Our group run today was a preview of the first 8.5-miles of the Country Music Marathon (CMM) course. The plan was to meet at Dan’s house and run 1.5-miles to Centennial Park where the official start line is located. My schedule called for 12 to 14 miles today, so Nathan and I met a bit early to run some easy warmup miles on Belmont before joining the group at 6:30.
Our warmup plus the 1.5-miles to Centennial Park ended up being around 4-miles at a very easy 9:00ish pace. Once we reached the park, Dan asked me if I would run with him from that point forward at his planned race pace (8:00). Most of the rest of the group wanted to run a bit easier, so I was happy to join him. The two of us along with Nathan ran the rest of the way together and averaged around 7:45 splits while we were on the CMM course.
This was a highly enjoyable run, with great conversation, in absolutely perfect weather conditions. When Nathan and I were warming up it was cool and raining pretty steady. By the time we reached the park the rain had stopped and the temps were fantastic. I wish that we could save today’s weather for next weekend. The 7:45 pace was comfortable throughout, and I was quite pleased at how good my legs felt. It was another one of those mornings where I felt like I could have run for a long time. Once we got back to Dan’s house I was right at 12.5-miles, so the three of us did a 1.5-mile cool down on Belmont before heading out to Fido for a delightful breakfast with the group.
I was glad to get one last preview of the course before leading the 4-hour pace group next week. Even though I’ve run most of the first half many times before, there is now a section on Granny White Pike that is new to me. This part is gonna be tough for those that are pushing their pace. It has 4 or 5 pretty good hills before getting back to Wedgewood and Music Row. Overall, the changes they made to the route last year have increased the difficulty of an already challenging course. I hope that I’m able to help some runners with a sub 4-hour (or 2-hour) goal to make it through these tough spots and stay on pace to the end.