Awesome weather for this year’s Around the Lake Marathon. I set out to break my course record and improve on my BQ while Barb takes on the 24 Hour Ultra. Hopefully it’s for the last time!
A few changes are in place from last year with the course making no difference to me as its basically eight loops around Lake Quanopowitt starting at 7 pm. I lead from the start, strange as there are relay runners in this race, after backing off my first mile split is sub 6:00.
C’mon now I’ve got some training but I’m in no rock star shape. The backing off continues for a 6:22 and then a 6:37. Okay, it’s time to settle in, then, a marathoner comes up on me to pull the lead. He moves ahead with every one of my running by-your-sides.
This game continues for three laps, ~nine miles, I drop him through the water station and chokepoint. The late Friday has the popular walking\running route active with princes and queens of the outdoors de-stressing from a week of the daily grind. When it comes to the neck you better be on your navigational toes to not slam into someone at a 6:30\mile. This chokepoint is a single-(downhill grass)-track, stones and roots, for 30 feet bridging the parking lot and the road.
Darkness arrives and it’s a whole new race. Footing becomes uncertain amongst the pavement peaks and valleys on tired legs. Overhead lighting is sparse and oncoming traffic blinding. There is no more up\down the curbs or taking the inside track, from here on its all on the roadside, longer distance and a false sense of safety.
My pace slows around mile 15 and I hit the wall at 20. In the last 5000 meters it’s very clear a course PR or BQ is out fearing I may now lose the race. Pushing the shuffling- pace, my opening stride almost brings me crashing to the pavement as a left hamstring throbs to buckle forward movement. With my head still in the game, I switch it up to a side step-run then backwards for 50 meters. Two hundred meters later a course marshall calls out my arrival stating no others marathoners in sight.
My next goal is to break 3:00 hours. This is mighty dangerous flirting with muscles and the time cruising in to a Garmin 2:59:24, timing clock 3:00:05 and chip time of 3:00:13. After later analysis I realized the AutoPause was on the Garmin meaning I lost 49 seconds on three stops fishing for fluids out the cooler.
The tape breaks I take two steps kneel to the pavement kiss the ground and say a prayer of thanks.
26.2-3:00:13 Chip Time
2 hours ago