It was cold this morning and the race started unusually early for Denmark - at 8am. This was to accomodate the slower runners in the 100K, who are probably still coming in as I am writing this. The marathoners started separately from the 60K and 100K races. This was nice, since we were able to spot our competition that way.
At the gun, a guy took off with me hot on his heels. Quickly, we got a good lead on eveyone else. My plan was to go out easy and finish strong but this was anything but easy. He started slowing at 4K and I went by to take a turn at the front. To my surprise, he wasn't interested in drafting but simply drifted back.
I was alone with almost en entire marathon ahead of me. The route is one small 2.2K loop followed by the 4 10K loops. The back stretch of this loop had a fierce headwind that made me change my mind about running alone. After all, this was supposed to be a training run; I slowed down waiting for the other guy. He wasn't that far back, anyway, so all it took was a slightly longer than usual break at the next aid station.
This guy did not like drafting, which made for a strange dynamic. It was a very windy day, so in my mind, drafting was key to get around the course. However, whenever I took a turn at the front, he would simply let me gap him. I didn't like this. I like being able to pay back in kind the draft I have received from someone else, but it didn't work that way.
I kept telling myself that this was a training run and that I would stick with this fellow until 13K to go. Why 13? That was the turn where we got ouf of the wind for the second-to-last time.
So we stayed together until 13K to go. I grabbed a handful of candy and ate a GU coming up to 13K to go, skipped the next aid station and quickly built a gap. The last 10K were just like I wanted them. I turned on my music and started cruising on top of a nice runner's high.
My time was 2:50 and I am happy with that. I ran a negative split and my last lap was easily the fastest of the four. I wouldn't call it anywhere near easy, but I did hold back until 13K to go. This was my last race before the Copenhagen Marathon; I think low 2:40s is a reasonably realistic goal. This means that I will have to go out a lot faster that I did today but I think that's feasible.
The Girl had a great race and won easily. Her main competition, Linda Kjäll from Sweden, was about ten minutes back. Here they are after the race:
She PRd with a solid 3:27. That's three weeks after Hells Hills 50 miles and one week after getting a PR at the half marathon. As her coach, I am more than satisfied. If I can convince her to taper a little before the Copenhagen Marathon, she should be able to dip below 3:20. If we can find enough races, she will PR at every distance this year. Here she is with the impressive trophy:
She felt quite good in her skin as she was walking around with her Transalpine shirt. Somehow that shirt always raises eyebrows, especially when worn by a young woman. Yes, I was a little more than a little proud of her.