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Short Version:<br>
Time - 1:19:20 (first time on this course, but HM PR, previous PR 1:20:25)<br>
OA - 11/992<br>
Sex - 11/595<br>
AG - 3/101 (WTF! - okay, how do I apply for a new AG, I'd like F40-45 please)<br><br>
Long Version:<br><br>
I came into this race feeling grumpy. Not sure exactly what it was, I'm 5 weeks from Boston and maybe I'm just getting antsy. Maybe its male PMS. Whatever, I was feeling a bit pessimistic about my running. Training has gone well, I had an okay key workout on Thursday that I wasn't happy with (HR too high), but other than that my workouts have gone well.<br><br>
Arrived at the race about an hour early. About 3 miles from the start, I passed two of my tri-team buddies who were going the other way. They are training for IMAZ, they had a 20 miler today and so they were putting in 5 miles before the HM. Frookin nuts!<br><br>
I got to the start, looked around for Ron and Scott, couldn't find them so I went out 30 minutes prior and did my warm-up. The new, lightweight trainers felt great on my feet. Ran into a lot of my tri-teammates. Saw a *lot* of Boston jackets. This is about the only HM in Northern Illinois in the spring, so you get a lot of fast runners who use it as the tune up race for Boston. Probably another reason the online sign-up filled up in 4 days this year (it was almost a month last year).<br><br>
At the start, I found myself next to Jeff, who is the husband of my coach. He's a good runner himself, he'll go sub3 in Boston this year. I was about 8 rows from the front line, Jeff kept pushing me further forward and I ended up starting about 4 rows back. The gun went off without a whole lot of warning and we were off.<br><br>
The plan my coach and I had agreed on was to start off with a 6:30 mile, drop down to 6:20 for the 2nd mile and then run at my goal HM pace of 6:10-6:15 min/mi until the last 1.1 miles, then pour it on. It seems so easy when they send it to you in email, its a different story when you're out on the course trying to execute! <img alt="surprised.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/surprised.gif"><br><br>
Here are the actual splits:<br><br>
mile 1 - 6:17<br>
mile 2 - 6:02<br>
mile 3 - 5:59<br>
mile 4 - 6:09<br>
mile 5 - 5:50<br>
mile 6 - 6:18<br>
mile 7 - 6:07<br>
mile 8 & 9 - 11:36, avg 5:48 (missed the mile 8 marker)<br>
mile 10 - 6:03<br>
mile 11 - 6:11<br>
mile 12 - 6:12<br>
mile 13 - 5:55<br>
final 0.1 - 0:38<br><br>
The race started out on a net downhill, I looked at my Garmin in the first quarter mile and saw it read 6:00 pace. I pulled back and let some folks pass me, confident I would see them again. I still managed a 6:17, faster than it should have been but not too bad. The next couple of miles were rollers, and I felt really good. Didn't feel like I was pushing the pace hard at all. After the first mile, I ended up at the front of a pack of runners, with another group up ahead by about 50 feet. Not wanting to set the pace for the slower group, I worked over the next mile at bridging the gap.<br><br>
The middle miles of the race just felt smooth. It really felt like I was keeping it in control, working on picking off runners in front of me. I've always prided myself on being a strong hill runner, and this race seemed to confirm that. I'd make up some good ground on the uphills and at least maintain the gap on the downhills. Jeff later commented that my downhill form just looked great, I was leaning forward and had a very good turnover. Nice to know that winter effort was paying off.<br><br>
Somewhere about mid-race, I noticed that there were two packs of runners a couple hundred feet in front of me, with just a couple of runners in the gap. I concentrated on those packs, hoping to be able to catch up and use the packs to my advantage. Unfortunately, folks would fall off the pace every so often and I'd pick them up, so that when I reached the pack it really wasn't much of a pack anymore. I also have the problem that when I come up behind someone, my competitive spirit kicks in. Rather than working with them, I kick up a gear while passing them in an effort to demoralize them and hopefully mentally defeat them before they realize that they can hang with me. So I end up running most of the race alone.<br><br>
Somewhere around mile 10 it started to actually be work. I was still picking off runners, but there were fewer and fewer. Around mile 11 I closed to about 30 feet behind a pair of runners that seemed to be working together. I could never close the gap on them and ended up finishing about 25 feet behind them. I might have been able to really punch up another level of effort and catch them, but this was a B-race and I didn't want to spend that much effort 5 weeks out from my A-race. So I cruised in at 11th overall, one out of the trophy position.<br><br>
Looked around again for Ron or Scott, but couldn't locate them. I did a couple of miles cool-down with Jeff, waited around for the awards to start, waited some more, then took off as I was hungry. They can mail me the AG medal.<br><br>
This race did a lot to booster my confidence for Boston. Its a good time on a tougher course. I do need to add that in Alaska, we would have considered most of these 'hills' as gentle inclines, but I haven't lived in Alaska for about 8 years so I don't get to do much real hill work anymore. My hill work next week will be on the highest point in DuPage county, which happens to be a capped landfill. I do think this was a good race for prepping for Boston as the downhills did simulate some of the pounding I'll take.<br><br>
I feel good about where I'm at. My HR during the run averaged 170, but I'm beginning to feel like I need to stop worrying about HR and just let it be what it is going to be. Not a good strategy for the IM, but it might work for the marathon.<br><br>
Mike
 

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Mike, very impressive race. Really, it seems a challenging course, and for you to go under 1:20 and notch a serious PR is a true show of your current fitness and speed and ability to hold on while still being comforatble. You have it in you. You really do. You just got it. Now store up this confidence and live off it from here until Boston, because it will keep you level headed and feeling on top of your game.<br><br>
Awesome job, man.
 

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Incredible speed Mike! The race tactics of the FOP continue to fascinate me. Bring on Boston and watch out Lance! Strong race. Congrats!
 

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HOLY CARP! Holy Bajezus you peoples are fast! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
I'm pretty sure you might have been one of the guys I did the "WOOT WOOT" to coming in for your mile 8 (and I was mile 4). Timing would have been right <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">
 

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Great race, Mike, to give you solid confidence heading to Boston. Very good to hear you are happy with where you are! Can't wait to hear about your battle at Boston in 5 weeks.<br>
Edited to add: F40-44 is a tough crowd too, with our own level of competition <img alt="biggrin.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/biggrin.gif">.
 

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All I can say is wow!! Those hills must have looked like small speed bumps to you. You are right about the AG, 35-39 was ridiculous. I don't see many times under 1:20 at this race in years past, that is truly fantastic.<br><br>
Great splits! You are set for Boston!
 

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Great race! Fairly consistent splits throughout even with the rolling terrain. Very nice PR. You'll do well in your IM and at Boston.
 

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Awesome job! I won't be catching you in Boston....<br><br>
I am not looking forward to moving into the 35-39 AG next year. There goes my chances for hardware for the next 10 years. (around here 40-45 seems to be the most competitive AG).
 

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Way to go Mike. That is an awesome effort. Crazy consistent. No wonder you missed the 8 mile marker going that fast.<br><br>
You will rock Boston.
 

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I think I'm going to have to get to Boston much earlier than normal to spectate if I want to have any chance of seeing you!<br><br>
congrats on a great race and the PR
 

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Lance better watch out - Mike's going to smoke his butt.<br><br>
Awesome job! I swear, a lot of ya' have some crazy-a$$ speed. Good luck at Boston!
 
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