Saturday morning was the proving ground well over 10,000 runners at the Bix 7 race. Being a race day I was a nervous mess as usual for a race. I slept pretty good as I was very tired, but I was up and starting my day around 3:45. Ava woke up to eat and I got up to shower and start my pre race routine.
I ate two waffles, two cups of coffee, and 20 oz of water to get myself ready. I then packed up my gear and by 6 am I was out the door. I know this is rather early for a race 15 minutes away from my house, but I just needed to get down to quit pacing the house and risk waking anyone up.
Once I arrived, I got my shoes, bib, race id, etc. all on and began the walk to the race. This year unlike last year I wanted to a decent warm up in prior to the race. My legs were tight and felt tired. I ran a half mile around downtown Davenport to loosen things up and found a place to get some stretching in. I think this was key to helping my body prepare. I made my way to my group color and I wanted to be near the front to try and get off to a good start.
One thing I learned after two years is that I that I am going to sign up for the faster heat next year. I became frustrated quickly to see thousands of people in front of me and to try to get around a wall of walkers. Come on! If you have no intention of running, get to the walker area. I scrambled all over Brady Street hill and and there was nowhere to go. It was so packed this year. I stayed calm because what was I going to go do about it? I am not sure I started my Garmin watch at the right time, but when I ran by the mile 1 marker the lady was calling out a mile split in the 9 minute range. I knew that it took a while for me to get to the starting line, but I knew I had to pick up the pace if I was going to hit my two marks:
1. Beat my 58:19 time of last year
2. Try to run in 55 minutes(which is a 7:51 mile pace for the race)
Mile 2 I took off and at one point I was running low 6 minute mile and I was thinking, "SLOW DOWN!". I knew that was not good because the course is tough and I did not want to hit a wall on mile 5 on the slow hill. I finally settled and ran mile 2 in 6:53. Mile 3 has a few tough hills and one that has me mentally every single time I run and I was able to sustain a good mile pace of 7:25. I was feeling good at this point, but it started to get warm out. I was sweating something fierce and slowly heating up internally.
I made the turnaround and fought my way back to Brady Street hill. I ran mile 4 in 7:27 which is still a great time and well ahead of my 7:51 mile pace.
Mile 5 I hit my wall. I felt depleted. I was very hot and my pace I had been running started to catch up to me. I had a huge decision to make at this point: I could either fall prey to the thoughts in my mind or suck it up and just get to mile 6 where the big downhill run begins. I decided I was going to tough it out. I fought up the slow incline and just kept at it. I ran mile 5 in 7:37. I really had to fight through mile 6. I put some ice on my neck to cool off and just tried to run a calm mile here knowing I still had two miles left. I dropped my pace a little bit and tried to keep going a rate that would help me for the final mile. Mile 6 I ran 7:52. Finally, the last mile. I cruised down the hill letting gravity take over. The worst part of the race is after the hill when you turn the corner and still have the long straightaway to the to finish. I held on strong and finished mile 7 in 7:02.
I DID IT! I prepared, pushed my body, and lived up to my mantra of GETTING IT DONE!
I ran the race in 52:36 which is right around a 7:30 mile pace. I crushed my two goals. I took almost 6 minutes off my time from last year. That is a huge margin. I also was way head of my ultimate goal of 55 minutes. I really surprised myself. I was not too sure I would be able to hit this time. I hit it once during the Bix @ 6, but that was on a cool night with a lot less people.
I can honestly say that I am very proud of myself. I never thought I would see a time like this for myself. This was a great confidence booster. A sign that things are falling into place for me. A sign that I can tackle any challenge that I throw my way. A sign that this marathon might not be as impossible as it seems.
A lot of friends ran very well in the race. It was great to see so many people out there running.
Yesterday, Aaron Maurer was a verb. I was GETTING IT DONE! There is no better feeling.
I am resting today(no bike ride as planned) as I am very sore today. I need to get my body ready for the next 5 weeks of training. If I can get through the next 5 weeks I will be ready for the marathon. It is only 55 days away.
In the end here is the breakdown
52:36 time with a split time of 23:14. I ended up 817 out of the 11,100 people who finished the race. I was 84/791 in my division of Males 30-34.