Short version: Did I ever tell you about the time in '01 when I ran a 3:19:54 and qualified for Boston? No?
The weather was a little too warm with just a little too much breeze to be completely ideal. I was a little warm during the race and was definitely feeling the effects of the headwind.
I had a plan, written on the palm of my hand. It called for starting out at 7:45 pace for 4 miles, then running at a 7:40 pace until mile 19, then picking it up to 7:35 until the finish. This would get me in at 3:20:45, just 14 seconds before the end of the not-to-exceed time I need for Boston. The first two miles of the course are uphill, with a dip then making mile 3 down and mile 4 up. I had the pleasure of meeting Dale Shoupe at the start and he and I ran together.7:43
I missed the mile 4 mark and the chance to check my split against the 31:00 I had written on my palm. I think I slowed down purposely at mile 3 since I new I was going out way too fast. Mile 5 split time was 38:48 which put me 8 seconds behind where I wanted to be. The rest of the course was pretty much easy rolling until the last bit.
Mile 6 was 7:57. This was a kick in my backside since this was way too slow. I picked up the pace significantly and left Dale on his own.Miles 7-9
There was some downhill there until mile 8 when we started to climb again making 9 slower but still too fast. I was 7 seconds behind my split time at mile 7. I did have the chance to run with Dick Decker off and on for about 8 miles, another treat.
From here on, the race had some real problems with their mile markers. At mile 10, the Half and Full markers were obviously switched, I didn't bother to hit my watch.
Mile 11 was 15:30 and put me 3 seconds ahead of where I planned to be. I figured I was on-track now and just need to run smart.Miles 12-18
I didn't really believe any of those except the mile 18. It was a loop that had a significant hill and I was getting pretty hot and tired by this point. I still felt that I was on-pace however.
I missed mile 19 and another split that I had written down on my hand. The mile 20 split was 9 seconds behind where I should have been and that got me worried. I was really tired, getting very sore knees and feet, and was worried that "The Wall" would drop on me any minute. Being behind pace, I no longer had the time to be conservative so I notched up the effort a tad.Miles 21-25
Mile 23 and 24 had some nasty hills and then there was a gradual climb to just before 25. I was right on pace at mile 21, 7 seconds ahead at 23, and 6 seconds ahead at 25. At mile 23, I figured that, baring something extreme, I would make my BQ.
At 26 miles I picked up the effort and 200m later the course started to go downhill. I didn't have much left, but I gave it all that I did have. Mile 26 was 7:11 and the last bit was 1:18.
I'm not sure what my official time was, I'm guessing 3 seconds less than my watch. (turned out to be 3:19:47) That would make it almost 50 seconds ahead of my plan. I'm not too surprised, in that if my plan worked and I didn't die at mile 22 again, I figured the downhill mile would give me some extra time over the 7:35 pace I had predicted.
The nicest part was that I was able to walk under my own power and didn't pass out after I finished like last time. I did notice that Mika showed up pretty fast after I got my chip taken off, I'm suspicious he was worried he might have to carry me again. :-)
Could I have run smarter and faster? Maybe, but I don't think by much. Near the end I could feel myself dipping into the last of my reserves and while I had a decent kick (for me), it wouldn't have taken much and I could easily have been doing the death march down that hill.
Yeah, I'm happy and terribly relieved to have this BQ monkey off my back.