So I am 2 weeks out from my 8th New York City Marathon and I wanted to get in 13 miles at 6 minute pace on a rolling (hilly) course. That is just what I did this past Saturday as I ventured down to the Dowd YMCA in uptown Charlotte.
I parked my car less that 100 yards from the finish line at 7am and immediately saw the one and only race director, Tim Rhodes, who graciously comped my entry fee which I am very grateful for. I then took a nice leisurely 20 minute jog in the area until it was time to put my flats on (brand new Nike Zoom Kitana Racer). Did some easy strides and got to the starting line in my standard 2nd row spot. Saw 5 studs in the race and one was James McKeon who has been smoking me every race this year. Could I hang with him at the longer distance? We'll see...
So the gun goes off and I get right in to 6 minute pace mode and head down Morehead St. with about 10 guys in tow and a chick named Sonja. We were rolling easy. My feeling in the early going was not great yet never bad through the whole race. I was good with that. Finally got up and over Providence Road and was still rolling where I got to the 5th position as I got to the intersection of Providence Road and Fairview where I saw Paul and Sophie which was very cool.
Side note: Since I have been running and racing in Charlotte over the last 16 plus years, it still amazes me how many people personally root for me...I am grateful and honored!
Getting back to the race. At about the 6 mile mark I am feeling pretty good and decide to start reeling in the 3rd and 4th place runners who are up ahead. One is James McKeon who has consistently smoked me even though he is my age at 46! He is a tough competitor who seems to always bring his A game (as I would find out later, his calf was tight through the 2nd half of the race). None the less, by mile 7 and a half, I went by those 2 runners and set my sights on 2rd. That runner was about 30 seconds ahead and although I was rolling, I could not seem to bridge the gap. Finally got to the all too familiar Queens Road West and rolled through there until I hit Morehead and started climbing up what is the 13th mile. Cruised up Lexington to the finish line and crossed in 1:18 and change which was good for 3rd place. I was pleased with how I ran so consistantly on a rolling course like Charlotte which should bode well for New York in 2 weeks.
I was able to cool down with Caleb, JMar, and Caitlin for a couple of miles before it was off to breakfast, soccer, lacrosse and work. Good stuff...
My son went to his first Cotillion dance Saturday night. I told him not to be too nervous like his father use to be...Ha! Sophie scored a goal in a 1-1 tie. I'm trying my best not to think about the marathon every minute of every waking hour...HaHa!