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Race Result

Racer: Jesse Leitner
Race: B&A Trail Marathon
Date: Sunday, March 4, 2007
Location: Severna Park, MD
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 3:45:39
Overall Place: 54 / 147
Age Group Place: 9 / 19
Comment: paced my friend to a BQ! another windy race

Race Report:

A few months ago I told my running buddy who runs many
of the same ultras that I do that I have no doubt that she could
qualify for Boston and she didn't need to do anything but the
easy-moderate training regimen we've been doing preparing
for a 100 miler at the end of March. Her best marathon had
been just over 4 hrs and she needed a 3:50 to qualify. I
finagled her into trying at the NCR trail at the end of November,
but she went out with a roar of thunder and it just didn't work out.
I looked at her splits and I knew that it was purely a pacing
issue and decided to put my money where my mouth was and
pace her myself and at that point we targeted the B&A trail
marathon. The day before the race I ran a 20 miler at around
target race pace, just to get a feel for the pace we'd be doing.
It turned out that based on my current condition, that pace
was right at my low heart rate training heart rate, so it was
perfect and I had a great metric to by, independent of hills. This
would make it much easier. The day before, the weather
was beautiful, not much wind, low 50s. Unfortunately, come
race day, it was back to the 20s-30s, with some pretty sizable
winds (not as bad as the Washington's B'Day marathon two
weeks ago, but still nasty enough, getting worse later in the
race). I saw Chip Warfels, Steve Meininger, Arnat Vale(of course), Geoff Matrangola (congrats on a great first!), and
I think one other mid-MD tri that I can't place at the moment.
Melissa had been a bit nervous leading up because
she really wanted to check this box and get it out of the way.
I'd been trying to convince her that she's a "fast girl" inside
and we just had to get it out. At the NCR marathon, she
started to degrade at mile 16 and it just got worse after that,
so that was the point that I really was targeting to make sure
we pass smoothly. Most of the hills in the race are at the
very beginning and then in a couple of spots between about
mile 18 and 24. The race began and I kept us on my heart
rate target. This put us at a bit faster splits for the first
couple because of some pretty good downhills. For a 3:50,
we needed to average just faster than 8:50/mile and my target
heart rate had us at around 8:30-8:40/mile, slightly faster
for the downhill miles. We had some time in the bank at the
halfway point, crossing around 1:52, so I was cautiously
optimistic, but at the same time slightly concerned that I
had pulled her too fast. My confidence was strong, however,
since our time-banking occurred on the downs and we had
been slowing quite a bit on the ups. I was listening carefully
to her breathing as that can be a great indicator that someone
is headed for trouble. We passed mile 16, 18, 20, and she
was still going strong, no slowdown in pace, and just a slight
crankiness forming, which is natural. I didn't start to hear
her breathing until late mile 22. I knew that at that point it
was getting stressful for her. I was checking my watch and
GPS a lot at this point, noticing that we had plenty of time in
the bank. At mile 23, I had no doubt she was going to make
it so I just had to make the decision whether to let her slow
down or shoot for a more substantial target. Since I'm feeling
great with a smile on my face and I knew at this point she
was not going to crash (although she was reaching a very
high level of stress and misery), of course, I raised the bar!
She did not want to know anything about the time or splits
at any point, so she had no idea what was going on or how
close we were to the time target. I was amazed that she just
kept up all the way until mile 26 at which point she started
to fizzle. Amazingly when we were about 100-200 yards from
the finish, I could not get her to speed up. She couldn't see
the clock and she really didn't understand how urgently I
wanted to move her along and zip in front of me. I kept turning
around yelling at her. We were in the 3:45s, 5 minutes ahead
of target, BQ in hand, and I wanted her to beat 3:46. When
she saw the time, she was elated and exhausted at the same
time and I was just thrilled, I think moreso than when I had
qualified for Boston last year. The clock time was just over 3:46,
but chip was in the 3:45s. What's more, she was 5th woman
overall and took in some cash! I could have sworn that I got
her to finish in front of me, but for some reason that's not
how it shows in the results. Oh well.
What a great day and what a thrill to be a part of it.