I scooped up Karl a tick before seven in the morning on Saturday and together we steamed up 270 towards Germantown. We got to the race with plenty of time to spare and, after picking up our numbers, headed out for a warm-up. The sun was warm, and the day would eventually get hot, but the temperature would be perfect for our race.
The "G-word" was yelled and soon we were all on our way. Knowing in advance this wasn't a "time race", my goal was to run a competitive race and get tough when the shit hit the fan, but I also wanted to run smart (ie - not go out hard/stupid). Well, I hit the mile in 4:56 lingering in 6th place behind Sam, Karl, Will Christian and a couple of Ethiopians. The pace was fast, but as always, it didn't feel fast. Plus, there was no one behind me. Also, I wasn't even thinking about contending for the lead, instead totally content on sitting near the back of the pack. I hit mile 2 in 10:01 and I'd moved into 5th. In another half mile I was in 4th, but I was finding it hard to get in a rhythm. Karl lingered just ahead - within the strike of a surge, but I sat back and struggled to get moving. The next two miles were 5:13s (I checked later on) and I slowly lost ground to Karl (Sam and Will were batting for gold about 20-30 seconds ahead). I checked my GPS in the last mile and noticed I was running 4:56 pace, but I really wasn't. Again, it was hard to get in a good groove. I finished with another 5:13 (WTF?) and ran 25:45 for 5 miles (we learned after that cones had been misplaced and, in turn, the course was long so I ran about 18 seconds too long - icing on the cake).
At the end of the ordeal I was a little miffed, but I suppose it was a good effort - which was exactly what I was looking for. One positive - I was "only" 27 seconds behind Karl, who bested me by 90 seconds a few weeks back for a mile and a quarter longer. I got $40 in gift cards to place called "Hard Times", where I drank and ate away my sorrow later that afternoon.
On Sunday, I met Sam, Karl, Sloane and PMurphy at Old Angler's Inn. The goal was to run two hours - just get in the time. Remarkably, we ran almost an hour in the cool, hilly trails north of the Inn/above the tavern before hitting the towpath. We "dropped off" Patrick after 12 miles and then proceeded south from Angler's for an out-and-back on the towpath. My stomach and legs had waves of discomfort so I sat back for most of the run and waited out the clock. In the last couple miles I cut the pace down and cruised in with a 5:35.
72 miles for the week. Strangely it's my 3rd week in a row running this total.
I feel like I need to get in some half marathon race pace distance sooner than later in an effort to get a good confidence booster.