Well, didn't do so great on the overall Equinox Marathon prediction front. Two out of three in the men's race isn't so bad. However, on Friday I got notice from an insider that UAF Assistant coach Matt Dunlap would be running so in hindsight I should have revised the prediction. He's built perfectly for mountain running and when he has showed up this year (Beat Beethoven and Santa Claus Half come to mind) he's been a strong runner-up.
Anyway, the lead pack went out fast! Running the first leg of the relay I was promtly left in no-man's land amongst the fallen leaves. I don't know their splits yet but that lead group of six or seven was well under 2:50 pace for the first 6 or 8 miles.
Like Dunlap, Laura Brosius did not race much over the summer, and she indicated after the race that she hadn't trained a lot either, but she knows how to step it up for this race. Imagine if she did put in the miles. Melissa Lewis showed up after all and ran to a strong second, upending Davya Flarharty's string of fast races and wins this summer.
This relay was a lot of fun, although I've enjoyed each one in its own way. So far I have had fortune to have been on three different winning relays. Two open men's wins (2007 and 2009), and now a masters win (and record, even thought it appears that they don't keep or acknowledge masters relay records). For years I've wanted to put together a masters team that could break 3 hours.
Have to admit though, this year was the hardest for me. I thought Leg 1 would be great/perfect, but with the sore foot and cut back in training (something like a total of 20 miles running in 17 days prior to the race) it was tough out there. The lead group took it out fast and I couldn't move up. It felt like running in water and I was never comfortable. In fact the race seemed like running an 8K that lasted almost an hour. Earlier this summer I was dreaming of 52s, then after the foot thing I thought 55 or 54 was possible. On Saturday I had to settle for 56:07. Gave it all I had, though.
I'm still happy because as of Tuesday-Wednesday of last week I wasn't sure if I'd even be able to run the 8.5 miles, let alone 2 or 3. But a 4 mile test run on Thursday and short shake out on Friday actually seemed alleviate the stiffness and soreness in my plantar fascia.
Mark Lindberg ran fantastic with a 1:05:16, which I bet is the fastest ever masters split for that leg. And Hannibal Grubis took it home with a very respectable 57:40s, to bring us under 3:00 with a 2:59:07. Once, if they ever get the year by year relay stats up again, I'll have to look for the old masters record but as long as I've been here I don't think any masters teams have gone faster than 3:15 or 3:20.
The team! (me, Mark, Hannibal)
Our time is now 11th on the all time relay list, and all the other teams were open (with one very fast mixed team from the early 90s that included Olympic skier Adam Verrier and local prodigy Mara Rabinowitz).
Congrats to Ben Nelson, Devin McDowell, and Chad Caroll for a fine relay performance (Caroll's 54 min final leg eclipsed my unofficial "master's split record" of 55 min) to rank 4th all time. And the women's team of Theresia Schnurr, Jane LeBlond, and Heather Best destroyed the relay record as well as the all-time women's Equinox record, to post an impressive 3:14 (and 3rd overall for the day).
Meanwhile, Tamara, Lisa Beattie, and Amy Noon took a surprise first in the women's masters relay. So the family got two medals on two separate relays. That was awesome!
Tamara near the end of her leg.
2011 AND BEYOND
My running year is pretty much done, it's time to rest and rehab that foot. Also time to support the kids at regionals, state, and Portland.
Thinking about the future and that age 55 record of 3:27 hanging out there for 2013. However, guys like Wayde Leder and Andy Holland will want to take that down next year. Who knows, I might have one or two marathons left in these tired old legs. Hoping the future holds at least one flat marathon and maybe another Equinox full marathon.