Did I really write that I would try to beat my personal best time? Was that me? Yes.
Crossing the finish line yesterday at 1:52 was a stride forward toward humility. My first words to my joyful wife as she greeted me with a huge smile was "That was a (B- word)." Sorry Babe. I wish I would have had a smile too. What was I thinking....beating my personal best at HILLY Hayward? Yeah right!
I've had some time to process things and I don't feel as bad about my time today. I learned the course was actually 27.4 miles, according to some other skater's GPS units. An extra 1.2 miles that added at least 4 minutes to my time. Also, the course was a bit different this year. Last year the main turn around was on a flat stretch but this year it was in the backwoods, as the rest of the course, and that just means more hills. I figure there was an extra 3-4 miles of hills added to the course. I heard the pros even comment at how much more difficult the course seemed this year (who by the way skated close to 41 miles in the 39 miles challenge!) The overall marathon winning time was close to a full 10 minutes longer than last year. So with this perspective I am not as disappointed. Nevertheless I keep learning how to get better. Hayward made me a better skater.
I got dropped again by the initial group around 10 miles. Things were going great until that happened. Like St. Paul I found myself leading more pacelines. It is a lot of work. At the first water point I took the outside on a turn and another skater who had been drafting behind me took the inside and cut in front of me right before the water. I had to stop completely to avoid hitting her. By the time I got going again the group was a good 30 yards in front of me and pulling away. I tried and tried to catch them for at least two miles but I gave up. Earlier I had waited for a guy so I was waiting for him to return the favor. Nope. I skated alone for the rest of the race, another 10 miles or so by myself. I had some choice words for myself.
One highlight was when I won a sprint prem. A prem is a race contest with in the larger race. There was a flat sprint of about 50 yards. They blow an air horn, if you can hear it, you are part of the prem. I was behind four other guys and I decided to go for it. I sprinted hard and passed the first guy right at the finish. It was really fun and I won a set of 90mm wheels!
In spite of it being a slow day it was a great day! My wife was with me. She loved the experience and that made me happy. The weather was perfect and we made some new friends.
Next weekend I skate a 1/2 marathon in St. Michael, Minnesota.