I went out hard. Too hard. But it felt so good. I was sitting on Paul's shoulder, holding 5:30/mile. We were a few meters back of Jay and another strong runner, Ian Druce. I was pretty impressed that I was there as usually these guys are a pack ahead of me. That should have been my first clue.
Rookie mistake. The course was marked in miles, not kms. I am not used to mile splits (although I better get used to them for Boston). If I had seen that I was running 3:25/km, maybe I would have eased off a little. But then again, maybe not.
We went through the first 4 miles and we were holding pace, although it felt to me as though we were picking it up. That should have been my second clue. I fell off pace a couple of times, but I worked myself back onto Paul's shoulder, not wanting to lose the group. We were on the seawall and I knew it would be better to be in a group in case there was wind. But I finally saw a gap open up just before 6 miles. By the halfway point, they had 15 seconds on me. 36:21 was my split, which would be a 1:12:42 finishing time - a PB by 3 minutes. That was my last clue.
It was a bit of suffering from that point on. I tried desperately to hold onto 6:oo/miles, sometimes more successfully than others. I got passed by about 4 people. I felt plodding and tried to focus on smiling and keeping my turnover up.
I came through the finish in a disappointing PB of 1:15:38 for 19th place (10 seconds faster than the Royal Victoria Half-Marathon in 2006 - 1:15:48). I did not race smartly. I did not race within myself, going out with guys who I can run with in workouts, but who race faster than me. Paul and Jay had great races, which is awesome. I feel as though if I had been smarter I could have run 1:14:30, but I ran 1:15:38 so that is the new standard.
This is all training for Boston. I also have to keep in mind that I have set two PBs in my last two races and in neither of them did I feel great. That is the good sign. I found my humility in this race and will focus on myself, not those around me, from here on out. At the 8k, at the marathon last fall, and here today I have been looking for HUGE PBs, thus small ones seem to be less special to me. But no longer - I am now focussing on a strong race and I will let the PBs fall where they may.
Thanks to the boys for talking me through this one.