The GU experiment appeared to be working.
I had manage to tick off 5 straight miles at 6:25 pace while nibbling on the GU, taking only a small sliver of GU every time I felt my energy waning. This allowed me to take the thick GU without water, and to allow it to digest in my system easily. It also prevented me from having the common spike and crash of taking an entire packet of GU all at once.
The flatness of this portion of the MCM course was also helping with my steady pace. The pack of familiar runners around me had just cruised down the beautiful Potomac, and we were now heading towards the heart of our nation, the heart of the National Mall.
(well, it does resemble an organ. just sayin'.)
My overall pace was creeping up towards 6:20, which was still below my target pace of 6:22 for the entire run. A 6:20 pace would have me arriving at the top of the Iwo Jima Memorial in a little over 2 hrs and 46 minutes after Drew Carey fired the start cannon, and about one minute ahead of my projected schedule.
Was this going to be possible?
I was still feeling really strong, and my legs were hardly tired. The only bothersome quirks were in my feet and, for reasons you will find out later, in my hands.
I had always been told that the MCM road surface is very hard and unforgiving. I guess when you build a road for troop transports, tanks, and Humvees, you kind of have to make it hard and unforgiving. The aching in the sole of my feet were proof positive of those founded rumors.
To explain the pain in my hands I would have to start from before the start, but that's a story for another time.