Short detail: 2:48:15ish. Shins locked up at mile 3, nearly dropped at mile 9, 11, 13, etc. 1 mile at a time. Felt better around 15 mile mark but still couldn't get up to a race gear. Good news...no intestinal issues this race! I passed more people in the second half than passed me (now in the first half...a different story). I started off with Doug Morton and when the legs went I could not keep up. I didn't want a DNF and so I just kept reminding myself of the example I want to set for my son to never give up.
Now for the meat of my story.
I got to the buses at 5:45 and rode to Minneapolis with Tracy and Girard. Once at the chruch, I found Doug with whom I was going run today. We stayed warm and chatted about life and family. At around 7:30, we got ready and headed out into the chilly weather (30 degrees) for our warmup. I wore what I could to stay warm in the race, but blinded everyone with all my Saucony ViziPro gear...I looked a bit like an orange running down the road.
The gun went off right on time and we were on our way. We decided to start a bit reserved and work our way up to pace. Mile 1 was 5:57, mile 2 6:01. After cresting the hill at mile 2, my shins started to ache and by mile 3 they were hard and on fire.
The issue came on so fast I didn't even get a chance to say anything to Doug before he left me in the dust. It hurt just to move my legs. I tried to change my gait to relieve it (a pain that I have never had before) but then the rest of the muscles in my legs started to cramp. By mile 6 I was in severe pain and mentally out of it as I was being passed left and right. I was still running a better pace than I thought (6:15ish) but it hurt. I knew the first drop out point was at mile 9 and at that point that was my goal.
At mile 7 I had a bottle at the table with a PowerBar gel, but when I got there it was gone! I took out my PowerBar gel in my pocket to get some carbs and dropped it. I was now sore, franzled and pissed off. Maybe this is what got me out of my funk. As I came up on mile 9, I chose to push through the drop out point and keep taking it one mile at a time. I was hurting, but I now did not want the DNF. I was inspired by my son and his efforts in XC and I didn't want to show him an example of quitting when the race gets tough. You are stronger than you think and sometimes have to push. I hit my dark spot at this race at mile 3, but was now trying to break through it.
I made it past mile 11 drop out (and my bottle and PowerBar gel was at this table and also at 15 and 21!) and now knew I had to make a choice at the half way mark. I hit the HM at 1:22:00 (4 minutes behind where I wanted to be) but kept pushing and came to find that my legs were improving. By mile 15 I was actually starting to feel pretty good. I could not get back up to race pace, but I was running mostly comfortably and was starting to keep up with the runners and in fact started to see a few coming back.
We crossed the bridge on the Mississippi River and into St. Paul and I knew that challenge laid ahead on the hill from 20-24 miles. I ran comfortably hard and was doing fairly well and now starting to pass other runners, including other 40-44 year old Masters. The hill this time did not hurt as bad in 2008 and I actually kind of enjoyed this section, though it was hard. I finally crested the hill at around 24 miles then ran on the rollers to just before mile 26. I was able to use the downhill finish and run the last 0.5M at a 5:41 pace chasing a group in front of me that I couldn't quit reach.
The race logistics were awesome. A nice gal met me at the finish and escorted me to the elite tent and got my gear and food. They really do a great job at this race.
Rode the shuttle back to the hotel, showered and went up to the elite lounge for food (pizza, beer) and time to chat with the other athletes. Then made my way on the shuttles to the airport for the end of a great weekend, but glad to be home to my family.
The flight attendants on the plane to SLC were great. They didn't have any food boxes (I was still hungry) so instead she kept bringing me free beer...hydration and carbo loading at the same time!
Splits: 5:57, 6:01, 6:10, 6:01, 6:09, 6:15, 6:18, 6:17, 6:24, 6:11, 6:17, 6:22, 6:22, 6:24, 6:16, 6:18, 6:25, 6:33, 6:39, 6:30, 6:45, 6:59, 6:51, 6:35, 6:35, 6:28, 0.4M - 2:15 (5:41 pace).