Anyway, my race experience: I started out pretty fast, hoping to finally break 5:00. That was definitely in the realm of possibility for the first hour and a half. Shortly thereafter, my right knee started hurting: likely patellar tendonitis, my most frequent problem. I took a lot of ibuprofen, but I couldn't bend my knee that well, so I slowed to a walk frequently and shortened my stride, especially on the downhills, which is especially disappointing since bombing down hills is my favorite part. I considered dropping out at 30K when I passed through the start/finish area, because I didn't want to create larger problems since I've developed a fairly ambitious race schedule for this year. But I kept going at my slower pace and finished the 30K loop in 3:10. Aid station guys told me the second loop was maybe a little shorter than 20K, so that made me optimistic. (Was the 30K loop a little longer? I don't necessarily know that they knew what they were talking about.) I took some more ibuprofen and stopped for a couple minutes to stretch, and that actually helped a lot. My knee was good to go, so so was I. I felt OK but still couldn't quite go as fast as I wanted on the last 20K and stopped to stretch again partway through. I passed through an aid station with 4.2 miles to go at 4:34. Shortly before this I lucked out with an excellent John Lennon Imagine-induced endorphine high, I caught up to a lady who was finishing strong and provided good pacing, and, as always, I killed it in the last mile thanks to another iPod high, this time courtesy of Johnny Cash and Hurt. Pretty good run.
So, the moral of the story is this: I'm old(er), but maybe not old, and I should probably do more cross-training and stretching. Core workout classes at the RSF, anyone?