And to think this whole thing is my reward to myself for completing a 100 miler in September!
As I mentioned yesterday, the first quarter and a bit of the course today followed that of the Half. So, no surprises along the way.
In Corral B, a pacer set up shop beside me. 3:40. Run Walk Run. Gallagher style. I figured that was useless to me, cause I don't walk and so haven't trained that way. And I was pretty sure a 3:40 was beyond me today in any event. I was starting off pretty tired. Further back in Corral B was another Gallagher pacer. 3:50. I thought I might try to stay between the 2 of them.
I ended up doing exactly that, with an official pace of 8:44/mile. I am actually pretty pleased with that, all things considered.
It was the warmest of the 4 race days. Start time temperature was 16C/61F. So, just pleasant. And though it felt warmer when the sun came up, when I finished it was still only 18C/65F. So heat wasn't much of a factor.
At mile 5, I made a quick pit stop. That allowed the 8:50 pacer and his group (good sized group) to catch up to me. Turns out to be a bit annoying (just a bit - it wasn't that bad). The pacer stuck like glue to the right side of the course - which is the proper thing for him to do. I was running the tangents. I'm not sure what the timing was. Maybe run 5 minutes/walk 20 seconds. So, in the running phase, it was a touch faster than my pace and they would pass me or just come up on my tail. And in the walking phase I would pass them or come up on their tails. And the pacer would announce loudly "WALKING IN 20 SECONDS" and then he would count down from 5-4-3-2-1 WALK. Same thing in reverse when it was time to run. What begins as a novelty becomes a grain of sand in the shoe over time, it seems.
Anyway, I never really felt in a grove. It's different starting off a Marathon on tired legs. And it took me a long time to finally decide that yes, I WAS going to finish this thing running. But even then, I was just waiting for the bottom to fall out. That's why I was pleased that my pace was pretty even throughout. I also decided somewhere in Animal Kingdom to pull ahead of the pacer group. Maybe not "decided", but it just sort of happened and so I intentionally took advantage and picked up the pace just slightly.
That was good, as I never heard them again until I hit the track at ESPN. I had ducked in for another quick pit stop somewhere in the complex (mile 18, give or take), and I guess that allowed them to close the distance. So, going around the track, with me up on the big screen, the announcer said "And here is Michael Williams from Canada, looking great", which really made me feel great. And right after that "And here is the 8:50 pace group". Drat! :)
The only real hills on the course are the overpasses. But there is a doozie around mile 22. That Toy Soldier guy was doing his best to inspire people to dig in. But when I got over it and was on the downside, I really noticed my legs were not happy with me. I considered just coasting in for the final 4 miles. But then, the pacer passed me. A much smaller group with him by now. And something kicked in. I just decided to come in before him. I could see that he was on pace for an exact 3:50, so at mile 23, I finally made up my mind re: goal time. It was going to be under 3:50! :)
And I did it. My final 3 miles I ran at 8:28, 8:17 and 7:55, with the final half mile push clocking in at 7:18. Half mile, because despite my best attempts at running the tangents, I STILL ran a quarter mile longer than required (at least, according to my GPS). And I can honestly say that the surge was not because I had too much left in my tank. It was a combination of really wanting to beat 3:50, the crowds, the nearness of the finish line, knowing I didn't have to run tomorrow, and simple adrenaline. Oh, and some upbeat songs along the boardwalk too! Still, I managed a 'jump' at the finish line (still waiting for the pictures to be posted to see if I actually pulled that off - it wasn't easy).
Speaking of upbeat music, I really reigned myself in at mile 20.5 when they blared out "Footloose". That's my "you run hard, boy" song, and I knew it was way too early for that.
And speaking of pictures: for 4 days, I watched runners pull off the course and stand in line to have their pictures taken with Disney characters. And I mean, some of the lines were like 20 people long. I just shook my head. I guess I'm not a huge Disney fan - can't understand why you'd want to do that in a race. And I mean, it was happening every mile (I don't know if the same people stopped - or do you just stop at your favourite characters?) Plus, last night I looked up the prices for buying those pictures. OUCH! $17/picture, or $200 for all of them. And for this Canadian boy, that would be more like $260.
Too bad - some of the photos I've seen of me are really good ones. Ah well.
Anyway ... I'm rue to admit ... I stopped for a photo with a character today. Twice. But only because there was nobody in line at the time. It was a whim. The first time was with some dudes dressed in mouse and duck costumes. The duck spit all over me when it talked. The second time was with The Incredibles. Now, I DO have a weakness for Elastic Girl. But I found her cold and distant during the 2 second photoshoot, so I think I'm over that now. And no, I will not be paying for the pictures.
My official placement hasn't been posted yet, so I'll add that as an edit later today, when I get back from Church.
My official splits were:
5 Mile 44:43 8:44/mile
10 Mile 1:28:26 8:45/mile
Half 1:55:17 8:39/mile
20 Mile 2:55:38 8:46/mile
Final 6.2 3:48:36 8:31/mile 8:44/mile average
So, I ran negative splits, telling me I started off with a pretty well chosen pace for this race.
EDIT - official placing:
Age division: 38/684