Davo is a 50-year old friend of mine, but he doesn't run like a 50 year old, heck he doesn't run like he's 50-year young! He runs like a youngster. Anyway, Davo is leading a pace group at this, the 10th and last, Gasparilla Marathon which takes place on Sunday. Davo is committed to pacing his group to a 3:50 finish, roughly 8:45 per mile. There was a time, pre-2001, when this was a stroll for me. Heck, I used to routinely run sub 3:30, but that was before I started running long..... really long. I didn't quit doing marathons, they just became my speed work. As I average about 14 minute miles in my 100's, 10 minute miles became speed work. My marathons were now run somewhere between 4 and 5 hours.
Suffice it to say that when you hope to maintain 14 minute miles in 100 miles, 8:45 becomes a little quick. 8:45 per mile after running 40 miles over the 9 hours of darkness on Sat/Sun made our little 6 mile 8:45 adventure a formidable task for me, though effortless for Davo.
I was correct in assuming that it wouldn't be easy for me. As I was telling some bull squat story (which wasn't easy considering the blistering pace I knew we were setting) we hit mile marker one in what I was sure was about an 8 Minute Mile. "8:51" Davo called out. Yoikes! I'm tired I'm sore, I've gone one mile, and I was too slow.
I shut my mouth (not an easy task) and concentrated. We hit the next mile in 8:35 and I felt a little better having worked some of the Sat/Sun kinks out of the legs. We proceeded up the Suncoast for one more mile, this another 8:35 (Davo has gotten really good at this pacing thing!) and this mile was a tab easier than mile two... .. Davo, leads the way, while I hang on! ... ...
Davo and I then reversed our course for the 3 mile return. We went 8:31, 8:31 and 8:35, each of these miles was easier than the one before. I finished light on my feet with Davo demanding that I slow down.
The run left me saying, "I'll never be able to run this pace for 26.2 miles.... Until Sunday!" Go AndyMan Go!!