As Tom Riley captured in this picture below, it was a beautiful morning...if anything, I think it was warmer than last year.
I knew I was better prepared for the race this year and unlike last year, I wasn't coming into the race after getting over the flu. Realistically, I was hoping to run somewhere between 4:08 and 4:15. We all started off on the out-and-back...a little way up the road we heard a warning of roadkill, but as we got closer the Pain Train pointed out that he wasn't dead, just drunk...glad someone took a picture of this.
We hadn't gone too far down the trail when we saw Tom Riley taking pictures...thanks, Tom...it really makes my blog look a lot better. I ran almost the entire first loop with a group consisting of Brendan Trimboli, Will Kalenius, and Joelle Vaught. I had some aid station splits written down to give me an idea of how fast I was going...we were on about 4:00 pace at the first aid station. I had the feeling it was a little too fast for me, but did I slow down...no way. I continued to hit about 4:00 splits all the way around the first loop. Matt Daniels passed us without a word just prior to the Tanner Creek aid station...Brendan was the only one of us to go with him. And at about the 1 mile to go mark on the first loop, Will left Joelle and me. As I came back into Sain Creek, I stopped and picked up my full bottle.
After grabbing my bottle, who should catch up to me...the Pain Train...that gave me a boost and I consciously picked it up...I wasn't trying to break you...just a little bit of shake 'n bake! We caught Joelle and passed her after she took a spill...a short time later, we caught Will and ran behind him for a couple miles. Eventually he stepped off the trail and let us lead...and then, surprising to me, I could see Matt Daniels not far ahead. We caught and passed him as we popped out onto the road just prior to hitting the dam. Now for much of this time, I had the feeling that I was "running over my head"...then the Pain Train made his move...I was able to keep up on the road, but once we hit the trail again I fell back. And a few miles later, I really slowed down...it felt like my hamstrings and calfs were getting real tight. Soon after that, Will caught and passed me...then Joelle caught me at the Tanner Creek aid station. My only thought at this point was that it was going to be darn close if I wanted to finish in 4:15. Unfortunately, this last stretch is probably the toughest to run...I tried to push...I even fell once...but in the end I was a little upset with myself that I didn't push quite hard enough to finish under 4:15...4:15:36. The Pain Train finished another great race in 4:05:54! He continues to impress me.
After the race I took a soak in the lake...wow, that was cold! But I think it did me some good...everything feels pretty good a couple days later except the right hamstring. Hope I didn't make a mistake signing up for the Fall Creak Run-Around 20 Miler next weekend! Time for some road racing before the Boston Marathon.