My last tune-up race before the Boston Marathon was the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon on March 30. I was given Bib #1, and I knew I had a chance to win but there were some Kenyans in from out of town so I knew it would be a good race. I started relatively slowly, with a 5:55 first mile, and let the lead pack of marathoners and half marathoners pull away from me. It’s a long race. I got into a good rhythm with my training partner Brad Adams and by about 4 miles we were on 5:40 pace or so and the lead marathoners were staying in sight. I started picking it up a bit going through the hills from mile 4 to 8 and I noticed that two of my other training partners who were running the half (Alan Horton and Bob Adams) were running with the marathoners. The marathoners knew that the only people ahead of them were running the half, so they were content to run with my friends who helped me out by slowing the pace a little bit.
By mile 8 I had caught up and we all ran together to 12.5 miles where the half marathoners and marathoners split. My legs hadn’t been feeling great all race but I was running 5:30 to 5:40 per mile, which I thought was a pace I could hold since the second half is the easier half of the marathon course. It was windy and I was feeling bad so I tried to let the two Kenyans I was running with take the lead but every time I slowed down they refused to pass, so I just treated it like a solo time trial. One of them ended up falling off the pace around mile 18. I was hoping to try to make a move with 10K to go but I just wasn’t feeling good so I was content just to hold the pace. Mark Chepses, the last guy standing in our little pack, started little pick ups and I was able to cover them until he made a strong move at mile 23. I couldn’t follow, and he ended up putting about 25 seconds on me in the final 5K.
I finished in 2nd place in 2:27:55, which I was content with based on how I felt and how hard the course is, but I really wanted to win the local race. However, it was still one of my fastest marathons ever and not my goal race. I’m starting my taper now and hopefully I’ll feel great in Boston. Whatever happens, it’s been a great season and I’ve gotten into the best shape of my life. Bring on the Double Marathon!
So far, a total of $3,415 plus $22.25 for every minute I complete the double marathon in under 7 hours has been pledged. That is amazing, but I think there is more out there! Remember, every bit helps. We have two weeks until the Boston Marathon, please consider pledging to my fundraiser. I won’t be asking for money until after the marathon on April 21. If you just want to donate directly to the charity, please go to Be Strong Stay Strong and do so.