I ran the absolute perfect race both mentally and physically. Finished in 3:28:59, placing 11th out of 117 in my age group (30-34) and qualifying for Boston! My dad finished 3:30:06 placing 11th out of 66 in his age group (55-59) and also qualified for Boston.
My dad picked me up from work Thursday afternoon and we headed to his house. We were going to be hitting the road first thing Friday morning, so I figured it would be best to just stay the night. We had a delicious breakfast of cinnamon raisin french toast Friday morning and were on the road before 10am. We made it to Traverse City around 2:30pm, stopped for lunch and checked into our hotel. Since we had a few hours to kill before packet pick up, we headed to the downtown area of Traverse City to check out some of the local shops and to stop in Running Fit. They had some really nice Bayshore tops and I am kicking myself now that I did not pick one up. Hopefully I can order one on line.
After about 2 hours of roaming around downtown, we headed over to the high school to pick up our race packet. The packet pick up was very quick. We were in and out within 5 minutes. The shirts are fairly nice too and actually fit me well. The back lists the two sponsors of the marathon; Brooks and Running Fit.
After we picked up our packets, we stopped to get a few essentials for the morning; coffee, water, chocolate milk and bagels! We dropped everything at the hotel and headed out for our last meal before the big event. Like my dad, I always try to keep my pre-race meal something that is easy on the stomach. We chose Ruby Tuesday's since it was close and we figured we could get a basic chicken and carb dish. Dad and I both ordered a grilled chicken breast w/ mashed potatoes and spaghetti squash. After dinner we headed back to the hotel to lay out all of our race day gear.
I was wide awake at 4:50am, 10 minutes before the alarm clock went off. I brushed my teeth, ate my bagel and drank my coffee. We got dressed and headed to the college campus. We both had a throw away sweatshirt and poncho. What a blessing those would be. It started to rain before the start and it was nice to be warm and dry! With about 2 minutes to go, we stripped off the poncho and sweatshirt, threw them aside and were on our way.
The first few miles were around the campus and through the neighborhood before turning and heading out on to the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay. Around Mile 4, my dad and I came upon Dan & Jay, two of my Red Eye Relay teammates! We ended up running most of the marathon with them. I think having the small group to chit chat with really helped me stay out of my own head. I have had problems in the past with the mental factors of a long race really getting to me but I managed to stay out of my own head for the entire marathon. I was pumped when we hit the turn around point of the out and back course.
I slapped hands with the spectators, continued to make small talk with dad, Dan & Jay, took in the view of the water and beautiful homes, etc...
At about mile 20 my dad started to slow slightly and told me not to slow down. "No way, we trained together, we finish together" I told him. He picked the pace back up a bit, but again slowed around mile marker 22. and again he said "do not slow down". So I didn't. I ended up running the last 4 miles by myself. I was trying so hard not to pay attention to my Garmin, but it was impossible. I was on pace to finish around 3:30! I kept telling myself to keep this pace, you can do it, think of everyone who has supported you. I rounded towards the entrance to the high school track and received that one last push I needed; there was Jaclyn shooting my name yelling "yeah Steph, Boston!!". I turned and smiled, waved to her and ran as hard as I could on to the track and to the finish line. They announced my name as I crossed the finish line and I put my arms in the air.
I cried. Not only did a run a sub-3:40, not only did I reach my unspoken goal of 3:37, but I crushed them both and finished in 3:28:59!! And it was pain free! I received my medal and just then I heard them announce "Steve Edwards". I looked at the volunteer handing out the medals and yelled "that's my dad" and ran over to the finish line to greet my dad. and, of course, cried again.
Dad finished in 3:30:06. We both smoked our previous marathon PR's and qualified for the Boston Marathon. I beat my previous PR by 15:03 (3:44:00 at Chicago last year) and my dad beat his previous PR by 10:00 (3:40:49).
It's Tuesday and I am still beaming from ear to ear over how well this race went. From start to finish, I wouldn't change a thing! I could not have had a more perfect race both mentally and physically. I feel fully recovered and can not wait to get out and run!
I am marking my calendar for September 14th. This is day 3 of the Boston Marathon registration. That is when anyone who ran a qualifying time 10 minutes or faster than the set time by the B.A.A. can register. Here's to hoping it doesn't close before then because dad and I have plans of running this together!!
AG Place: 11 / 117
Overall: 237 / 1464
Splits: 1:44:17 & 1:44:42