Vermont City Marathon
There was a lot of hype leading into VCM this year. The local news team out of Burlington shadowed me a day in my classroom and while I coached at track practice. The dude was an awesome guy but he definitely instilled to my community that I was going to win.
At no point in time was this a realistic view for me as my goals were top 5 and top VT. The training didn't not show that I was able to run low 2:20's, which is always in the mix for the W.
Leading up to the race I had some great runs, not a lot of specific work and 2 very good race showings. Not a lot to work wth as far as feedback for how a marathon would go. Ideally I wanted to lock into high 5:30's (5:37-5:39) with a group and feel relaxed to at least 22. Possible wishful thinking but why think any other way?
The only problem was once the race started there was a group of 15+ guys at low 5:20's, me and Scott McGrath at 5:30-5:35 and everyone else way the cuss back. Awesome... Not really. As we were clipping off the miles hovering around 5:30 the group ahead continued to pull away, the group behind was nowhere to be seen and I was faster than I wanted to be. Also, there was a VT dude mixing it up in the lead chase pack... All race plans went out the window at 5 miles. I panicked. I thought about that cussing TV interview and couldn't fathom going back to school and explain to all the kids why I wasn't first VT. Fortunately, Scott was just as anxious to ruin his race as I was and we continued 7-10 seconds per mile too say.
Now, VCM's course def eludes to false times as the first part as all the fans and substantial down hill. Just as long as you survive the belt way. Scott had some entertaining quotes along the way. As the dog was still heavy on the belt way he remarked, "this looks like a place where souls go to die..." And he was right, it looked not enjoyable. Ha.
As we wrapped back into the city he had another good one, "if your going to latch one to someone and make them your alias, who better than the Last Hero Only Hope?" Hahaha, well played. And lastly, "don't let me ruin your race too...."
Haha, don't worry dude , I'm doing just fine on my own. Ruining it that is...
By 10 miles the first VT guy was out of sight and I was way too fast. I had to take a break from Scott and run my own race as I was falling off his strong lead. From 10-13 I dropped 5:45 x 3 and bit the bullet as to this was what I was going to have to do to get to the end.
But... Just after 13.1, the first VT guy pops right in front of my face. Game is back on! If he's hurting here, he's not going to make it to the finish line strong (or so I told myself).
I re-settled back into 5:30's and just commited to the stupidity. I convinced myself that I was strong enough and stubborn enough to do it.
The early fast pace also was taking its roll on a lot of dudes up in the front. I slowly continued to catch them, all while, holding my pace around 5:35.
When reality set in I was at 22, and thankful for only having 4 miles left. I bit, clawed, prayed, begged for help to get me to the finish line. I kept telling myself that if I could hold it together I'm about to run 2:26-2:27! This thought was awesome!!! After one mile, of the four, 2:26 was out. Two miles to go I still thought 2:27-2:28 was possible, nope. I once again asked my for bearers for help but kept looking at the watch and seeing time being added, legs were junk and I was struggling. If surge here and there for a few strides but my race was done and I killed myself to run it in.