So of course, after several weeks of wonderfully cool mornings the forecast for race morning was warm and humid. There is a lovely old British word which completely sums up situations such as these. It's the same word I recommended to Clea when she found out that Boston sold out earlier this week.
It is simply this - bugger.
But there's no point in worrying about things you can't change, so Saturday morning found me at Brushy Creek, bright eyed, bushy tailed and ready to run the second annual Frankenthon marathon.
The course is 3 loops of the park, consisting of a series of out-and-backs run on a mixture of concrete and trail. The organization and Halloween-themed swag are excellent. With lots of wonderful volunteers and plenty of post-run good eats, this is a great small race.
After saying hello to a few friends we were off.
Clea and I had to hit 8:30 averages to meet her 3:45 BQ goal - this seemed real easy over the last few weeks of nice weather, and sure enough the first loop was gone before we knew it. Between chatting and running, we built a 1 minute cushion which we increased to 2 minutes by the end of the second loop.
But the humidity got me on the last loop. We were hoping to run the whole race together, but I realized around mile 19 that I was struggling while Clea was still running strongly. I didn't want to hold her up so I told her to go on. I cut my pace way back and coasted the last few miles, eventually crossing the finish line in 3:56:43.
And I am more than happy with that.
After spending some time with Clea, Mike, Jasper and Meredith (and partaking of the delicious post-race pizza) I set off around the lake to try and find Cheri who was still out there running.
Back at Rocky Raccoon in February I should have offered to pace her when Derek dropped, and I've always regretted not doing so. I found her at mile 23 and we had a great chance to catch up while we ran the last few miles together.
They even remembered me at the final aid station as the first (and only) runner who had come through and accepted their offer of a beer.
|Bonus miles with Cheri|
This was another fun race, and I ran it in pretty much the same time as I did last year. It was also the first time I've actually run a marathon with anyone. It was fun - I loved being able to chat the miles away, and it was an interesting contrast to my usual style.
You see, Clea is kind of like the running terminator - you set her in motion and she just keeps on going. Tough and determined, she gave me an object lesson in how to pace a marathon. Her second loop was 5 seconds faster than the first and 15 seconds slower than the last. Negative split - check, consistent pace - check, hitting your goal - she knocked it out of the park and finished in 3:42, winning her age group for good measure. Yeah, this girl is a walking textbook on how to run a marathon.
By contrast, my usual method is to go out fast and try like hell to hold on for as long as I can. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't, but I can rarely resist the urge to go for it.
I just hope I can channel the same level of focus and determination Clea had for my goal race at Rocky.