At the first mile I was amazed to have run it in 8:15. I did not think I was going that fast. Shortly after the mark my timer went off to tell me I was ahead of pace. Woo hoo.
I tried to find a comfortable pace without overheating. It was an awfully hot 73F at race time. The course was new this year and I was liking it through two miles. The second mile was in 8:13 - even faster.
I started to worry about going out too fast. The third and fourth miles tracked along the streets I drive home every day from work and it was very familiar. #3 was done in 8:27.
I half hoped/expected to see Mrs. T at Mile 4. I had given her an estimated pass-by time. I passed by in 9:20, obviously slowing. I missed her by two minutes. Her and the two doggies were out for a walk but a little behind my quick start.
I rathcheted down my pace, feeling the humidity and heat. #5 went by in 9:22. #6 was 9:31. The pace timer was beeping way before the mile markers now. I actually felt so tired I contemplated a DNF. I was so hot. I took my shirt off, bunched it up to carry and shuffled on.
I was taking on Gatorade and water throughout the course and never felt a cramp. I passed through some of the new neighborhoods of the course and was encouraged by the better turn out of residents. Bruce Springsteen was out again, as he's been every year, parking his convertible at closed roads and playing "Born to Run" over and over. He made three appearances on the course for me this year.
Mile 7-9:56. Mile 8-9:49. Mile 9-10:46.
This was painful. I saw the Winter Park cross country coach right around then and he pointed out that his wife was just ahead of me. Ahead of me? I was renewed in a quest to find her and catch her. I spotted her and gradually moved up. For a quarter mile I drafted right behind her then pulled alongside.
She didn't notice me for a little while and then glanced over. We exchanged hellos and not much more. I stayed with her for a mile as one of us (I'm not sure who) paced the other. We kind of pushed each other and made some improvements on my time, at least.
Mile 10-9:37. Mile 11-10:06 (uphill stretch).
At mile 11 her husband jumped in to run with her to the finish. I wasn't sure how strong she was and expected he might bring out the best in her and leave me behind; but they stopped at the water station while I pushed through. I think she was trashed by the heat too.
I had some renewed strength and decided to do what I had planned - run 10 miles and race the last 5K. Of course, I only had two left but that's when it struck me.
So Mile 12 was 9:32 and Mile 13-9:32 too. I crossed the line in 2:03.18; which was about as much I as could manage under the conditions.
I felt good afterwards and made a bee-line for the beer garden where I hung out with pals for another hour or more before going home to watch the Army-Navy game.
During the game my friends in Atlanta called and were thrilled to hear I wanted to come visit in March - for the Georgia Marathon. After today's heat I look forward to some cold running weather.