Verdict: 18.6 miles in 2:06:58 or 6:49 min/miles.
On the way to the race: I thought I had enough gas in the tank only to realize that I am in trouble as I was getting closer to sugarland. Thankfully I reached parking garage just in time without having to push my car :)
Many thanks to Benard Castro for picking up my bib a day before and handing it out to me on race day morning. I also thank Chris McGrew for letting me use his Garmin 405 for the race as my Garmin is giving me some problems lately.
Pre-race warmup: It is cold but not that cold. I decide to run in a half-sleeved shirt with gloves and a warm cap. I didn't do much of a warmup before the race as the race is long enough and I want to start out slow anyways. I jogged for few minutes with Mark Fraser and David Piper and lined with other folks at start line. I said hi to Dale Lee and Ed Fry and bunch of runners and few usual suspects from BCRR.
Weather looks perfect for racing except gusting wind and the wind would be crucial in this race.
At sharp 7:00 am they fire the gun and off we go.
Mile 1 to 3: I am running with David Piper and Ed Fry. The pace is very comfortable at about 7:05 for first two miles. I spot Nicole running about 50-60 yards ahead. I know she likes to run even splits so she is right on her pace. I was having lots of fun chatting around and running comfortably. Around mile 3, Dale Lee decided to join the pack in front and I let him go.
Mile 4 to 10: I started picking the pace very very slowly at the end of 4th mile. I caught up with Nicole, Dale Lee and another runner at around mile 5 or so and tried to run tangents with Dale. Dale and I fought the winds together but a pack of two runners was not helping much so we were pretty much on our own. I passed 10 miles under 70 minutes and the pace feels good, breathing is under control. All is well.
Mile 10 to 15.5: These were key miles and Dale helped me tremendously. We run side by side and when he picked up pace little too much (6:36) I told him so and we again settled to 6:45-6:50's. The pace feels good and I drank Gatorade from every water stop. Race volunteers were doing a great job. After 25K mark, I am still feeling very good and If I keep the current pace going I will end up with 2:07:XX. However, I decided to press on the gas to see if I can finish strong.
25K to Finish: I dropped to pace close to 6:35's and Dale responded by hanging in with me. I hit 16.6 mile mark and reminded myself that misery will end in less than 14 minutes. I dropped the pace to 6:20's and I believe that I have dropped Dale from my back. There is this runner who is about 60 yards ahead of me but he seems to be slowing down. I also heard a guy playing Bagpiper in the parking lot and it reminded me of the race two years back when I was miserable that that point. But, today I am flying and running strong.
I passed that guy and he just told me to keep going strong. I hit mile 18th in 6:19. It is about one more kilometer to go and the wind is really bothering me a lot. I am running alone and there is no one in sight to pass. I kept pushing the pace and made that turn towards the finish. The clock is ticking 2:06:55 and I gave on final push to try to get under 2:07. I grasp my breath after about 30 seconds of finishing and my wrist watch is stopped at 2:7:00. I feel confident that I have broken 2:07 in 30K. I checked my time later it was 2:06:58 or 6:49 pace. Dale finished about 35 seconds behind me and I have a feeling he didn't want to push as he knew that he had won his age group anyways.
First 15K: 6:55 pace
Last 15K: 6:44 pace