After the sub-3 at Boston, my Marathon goals were revitalized - I really wanted to win M2M, among other things. I also wanted to work towards a 2:55 marathon. So I signed up for M2M yet again, fully intending to win the thing. Last year I'd sat out this race because I didn't think I was sufficiently trained to run the paces I wanted to run (a sub-3 attempt), and was disappointed when I found out that the winning time was a 3:09 . . . 2 weeks after last year's M2M, I ran a 1:26:34 half marathon PR, so I was very likely ready to have run around a 3:00 marathon and could have won that belt buckle!
So this year, I signed up early and started logging my training. Unfortunately, about a month and a half before the race, I tripped running across a wooden golf-cart bridge and ended up with a 5" splinter of wood in my knee (with another 5" sticking) out. I got most of it out, but had about 2" left deep under the skin of my knee that had to be removed surgically. It took about a week from my training until it was loose enough and healed enough to run again.
The forecast for the race had the temps ranging from the upper 50s to lower 60s, overcast, and with a northeast wind from 15-20 mph. For once, the forecast was spot on. Although the temps were a little warm and humid, the tailwind was really welcome. Marla drove me up to the starting line, and I jogged around a bit. Chatted with Paul Box and Matt Curtis a bit before we started (guys I'd run with in 2012 and 2013). Instead of letting us spread out across the whole road to start, we started narrowly on the highway shoulder. I went out first, but reined things back a little and we ran the first mile or two in a group of 5, with Paul, Matt, and two other runners. I held my initial paces to around 6:55 in the first two miles just as planned. By the top of the 2 mile hill, Wu had already pulled away from the group, then as we topped the hill the fellow that eventually won the thing head out to catch up to Wu. I went with him, but when I checked my pace, it said 6:10 and I though "whoa, back off there" and I backed off to run with Matt & Paul. We commented that if they could hold those paces, then they deserved the win. LOL. All 3 of us thought that they'd likely fail to hold the pace and drift back to us, but they never did.
I dropped Paul & Matt by about mile 7 or 8 and was maintaining pretty steady paces in the 6:40s and lower 6:50s. I thought I might be bonking at mile 21, running a 6:59, but on the next downhill I picked things back up to where I had been. Mile 23 sucked, it was a long hill that I had planned on running slowly - I hit a low pace of 7:21, but again was able to pick things up on the following downhills. Throughout the latter part of the race, Marla was giving me updates on the races in front of me. She let me know when Wu got passed, and that I was gaining on him. I went from about 4 minutes back to only a minute and a half back by the finish - but the eventual winner won with a 2:50 time! Regardless, I finished in 2:58:06 for a new PR, 3rd place, and won the 40-49 year old age group.
As usual, the after party was great, and we hung out with some cool people.
Shoes: I ran in Merrel Bare Access 4s, size 10.5. Some subtle changes in the soles of the shoes have made these a little less durable than the Bare Access 3s, but they feel pretty much the same on my feet.
Shorts: I ran in my stand-by 3” split shorts from Adidas. No problems at all with tried and true shorts that have been with me for 6 previous races.
Shirt: I wore a "Sugar Skull" print tech singlet from InknBurn. It worked really well until it got wet, when it chaffed a little bit until I took it off in the last 3 miles.
Hydration: I alternated water and "gatorade" at aid stations, as usual. Except that the "gatorade" sucked - it was Heed, and it really tasted bad. Paul Box thought that it may have upset his stomach and caused him to have nausea that had him dropping back to finish in about a 3:15.
Socks: Injinji medium weight no-show toe socks.
Fuel: I carried 3x Apple/Cinnamon Hammer Gels, and took one at miles 7, 13, and 19. I also ate Gummi Worms as I went along.
Hat: Marathon Maniacs classic hat. Sweated through it and tossed it to Marla at about mile 22.
Glasses: With complete overcast, I didn't wear glasses.
Watch: Garmin 610. No problems.