My 4th year in a row here. The previous years I have run the 50K but today I will "just" run the marathon. Carpool with Ron and Marilou and we arrive in plenty of time. The swag is a pair of arm warmers, my first pair. Weather is right about freezing but no wind or rain. Should warm up as we run but I wear my jacket, hat and gloves at the start.
Start - Great to see so many friendly Maniacs. This race always occurs on the first day of my two week vacation, so it is a fun way to start the holidays. Same course as the past three years. A little crowded on the dirt road for the short out and back but we get sorted out soon enough. Pedro runs most of the first mile with me but I urge him to go on ahead so that I do not go out too fast. My plan is to run a 1:59 first half and see if I can run the second half faster.
Mile 6 - First aid station and the end of the dirt trail. Now it will be pavement and along a road for quite a ways. I have been running with Maniac Kristoffer for a while and we will stay together for a few more miles. We have had some very close finishes in marathons but today he is running the 50K.
Mile 10.2 - The sun is finally up on this almost shortest day of the year. It is behind us, casting long shadows. The sky is bright blue. Pieces of ice are falling off trees onto the paved trail and bouncing around like shiny diamonds. Just as I am noticing that, a bald eagle flies low overhead.
Mile 13.1 - Halfway. 1:59 just as planned and feeling OK. Still somewhat cold.
Mile 13.7 - The turn around. Now it is a straight shot back to the finish. Slightly uphill and with just a little head wind at times. Nice to be so familiar with the course now.
Mile 15 - This marks 1,666.5 miles for the year and ties my record mileage from a few years ago.
Mile 19 - For the first half I averaged 9:07/mile. For the second half I am averaging 8:54 and plan to hold it steady at this pace as long as possible. Getting a little tougher now. A long, long straight stretch in to the sun. Take a Powerbar gel and my stomach does not agree.
Mile 21 - Yay, back to the dirt and the aid station.
Mile 23 - Hitting the wall pretty hard. Well it was good to make it this far without too much struggle, but these last three miles will be tough. My right foot aches a little, but each marathon it seems to get just a little better.
Mile 24 - Have this low gear that seems to be working but all of a sudden I come to a full stop. For some reason I look sharply to the left and see a bald eagle on a rock in the middle of the river, picking on a salmon carcass. I have no idea what made me stop and look that way, but it was a very cool sight. Back to my slow running and by the watch I know that I will not make 4 hours. It was hard to motivate myself to keep up the pace, all by myself, another marathon planned in two weeks where I could try again. I have worked very hard today and ran smart but just do not have the internal motivation to push it so much.
Mile 25 - Maniac Eric who I am just meeting for the first time catches up to me. I wish him well as he passes by, but he decides to encourage me in to the finish. At times I appreciate it and at other moments I wish that he would just go on ahead and leave me in my misery, and let me slow down. He stays with me to the end and I probably finished at least a minute faster than I would have without him. I appreciate that and as we turn the last curve and can see the finish, we both pick up the pace, but I do not even try to outrun him in a last minute sprint. He deserves to finish ahead of me in the standings and I make sure that he does, not that I believe that I could have out run him anyway.
Mile 26.2 - GPS reads 26.31. I generally feel good and enjoy chatting with fellow runners for a while. Thanks to Pigtails for another well done event. Next race planned is the Yukon Do It Marathon on 12/31.
31st of 89
Race#258, Marathon or ultra #76, Marathon#19 of 2011