Had a great night of sleep leading into the marathon, and felt good waking up at 5:10am. All the work that could have been done, was done, and it was now time to get after it. I was extremely optimistic about the final product I saw in the mirror and had the confidence to trick myself otherwise if it got tough out there. I wasn't worried about doubt.
The atmosphere had a contagious feel, and fuel the excitement. There was a ton of happy energy and Burlington has a great feel. Main goal after feeling the energy: run smart, don't ruin your race early and fight/dig all the way to the finish. I had A, B and C goals:
A: finish in the top three, first VT and solid time 2:24-2:26;
B: finish in the top 5, first VT and a time I can live with 2:27-2:28;
C: Top 10, 2:28...
I knew there was some good competition in the field, but didn't know anyone's training or race plans other than Pelletier. I'll give him this one, but other than him, I really felt it was wide open for 2nd-5th (the $). So, running smart was a must. The weather was supposed to cooperate and the longer the clouds held together the better off I was going to be.
The race started, and I was convinced I was going to be conservative and start at 5:40's and chill or 10-14 miles there and assess how I was feeling, but I did have a bit of idiocy and got out a little hotter. It wasn't that bad, I was 5:35 on the flat miles with a 10 second deviation between up/down hill miles. The miles were clicking. My parents made the trip and that fueled my energy. I really don't like the idea of not doing my best in front of my parents, I didn't want to waste their day. My dad was super excited and that jacked me up with positives that would be needed greatly at the end. The first ten miles were great: 55:48 and feeling good that I could continue (I should, it's only 10 cussing miles). This thought was awesome and faulty, within two miles the dude I was running with threw down a surge that left me by myself. I got passed by another dude lingering about 10 seconds back the whole first 10, and the clouds opened up. Cussing Christ!
I had a thought that I might be in trouble, but hit the half in 1:13:18. I had the realization that 1:14-1:15 was going to be my reality and I was totally fine with this. Meanwhile I'm still in 14 place (or so I thought).
We created the hill and mile 15 into Battery Park and I noticed a waking dark skinned fellow... African #1 is down and out, just moved up a spot the next 5 miles are brutal, not only hotter than Satan's morning breath but a long way from done. We had to weave in and out of neighborhoods. I started to hold my death march here and it was enough to gap and extend myself from any threats...
As I approached the 20 mile mark, I was in rare form. I was starting to physically struggle and mentally I was having some poor thoughts. I continues to tell myself that there was a lot left and anything could happen. At no point did I feel subject to this theory and as it turned out, I wasn't. I caught some fool who went out with the lead here, and could see that I was going to catch another, African #3 (African #2 dropped out early). By the time I past him I was at 22, certain I was going to die and also certain that I was now in the top 7... I took a large breath and settles my mind that this was going to be ok, and that today was all the effort I had.
Mile 23 had amazing news, one of my all time favorite students was with her family here and started cheering me on which was great. I was on the verge of spilling excellence from my eyes, and their encouragement was enough, and the news that I may be top 7 resurged my excitement. The bike path was littered with friendly faces and strangers very kind and cheering me to the finish. Once I knew where I was I started to get excited. My time was down the tubes, but I really didn't give a cuss at this point. Entering the crowd at the finish I saw Jeff Goupil an Eric MacKnight, hit my voys up for a few high fives, let hem know that im dead and used their cheering and rooting to carry me to the finish. Then, the announcer starts going crazy, literally loosing his cussing mind as he announces my name down the home stretch, "and our fourth overall finisher, but more importantly... Our FIRST VERMONTER!!!..." (No cuss?).
This was amazing news, to hear that I was fourth and first VT was godsend.
Saw Fyffe with a big cuss smile, took a few shots at the crowd, jumped and tagged the finishing banner and had myself a finish! Burlington provided me with a great first marathon experience and it was awesome to train with my two lifers (Greg and Fyffe) and have an overall wicked positive experience. I didn't run the 2:11... Um... 2:24-2:26 I thought I had, but I had fun, and I tried like hell!
I love VT, and I get to be king for a year... Come and get me next year, that crown won't be dusty. Matter o' fact it'll be quite shiny and ready to conquer. I want #1, and so does VT!!!
13.1m: 1:13.18 (perfect)
20m: 1:53.38 (reality and heat have set in)