Sunday, March 11, 2018

Rock N Roll DC Marathon - My second sub 3!

I always feel a sense of joy when I can write that the latest marathon was my best one to date. That is certainly true of yesterday's Rock N Roll DC Marathon (the old National Marathon). Training mostly by running my son in a Bob's Ironman stroller to and from daycare or with a backpack to and from my new office in Bethesda, I wasn't really sure about my fitness. However, the added miles seemed to pay off as I was able to hold my marathon pace, stick to the plan, and run a smart race - good for my second sub-3 marathon, just one tiny second off my PR set two years ago on the pancake-flat course that is the Houston Marathon.

My training routine became 2-3 week days I would run with my backpack to Bethesda cutting across DC on Irving by the Hospital Center through Columbia Heights, down Klingle and up Porter then straight up Connecticut Avenue to East West Highway where my gym was right across from my office. The other 2-3 days I would run Miles to daycare then Metro to Bethesda. It is the only way I can get in my run now, and it gives me the ability to really get in a lot of mileage. Some days I could get 14-18 miles, and really the lowest I would get would be 9-10. Almost every day is a double. On the weekends during the winter it is too cold to take him in the morning for a run, so I have been running during nap time. On Saturday, I was likely able to get in 90-120 minutes with Shawn. And those Saturday runs we usually doing some sort of speed or tempo work. For example, three weeks before the race, we ran 16 miles at tempo with a short warm up. That gave us the confidence to know we were ready for the marathon. On Sunday, I would get in 60-90 minutes, usually easy miles.

My race day gear

On race morning, it was a cold but perfect 30 degrees with sun. Usually, I like 40-50, but I prefer cold to hot. There wasn't too much wind - we were generally happy with the weather. Alex met us at my house and Shawn's wife drove us to the start. We timed it well as we didn't have to wait outside too long before the start. We hit the bathroom, checked bags, and went to the start where we did our warm up. I had a few throw-away clothes to stay warm for the first few miles. Mile one was crowded and we were able to stick together and to the plan. Mile two was a little better and we were running well as a team. Mile three and four we continued with our pace and in formation, but as we hit Rock Creek Park, Shawn began to put a few seconds between us. I tapped Alex on the arm to indicate stay back since we were doing fine. We climbed Calvert and lost 20-25 seconds, but we knew that we would. Over the next three miles, we back it back and established our pace again as we went through AdMo and Columbia Heights, up Harvard, down passed the reservoir and Howard University. As we hit North Capitol, Alex and I felt good and the plan was intact. We turned onto K Street and passed the former CQ Roll Call building where I worked with Shawn and Kate. Kate and their kids were out and I handed her my Red Sox beanie since I didn't need to wear it anymore but didn't want to throw it away. We ran by H Street and saw Adam Siple, my friend from GW and a fellow Bay Stater and runner. I was with Alex through the mile twelve marker but then I felt good and had some wind at my back and a slight downhill so I thought about catching Shawn. I sped up, leaving Alex, and hit the halfway point on East Capitol in 1:29:28.

Can you see Alex and me on the right?

Mentally, I was in a great place and my body also felt pretty strong. Right by the mile fourteen marker, I caught Shawn and we stayed together - for the next 2-3 miles. Within a mile of catching Shawn, we passed a water stand. I tried to grab two cups and hand one to Shawn, but he didn't want it. He didn't drink any liquids in the race. Before the mile sixteen marker, I had left Shawn a few seconds behind. At 17, he was further behind - he was holding a great pace but I had dropped mine slightly and was feeding off positive thoughts (I felt good, I figured I had an hour or so to go and knew I could hold this pace) - I really felt like sub 3 was going to happen no doubt and a PR or 2:57-2:58 was possible. I was able to hold this mindset through Anacostia Park and passed mile 21 ready to tackle the Fort DuPont hills.

