Three of us drove up from Murfreesboro early Saturday morning. We left my house at about 6 am. FM drove, Speedy rode shotgun and I rode in the back. Rained until Louisville and then the sun came out. Lot's of limo's headed down from up north to the Derby. The state troopers set up a huge speed trap on one of the overpasses with at least 8-10 cars lined up to catch the next speeder. Pretty efficient operation.
Got into Cincinnati around noon and were able to check into our hotel immediately. I'd called ahead to request a early check in. Parked the van and walked the 3 blocks to the expo. Didn't spend a lot of time at the expo. We were all hungry, but more importantly at least for the fast guys was getting in a run and previewing the course. I needed the run to keep my streak alive.
After we finished at the expo we headed out to look at the course. Speedy read the directions and I drove the course. I've never really been a fan of previewing the race course, but I'm sure glad we did. We rode most of the course, but missed one significant hill at mile 18 that was a complete shock on race day. It was nice to know where the hills where located and when they where over.
The first point of the course preview was the major climb at 6 miles. We rode to what we thought was the top and parked. Actually it was only about a mile of the climb. We did a slow jog to the bottom and the back up to the top and around trying to figure out where the top was located. Slow easy run in the sunshine and then back in the van to ride the rest of the course. Lots of small climbs, but lots of long descents as well. Last 6 miles were about the only flat part of the course, with at least 2-3 small rises along the way. We all thought the course would be quicker on the back half after the climb, from mile 9 on home.
Woke up to rain and 59 degrees on race morning. Little bit warmer than we thought. We all did the garbage bag poncho thing and carried our shoes to the start. We all started just behind the line. This was the first time I'd ever started that close to the front, only 7 seconds back according to the chip. It was also the least crowded corral I've ever seen in a marathon. First few miles felt way to easy. The crowds downtown were great and pushed me a little to quick. I tried to hold back to the planned 7:03 pace but the miles just came much to easily.
Started talking with a local runner around mile 5 about the upcoming climb. My early miles had put me in a position to think a sub 3:00 was possible. I didn't lose very much time on the climb and got it all back on the downhills following. I was wearing a Nashville Fleet Feet singlet, so he kept calling me Nashville. "What'd you think of the climb, Nashville". He was going to start pushing after the climb and push for a sub 3:00. I stayed with him until about mile 12 when I decided that was just a little bit to hot of a pace for me.
I printed off a 3:05 pace band from the Runners World website. I put a red S on the points where I needed to take my succeed caps and highlighted the places to take my power gels. Also laminated it. Lost my first powergel, that I forget to take at the start within a hundred yards of the start. No problem I still had the 4 to take every 5 miles. Hydration and fueling all went according to plan. I took water at almost every available spot. Never took any gatorade. Did take a extra caffeine GU at mile 23.
Felt good until about mile 18 where the miles started to be more work. From this point home the runners where pretty spread out. I don't think anyone passed me from that point home. I just tried to pick off the runner in front of me. Those runners who did pass me, came back and I pushed forward and reeled them back. Mile 23 home was a struggle but didn't lose much time and continued passing runners. Actually able to surge once I could actually see the finish line, a hundred yards away. Finish time 3:05:10. That's a 12 minute PR. FM lived up to his moniker and was the master's winner in a time of 2:47, a PR. Even though they gave his award to some 22 year old, and had him down as a 35 year old. Speedy PR'd as well.
6 6:50 start of the "hill"
9 6:50 backside of the "hill"
post race thoughts..