west of Gunnison. It is a canyon that has been cut into the Rocky Mtns by the Gunnison River over the past 20 million years. It is 50 miles long with steep/sheer walls over 2700 ft and very narrow – ¼ mile from rim to rim at its narrowest point! The rugged views are spectacular but the visit is not for those with acrophobia or any problems with heights because the trails and viewpoints are perilously close to the edges of the canyon. But it is well worth a visit! We visited the south rim that has the most spectacular views.

We then drove home through the back roads of western Colorado. This lengthened the journey but we saw a lot of CO that we had not visited before. When we arrived home we immediately turned the furnace up and the fireplace on, opened a bottle of wine and toasted our feet and bods in front of the fire! I may stay there until we leave on Fri?

Although the race did take a toll on my old legs I am hoping that if I reduce my training miles this week and taper that they can recover enough to carry me through a good race at the Omaha Marathon next weekend? We plan to leave the High Country on Sept 22 and drive a northern route across the US through Nebraska so that I can run the Omaha Marathon on Sun and complete my 45th State (2nd loop).

Stay tuned for the race report (from sunny and WARM Florida).

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

RR Stowe Marathon

Race Report
Stowe Marathon
Stowe, VT
Sun, Sept 10/06
#270 – State # 44 (2nd loop)
3:39:29 14 OA - 1 AG

The main purpose of this race/trip was to complete a marathon in State # 44 in my quest to complete all 50 states for a 2nd time. The 50 State Club rules require that you run a different marathon each time so I selected Stowe since I had never been there.
I also decided that since my sister Carole Anne lived in NY State I would make a long weekend of it and visit her and her family in Burnt Hills, NY.

Thus I flew into Albany, NY on Fri where my brother-in-law Joe picked me up at the airport and we spent the night at their home. On Sat we left early for Stowe traveling the back roads of Vermont. It took much longer but we saw parts of VT that they had never seen in the 36 years they lived there. We crossed the Green Mountains and approached Stowe from the south just in time for lunch. After lunch I picked up my race packet and then we explored Stowe and the area. Stowe is a typical ski village but smaller than I expected. We toured Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory (not being a B & J’s fan I didn’t even know it was located in VT?) visited the Trapp Family Lodge (the Von Trapps from ‘Sound of Music’) and stopped at a Maple farm to buy some delicious maple syrup directly from the farmer! During our touring we drove about 75% of the marathon course which provided a good look at the course – especially the nasty BAH (Bad Ass Hill) in the middle of the course.

The course started at the Topnotch Resort near the base of Stowe Ski Resort on Mount Mansfield – VT’s highest mountain (4393 ft). The course started at 840 ft elevation and dropped 130 ft over the first 4 miles and then climbed gently to the base of the BAH on Trapp Hill Rd at mile 9.5. Then the nightmare began as the BAH climbed relentlessly for 600 ft at a 10% grade for 2 miles to top out at 1360 ft in front of the Trapp Lodge. It then dropped 700 ft over 2 miles of dirt road before climbing another 100 ft over the next 2 miles. The course then looped back (and declined) over that 2-mile hill before climbing 200 ft over the final 8 miles back to the finish line at the Topnotch Resort! Sounds like fun huh? Actually the course was relatively easy except for that BAH! But I was glad I had seen that BAH because I knew what to expect on race day!

After our tour it was time to enjoy a great pasta dinner and then watch Ohio State whomp Texas. What a great day!

Sun was M- Day! I had two goals for this race:
1) I had researched the results and discovered that a friend who is a very good runner had won our age group last year in a 3:43. I wanted to run sub 3:40 or at least beat his time for bragging rights
2) Win my Age Group

The race started at 8:15 am. The skies were cloudy/overcast with a temp of 46 F and no wind. The sun later broke through the clouds but the temps never rose above the low 60s – great race weather! There were about 110 runners at the start. I knew that the BAH was going to add several minutes to the race and if I wanted to achieve my time goal I figured I needed to start out fast and deposit some time in the bank. I followed a lead pack of young female runners and let them pull me down the mountain on a paved bike path at a sub 8-min pace. We passed an old fart at 3 miles and another old fart at 7 miles. He responded by passing me back but I wasn’t ready to play any games so early in the race and especially before we got to the BAH! So I stayed behind my bevy of young beauties and let them pull me through mile 9 in 1:11:19.
I decided to slow the pace for the next ½ mile to let my legs rest before assaulting the BAH. Smart move because the pain/agony soon began and continued relentlessly for 2 miles!

