Faith Wassink and I exchange panted words of encouragement at the midpoint of today's hilly 10 mile race. We spot what appears to be a bib-chip sensor by the side of the road. "Now we - really - have to try hard - to negative split!" Faith says. "Not easy - on this course," I reply. After we finish Faith and I exchange fist-bumps. And no, we don't negative-split. The mostly-downhill first half is ~38.5 minutes for us, and the remainder takes me about 2 minutes longer.
Today begins with a Snickers-and-coffee breakfast. I walk and jog to the Forest Glen Metro where Don Libes picks me up, in perfect timing as we arrive simultaneously. Barry Smith, Ken Swab, and new friend Anny Rosenthal are fellow-travelers. Anny tells me of her recent races and her plan to run Boston again this year. Dear comrade Christina Caravoulias gives me a hug when we meet in the gym at Howard Community College in Columbia. Jeanne Larrison greets us, as does a young Asian lady whom I met during the Washington Birthday marathon last Sunday.
The race is as usual fast from the start. I remind myself frequently to "soften into the experience" and that conscious relaxation seems to help maintain the pace. Pushing hard on the climbs, recovering while still pressing on the descents, splits by the Garmin GPS are 7:25 + 7:34 + 7:45 + 7:46 + 7:54 + 8:08 + 8:02 + 8:16 + 8:05 + 7:46 and the Runkeeper app concurs within ~1%.
The official clock shows my total time as 1:19:02 but I started 10-20 seconds behind the line. Nevertheless, the total is about a minute slower than in 2012, close to the same time as in 2010. Bottom line: 332nd place of 739 total finishers, 246th of 399 men, 9th of 39 in the 60-69 male age bracket. On the way back Don stops at the Columbia Taco Bell where we enjoy a light recovery breakfast.
^z - 2013-03-14