Training up to the race went just about as well as could be expected. I ran a solid 5 by 2 mile workout eleven days out from the marathon, and I ran a decent race at the McQuaid Invitational, still likely feeling a little fatigued from the workout a few days earlier. Going into the final week before the marathon, I still felt confident that I could do well. Unfortunately, my body had other ideas. I started to feel a little congested the Tuesday before the race, and Thursday, it turned into a full-blown cold. It's rare when I get sick, and of course, it had to come during this week. I bunkered down and did what I could to shake it: cold medicine, lots of sleep, lots of food (don't know how much this was necessary for the sickness, but for the marathon, yes). By race morning I was feeling better but still not 100%. The residual cold wasn't enough to back out, so I went with it.
The day was cold to start out, but of even more concern was the wind. I hoped that it wouldn't be a large factor. After two miles, the course turned southeast to head to Bath. Unfortunately, this also meant running into a headwind. I fought for a while and felt pretty comfortable. Bryan Morseman, the eventual winner, was about two minutes ahead through ten miles, and another runner was a few seconds behind me. After the halfway point, which I hit around 1:14:20 (close to goal pace), the wheels came off. I realized I was breathing harder to fight the wind and that my body just didn't want to do it anymore. Matthew Wilber, the runner behind me, caught up and was quickly pulling away. I felt myself slowing down almost by the minute, and I thought I hit the wall too early. After a few miles of trying to push and hitting 20 miles around 1:56, I felt one final wave of energy and tried to push. I ran just under 6:00 pace for the next four miles until I was truly spent. I ran in to a 2:33:11 and a third place finish. Given the setbacks over the summer, I did as well as I could have. However, a part of me felt unfulfilled.
|Only halfway done at this point...ouch.|
Call it stubbornness or determination, I decided to press on. I don't like time off, and I felt like I had a lot more left in the tank, so I thought that I'd try a double race weekend... the very next weekend. Despite initial post-marathon soreness, I was able to recover pretty quickly. I ran the Scarecrow 5K as well as the third race of the Pete Glavin XC series (a 6K). The 5K ended up a 16:02, only 10 seconds off of my road personal record, and the XC race, despite being very fatigued, ended up a PR (seeing as though I had never run a 6K before that).
At the Finish Strong 15K the following weekend, I ran a new PR of 51:02, which gave me even more confidence in the quick recovery. Continuing on, the next weekend was the Scare Brain Cancer Away 5K, at which I had hoped to run a sub-16 minute 5K for the season and work with George to a sub-16 as well. Alas, conditions worked against our favor, and I ended up at 16:14 (a second faster than the previous year, and the third year in a row that I was the second place runner).
|The second stream crossing.|
Although it's been a season filled with setbacks, I've made it through. With this being highest mileage year ever (4,100 and counting) as well as the year with the most races so far (28 and counting), it's been a good year overall.