I was still chasing the elusive Boston Qualifier after missing out at Marathon 2 Marathon and the BCS Marathon in the fall of 2012. I was told that the Duel in Wichita Falls was a flat course, and I just hoped for nice weather. January weather in north central Texas is rather unpredictable, and last year's race here had featured 40 mph north winds! Wichita Falls also provided an opportunity to deliver snakes to Bryan Box (I was cutting back my alterna collection), and he let me crash on his floor so that I didn't have any hotel costs. Marla was a bit down on training after running poorly in the heat and humidity at BCS, so she sat this one out.
The morning of the race, I drove down early to the "Hotter than Hell Hundred" clubhouse (hosting the race) and picked up my bib, etc. Temps were about 28 degrees F, but there was essentially no wind. Only 27 marathon runners started the race - and the race started with the concussive bang from an antique double-barrel 12 gauge shotgun.
I started off a bit faster than my intended pace in the first mile, but eased back to around 7:30 for the next couple of miles before speeding up after mile 5. I was able to pick up my pace to run 7:20s or better for most of the next few miles and hung onto those paces throughout (mile splits ranged from 7:20 to 7:05 miles 6-25). At the half, I was pretty sure that there were only 3 runners ahead of me, but when I met the leader on the out and back, he was at mile 16 and looked strong - I thought that there was no way I was going to catch him. I passed the third place runner at about mile 16, then caught the 2nd place runner around mile 18. At around mile 20 or 21, I caught sight of the leader in front of me, and passed him around mile 22. From then on out, I was running in the lead, and cruised on in. I knew that I was going to BQ by several minutes, and held onto some hope that I was going to finish under 3:10, but once I realized that wasn't going to happen, I eased up a bit in the last 1.2 miles, finishing at about a 7:35 pace. But it was really cool to round the last bend and turn off the trail to the finish all alone and out in front for the WIN and a substantial BQ time. Going to BOSTON!!!
Shoes: I ran in Altra Instinct 1.5s, size 9.5.
Shorts: I ran in Pearl Izumi Capri tights.
Shirt: I wore a long sleeved Layer 8 performance tech shirt that I picked up cheap at Marshalls.
Hydration: I alternated water and gatorade at aid stations along the way, except in the latter part of the race when I was trying to catch the and pass the leader.
Socks: Injinji medium weight no-show toe socks.
Fuel: I took one Gu gel around the half. I also ate a gummi worm every 3rd mile or so along the way.
Hat: Gray Underarmour
Glasses: Oakley Flak Jackets
Watch: Soleus (I don't remember the model #)
Watch Data: 3:13:04, 7:22 avg pace, mile splits: 7:17, 7:36, 7:22, 7:36, 7:30, 7:20, 7:17, 7:18, 7:20, 7:12, 7:14, 7:10, 7:11, 7:23, 7:15, 7:17, 7:20, 7:13, 7:15, 7:05, 7:15, 7:12, 7:08, 7:05, 7:15, 7:35, ?