November 23, 2008. Race Day. Yesterday I ran the Gobbler Grind Marathon in Overland Park, Ks. The alarm went off at 5:00AM to begin the day. Our daughter Kelsey had made signs for me wishing me good luck as she always does (Her signs are outstanding!). Breakfast included probably the worst oatmeal I have ever made on a race day. My combination of oatmeal, soy milk, and protein ended up looking a lot like modeling clay. Pressed for time, I ate it anyway. Usually I make a pretty good bowl of oatmeal, but over the past few days that has not been the case. I arrived at the race around 7:00 on this cold November morning ready to run with a goal of running under 4 hours for the race. Race day preparation and routines are very important to me and include a good pre-race plan that is timed down to the starting time of the race. This day was no exception. After a couple of porta-potty stops and then stretching 30 minutes before the race, I was ready to go.
The race was run on a great course that included some residential streets but mostly running/biking paths. The surfaces were fantastic and the route was well-planned and challenging. The course included some challenging hills and some great footbridge crossings. The weather constantly improved temperature wise. The day was just about perfect for race day. A big thanks to the race director and all of the fantastic volunteers that helped at the aid stations. They did a great job! I wish that the volunteers at a race really understood how much their work at races is appreciated. There were several times on the course where volunteers directed runners as far as which path to take according to what race (marathon, half-marathon, and 5K) they had entered.
It was just one of those days. Everything felt great. I didn't get the best positioning in the starting pack. I was a little too far back. I didn't do a very good job of getting where I wanted to be. The race started and I quickly made my way out of the starting group of runners and was glad when things thinned out. As I approached the halfway point I was at 1:51:02. At that point, I knew I had a chance at running my goal time of under 4 hours. I decided to really let go, relax, and go for it. The last half of the race was run in 1:49. I was really happy with a negative split.
As I crossed the finish line, my watch read 3:40:02. I had just run my third fastest marathon. Once again, my Hammer Nutrition products (Heed, Perpetuem, and the Hammer Bar) provided the fuel needed to run well. I really didn't think about Boston at that point but my wife, Berta, mentioned the possibility that I might have qualified again. A quick call to Andy to meet him for lunch and a request for him to get on the the Boston Marathon website to check out what time I needed to qualify, led to the fantastic news that I had again qualified for Boston. I had run an 8:24 per mile pace and finished 2nd in my age group. Upon arriving home, I found the driveway full of sidewalk chalk congratulations that Kelsey had done for me. Yes, as the message said on the driveway, we are going to Boston again. It was a great day!
Forward we go! May your roads and trails be happy and safe!