Alex and I climbing Calvert with Christie on our tail

Looking at the course elevation, I knew this section was going to be challenging. Pre-race, I was prepared to lose a minute on Calvert and a minute in Fort DuPont. I didn't try to tackle the hill, just survive. As I was climbing, my left hip flexor started hurting. I figured it was just the hill and in the back of my mind wondered if it would end my race. That was a tiny thought that went away after the hill and my hip stopped hurting. It never was pain, so that was good. With about 5K left, I had 22-23 minutes to get under 3. I hoped I could get that 2:58, but there was another climb up Minnesota before a slight downhill on the straight away to RFK. But, at the 40K mark, a strong wind blew me back - wind tunnel! That took away my ability to find a 6:45 pace that could have gotten me 2:58. But, with my 2:59 safe in hand, I was able to finish strong and respectfully. In fact, I was only one second off my PR. Had I realized I probably would have tried to sprint to get under my PR. But, I don't feel regret since I know I gave it all I had.

At night, Shawn, Alex, and I drank a few beers at the new Tastemakers in Northeast DC and had their famous ice cream sandwich (two of their cookies with two scoops of ice cream in the middle) and recapped the race. Shawn should have stayed with us and drank water and taken more than two Gu. Alex said, "Great race! Those mile splits are a thing of beauty - a perfect race on a tough course!" And, I congratulated all of us on PRs and a well run race. Now, time to recover so I can try to run strong in Boston in five weeks!

DC Road Runners Club Members smile with new PRs and a great race!

2nd Place Age Group 40-44 (Shawn won 3rd) out of 145
33rd place overall out of 1882
31st male finisher out of 1152

My splits:

6:54; 6:42; 6:49; 6:42; 6:49; 6:50; 7:11; 6:39; 6:33; 6:29; 6:44; 6:48; 6:33; 6:21; 6:44; 6:51; 6:36; 6:41; 6:48; 6:52; 6:52; 7:28; 7:02; 6:33; 7:07; 6:53 (.48) = 2:59:32 for an average pace of 6:51.

First 10K = 42:35 Pace = 6:52
6.9 miles to the 1/2 = 46:52 Pace = 6:47
6.9 miles to 20 mile mark = 46:18 Pace = 6:42
Final 10K to Finish = 43:52 Pace = 7:04

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017: A Year in Review

2017 was another good year for running. It was not without challenges and sacrifices. But, with a little ingenuity, I was able to run more miles in a calendar year than any previous year. Here is my recap of running in 2017 by numbers and pictures:

Total miles (bicycle and running) = 4911 / 628 total hours of exercise
Running = 3614 (previous high in 2016 was 3181). I climbed 99,984 feet while running.
Bicycle = 1287. I climbed 36,752 feet while bicycling.
New places I ran = Destin and Seacrest, Florida (Jan); Boca Raton and Deerfield Beach, FL (June); Rehoboth Beach, DE (Aug); Hartford, CT (Oct); and Los Angeles (Nov).

LA running

Running through LA

View of LA while running Elysian Park

Prior to the Rock N Roll Half in DC

Flying to Boston for the marathon!

With my friend Derek pre Boston Marathon

After the Boston Marathon with my family

Pre Maine Coast Marathon

With my dad before the Maine Coast Marathon

First stroller run with Miles

Miles on a run to the National Zoo

With Miles at the National Cathedral

Family vacation at Rehoboth Beach

Miles naps on a run to Rock Creek

I ran fewer races this year than in past years. That was one of the sacrifices I made this year with a young child.
January 7 - Al Lewis Ten Miler - 1:04:46 (was supposed to run Mississippi Blues)
February 26 - RRCA Club Challenge 10 Miler - 1:03:59
March 11 - Rock N Roll USA Half Marathon 1:24:28
April 17 - Boston Marathon 3:15:57
May 14 - Maine Coast Marathon 3:08:43 during a rainy and windy day with an added half mile
August 27 - Annapolis Ten Miler 1:04:23 on a notoriously hilly course but we had good weather
September 27 - Navy Air Force Half Marathon 1:28:46 on a very hot and humid day
October 14 - Hartford Marathon 3:01:41 on a warm day 60s good for my third fastest marathon and fastest marathon east of the Mississippi River

