My goal was to finish the 13.1 miles in 45 minutes. I am very happy that I finished in 44 minutes and 18 seconds. My mile pace was 3:23 and that is just over 17 mph. This is the fasted I've skated all summer. I am actually quite surprised because at times I felt like I was going very slow during the race.
The weather was excellent. The course was really good...lots of tar snakes but as long as you keep your eyes on the road these can be avoided. I started out with a very fast pack. Just before the first turn around at 3 miles or so I thought my heart was going to explode it was racing so fast. I decided to drop off the group and calm things down a bit. I ended up skating to the next turn around all by myself but that was alright with me as it took me that long to slow my heart rate down.
I found another group to skate with for the last 6 miles. There was a group a head of us and behind us so I decided to see if I could push/pull the group to catch the pack in front of us. A few other skaters responded. This is where things got really fun.
With 4 miles left about eleven of us packed together and we really picked up the speed. Some times the backend of our group would have to split out to the left because we were going too fast for the whole. With 3 miles left I started planning on how I could break out in front and position myself for a sprint to the finish line. With a mile left and the finish line in sight I followed a skater out to the left of our group and said "Let's go" I turned to look behind me and said to the guy right behind me "C'mon let's hammer it to the finish." We broke off and then there were two lines screaming side by side. MAN! That was fun. I said to our group "We're bookin!!" Another guy behind me responded "No Sh#@, this is scary." It was the fastest I've gone on skates all year without the help of a big down hill.
With 100 yards left I decided to push off the group and go for it to the finish line and to try to beat these skaters. One guy came with me and I could feel him breathing down my neck. He literally was spitting for breath. There was 20 feet left to the finish line and I entered dream state - that slow motion running feeling. My facial muscles started to quiver and I knew I hit a wall. I've noticed this is what happens to me when my muscles are maxed, the right side of my face quivers. I just needed to stand up for another five feet and I would make the line. Right at the line the guy passed me. He finished at 44:17 and I was 44:18. The next 9 skaters in our group all finished from 44:19 to 44:27.
I placed middle of the road at 8th out of 16th in my age group. I really don't care because my overall goal was to beat 45 minutes and I did. It was a great event!