I have to tell you how it ends because it changes the thoughts and strategies that I had and used throughout the race. It ends with me realizing that my GPS was OFF the entire race, which means all of my splits data was being sent from my footpod (not entirely accurate)
It was a cold and windy 36 degrees at 8:15 when I arrived at Muncie Central. Got my timing chip, geared up, and met with the gang. The plan was in place, and I was feeling quite confident with my ability to execute.
Canon booms and we're off. Tried to settle into a pace quickly, but the course forced us onto a closed sidewalk along Wheeling. Very disappointed that they couldn't block off one lane of road for us. Most were too crowded and couldn't pass. I felt really bad for the 10k and 5k sprinters behind us who would have to navigate through the mini marathon walkers.
Once we broke off the sidewalk onto Riverside we were able to spread out and Pete, Amy Fletcher and I were together on pace. Mile 1 clicked off at just under 9:00 which I was surprised at because I was just sure the congested sidewalk slowed us down, but as we got a little further and Pete and Fletcher started to pull away I was concerned. I checked my watch and the pace was solid under 9:00 every step of the way, and that's all that matters!
I kept them in my sights the entire race. Every single mile clicked off between 8:40 and 8:55 so I wasn't worried. What began to worry me though was how quickly my watch was clicking off miles compared to the mile markers. Mile 3 my watch goes off at 26:30, but I don't pass the mile 3 marker until 27:00 - quick math says 9:09 pace needs to have me at 27:27, so I'm good. The problem is that it only gets worse. By mile 6 on my watch it says 53 minutes, but by the time I get to the 6 mile marker the watch is over 54 minutes - still 9:09 math says I need to be under 54:54. You get the idea.
Still, by the time we get to the turn around (7.3) I am a solid minute behind Pete and Amy. The math tells me I'm "probably" holding a 9 minute pace, and so I'm not worried, and in fact am so proud of what Pete is doing. Just hoping he can hold it together, and also hoping that I can still catch him. One mile at a time.
Near the turn around I saw my faster friends, John Mickle, Shannon Cline, Mike Shunneson, and after the turn drew inspiration from my friends chasing me including Del Brinson, Amy Thomas, Amy Olson and Sara Fauquher. I felt strong enough to start picking people off one at a time as I worked my way to my pacers. The foot pod shows the pace picking up, but it's all relative.
Ultimately, I'm within 15 seconds with 2.1 miles to go (McGalliard), and believe I can catch them. I spent all I had to catch up, and got to them as I witnessed them take their first walking steps of the race. A water station with 1.5 miles to go was the point I finally caught them, and knew that I had to keep pushing as my own goal was still uncertain.
At the 12 mile marker, I knew I could get away with a 10 minute mile, but that only assumes that the marker is in the right place. With the inaccuracy of my watch, I couldn't chance it. The press is on, the pain is real, and I was able to pick off two more runners in the final mile. With a half mile left I take the hard left onto the Walnut street bridge where the MAFS crew comes unglued cheering for me. Luke literally slaps my ass on the way by, and there's only one person left that I can possibly reel in - and it's Zach Rozelle - yes, the former Yorktown Superintendent is the real deal! I had battled with him between miles 9 and 10, and thought he got the best of me, and by the end...he did!
It was another uplifting moment as I came onto the track to find my children waiting for me to once again run hand in hand across the finish line together! Smiles all the way, and I'm done in 1:57:36! Check my shoulder and Amy is not far behind me, and before the clock strikes 2:00:00, here comes Pete! Yes! We both did it under 2 hours!
I had quite a bit of pain afterward, particularly in my lower back. Once I hobbled to the car and got home, got showered, and got food, I was anxious to sit down and upload my Garmin data - as it came up on the screen I realized there was no map - and that's when it all made sense - no map, because, no GPS! My mile by mile splits were being sent from the foot pod, and that explains why my watch measured the race at 13.5 while everyone else had it at 13.06-13.08. Again, very thankful to have remained so focused to be able to know exactly where I was every step of the way!
I'm not going into quite as much additional detail on this recap for the following reasons...
1) The Muncie Mini continues to struggle to increase participation. As an athlete you want and need more people. At one point I ran nearly 2 miles without anyone passing me or me passing anyone.
2) The course remains sub-par - The out and back is bitter sweet - It's nice to see people, but there are not enough people to see, so the greenway can get quite boring.
3) This was the first time I actually felt like I was "RACING". I was SO focused on the goal, that every spare moment was spent doing the math, focusing on my body, stride, breathing, etc.