How did I get in my miles (with Miles) this year? Last winter and spring, I started running with a backpack from near Fort Totten where Miles was part of a nanny share to Gallery Place/Penn Quarter where I worked. My routine was to drive our car to the nanny share, park in the other family's driveway, drop off Miles, then run about 10K to work. That routine changed in May when I changed jobs. In May, Miles was big enough to sit in the Bob's Ironman stroller and we enrolled him in a daycare located near the Mall. When he transitioned at the beginning of June, I was running him to and from daycare two or three days a week. Most days I would run him five miles from my house to daycare, then five miles home to shower, then took a bike share from home to DuPont - just over four miles. At the end of the day, I would take a bicycle about three miles to his daycare then run him home. Some days, instead of running home, I would run with a backpack to work or run around the Mall then bicycle to my office in DuPont. This led to an increase in mileage this year since on a couple of days a week, I was running doubles.

I did suffer one injury (I suspect from running with the heavy backpack) that caused some right knee pain. I was able to treat it with massages and it didn't cost me much time off my feet. But, it was painful at night or waking up at times. Also, I helped my running partner train and qualify for Boston for the first time and set PR in every other distance he ran.

Let's hope 2018 is another great running year!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

40 for 40: A well-paced race in Hartford

What I love most about the marathon is that when you step to the starting line, there are so many possibilities. Will this be a day when everything goes according to plan? Or will things fall apart? The only way to find the answer is to run the race. The further you run, the more the result starts to come into focus. As the finish line approaches, the possibilities are narrowed. At the start, you have your A, B, and C goals; yet it isn’t until you’re running the last mile and only a few possibilities remain that you know which goal will come true.
Run/commute to daycare past the Capitol on his birthday

This was another great race for me. I knew that I was in good shape heading into the Hartford Marathon. I nailed all my key workouts leading up to the race. I had a great race at the Annapolis Ten Miler (64:23) which is a hilly course, but we got some unseasonably cool weather for late August. I had an acceptable result at the Navy Air Force Half Marathon (1:28:46) on a warm day in which everyone I knew seemed to struggle. And while I did accumulate a lot of mileage (I exceeded 100 miles for a seven-day period for the first time ever), I had a proper taper and carbo-load leading up to race day. Plus, this is the first marathon where I trained with the Bob's Ironman stroller. In fact, I logged a lot of miles with Miles (possibly as many as half), so I was curious to see how that training would prepare me. All signs pointed to a chance to break my PR. Then, my coach, Ryan Vail, and I looked at the predicted weather.

Our shadow as we run through the National Zoo on a weekend run
Ideal race weather for me is overcast and in the 40s to start. I like to be shivering when the gun goes off – I had ideal conditions in Bismarck in 2015 (3:00:58) and Houston in 2016 (2:59:31). But, I have not had ideal conditions since. The weather for race morning called for 60 degrees to start at 8 AM rising to 71 by my expected finish time around 11 AM. I talked with my coach Ryan in the days leading up to the race. Knowing I am a cold weather racer, we ditched any thought of breaking 3 and put in 6:55-7:05 for my targeted pace. With ideal conditions, I would have tried to hold 6:45-6:55. Yet, the day before the race, they adjusted the prediction to 58 at the start to mid-to-high 60s at my expected finish. I asked him if he saw the updated temperature to which he replied that it has become a little cooler. I asked if that adjusts the strategy and he advised that it is still likely to be mostly cloudy but to run conservative on the faster end of what we had discussed. “Go out closer to the 6:55 range than 7:05. Start 6:55ish and make a judgment call after a few miles. You’ll know by then if you feel warm early on.”

With Andrew at the expo. Bib #255 for Billy (wore #55)

