I decided to jump into the George Washington Birthday Marathon for a fun, hard training run. This is part of my new philosophy that if I'm going to be doing long training runs anyway, I might as well do some more races. It's more fun to have some other people to run with, and I always like the race atmosphere too.
I knew I wasn't in top marathon shape given that I had just been skiing in Utah, had run 12 miles the day before, and hadn't done any speedwork in more weeks than I can remember. Nonetheless, I figured I could take it a little bit easy and finish ok in the 3:20 to 3:30 range.
The race had a really low key start in a residential area of Greenbelt, MD. I really like these laid back races where a few hundred people basically just show up to have a good time. The course was 3 7.5 mile loops with a few miles before and after you hit the loop section.
Early on I spotted a guy wearing a JFK 50 shirt. I started talking to him in the first mile, and we ended up running together and talking ultras. Jim was looking to qualify for Boston and had done a bunch of other marathons and ultras before. We were running just under 7 minute miles, which was definitely faster than I should have been running, but it was good company so I figured why not?
We ended up running together for all of the first 20 miles. I had felt pretty good up until then, but then my legs started shouting "What are you doing?! This is supposed to be a training run!" I had already run way too hard and didn't need to tire myself out anymore, so I backed off the pace. Jim went flying ahead to a great finish in 3:06. I plodded through the last 10K to finish in 3:13.
All in all, I was still pretty happy with how it went. It's good to know that I can crank out sub-7s for a long time even when I'm not in the best shape. I ended up getting 2nd place in my age group. Not sure yet where I placed overall (they haven't posted full results yet).
I'm feeling pretty good today - a bit sore but not too bad. I'm planning to run some today to loosen up and will probably hit the gym too for some cross training or lifting. With work being really crazy, I haven't been able to do much lifting for a while. I definitely felt it yesterday! My arms were almost as tired as my legs, which is kind of pathetic. Hopefully now that work is getting a bit more reasonable I'll be able to do more strength training.
My next race is the Seneca Greenway 50K, which I'm also looking forward to. It's also a very low key run, and it'll be nice to hit the trails.