It happened: 2:58.49 (or within a second or two of that). Most all of the tumblers aligned for me to have a good race.
1. Trained well.
2. Avoided injury/illness.
3. Relatively flat course.
4. Decent weather (a little cool, a little breezy, but OK).
5. Run a smart race.
I went out a little fast (~6.40 pace) in the first few miles, and had to pull back a bit in Miles 7-9 (6.55 pace), but got into the groove I needed from Mile 9 through Mile 23 (6.45 pace). This allowed me to build a cushion for those last few miles. And, I did slow down a bit the last three miles (closer to 7 min pace), but to feel that good so late in the race was a new experience. There was fatigue and some pain, but I actually enjoyed this race from start to finish. By the time I started feeling rough, I knew I was going to break 3.00.
I am quite sore today, but no damage done. And, my switch to Adidas prevented the dreaded and ghastly black toenails I normally get from racing 26.2. They are not discolored at all or even sore.
Thank you for your support and prayers!