When I arrived Friday morning in Hartford, the temperature was in the 40s rising to the 50s by 11 AM. I missed perfect weather by one day, again! My cousin Andrew picked me up at the airport and we found a tea house in downtown Hartford near the XL Center where they held the expo. They opened at 11AM (not sure why so late – there was a line of people waiting to get in). I already had my bib since I requested a variant of #55 (they gave me #255) in memory of my cousin, Billy Goldstein, who passed away last month after a battle with cancer. I raised almost $500 dollars through the race’s charity in his memory and dedicated the race to him. At the expo, we breezed through, I picked up my start seeding sticker, got my shirt, and was ready to go. Andrew found that there is a lot of free stuff given away and took a shopping bag that a vendor handed out and stuffed it with free goodies to bring home to his kids. He spent a good twenty minutes at a headband stand looking for one that said something about dance since his daughters are dancers. As we were about to give up, he found it. He commented that it looked like an anorexia convention. For lunch, we stopped in Wallingford, where Billy had lived. His folks Nate and Iris, who passed young in the late 90s, hosted Thanksgiving every year and he kept that tradition going for years. We ate pizza and a calzone at Carini’s which Uncle Nate used to love. Then, we went to the cemetery where Billy was buried and placed a stone. I did some work that afternoon while he did a few errands and I rested. For dinner, the kids were all out so Andrew, his wife Kelly, and I ate pasta. Andrew and I watched a few innings of the ALCS against the Houston Astros – thankfully, the Yankees lost – before bed.

Spending time in the expo at a vendor's booth

In the morning, Andrew, his daughter Hannah, and I drove to the race. We parked about a half mile walk from the start in a lot. I did my pre-race stretches, took a few pictures with my support team, and headed to the start. I initially went to the start of the 5K which had a different start than the full and half marathons. I met a fellow runner, Mario Vazquez, 38 years old from New Britain, Connecticut. This was his first full, but he has run the half in 1:14. His goal was to break 3 hours. We talked prior to the race – I advised him to go out slow and respect the distance and he should have a sub 3 easy – then we found our way to the proper start. When the race began, I settled into a comfortable pace and tried not to go out too fast. Even though my first few miles were in the 6:40s, I was getting into the flow. I pulled back to stay with the planned pace of 6:55. There were fellow runners around me who were settling into their paces and we chatted about expected pace, thoughts on the weather, experience running Boston, and even music selection (a runner near us had his player blasting for all to hear – I asked if it was preset or if he would take requests). I remember two guys named Matt and Mike and we ran probably 6-7 miles together. Around mile 5, I made the decision to stick to 6:55-7 since it felt a bit too warm. Mike and Matt wanted to hold a 7 and hoped to break 3:05. Around mile 7, there was a spectator dad walking his stroller up a rugged hill as we passed by the banks of the Connecticut River with his baby inside. I shouted that we had his back and Mike yelled that we wouldn’t tell mom. We discussed running as fathers, and we listed the states we had run. Around mile 9, I felt myself breaking away from them. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. They are strangers and I have my own race to run.

With Hannah and Andrew right before the start

Once I hit the ten-mile mark, I was feeling pretty good and confident as I crossed the marker at around 70 minutes, right on pace for a 7-minute mile. The next seven miles were very consistent right around a 6:53 pace. The weather felt cooler so I focused on my breathing, looked at the road and runners ahead, and kept my rhythm going. I remember seeing Congressman John Larson (D-CT) spectating the course sometime after the half. As I passed, I said, "Good morning, Congressman. I used to work for Barney and Steny." He said good to see you or something like that - I couldn't make it out. At mile 14, we took a right and began the out and back section of the race. I thought if I could get to 17 then I would have nine miles to go and roughly an hour to finish. I think I hit the turnaround at 17 in 1:58 and change. Feeling good, I dropped my pace to 6:40 and started to pass quite a few runners. My plan was to get to 20 and assess. Somewhere before the 20-mile mark, I passed Mario who looked like he was suffering. According to the results, he went out for the first ten miles in a 5:42 pace, was down to 5:57 by the half, 6:43 at 20, and finished in a 7:20 average pace in just under 3:12. I guess he didn’t head my advice.

When I passed the 20th mile marker, my pace dipped back in the 6:50 range as I ran over a few rolling hills. I still had a few runners ahead of me, so I tried to focus on the one in front of me and catch them then the next one. With about 5K to go, my pace slipped over the 7-minute, and with two miles to go, I knew I was hurting. I kept telling myself it was almost over and knew I was in 3:01 or 3:02 range. If I could hit the 25th mile marker still in decent shape, I had about 8-9 minutes left, depending how badly I wanted the 3:01. With half a mile to go, I saw that I had one female runner ahead of me so I started my final kick, passed her with half a kilometer to go, and held it to the finish line. I was so focused on finishing that I didn’t realize the line was underneath the arch that is on the medal!

