The moderator of this blog asked Jamie Robert's to describe his experience and he kindly allowed it to be posted here.
I have mixed feelings on the subject. On the plus side, given current fitness, today went as well as it could have. I ran 1:33 flat which is a PR by 3:40 (last one was 1:36:40). I never had a really bad patch, and ran consistent miles though fading over the whole run. Fastest mile was about 6:30, slowest probably 7:20. While that's a pretty big gap, the 6:30 was mile 2 and down hill, and the 7:20 was mile 12 and uphill. The middle 6 miles were all 7 min miles +/- 5 seconds. I can't be more precise because I lost my watch and don't have lap times, other than the official 10k split ... the rest is from memory of when I passed each mile (they had elapsed time clocks for each mile).
On the negative side, it wasn't what I was hoping for, which was 1:29:59 or better. The organizers had an official 10k chip timed split, and that was 42:48, which is a PR by 1:30 over my best 10k race. So that's good. And actually, the 10k split is very close to the 1:29:59 goal. I think at that point I was just 1 second per mile off goal. The 8 mile split was around 56 mins flat, which is also a PB (not a PR because I've never raced an 8 mile). It was at that point that I knew I couldn't beat 1:29:59 (I think I needed to be 54:56 or better).
What I've kept kind of quiet is how I've been injured for about the last month. Back in mid August I hurt my achillies running out at Dawes. I kept running though, however by September I had to cut out tempo and all but 1 speed work run because of the pain. Then just two weeks ago, I hurt my right knee. In July and August I had been up around 40 to 42 miles per week...last two weeks I did 16 and 4 respectively (not counting today). Not sure how much this hurt ultimately. I think without injury I may have been 2 mins faster ... still short of my original goal (maybe too aggresive of a goal?)
The knee surprisingly held up for the race, and for the first 9 miles I didn't notice it at all. However going down in to German Village, and then back up High out of GV, it started hurting and got worse. By time I ran past mile 12 and Mark VH (who was a volunteer and cheering for me), I was hurting pretty bad. I managed to run consistent, though I did fade from 10k on. I don't think I ever ran slower than about a 7:15.
As I sit here typing though, I can barely walk. The knee is hurting very badly. I'm going to stop running until November 1, so about two weeks. In the meantime, I'll do spin classes during the week, and maybe some light cycling on weekends weather permitting. Assuming I heal with no issues, I'll pick up running again, start around 25 miles per week, and see if I can't get to 50 or 60 per week by March. All easy runs (~7:50 or slower). If I hold up, I'll introduce tempo and speedwork for March and April, and then see if I can't tear up the Cap City Half on May 1. On the other hand, I may eat all winter and return to my flabby self. Below is an image of me measuring myself last year. I think this will turn on Amanda and Cindy, probably Peggy too, heck maybe even Craig.