I ran 7.5 miles, and just barely finished before the first lead runners came down the trail for the American Tobacco Trail 10 miler! Those were some speedy people! We hung out for a bit to cheer on the lead pack, and in the meantime, met a very nice guy who is a member of the North Carolina Road Runners club. They're the local running club that sponsors a lot of the races in the area and holds weekly group runs and track workouts. I told this guy about my training and he surprised me by telling me that he's run the National Marathon/USA Rock 'n' Roll marathon in D.C. three times! He told me that he really liked the race, but that the last 6 miles or so were pretty dead and not too scenic. Luckily, I've done a LOT of reading about this race and was ready to hear that kind of assessment of the course. Don't worry, I plan on planting supporters along the last 6 miles or so to cheer for me/run with me at the end of the race :).
And now about Bob. This very nice man suggested that I go to the weekly NCRR track workouts, because a coach named Bob would be happy to work with me. I thanked him and headed home, excited to email Bob and learn more about how I could improve my speed and my overall marathon time.
When I emailed Bob, I explained to him that I wasn't looking to win the marathon, I would just like to finish under the 5.5 hour course time limit. I wanted to get faster, but realized that I wouldn't be qualifying for Boston anytime soon. He emailed back with a questionnaire that required me to list things like my fastest 5k time, fastest 10k time, fastest half marathon time, gender, age, height and weight. I quickly filled out the form and sent it back.
Not too long after, I received an email that went like this:
Looking at your history, if you don't mind I'd like to ask you a few questions and make a few comments only to help you understand a few things about running faster.
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