Connecticut State House

I was very pleased with my effort! This was my first marathon in the masters division, so a new age group PR; my fastest marathon east of the Mississippi; my 11th time qualifying for Boston (this one is good for 2019); my 40th marathon in my 26th different state; my fifth New England state (soon, New Hampshire, soon); and I can use this time to better my seeding in Boston for 2018 (currently submitted a 3:08 time, but this puts me clearly in the first wave whereas I might have been on the cusp of the second wave). Plus, I laid down the hammer at the end and accomplished the rare negative split (1:31:19 first; 1:30:22 second which is 57 seconds faster).

I met up with Andrew and Hannah and we left. I called Laura to share my excitement and tell her I was headed home. The plan was to drive to the downtown YMCA for a shower, but I forgot a towel and the traffic closures prevented us from getting there. Rather than risk it, I told him to take me to the airport. We said goodbyes and I basically walked through security stinky and wet. At least my TSA pre-check cleared on Friday so I was able to walk right through without taking off my shoes. I briefly talked with my coach, hopped into the bathroom to sink-wash myself, then found the bar for a beer and a snack. I wasn’t hungry, so I only ate some pretzel bites. The IPA was terrific! On the flight back, I shared a seat next to a woman who ran the half and has finished 45 states on her goal to 50 half marathons, one in each state.

Running marathons is addicting for me. I know I ran the best race possible on race day. Sure, there is always the what-if (what-if the weather was perfect or I had tried to break 3), but I am confident I ran the right race. I think I am getting better at these the older I get – I wish I could have learned some of these lessons earlier in my racing career.

At the airport enjoying a celebratory beer

My splits: 6:46/41/51/7:01/6:55/54/56/7:07/6:58/49/53/53/47/53/55/53/57/40/43/40/53/50/53/59/ 7:07/01/ 2:40 (6:16 pace) final .4
10K = 43:05 (6:56 pace)
Half = 1:31:19 (6:59)
17 Mile = 1:58:34 (6:59)
20 Mile = 2:18:28 (6:56)
25.1 Mile = 2:54:10 (6:57)
Finish = 3:01:41 (6:57)
58th Overall of 1618; 46th Male of 934; 5th M40-44 of 149; 13th Masters of 527.

Beer and metal

After the race, here is what I posted on Facebook:

3:01 at the Hartford Marathon this morning. Third fastest time overall in slightly warmer than ideal conditions. Very pleased with my effort, negative split (hit the half at 1:31:19), and another BQ. Thanks to the Casmans (Andrew and Hannah) for serving as my support crew and to my awesome wife Laura and my training buddy Miles who sits in the Bob jogging stroller so I can get in my training runs. And thanks to my coach Ryan Vail. 40th marathon and 26th state. Also, I ran this race in memory of my cousin Billy Goldstein who passed away from cancer last month. I also had a bump on the top of my left foot causing some discomfort. It wasn't pain, but I could feel it when I walked. Oddly, it didn't hurt during the race. After the race, I pushed down on the bump and it snapped back into place and the discomfort went away, for now. Interesting.

A few comments from fellow runners on Facebook

Karsten Brown: “A negative split like that is the sign of somebody who knows what he's doing. Great job!”

Keith Freeburn: “Great job out there! I need your patience. I've never come close to negative splitting a Marathon. Karsten is correct. A definite sign of a runner that knew what he was doing.”

Monday, May 29, 2017

Maine Coast Marathon Recap - Wet, Windy, and Half a Mile Long

This marathon served a lot of milestones for me. It was the first marathon I ran in a nor'easter. It was the second marathon I ran past property owned by the Bush Family (Houston and Kennebunkport). It was the first time I ran a marathon with a gaping course error. And, it was my 39th marathon in my 25th different state which means I am halfway to my goal of a marathon in every state. Plus, it was my final marathon in my 30s. I turn 40 in July and my next marathon would be my 40th.

