|Poison ivy on left thigh|
Had this been any other race besides a local marathon I would have withdrawn from competing, but missing the Veterans Marathon did not seem right. I have been fortunate to be able to win the 3 previous editions of this local marathon. In fact I am the only athlete to have run under 2 hours and 40 minutes on this course! That gives you an indication to the difficulty of the course. With that in mind I knew I was in for a tough day.
The first 5 miles of the marathon found 6 of us athletes running in a pack. There were 4 half marathon runners, another marathon entrant, and I cruising along at roughly 5:42 per mile pace. At mile 5 one of the athletes, Ryan Smith, broke away from the pack. He would go on to win the half marathon. I kept a steady pace along side Lance Wood of Huntington University. It just so happen that his goal for the half marathon basically matched my goal for a first half split. It is always fun when that happens. Lance was able to achieve his half marathon goal and I was off to a solid start for my marathon. I split the half way point in 1:14:35. The second place marathoner still had me in his sights as my lead was barely over 1 minute.
|Notice the poison ivy?|
Prior to the marathon starting and during the race my legs never seemed to loosen up. My stride seemed shorter and more rigid then usual. I think this was the lack of massaging and stretching during the week. I also knew entering the race that I was low on my fluids. At mile 22 my legs starting cramping further proving that fact. My main focus from then on was to finish respectably. With a half mile to go the cops riding along side of me cranked up their sirens to alert the crowds that the winner was approaching. I followed their lead and cranked up my pace. At near full speed I sprint the last few minutes into the finish line to break the tape in 2 hours 34 minutes and 28 seconds. A new poison ivy personal record!! I also want to brag that I did not say one swear word during my painful race and miserable post race bath...