It all started pretty well....
I stayed the night before the race with some friends at a condo at Wolf Creek so we did not have to catch the buses early because we were able to drive to the start. That's the good news.
It was chilly at the start (32) but you could tell the day was going to get warm very quickly, and it did. I started in a conservative pace as I did not have any aspirations of a PR today. I was averaging 7:01 through 6 miles and was feeling good. I took my gel after the 6 mile mark and made sure I focused to keep my pace while I ate as I sometimes slow a bit when I do this. Mile 7 is fairly flat and I was feeling good so I pushed the pace ever so slightly. I did mile 7 in 6:54 and was thinking I could be under a 3:10 with how I was feeling.
Then the pain started. That stupid lower abdominal/upper groin issue that I have had problems with started to come back. Mile 8 was a 7:03 and things went downhill from there. By the time I got to the half in just under 1:36 I was in major pain. I had a decision to make. My friend Barry passed me just before the hill after 14 and he noticed how bad I looked. I told him that I did not know if I would finish, and at that point I really did not know.
When I got to the crest of the hill at 14.3 I stopped at the aid station and tried to stretch for a minute. That made the pain bearable (probably a 3 or 4) and I continued on. I ended up having to do this for the rest of the run. I stopped at each aid station and stretched for a minute. When I would continue on the pain would be dull but would gradually increase to about a 7 or 8 by the next aid station. I knew that this was now a training run and I stopped looking at my watch and headed for the finish slowly.
There are only 3 reasons I finished today:
1. This is part of the Grand Slam.
2. It is a downhill finish from 18-23 so I could stumble my way in.
3. I am pig-headed and probably needed the miles anyway.
After how well I did last year this was not a fun day. This stupid pain issue only bothers me when I try to run fast. I can run slow all day long.