The weekend began with Laura, Miles, and me flying from BWI to Logan. We rented a car and then drove about an hour to Matt's house in Groveland. I hadn't visited his home before, so it was good to see him. He had lunch ready for us, a pack n play and a bumbo to borrow for Miles, and he bought baby food too. We spent about an hour before we finished the drive to Kennebunk, Maine. I was surprised that it was such a quick drive.

The Ames Family in downtown Kennebunkport

We stayed at the Elizabeth Rose right by the Kennebunk High School which served as the start line. The innkeepers were very friendly. We had the entire B&B to ourselves. We settled in before heading into town to walk around. Kennebunkport is a cute town. We went to several stores and took a drive to the Bush Family compound. The weather was perfect for running - too bad it wasn't race day. For dinner, I grabbed takeout from Federal Jack's which sits atop the Shipyard Brewing Company.

The Bush Family Compound in the background.

Saturday morning, we had a large breakfast provided at the inn. We went to walk around the town. Laura picked out a hooded sweatshirt that I bought for her as a gift for her first Mother's Day. We got pizza in the center of Kennebunk and went back to the inn to rest. The innkeepers, Betsy and Paul, are both from Massachusetts originally. We learned their family history of how they came to be in Maine, their four kids and numerous grand-kids, and that they have been married over 50 years. Betsy's first husband died in a canoe accident when she was months pregnant with their third child and Paul raised them as his. I played with Miles in the main room while Laura rested - that's when Betsy told me their story. As I was waiting for my folks, another runner, Mike, and his pregnant wife arrived. This was his first marathon and he was hoping for 2:55-3:00 (he ran 2:54). I gave him some advice as a seasoned marathon runner.

Waiting for me outside packet pick-up at University of New England, Biddeford
Before my parents joined us, we took a quick trip to the finish line which was also where the expo was held. I was worried they might cancel the race, but I was the only one thinking that. I guess since Mississippi Blues Marathon was canceled while I was on my way there and stuck in Chicago, I have become a tad sensitive to a race cancellation. The expo was a quick in-and-out; nothing like Boston or NYC. Back at the inn, I waited for my folks to arrive. Once they made it to the inn, they settled in before we took a drive. We had time to go for a drive to the Bush Compound and then to dinner at Ports of Italy in the center of Kennebunkport. Dinner was nice and there was plenty for me to eat. After, we walked to get ice cream where there were several runners with the same idea. We beat the rush then ate on the patio.

When we got to the room to go down for the night, Miles had trouble going to bed and staying asleep. He doesn't sleep well in new locations, apparently. In the morning, I got up early, prepared in the bathroom so I wouldn't wake Laura and Miles, and went to the kitchen to eat breakfast. Dad and Paul were down there, and after eating, Dad took me to the start line. The rain was light at first, but I knew it was going to pick up. Luckily, I had VIP access so Dad could park near the high school and he came inside to wait with me. I ran into a fellow running buddy, Andrew, who I met at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville. I have met a number of runners and kept in touch.

Dad watched and filmed the start of the race and then got in his car and went to the finish line where I had secured VIP parking close to the finish. As for my race, with the wind and heavy rain, I made a lot of good decisions that day. First, I wore an Under Armor shirt under my club's singlet, which kept me warm. I also wore arm sleeves my coach sent, gloves, and a hat. I wore regular long sleeve cotton shirt (I think a Cherry Blossom Ten Miler shirt I got as a volunteer) for the first few miles before ditching it. I also ran with a pack of runners targeting my finish time. And, I quickly tossed out my sub 3 goal and aimed for 3:05. I did a good job of staying with the pack. There was a lot of chatter early on as we did two loops near the beach, including mile 11 by the Bush Compound. The race went wrong for many people right at mile 12. A paid volunteer directed many of us down a dead end road that wasn't part of the course. Here is the race's official video of me running. It added half a mile, and a lot of people were really upset going by the comments on the race's Facebook page. The race posted this apology:

"We want to sincerely apologize for an error that was made on the marathon race course today. During the race, we learned of runners being taken off course by a volunteer. At approximately mile 12, runners were turned off course down a dead end road where they then turned around and ran back onto the course. Unfortunately this added about 0.5 miles to the course. We believe about half of the field of the field of runners ran a total of 26.7 miles. The error was corrected as soon as we discovered the problem. The course is still considered a Boston Qualifier even with the added mileage, and those who ran a qualifying time are still valid results. If you missed your qualifying time because the course was long we sincerely apologize. We're extremely sorry for those trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon that did not. As fellow runners, we know that nothing will be able to make up for a lost chance like that."