I climbed the first mile of the BAH in 9:30 and passed the old fart. The 2nd mile was really tough and many runners were forced to walk. I was determined to run the entire BAH and kept my legs churning by reminding myself that this BAH was no worse than my ‘favorite’ hill loop in the High Country and in fact should be easier because it was 8,000 ft lower in altitude! I passed many runners including two of my female pacers. I got close enough to the 3rd female to joke with her. I told her that I had been chasing her for 11 miles and now that I was close to catching her I didn’t know what to do with her?
She laughed and quickly left my tired old ass in the dust! (She was half my age –31- and finished 3rd overall for females!) I climbed that 2nd mile of the BAH in a painfully slow 10:30 but finally I was at the Trapp Lodge and began the steep descent on the dirt road.
I stretched my stride to let gravity pull me down the BAH at a 7:30 pace with my quads screaming at me because they had to ‘brake’ all the way down that steep 10% grade to control my speed and momentum!

As I passed the Half in 1:47:03 I commented to a fellow runner “Our quads are not going to be happy with us tomorrow”! It didn’t take that long! When I reached the bottom of the BAH and turned on to a paved road to begin a 2-mile loop up a gentle hill my quads were already tight and sore and my legs felt like they had been beaten with a 2 X 4 instead of a 4-mile BAH! Out of necessity (but I would like to convince you it was smart strategy) I decided to slow the pace for the next 2 miles to let my wasted old legs rest and recover. Whatever – the strategy worked as the soreness disappeared and some ‘zip’ even returned to the old legs and I was able to lower the pace back to sub 8s for the next few miles. However that fast pace didn’t last long.

When I passed mile 18 in 2:28:55 near Moscow, VT I recognized that I was starting to labor/struggle to hold an 8-min pace and I knew that I couldn’t hold that pace for the final 8 miles – uphill! And I had another problem. My pretty female pacer had increased her lead to about ¼ mile and I could only see her on straight sections. There was nobody in sight behind me – I was running alone! I had noted and counted runners on the 2-mile loop. I was 1st in my Age Group and about 15th Overall – thus there was not much motivation to continue pushing the pace – and hurting! But then I remembered my GOALS – I really wanted to finish under 3:43 and win those bragging rights! A quick calculation determined that an 8:30 pace would get me across the finish line under 3:40! That became my sole focus/purpose in life for the next 8 miles! I decided the best/easiest way to accomplish this task was to do it in chunks. The 1st chunk was to get to 20 miles. I reached 20 miles in 2:46:01. I was still on target. But as most marathoners know/understand the race was now just starting – and the final 10K was uphill – and I was hurting! I needed to play mind games!

The 1st mind game was to block everything out – the entire outside world and all distractions! Then I used every ounce of will power to conjure up a dense fog in my mind and a monster named ‘Mr. Pain’ who was hiding in the fog and trying to find a way out of the fog to destroy me. I ran the next 4 miles in the fog trying to evade Mr. Pain and clicking off 8:30s! I reached mile 24 in 3:20:32 - less that 20 minutes left to achieve my goal. Time to change mind games! I let Mr. Pain through the fog because now Pain was GOOD! The worse the PAIN the better because it was motivation to push harder/faster – the faster I ran the sooner I would get to the finish line and the sooner the PAIN would stop. I just needed to get to mile 25! When I reached mile 25 in 3:29:17 I knew my goal was in the bag! The sweet smell of success/victory provided the necessary excitement/exhilaration for the old bod to produce one final jolt of adrenaline and endorphins! And what a jolt! The self-induced drugs created a euphoric bubble that ‘floated’ me through the final mile!

When I approached the finish line and saw the finish clock reading “3:38 + change” I had to dig deep and sprint the final few hundred yards to cross the finish line in 3:39:29! The instant - measured in nano-seconds- that I crossed the finish line the euphoric bubble burst and I was left with a wasted old bod drained of all drugs and energy. There wasn’t enough energy left to move – if breathing weren’t involuntary that would have stopped too! But just as quickly the excitement/exhilaration of sweet success/victory got the ‘juices’ flowing again and I was able to stumble through the finish chute to the arms of my support team. And what a wonderful support team! They had driven me to the start line and waited to take my warm-up clothes just before the start so I wouldn’t get cold. Then they drove to several locations along the course to cheer me on and take pictures and there they were cheering me at the finish line. Should I dare mention to my ‘regular’ sports manager that this is the way it is supposed to be done – and the way she used to do it - 250 marathons ago? Nahhhhhhhh – I don’t think that would be a wise move!

After some finish line photos we rushed back to the hotel for a quick shower and late check out and then returned to the finish area to check the results. I confirmed that my official finish time was 3:39:29 – good enough for 14th place Overall and 1st in my Age Group! Since I had achieved both of my goals I was quite pleased/happy with my time and performance. The awards were not very nice or worthwhile waiting around for so we left immediately. We decided to drive back through Burlington. I ran the Burlington Marathon 11 years ago but couldn’t remember the race or the city so we stopped to visit the downtown area and eat lunch. Burlington is a pretty city with the Green Mountains to the East and Lake Champlain to the West. We took a ferry across Lake Champlain to NY State but alas – no sightings of Champy – the legendary lake monster (a kin of Nessie?).
Once we reached NY it was a pleasant 2-hr drive back home. Although some trees were beginning to change color I unfortunately missed the autumn Technicolor show by a few weeks.

