Goal #1: Top 3 and at least $500 cash
Goal #2: PR (Sub-27:45)
Goal #3: 26:xx
All 3 goals
3.5 miles warmup with strides & drills
8k race in 26:45, 2nd place, $750, results
3.2 miles cool down for ~11.5 miles
Splits for each lap: :31, 2:47, 2:52, 2:55, 2:57, 2:57, 2:59, 2:58, 2:59, 2:55
I walked away from this race with a one minute PR and $750 cash, so there's a lot to be happy about. Going into the race, I knew that Joan Tangwar from the half two week's ago would most likely be here since she discovered that Columbia has some of the best prize money races around. Other than that, I really had no idea what the competition would look like. I did know that I could control only my training and execute my race plan, which was to go out semi controlled and to try to pick off as many people as possible.
After an early Thanksgiving celebration with my parents and Garrett, we jumped in the car for the quick drive to Columbia. I scoped out my competition, which at this point seemed to be limited to just guys. At one point, I saw Allison Grace (former Zap Fitness member) and a couple unfamiliar faces. After my first lap of warmup, I watched as several Africans, including Joan and three other women, climbed out of a ten-passenger van. They all come from the Chapel Hill Marathon Guide team, and I just hoped that I could beat at least half of them. After a longer warmup, we got escorted over the start line and I situated myself right in between Joan's posse and Allison Grace. I exchanged a couple words with Allison before we were off.
As expected, the Chapel Hill group all took off like crazy, and Allison and I settled into a nice rhythm for the first lap (only 8 more to go!). I had no idea what my time meant and decided to disregard it for the rest of the race. After the first lap, I passed Allison and then set my eyes on Joan, who was up ahead. It took me two more laps to catch up to her, and I finally passed her on the 4th lap. She didn't even respond when I passed her, so I knew she was hurting. After I passed Joan, there was only one more woman to pass to be in first place (or so I thought--I actually was in third place at this point, but the lead woman was so far ahead I didn't even know she was there). After the 4th lap, I was about 6 seconds behind the next woman, and by the 8th lap, I was only 2 seconds behind. During the 9th lap, I contemplated sitting on her shoulder for a bit, but then, after a quick battle ensued, I accelerated on one of the turns and effectively dropped her. At the same time, I began to get lapped by the lead male runners and I fretted that it would be my female competitors, but it wasn't. As I passed through for the bell lap, the male runners who had just finished in 4th place had collapsed right in front of me, so I had to hop over them to continue on my merry way. I caught the time on the clock--around 23:50 something, so I realized that I had quite a good chance of breaking 27:00 for the first time. My stomach hurt a little bit on that last lap and I wasn't sure if I needed to vomit or something else. Fortunately, neither happened, and I was able to keep my early Thanksgiving lunch in my stomach.
As I rounded the final turn into the finish, I thought for sure that I had won and smiled very big in the final stretch, both for my "win" and my PR. After I came through, Garrett congratulated me on $750, and I said, "NO, $1000." That's when I found out that I was actually second and that the leader had been about 30 seconds ahead of me. Regardless, I was still very pleased. It's nice to start my taper on such a high note and with such a big PR in the 8k. I know that these shorter races are much different than the marathon, but if anything, they've been an indicator that my fitness is where it should be and that I can execute a great marathon plan if everything falls together correctly.
I cooled down with Joan and learned a little bit about her life, which is very interesting. She has a degree in Biology but now lives in Chapel Hill and races practically every weekend. Her legs were very tired today, which is why she couldn't respond to me today. Her whole family is still in Kenya, except for her sister. I definitely couldn't race every weekend and left feeling very fortunate that I have a job that allows me to pay the bills and to selectively choose which races I want to peak at.
The 2017 Boston Marathon
4 days ago