I woke up with a very calm demeanor. I had a plan for today and my progress so far should lend itself to sub 2 hours. The weather was georgous. Sunny, cool, slight breeze, not a cloud in the sky. The day before rained cats and dogs. My group separated into our respective corrals and I took my place amongst the other 2 hour folks. My plan was simple go out a bit slow, speed up to the 9 mile mark hold on, and pour it on with a strong finish.
My first 5K was a few seconds slower than I wanted but nothing I couldn't recover from. I wanted about 9:15ish. (Parts of this post is taken from an email from Karl, he put it into words nicely) At the three mile mark I was averaging 9:23/mi and at the next check point (8.2 miles) I had my average down to 9:15 (on pace for 2:01) which means that over the 5.2 miles after the 3 mile mark I averaged 9:10’s. 9:10 pace over 13.1 miles is 2:00:10.
The last 10K is where the gravy is. I wasnt hot, I wasnt hurting, I wasnt thirsty, I wasnt hungry, I wasnt sick. I didnt plan on walking. I was tired. I wanted to grind it out. I didnt. I wanted to have a strong fast finish. I didnt. I kept saying to myself this is the spot where I take off...TAKE OFF. I didnt have it. COME ON TAKE OFF. The course didnt beat me. It was georgous. Over half of the race with a ocean view. Breathtaking. Mile 10 there was a hill that killed me mentally. It wasnt big or steep or anything. It just took the wind out from underneath me. I was embarased since my best friend Karl came down to pace me. I wanted to celebrate with him. I wanted him to help me get there. The truth is he did help me to sub 2:10. Did I quit? I am disappointed in myself. I quit in front of Karl. The example of not quitting.
The final 4.9 miles were run in 52:00 or a 10:37/mi avg. It was the walking that slowed the average so much. I havent looked at my watch yet but Im sure if I add up the walking minutes its 7 or more. My calves were tight and quads were tired but I wasnt suffering. I felt like a rock climber looking desperately for a hand hold that wasnt there. I wanted to stop. This is going to be the fuel. Not to stop. Endurance athletics ask you to reach down deep. I looked around and didnt pull out of it. I am not happy about it. I should be somewhat happy. It was a PR of 5 min for me. I wanted 2 hours though. 2:07.
I am quickly learning and with more experience it is becoming more and more evident that everybody is a role model. Every level of athlete out there is looking up at the person in front of them. The walkers look up to the slow people who look up to medium fast people who look up to fast people who look up to the really fast people who look up to the pros and olympians. Where am I? Where will I be? I am just not what I thought I was. It is a good lesson. Humbling and hard but good nonetheless. Did I improve, hell yes. Will I continue to improve YOU BET YOUR ASS. Am I a inspiration, YES. When we get down to brass tacks, on this day, me compared to me, I quit. I will use this as fuel. I will think about this every time I train, I just know myself. I will get to the bottom of this. I wanted another notch and I wasnt willing to go there.
“Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don't look back at it too long. Mistakes are life's way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come.”
Og Mandino quotes
Perhaps my limit was reached and I thought it was further out there. I have learned a lot about this and next time I will be better prepared. For the record I am so damn proud of my wife. Busting her ass for the last few weeks with a complicated foot/ankle issue, had a PR of 2:07 too. She beat me by 9 sec. Before she knew what her time was I said, honey what percentage did you perform at? She said 80%. Her 80% is better than my 100%. I love her and I hope this helps her confidence blossom. Thanks for your time and the push Karl, I love you too man.