Jim and I took the bus at 5:15AM to the start and it was COLD and foggy out - just how I like it. A little jogging to shake off the morning cold then to the bag-check area and to the start. Jim and I split here as he went to the 3:00 pace group and I went maybe a couple rows up from there.
My plan was to run miles 1, 2, 3, 6, 11 16, 18 & 19 at 6:35 pace and everything else at 6:40 pace (I started the morning hoping to run 2:55). Those were, from what I could tell, the downhill with no major hills on them miles. So I thought I'd be able to get 6:35 without anymore effort than running 6:40 on the flat miles. Wrong. At the end of those first 3 miles I hadn't run a single 6:35 and I was thinking I'd be lucky to hit sub-3. But I put it out of my mind and tried to just stick to the plan and run 6:40's.
Every time I passed a mile marker the race had volunteers calling the splits and I was always hearing "6:43, 6:44, 6:45". I just kept on keeping on. Every one of my planned fast miles I tried to go fast but just wasn't able to, I guess. BTW, CIM mile markers were the best I've ever seen at any race - a giant flag along with a large marked black letters on white background square. Small things make the race....
Anyway I passed 13.1 in 1:28 even. OK, now I'd have to negative split this thing (which I am NOT known for, I usually just hang on while the pace slowly spirals upward). I carried one of those '5 Hour Energy' drinks - the ones they sell at 7-Eleven at the counter and gulped it down at 20 (though I wasn't feeling any desire to stop yet). I don't know if it helped but it sure didn't hurt as I ran my fastest miles at miles 24 (6:30) and mile 25 (6:33). Mile 26 was uphill and seemingly endless but I managed to eek out a 6:41. At this point I must thank the anonymous lady who was running the relay race. She was an awesome runner. She came up behind me at mile 22.5 and as she was passing asked me to go with her. Against my better judgement I did and she pulled me to those fast last three miles. It was great, we were running side-by-side, no one else around us sometimes she'd take the lead sometimes I would. I'm convinced if she wasn't there I add another minute to my time. Anyway towards the last half of mile 26 she started pulling away and I told her to go get 'em.
I was never so glad to hit the finish line - 2:55:36 chip time. Don't see the official results yet but I am thrilled.
1:28:09 / 1:27:27