Ran the Lake Lowell Marathon today and won in a time of 2:48:34 and setting a new course record. Sub-par training and being sick for a few weeks coming into this hurt my time but I got a bit of my racing mojo back since this was my first race since TCM in October 2012. More to report later as I am tired from the run and a long drive home.
Congrats to Craig for winning the half in a solid time for a training run and prep for Ogden. So two SE Idaho boys went to the big city and showed 'em we have fast runners over here too!
The rest of the story...
Got to Boise Friday afternoon and stopped by the store to get our bibs then went to dinner and found Craig's brother in law at the sports bar watching the games. Stayed out a bit later than we expected but had a good time. Thanks to Matt for putting us up. I didn't sleep well and woke up at 2am with a cramp in my left calf that was still hard as a rock at 5am this morning. Working hard to get it to calm down, not what I wanted before the race.
Craig and I got out the start early and literally park right on the start/finish line! Nice morning...sunny, 50 degrees and light breeze. Chatted a bit and got in an easy couple of miles of warmup.
As we were lining up, saw Zach Pope (last year's champ whom I met at a race here last summer) and Jake Perry (NNU coach, just ran Boston). At the gun, it was pretty much the 3 of us from the start taking off in a pack. Zach was shooting for a 2:45 and Jake wanted to go out about for whatever he could do but be under 3:00...nice to have some company on what could be a lonely race. We ran pretty easy for the first 6 miles on the uphill rollers averaging around 6:20ish and chatting a bit. One bigger hill at mile 3 that wasn't bad and then what felt mostly flat until 6.5 miles (learned more about this on the way back).
At 6.5 miles we hit the dam an a nice little straight downhill section. I picked up the pace and put about a 100-200m gap on Zach and Jake. From mile 8 to the turnaround point it was nearly perfectly flat. I kept up the pace and got in a groove running 6:05-6:15ish pace, nice and comfortable with the guys never really getting closer or dropping back. Course aid stations were plentiful yet typical of most small races not well trained (had to stop twice to get aid or a gel). I hit the half at just over 1:22 and knew that I was running pretty good but probably going to finish over 2:45 but would give an even split a hard try.
From mile 13.1 to mile 18 I was still just cruising and now passing all the rest of the marathoners, giving high fives, thumbs up and encouragement and getting it back as well. Just past mile 18 I hit the dam and the now uphill section. I knew I just wanted to be patient, use my quads and drive my knees and keep a decent pace thinking I just have to make it to mile 20/21 and I was done with the hills. This worked ok and I started to pass the slower half marathoners. What I did not realize is that the uphill kept going until mile 23! I would approach a roller and top it thinking I was done and see another hill just past it...this happened 3 times. The load on my legs from this climb, while not bad in elevation just in length, fried my legs for the downhill mile which I never really could take full advantage of.
Miles 24 - 26 really just sucked and my legs were finally toast. This is where I lost the 2:45 and gave all the time back. Luckily, Zach was just as fried and never really made up any ground. The slow finish was due to lack of good quality endurance workouts outside this spring. However, my stomach issues that have plagued me never showed up and I had no problems at all in this race. My calf did most good until the last few miles where it tightened up and affected my hammy, but my achilles really did good and was no issue (until after the race). Overall happy with the result as I was running this one more for position that time and wanted to come away with a solid run and the win...accomplished. Most of the folks there were expecting one of the locals to win and did not know what to think of Craig and I. They were not sure Craig actually won and first and one person kept trying to call me Jake.
Met Craig afterwards, chatted with a few of the other runners and thanked the volunteers and supports as well as the RD. He put on a nice little race and had a good party at the end. Only issue was the awards. He gave 1st place a nice bag of stuff from the running store, but gave second place a free pair or PI shoes! the PI rep told us we should have free shoes too, but the RD didn't look in the bags to see that we got a $25 gift card and 2nd got $125 shoes! Talked to the RD and the rep and they both kind of just shrugged but said they will see if they could fix it later. Craig and I decided it wasn't worth the fight and that the second place runners in our races (a grad student and a young high schooler) probably needed them more than us.
Drove back to Matt's for a shower, over to the store to use the gift cards and coupons (thanks Mike for the help) and then made the long trek home...the champs car driving back to IF! I am glad Craig was driving as my leg was cramping the whole back and I was squirming around in the seat the entire time. It was a great weekend with a great friend whom I got to know a lot better. Not a bad trip!
Splits: 6:06, 6:17, 6:27, 6:32, 6:16, 6:23, 6:08, 6:06, 6:06, 6:10, 6:24, 6:12, 6:15, 6:16, 6:18, 6:13, 6:22, 6:18, 6:26, 6:38, 6:33, 6:46, 6:39, 6:29, 6:48, 6:59, 2:24 (0.32).