I asked one of my friends if they could watch baby for 17 minutes and 59 seconds while I ran my race which gives you an idea of my goal. Race morning proved very cold and extremely windy and I immediately revised the goal to 18:20. The race was unfortunately women only (unfortunate because this meant there were fewer people to hide behind). I haven't been racing on the Montreal scene for awhile so I was surprised when a group of girls went out like banshees at the beginning. They looked young and so I figured it was youthful exuberance and they would soon fade. I ignored them and did my own thing and went through the first km in 3:41 (18:25 pace). To give them credit, the youngsters really hung in there. I ran the 2nd and 3rd km in 3:35 each and finally passed them between 3 and 4 km (3:39). I told one girl who looked to be about 15 to tuck in behind me, stay right behind me and use me to block the wind. She tried... but she had just gone out way too fast and fell back. So frustrating because she wound up running 18:55... I am SURE she could have run the same time as me or faster had she just run it a bit smarter but racing savvy comes with experience and they will catch on, in the mean time this bunch of girls ran some impressive times!
Anyway at 4 km I was at 14:33 and felt pleased because I knew I would definitely meet my revised goal of 18:20. Then something strange happened: I realized I felt AWESOME. Strong. Not tired at all. I picked it up with the hope of running sub-18:10. I came around the last corner onto a 400 m final stretch. In the last 100 m I could see the clock and it was only at 17:40 and I realized with a big kick I could break 18:00. Somehow I managed to run the last km in 3:22 (!) and finished with a 17:55.8. I am really pleased and excited. This is my 5th fastest time ever and only 19 seconds slower than my PB. I am feeling optimistic that I WILL conquer my arch rival again. So much fun to run faster than expected. Makes up for all those times when the opposite happens. Final splits: 3:41, 3:35, 3:36, 3:39, 3:22.
p.s. After the race the young girl I told to draft off of me came up to thank me, she was so sweet. I told her that I am looking forward to being beaten by her and I meant it sincerely (as long as she is beating me because she is running faster, not because I am running slower).
p.p.s. If you have not yet submitted a prediction for Sea Leg Girl's marathon in the Marathon Prediction Contest, please do so by commenting on this post.