For the first time in years, the Green Bay Marathon had clear weather during the entire race. It was a clear, sunny, slightly cool day, with temps around 45F at the 7 a.m. start. This was a nice change, and allowed me to have a long run AND stay dry.
Going in to the race, my goal was to have a nice run, finish under 2 hours, and feel strong at the end. Not too much to ask for a 13.1 mile stroll through Green Bay.
I settled in to a groove early in the race, completing the first mile in an 8 min 40 sec pace. The pace felt good, and another runner (Bob, who builds boats and is looking for work) was keeping pace. We talked about jobs, races we've run, and various other topics.
The miles were flying by, and our pace picked up mile by mile. All the while we were talking, so I wasn't overly concerned. By watch, I was just trying to make sure that the pace was somewhere in the less than 8 min 30 sec area. By miles, here are the split paces as tracked electronically, along with the corresponding pace for that mile:
Mile Mile pace Ave. Pace
1 8m4os 8m40s
2 8m20s 8m30s
3 8m19s 8m26s
4 8m13s 8m23s
5 8m24s 8m23s
6 8m08s 8m20s
7 8m16s 8m21s
8 7m35s 8m15s
9 7m36s 8m11s
10-13.1 7m41s/mile (no mats after mile 9, based on time from mile 9 to finish)
At mile 7, the guy running with me pulled up with cramps and said he would be unable to hold the pace. I picked up the pace, and held it until the end of the race. And I was able to achieve the non-time related goals, as I felt strong and in-control through the end. My pace was near conversational the entire race, and I finished well under the 2 hour goal.
The overall pace for the race was 8m 2s, which nearly made me beat myself in anger. A mere 30 seconds faster, and I would have broken the 8 min mark over 13 miles run. In the end, though, I am happy. I could have took off on Bob and made the sub-8 pace, but wouldn't have had as much fun in the process. And he finished the race 8 or 10 minutes behind me, and I was glad to see he made it.
Despite my failure to beat the 8 minute pace, a promotional flyer for the Chicago Marathon made me feel proud. Based on my time today, I would qualify for preferred starting in that race. With 40,000 entrants, they have several corrals at the start, and a 1hr 45m half-marathon qualifies for the slowest of the preferred start corrals. It's a long way from the elite corral (of 100 men and 100 women), but it is a boost to my ego that I qualify for ANY sort of preferential placement.
It was a good day to run. It almost makes me wish I had run the full marathon. Of course, had I done that, I wouldn't even be home, yet.