I even thought that the directions to go down were not right. My watch almost had me at mile 12 and she was standing in front of the mile 12 marker. But, when I asked her if she was sure, she said it with such confidence and everyone else was going there. In retrospect, I could have ignored her and trusted my gut, but if I was wrong then I would have been cutting the course, disobeying a race official, and putting myself in jeopardy of being disqualified. When I got to the end, I could see no cone, so I didn't go all the way to the end. One of the guys I was running with slipped and fell hard as he turned. Fortunately, he was only pacing a friend and not running it all out (he ran 19 miles as part of a Ragnar relay the previous day), and he is a 2:40 marathoner. Plus, he has a 5 month old and we talked about parenting as runners.

Pacing with Jeff

I was running with Jeff who was hoping to qualify for Boston. He is also from DC and lives on H Street but didn't know any of the names I dropped of fellow H Street runners. He was worried that the turn wasn't part of the course, and I convinced him (maybe I was trying to convince myself) that since the course was altered this year due to construction on the UNE campus, that they would make it up to us later and the signs were wrong. Around the halfway point, I felt good and left Jeff to try to catch the Ragnar relay guy and the friend he was pacing. I felt pretty good and was able to reel in runners ahead of me one at a time. I worried that at some point I would bonk, but my pace stayed consistent. When I went to grab my third Gu ahead of the 15th mile, I fumbled my fourth Gu and lost it on the ground. I thought there would be Gu handed out, but it wasn't so I relied on Gatorade.

Running with Jeff

Even as we went up hills and into wind, I was able to hold a very respectable pace. At the 20 mile mark, I had caught Ragnar and we were again running side-by-side. My left thigh started hurting, but I was able to run through the pain. At some point, I dropped him, but his friend was closing in on me. With 5K or so to go, his friend was trying to draft off me. Along the coast, the wind was the worst as it slowed my pace considerably. I was determined not to let him draft off me. Earlier in the race we can take turns and work together, but with the finish line in sight I get competitive and we're all on our own. I remember hitting 26.2 on my watch and being upset that the finish line wasn't in sight. So I ran the extra half mile, finished on a slippery and narrow chute, and saw my dad. He was filming this shaky video. I was pissed because that race could have been a 3:05 or 3:06 if accurate - maybe even a 3:04. I got into the car with my dad and started to change. I was shivering from the rain and from stopping.


7:00/6:51/7:14/7:03/7:24/7:45/7:39/ 7:05 (final .7).
I am pretty sure I ran a negative split. I felt strong at the end. The wall of wind at the end is evident looking at my times as I go from 7:03 to 7:24 to 7:45 and 7:39 before bringing it all together for a 7:05 pace in the 27th mile.

My statistics and placement

I was pleased with myself as that was a terrific effort and I knew it. But, I was upset that I lost out on a better time. Even though I was likely in for Boston 2018 (3:08 should be enough to get me in only needing a 3:15), I want to improve my place in the corral. Having been in the fourth corral in 2017, I want to see how close to the front I can get. I will simply have to wait for the next marathon and opportunity to improve my bib number.

Cousins play with Penny at the Mother's Day / Dad's 65th birthday party

After the race, my parents left and went to my brother's for the Mother's Day celebration / my dad's 65th birthday party. We went to Federal Jack's for lunch and a beer and to celebrate. We then drove to join my family at my brother's and my mom was pleased that all her children and grandchildren were together. A good way to finish the weekend! Monday morning, we got up very early to catch our flight back to DC.

Postscript: I started running with Miles in the Bob's Ironman stroller. He mostly sleeps on the run.

After the race, I took Miles on the MBT for our first run together in the Bob's Ironman stroller