But it was a good trip. I achieved my race goals and got to spend a lot of ‘Q’ time with my sister and her family. And strangely my quads and legs were not as sore as expected on Mon morning? Thus I have decided to sneak another (unplanned) marathon into my schedule this weekend. It will be my last high altitude marathon of the season – the Mountain Air Marathon in Crested Butte, CO.

Stay tuned for the race report!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

RR Colorado Springs

Race Report
American Discovery Trail Marathon
Colorado Springs, CO
Mon, Sept 4/06
Marathon # 269
3:45:59 37 OA - 1 AG

This is the 3rd straight year I have run this marathon and I had a few goals:
1) I wanted to defend my Senior Title and win my Age Group for the 3rd straight year
2) I wanted to run under 3:40 – maybe even 3:35 and set a new course PR

Both previous years I had not shown up to the start line in good health or shape but this year I was healthy and (I thought) in good shape. I had to take some extra time off the week before the race to rest an injured left knee but I didn’t think it would affect my performance?

The sports manager decided not to accompany me to Colorado Springs since she had gone the two previous years. So I drove down to Colorado Springs on Sun night in time to pick up my race packet and enjoy a traditional pasta dinner.

The race started at 6:30am on Labor Day at Confluence Park – now ‘America the Beautiful Park’ – in downtown CO Springs. The course started at the Park @ 6200 ft and followed paved and dirt bike trails along Monument and Fountain Creeks to a turn-around point near the Air Force Academy at mile 16. The first 5 miles were flat and then there were a series of small rolling hills until mile 14. Miles 14 to 18 were a series of tough BAHs (Bad Ass Hills) that rose 300 ft in elevation! The final 8 miles dropped gently over rolling hills back to the finish line in the Park.

It was great running weather, sunny and 50 F, at the start and never warmed up above the low 60s. There were 200 runners in the Marathon. I decided to start smart – and slow – to let the knee warm/loosen up and passed through mile 2 in 16:45. The knee felt OK so I lowered to pace to 8min/mile over the next 3 miles. By mile 5 however I was starting to struggle to hold the 8 min pace which was not a good sign. I knew I couldn’t hold that pace for another 21 miles so I slowed the pace to 8:30s that felt smooth and comfortable.
I revised my strategy to hold that pace through mile 14 and the BAHs and then try to lower the pace to sub 8s for the last 8 miles!

That strategy worked OK through the 1st Half (1:51:07) but I struggled to run an 8:45/9:00 min pace through the 4 miles of BAHs. And when I finally emerged from the BAHs I tried to push the pace down to sub 8s – but there just wasn’t any ‘push’ left in the old legs. I was struggling to run 8:30/8:45s when I passed mile 20 in 2:51:37! I realized that I was paying the price for no speed work since my European trip. No surprise – if you don’t push in training it is difficult to push in a race! I knew that sub 8s weren’t going to happen and I also knew that I was in 1st place in my age group and thus there was not much motivation to push and hurt! So it was time for revision #2 to the strategy. It was based on some advice that a friend gave me before the race: “Find some nice tight buns (hopefully belonging to a female) and follow them for motivation and to take your mind off the pain”.

Fortunately there were 2 young female runners (half my age) in front of me so I pushed the pace until I closed right behind them and followed my friend’s advice (and the buns). Good scenery and good motivation! When those ‘tight buns’ tired and slowed I was able to pass and pick up another set in front to focus on! I followed the final set of ‘tight’ buns until mile 25 and then Maddog insisted that I pass her before the finish line.

I crossed the finish line in 3:45:59. I was not happy/pleased with that time and I was really upset with my inability to push the pace to sub 8s when needed! Obviously I need to do some serious speed work and push the old bod through some severe pain to get some speed back!

I had to rush back to the hotel for a quick shower and to check out. When I returned to the finish area I learned that I had indeed won my age group – and collected my third beer mug. I had finished 37th Overall (187 runners) and 1st AG (6 runners).

When I returned home and checked my race reports I discovered that my PR for that course is 3:44:15 so I guess I didn’t do as badly as I thought. However I am convinced that I should be able to run a sub 3:40 (even 3:35) on that course. Maybe next year?

Unfortunately I don’t have time to do any speed work before my marathon in Stowe, VT next weekend so I am hoping that this marathon will serve at least as a fast training run in preparation for that race. I will need to run much better/faster in VT if I hope to win my age group!

Stay tuned!