So in an attempt to update the blog, I am going to provide some short (and sweet) recaps from February, culminating with long race report from IM Louisville and the IM World Championships in Kona, HI. I didn't do a good of a job updating everything as I get a little long winded in my blogs, so I'm going to just provide short recaps of each race.
*Charles Harris 10k, Tucker, GA - 34:22
Chose this race down in Atlanta after my buddy Keith was making the trip from Pittsburgh to Atlanta to visit his family, so I made the trek down from Charlotte to also visit my family and race with him and his brother Kurt. It was a early morning as the race was point to point and we had to park at the finish and get bused to the start line. It was a pretty chilly morning and with the race start at 7am we really had to get down there early to pick up our packets and get in a good warm-up. After a couple of laps around the Tucker High School track and some good stretching we headed to the start line to begin. Not too much to report as the details are a bit fuzzy, but after reviewing my training log I remember feeling better as the race went on and my splits ended up showing a negative split on the two 5k sections. I passed a couple of other competitors in the last mile and was pleasantly surprised with my result. Haven't run too many 10k's so this was definitely a PR and after vowing to race more before Boston, I was very happy with the result.
*Corporate Cup Half Marathon, Charlotte, NC - 1:16:57
I didn't head into this race with any expectations of a PR, but wanted a good hard tempo run and possibly give myself a chance to PR. I incorporated the half marathon in the middle of a 20-miler and I ended up missing a PR by 2 seconds on a much tougher course than the flat New Orleans Half Marathon in 2009 where I ran a 1:16:55. This gave me a lot of confidence heading into Boston, 5 weeks away. My splits were very even as I never faded at the end, but the run up Morehead St. is always a killer at the end of this race. I was happy about my 4th place overall finish and staying strong throughout the race as I was solo pretty much the entire way.
*Boston Marathon, Boston, MA - 2:42:11
I raced Boston in 2008 and set some lofty expectations, even though it would be my first real race since hip surgery in July 2007. In 2008 I faded up the Newton Hills and even though I ended up with a PR of 2:47:53 I still wanted some revenge on that course. I knew that I could tackle those hills and run an even split if I played my cards right. Previously I ran a 1:20:03 over the first half of the course and 1:27:50 over the second half. I knew that if I took it out a little more conservative this time I could take advantage of the second half of the course and set myself up for a good race. I put a lot of pressure on myself in 2008 and this year I said my overall goal was to have fun and enjoy the race. Whenever I put too much pressure on myself I end up putting on blinders and internalizing everything. This year I never felt great throughout the whole race, but I also never felt terrible. Sometimes your best days come when you aren't feeling your best. I held myself back the first mile (6:37) as it felt like everyone was passing me, but the first half of the marathon is basically downhill so a lot of people end up blowing themselves up by the time they get to Newton. The first half I really kept myself in control and by about mile 16 I was feeling in a good rhythm, which was perfect time for the Newton Hills. Up and over the hills, as I came through Boston College and was nearing downtown I got a little over zealous and dropped a couple of sub-6 minute miles because I knew as long as I held it together for the last 10k I was staring at a big PR. Coming down Boylston Street I went over to the crowd and started giving some high fives because it was something I didn't get to experience last time as I had bonked pretty hard. In the end it was fun to be out there with so many other Charlotte friends who had made the trip. Some had good races and some left with that same feeling that I had in 2008, that they wanted to come back for revenge on the course, but in the end we all agreed that the Boston Marathon is magnificent. The support from the crowds, the energy of the competitors, and the history of the race all make it such a great experience.