Beautiful day for a race! The weather was nice and cool in the morning, but it definitely started to warm up by the start of the race. Decent breeze slightly out of the north and off the water, so that kept things comfortable for the whole race. I wanted to go out controlled today, so that meant being above target pace for the first couple of miles. I hate doing this, because I feel like I am playing catch-up the whole day, but it's definitely the smarter way to run. My goal time of 1:18:00 meant 5:56's was the target pace. However, two years ago my Garmin recorded the race to be 13.35 miles. If that's true again, I will have to be faster than that.
Here are the splits.
Mile 1 - 5:55. How's that for being on target?! However, I wanted to be a little slower than that. It's so hard to relax that first mile. It was tough to get a read on everyone so finding people to run with was tough. It took a half mile or so, but everyone finally settled down and I probably went through the first mile in about 12th place.
Mile 2 - 6:03. That's better. The race started to settle down and all the first mile heroes had relaxed. 6:03, though? Was I a first mile hero too? Can't be, this was the plan...but that wasn't an "easy" mile.
Mile 3 - 6:02. OK, still on plan. Mile 2 and 3 were into the wind and I had sat on a guy (thank you to that guy) and hoped he hit the right numbers. He did and once we turned away from the ocean I went by him. Through the 5k I was sitting in 9th according to someone on the course.
Mile 4 - 5:52. It was time to start getting this on track. The rush of the race was gone and it was time to run. I moved past my wind blocker and did some work on my own. The course became VERY crowded and from here until mile 11.5 I would be navigating the huge field of marathon runners. At some points it got frustrating, but other times it was exciting. I had to make a few wide turns and running the tangents wasn't an option. There was definitely a bit of a rush and we passed the marathoners, though.
Mile 5 - 5:51. Another solid mile. At this point I was in 9th and had 8th-4th all in sights ahead of me. All I remember seeing was a black jersey, yellow jersey, white jersey, yellow jersey, blue jersey ahead of me moving through a see of marathoners. We were literally zig-zagging through the course at some points.
Mile 6 - 5:51. Another mile, same split. I moved up into 7th and caught up to 6th but sat back. We're only halfway there! I went through the 6.55 mark (halfway) at an average pace of 5:57. If I wanted to go under 1:18:00 I would have to have a faster second half. No worries, that was the plan.
Mile 7 - 5:53. I don't remember anything from mile 7. Really, I've got nothing!
Mile 8 - 5:56. Uh-oh. This didn't feel easy, but why was it slower? I did take a gel during this mile and made sure to take in enough water. Maybe that was it, but seeing that on my watch had me a little concerned. My average pace was at 5:56, but I was getting tired! I was dreaming of two weeks ago when we were only running a 10 mile race. This is where I turned it on. I didn't like the pressure of being that close to goal pace, especially since my watch wasn't matching the mile markers on the course. At this point it was time to commit to this race.
Mile 9 - 5:45
Mile 10 - 5:43
Mile 11 - 5:40
These three miles sorta all blended into one big surge. By the end of mile 11 I had passed all of the guys I had in sight and was in 4th. The marathon runners and fans were a big help here. There are a good amount of spectators in the section because it's a couple blocks over from the finish line. I just let the energy of the crowd take over and I put in a strong effort. By this point, volunteers on the course were indicating that the two races would split directions so we could finish and the marathoners could continue south. The road was divided with cones and so I stayed left on the lonely 13.1 course. I remember passing a parked VW Beetle on the turn to head North that had a poster on its windshield that say 1.5 miles to go. That felt good.
Mile 12 - 5:48. One thing I never do in a race is look behind me. In all the races I've done I have never turned around to see if anyone was behind me. However, one of my biggest fears in racing is getting caught from behind at the end of a race. As a ran this mile I just hoped I could runaway from anyone that might have hung on during those three hard miles. The "blue jersey" guy that was in 4th when I passed him definitely looked comfortable when I passed him and I had no idea how far behind he was. Usually I will try to listen to the crowd's cheering, but this was a lonely mile and not many spectators were around so I was clueless. In the FAR distance I could see 3rd place and knew I wasn't catching him. My average pace had dropped to 5:52, but I was alone and had to finish this race, into the head wind, on my own.
Mile 13 - 5:52. My watch said 5:52, my body felt like it was a 4:52. Thankfully the end was in sight. I was pretty sure I was on my own, but the clock was ticking. I remember trying to push the pace a little more during this stretch and actually got a little cramp in my calf. It was right as I came onto the boardwalk. The way my watch is set up, once I pass an hour I can no longer see the seconds of the total time. All I saw was 1:16. That could be 1:16.01 or 1:16.59. In any case, I had to get to the finish line!!!
Mile 0.1 (actually 0.3) - Something under 2 minutes. I tried to find another gear at the very end, but my calf cramped up again. I could see the clock and knew it saw 1:17.XX. As I got closer I knew I had it. Of course I forgot to stop my watch when I crossed the line, so my Garmin data is a little off.
Official time was 1:17:51. Snuck in with 9 seconds to spare!!!
Congratulations to all of the Tri Club members who raced today, as well!
Here's the Garmin data...