Everything went according to plan. More or less.
I started out super slowly. Went through 5K in 21:30-ish, which is slower than 3 hour pace. The fast people were long gone and I was ok with that. 10K in 42:17, just a hair under 3 hour pace still.
Then I got anxious and sped up a little. I wish I had held back another few kilometers; maybe next time. Came through halfway in 1:27-something.
I had still held back significantly and finally it was time to run. I drank a caffeine drink I had stashed in the woods and got a huge high almost immediately. I went from 7th at the halfway point to 2nd with 10K to go. I hit the 31K mark at 2:11, which meant that a 38 minute 10K would lead to a small PR. The legs easily felt like I could run that.
With 4 K to go, I got a huge cramp in my hamstrings and had to stop and stretch out. It was really aggravating, because the legs felt great, except for the cramps. But it was what it was. I walked some of the hills the last few Ks and was able to run gingerly on the flats and downhills. Thankfully, I got passed by only one guy and still ended up on the podium with some nice prizes. My time was 2:54 something.
Those last 4K shouldn't spoil the race, though. It was fun to continuously speed up through the race. In retrospect, I probably went too fast from 21 to 37K, but it felt really effortless at the time. At the Milwaukee marathon, everything just got suckier as the race progressed. This was a different kind of collapse; after Milwaukee, I thought, "never again", whereas yesterday, I couldn't wait to come back next year.
The Girl took 2nd after starting out slowly and speeding up at the end. Her time was 3:27.