Well this was my second "tune-up" marathon of the year
in preparation for the Bull Run Run 50 miler and eventually
the Vermont 100 in July and Chesapeakeman IM in October. It
was more run as a prep for the longer races, rather than to
accomplish anything specific. In fact, this was a "double-long"
weekend, where I did a 20 mile easy run yesterday, and a couple
of hours on the bike trainer last night (very easy effort).
Nonetheless, this is a pretty easy course, so this morning I
decided I'd be a little bit less conservative and see if I
could get close to my 3:24:30 PR from November. I don't currently
have the fitness I had then, but I ran that race very
conservatively and I was feeling pretty good (and this was one of
the easier courses around). Pretty cold at start, mid-20s, with
some frosty wind up to around 15-20 mpw at times, but not all that
bad. The heavier winds came later, at least when it was warmer.
I went out slightly on the fast side, but kept heart rate low,
running the first mile with Tim Coulson, who didn't lollygag with
me for too long. I decided to keep my heart rate a few beats
higher than I did in my last PR race, which brought me to the
half point in 1:37, well ahead of my pace from my November race,
and even a couple of minutes banked if I were to try to Boston
qualify (need 3:15:59) (in fact, 1:37 is a PR time for me for
the half marathon!). Nonetheless, I knew I wouldn't be able
to hold it until the end and I wasn't too worried about it since
I didn't expect to BQ just yet (maybe later this year if it's in
the cards - I certainly won't run a 20 miler the day before nor
put in 84 miles that week when I try). Well miles 22-25 had,
for the most part, a slight upward grade, so I was just barely
holding an 8 min/mi pace on them, withering away the time that
I had banked. No biggy. At that point, I noticed that if I pushed
a bit and held at least that pace, I was on target to finish
sub 3:20, even in gun time. Indeed I held it, pulling in around
3:19:52 gun time. Quite happy. Lower Potomac River marathon
next Sunday. I'll be more conservative in that one, certainly.
2 PRs in two weeks straight.