Swine that Flew:
My alarm buzzed. I rolled over to turn it off. I had seemingly just fallen asleep but needed no prodding to get up. It was 3:38 am: a perfect time to wake up. Not a second too late or early. I ate a light 3:50 am breakfast, the day was fast ticking down: it would be light soon. Travis informed me that it was drizzling rain outside. I had neglected to check. What a beautiful day. Jeri drove us to Cincinnati making sure to take a detour into Kentucky. The pig was soon slaughtered, the gun up, and we were off running promptly at 6:30. The ½ marathoners and marathoners started together.
The Plan: go out conservatively with a first mile of 6 flat followed by 5:45. Go through the ½ in 1:15 and reciprocate in a 1:13 second half. That I figured would be a great marathon. Travis, a master at pacing, settled in with me and clicked off the miles. The light drizzle had vanished, leaving a perfect 53-57 degrees and overcast skies for the rest of the day. By mile 4 I finally felt comfortable and focused. We hit the hills, miles 6-9, and I felt smooth and fluid. We ran consistently moving up past several places and soon ran through the half in 1:14:59. At this point we were in a 3-way tie for second place. The other bloke soon dropped off the pace and Travis and I were tied for second. From the half marathon mark on we had bikes escorting us ensuring that we went the right way and that spectators did not get in our way.
Near mile 17 I informed Travis I was going to increase the pace and see if I could catch first who I hoped was only 2 minutes in front. I dropped the pace feeling great, only wishing I had more competition. By 19 I had opened up a ¼ mile lead on Travis and soon learned that the bike escort would accompany me to the finish.
I felt great even through 21 and 22. Around 23 to 24 I knew 2nd was near inevitable. I had a solid lead on 3d place. I felt comfortable and solid still racing at 5:30-5:45 pace. I could talk at this pace (with the bike escort) and felt like I could contain the pace for 50K no problem but could not go faster. This is to be expected with the little fast speed work currently under me. I crossed the line in 2:28:32. I do think this was my best strategic marathon to date. At the very least it was my first negative split marathon.
Travis soon crossed in 5th place only 9 seconds from 3d. He had picked up some invaluable experience and a 3 minute PR. We flew over the brick, and asphalt, the cement and steel bridges, rounded corners, over slippery urban streets. We had prodded ourselves in preparation and during the race, like pigs lined up ready for the slaughter, we came and saw and then… We swine flew.