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<p>Cliff notes version - had a pretty darn good day and ran the time I expected to.  I lost a little time late but I can't complain!</p>
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<p>Self Indulgent Long Version - See below!</p>
<p>I've done this race several times before and it's tough for me to pass up - it's before my busy pacing season, it's local, I know the course and I usually know several people running, so I once again chose to run Air Force.  Although I had a GREAT Boston this past April and threatened my PR, I didn't think I was anywhere near that kind of shape due to some small nagging injuries and an oppressive summer, coupled with work demands.  So - I went into this race a few weeks ago with the goal of breaking 3 hours.  After a few cooler days and some decent shorter races, I upped it to 2:55.  When I saw the weather forecast and I felt rested from the taper, I told my friends I thought I would wind up mid 2:53, and perhaps 2:51:something if I had a great day.</p>
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<p>I'd hoped to run the early miles with 3 other friends - Mike, Rick and Scott - but Scott got stuck in traffic, & Rick waited for Scott since he was the one bringing the gels.  Mike told me he was going to try and run 1:30 for the first half due to some injuries so I knew it would be a lonely day.  I didn't loosen up like I planned to before because I saw a teammate from the Clif Pace Team (she ran great - 3:32 9 months post-baby!) so I chatted with her for a bit, as well as the well-travelled marathoner, Timr.  In the first mile, I ran with Mike and heard the 3:10 group (including Timr) herding around me so I swung it way outside.  My first mile was 6:59 and I felt like it was a fast start (I like to ease into it!), so the guys in the 3:10 group HAD to be a little concerned.  Once we started on the big uphill, that whole group fell behind me and Mike and I started to loosen up.  I started to pull away from Mike around 3.5 and from that point on it was pretty quiet...I'd slowly reel in a runner or two and then move on to the next one who might be half-mile up the road.</p>
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<p>After 4-5 miles, I fell into a nice rhythm of 6:20-6:30 - faster than what I planned but it felt good so I decided to be a little more aggressive (goal was 1:27:00 frist half).  I split the half in 1:25:55 and felt like a negative split - albeit a small one - was very possible.  I just kept it rolling and didn't start to feel ragged until maybe 19...by then, I'd hit the back of the half marathon pack and wasn't able to run the line I wanted to.  I only needed to yell "On your left" a few times and the walkers would clear a path, and many encouraged me as I passed them, so that was good, but still - I would have liked those tangents!  They split off from me after a mile or so and then I had maybe 2 miles on my own (including the overpass at 21+ - fun!).  Just before mile 22, I felt the tightness in my hammy and did a pre-emptive stretch for a few seconds.  I'd been reeling in this guy and he pulled off the side of the road right at 22 to just barf his guts out and I honestly don't think I passed another marathoner after that point.</p>
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<p>After passing Pete the Puker, I rejoined the half marathoners but these were folks running ~1:40.  The barriers they had set up must have signalled those runners (who are likely more experienced) that marathoners were approaching from behind so I really had no issues with getting around people...BUT, what I did have an issue was staying focused on MY pace and not falling into their rhythm which felt a lot more comfortable!  I had to stop and stretch a few more times, then I ran into some pals who had come up to do their long run on the course and watch the race so they ran about a half mile with me.  My buddy Jim must have been my Ancient Chinese Secret because I had no cramps in the hammy while he was next to me, but when he pulled off just before the last turn I cramped like a mofo!  So frustrating - I could see the finish line and people were saying "Come on, you can do it!" and I said "I know I'll do it, it's right there, I just can't move right now!"</p>
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<p>As I reached the finish line, I saw my time was going to be what I predicted so I decided to celebrate - I jumped up and swatted the clock and then crabbed out in my pathetic flexing pose right after the finish line.  Then I got my medal, ran into my friends and we went directly to the beer tent to cash in some coupons!  In fact, we gathered so many from the other runners that we had enough for several beers for my friends who did the half, and my friends who came up for their long run.  We decided next year, only one of us will register for the race and we'll bring lawn chairs up to set up camp right in front of the beer stand!</p>
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<p>Post race was not exactly "recovery friendly" - I grabbed a burrito, drove to one of my company's tech centers to shower and then met my wife & kids at Kings' Island.  the first ride I did damn near made me pass out, so I opted to go Old Man and just wait for the girls at the exit of each ride...it was me, all the grandparents and pregnant ladies waiting for the children!  8+ hours at KI and I was wiped the eff out!</p>
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<p>All in all - a great race and a performance I'm very pleased with.  It was a carbon copy (albeit 10-15 seconds/mile slower) of Boston - I ran great early, lost a minute or so late due to hamstring cramps, but I got about everything out of myself that I could on that day, so no complaints.</p>
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<p>Mile splits - I know the last one is way off - Mile 2 was definitely short up the big hill, and they had the 26 mile marker AFTER the 13 mile marker so who the hell knows how accurate these are:</p>
<p>Miles 1-5       6:59, 6:52, 6:33, 6:36, 6:27</p>
<p>Miles 6-10     6:28, 6:41, 6:32, 6:31, 6:27</p>
<p>Miles 11-15   6:23, 6:26, 6:26, 6:22, 6:24</p>
<p>Miles 16-20   6:27, 6:22, 6:26, 6:32, 6:24</p>
<p>Miles 21-25   6:29, 6:51, 6:29, 6:46, 6:53</p>
<p>last 1.2 - who knows, somewhere around 9:30?</p>
<p>1st half - 1:25:55, 2nd half 1:27:33 - total - 2:53:28</p>
<p>12th place overall</p>
 

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<p>Your consistency is really inspiring.  I am always so impressed with you!  You stopped twice to stretch and still did a 2:53???  <img alt="" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/notworthy.gif" style="width:29px;height:15px;" title=""></p>
 

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<p>Sheesh - now that's a full day!  Awesome race (I guess it will be a story when you DON'T have a consistently-paced effort in a marathon) and then herding the family around the amusement park?  Congratulations (on both fronts)!</p>
 

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<p>Great Job Pacer!!!  It was great to catch up just for a few mins before the race.  The overpass was tough!!  I like the course, could have done without the runner traffic.  All in all, a good day.  Congrats!!  You are the man! </p>
 

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<p>Thank god you admitted to stopping to stretch when you were in sight of the finish line.  You're human!  <img alt=":D" class="bbcode_smiley" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies//biggrin.gif" title=":D">  I did that in Philly and someone (here, who ran Philly with me) yelled at me!  I had to or I wouldn't move! </p>
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<p>Of course, you did it and still ran a 2:53.  Amazing.  Congrats on another impressive 26.2. </p>
 
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