Bragging is undignified. So I'm undignified.

By: Brad Deel

On Sunday, March 18, I ran my second marathon - the Wrightsville Beach Marathon.  The race itself was extremely well organized and supported.  For a small race such as this (2,800 or so in both the marathon and the half marathon) there was a lot of crowd support.  There were aid stations galore and volunteers giving directions were clear and forceful.  Good job all around on their end.

My primary reason for running this race was to beat my BQ time by more than 20 minutes so I can register for Boston on the day registration opens.  BQ for my age group is 3:30 so I needed 3:09:59 or better.  My secondary goal was to run under 3:05 just to say I had run under 3:05.  My "everything went perfectly" goal was to run under a 7:00 pace.  Training had gone as well as I could have expected and I felt that a 6:59 pace was attainable if the weather cooperated.  It didn't.

Ten days before the race, the forecast put the low at 51 degrees.  That's a bit warmer than optimal but it's tolerable.  Three days before the race, the forecast pegged the low at 57 degrees with 75% humidity.  That was enough to tell me that 6:59 pace was not happening and I might shoot for sub 3:05.  Then, by 24 hours before the race, the forecast said the low would be 61 and the humidity would be 100%.  I knew at that point that any goal besides 3:09:59 was foolish.  I speculated that if I paced myself appropriately, I'd be passing a lot of folks from about Mile 18 to the finish.  I was right.

I tried to rein in myself from the start without getting too relaxed but the humidity was brutal.  I had already worked up a big sweat by Mile 3.  The race stays with the half marathon for the first 12 miles so it's easy to get wrapped up in the pace of folks who are only running half as far.  I tried to keep my composure and just run my race.  Shortly after we split, a group of runners passed me and I let them go.  I saw them again.  I passed one guy walking around Mile 18.  Between there and Mile 22 I passed the rest of them.  I'm fairly certain that nobody passed me between the halfway point and the end.  I passed my final person in the last half mile of the race.  There was a timing mat at Mile 24 and results show he was there 1:33 ahead of me but finished 0:42 behind me.  Even though I ran about an 80 second positive split, I am very, very pleased with how I ran in comparision to those around me.  My splits were as follows:

Mile 1 - 7:23 

Mile 2 - 7:01 

Mile 3 - 7:04 

Mile 4 - 7:05 

Mile 5 - 7:03 

Mile 6 - 7:05 

Mile 7 - 7:10 

Mile 8 - 7:08 

Mile 9 - 7:12 

Mile 10 - 7:10 

Mile 11 - 7:12 

Mile 12 - 7:04 

Mile 13 - 7:05 

Mile 14 - 7:14 

Mile 15 - 7:09 

Mile 16 - 7:10 

Mile 17 - 7:04 

Mile 18 - 7:13 

Mile 19 - Unknown (Never saw the marker) 

Mile 20 - 14:38 (7:17) 

Mile 21 - 7:16 

Mile 22 - 7:13 

Mile 23 - 7:20 

Mile 24 - 7:24 

Mile 25 - 7:11 

Mile 26 - 7:10 

Mile 26.2 - 1:32 (7:00)

I honestly can't think of how I could have run a better race and that's only the second time since I started running that I feel like I can say that.  Regardless, the bottom line is that I am now eligible to register for Boston on the day registration begins and my goal of running Boston when I turn 50 will be a reality.  I am thrilled beyond belief.  My undying thanks to my family, my friends, and the community of runners who have helped me reach this goal.

See ya out there.

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