Ideal weather, a patient and persistent training partner, tons of support from every direction and the ultimate running watch on my wrist. These factors combined to make the Kansas City Marathon the best race I've done, exceeding my own expectations and most of the predictions from our fun-loving blog readers. On a brisk October morning, Garmin came through for me - technologically and psychologically. While my Forerunner 405 was tracking my time, distance and average pace through the streets of KC, many of my colleagues were pounding the pavement in the marathon, half and 5K.
Before we get to the winner of our "predict my pace" contest, I have a few thanks to dole out. To my wife, Jocelyn, who made sure I was rested, hydrated and at the starting line on time (which meant a half-hour early for her 5K). To Peg, my Hood to Coast teammates and the whole Garmin running crew, many of whom ran the half and stuck around to cheer me through the finish. To Matt, Drew and Daniel, who were there at the 16-mile mark to lie to us and say we looked good at the race's southern-most point. And to my buddy Rock, who stuck with me even when we were going too fast too early, talking too much on a course with too many hills and jeopardizing our shot at personal bests.
So who won our contest? Out of more than 75 predictions that you submitted, one came amazingly close - within 8 seconds, actually. Josh Hubbard predicted I would run one second slower than his time in last year's KC marathon. While some would see that as smack talk, I actually took it as high praise because Josh is pretty darn fast. (For proof, check out his final miles in Saturday's half.) So when I crossed the line in 3 hours, 31 minutes, 18 seconds, I was thrilled. And so was Josh, who was standing at the finish line with our other Garmin friends. In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that Josh was with me for my last training run before the marathon - a 9-miler at an 8-minute pace. So he had inside information. As did the another close guess at 3:31 flat. That came from Jocelyn, which doesn't quite seem fair.
So the grand prize of a Team Garmin T-shirt and limited-edition Oregon geocoin goes to Linda H, who was only 12 seconds off at 3:31.30. And because I'm so giddy about my time, I'm giving away more prizes than expected. I scrounged around and found a dozen Team Garmin shirts that will be sent out to the 12 next-closest predictions. I'll be contacting you for your address and shirt size.
Thanks again to everyone who took part in our contest, and we have another on the horizon. With New York's marathon a week from Sunday and my legs already feeling back to normal, I'll be announcing a new round of "The Pace is Right" before I leave for the Big Apple. But for now I'm going to be checking out my run on Garmin Connect, wondering how I clocked a 7:58 on mile 24 and working on a more complete race recap. If you want to learn more about Garmin Connect, watch our Forerunner 405 tutorial video on YouTube, where you'll be seeing more of our online tutorials as the New York marathon nears. In the meantime, watch for blog updates, follow me on Twitter and check for photos on Flickr.