A.M. I invited Scott Keate to help me qualify for the rights to race again. As I mentioned in earlier entries I decided I would not run another serious race until I am able to run all three miles of my Provo Canyon Uphill Tempo under 6:00. The reasoning was that the failure to do so pointed to a deteriorating spine, which would mean not only terrible uphill and headwind performance, but also reduced ability to hold pace in the second half of the marathon, as if the loss of speed alone was not enough. So I said I am going to do what it takes to reverse the deterioration, and will test it with uphill tempo runs.
Scott did a great job pacing. We went through the first mile in 5:54. I felt good but still apprehensive. I had been able to run it as fast as 5:51 before also feeling good, but then the pace deteriorated quickly. I was taking it a quarter at a time, and was pleased to see the next two quarters both under 90 with 8:51 half way through, and still feeling good. But I was not out of the woods yet, as the hardest part of the course was still ahead. Next two quarters in 2:56, 11:47 at 2 miles, 5:53 mile. Now I just needed to survive for the next half mile. I knew that in the last half mile I could gut it out a little under 3:00, so as long as I did not drop the ball before 2.5 I would make it. The headwind picked up, but Scott upped the effort to compensate, and I felt good enough not to have to ask him to slow down. We did the next 0.5 in 2:55. At this point I knew the last mile would be under 6:00 as well. The pace now felt hard, but I was more in control than I even had been this year so far. To spite the 6:00 guy and to rub it in, Scott upped the pace even more. So much that with about a quarter to go I asked him to back off. In all honesty I could have toughed it out. But I did not have the mental energy to fight another battle at this point as I knew we were smashing the standard already and my mind was already blown away by that. Even with that, our last half mile was 2:50, which gave us 5:45 for the last mile, and 17:32.3 for the 3 miles.
My reaction to the result can be summarized with the words of a hymn we sing in church "I Stand All Amazed". I cannot believe the Lord was that merciful to me to allow me to have this experience. A progressive negative split on a progressively increasing incline with a progressively increasing headwind. It took a helper that set the pace and blocked the wind. But there is only so much a human helper could do even if he could pull me with a rope. Somehow by some miracle I was able to challenge and kick every stumbling stone. That miracle, I believe, is in the strength work I've been doing on the lower back, and in the increased sleep in the last few days. Although I do have a rational explanation for it, nevertheless I believe the knowledge of what needed to be done came through divine means.
We ran back to the house, picked up Benjamin, ran 6 more with him. After that Scott went home, and I ran 2 more with Jenny, Jacob, and Joseph. Julia had a hurt foot and ran 1 mile. Total of 18.7 for me.
P.M. 0.3 with William.