Well this was my second time running this course and to say that I had high expectations would be a definitely understatement.
Before I start sounding like the spoiled brat that I am, let me tell you about the race.
Woke up around 5:00 and had my normal breakfast PB&J. I was rested and ready for the race. No really issue. Linda and I left to pick up her niece who was also running the race with me. She was staying a little closer to the race site. It was nice to have her along.
We arrived on site at around 6:00, so I had plenty of time to stretch and get ready. Bathroom break, then off to the start line. The start of the race was really different than in previous years. The start line was pushed down a little and people were congregating well back from the start line. I worked through the some of the groups and started looking for the "my" pace group. As per my norm, I was going to try and run with the 3:15 pacer. Well guess what, no 3:15 pace group. So my original plan of just zoning out and running went out the window. Now I would have to pay more attention to my pace.
I had my Garmin and music, so I felt that I would be okay. I said my prayer and started trying to get relaxed and ready to run. Cleared my head and listened for the race start. As with all races people upfront take off like they were shot out of a cannon. Then you have to people upfront who are not in a hurry to get anywhere. So I spent the first 1/2 mile just weaving through the crowd trying to find open space.
I ended up running the first mile at a 7:05 pace. Whoa, way too fast. This is a marathon. Mile 2 was still really quick since it was mostly downhill. 7:10. By mile 3, I was able to get into a rhythm. Slowed to about a 7:15 pace and decided to try to stay there. It was good. I was comfortable, it was open pavement and all was great.
Then about half way through mile 4, my laces came undone. I looked down and saw that my shoe wasn't really moving around so I was going to just run unlaced. Then I started worrying about it. Lost my rhythm. So I stopped and tied it as quickly as I could. And took off again.
Started talking to myself at this point. "It's ok." "Not a big deal". "Didn't lose too much time." Breathe. Concentrate on mechanics. Relax.
Then I started feeling better. Running easy. The next 10 miles just clicked off. No worries. Easy running. On pace. In rhythm. I was running with a smile. I am sure some of the volunteers were surprised at my smile. Even though I was running easy, I was still mindful of my pace. I tried to keep it right at 7:20. There were a couple of times when other runners would run with me and I could feel them speeding up and I had to fight the urge to continue to run with them.
By mile 18 I was still good. I felt like I had done a good job with my pace and everything was good. By mile 20, I realized I was going back up an incline and my legs started yelling. I could feel myself slowing down. Looked at my watch and I was running around a 7:45. And I couldn't speed up. I decided that maybe I needed a cup of water. So I actually stopped at and drank water.
That helped. I think the next 2 miles were back on pace. I felt much better. Then mile 23 I started struggling again. So I felt like, hey it worked once, let's do it again. So I did. I walked through a water stop and then started again.
Didn't quite speed back up but still felt much better than before. Once I was back on the street, I felt like I was able to get back into a rhythm. Felt like my turn over was better. I finished feeling much stronger than I did in previous races. No cramps. That doesn't mean I didn't have twinges, just no real cramping.
My finishing time was 3:21:54. While it was a PR by about 30 seconds, I felt like it was a much better race than that. I was on pace for a 3:15 up to mile 20. Again I feel like I fell apart at that point. Before my next marathon, I am going to have to force myself to do more 20+ mile runs.
Like I said at the beginning I know I sound like a brat not being happy with a 3:22 marathon. But when I look at my training, I know that I can do better.
I totally appreciate Linda again, soldiering out to the park and just hanging around for the 3+ hours waiting for me to finish. It was nice seeing her as I finished. Loved the welcome. I know how bored I get so I am not sure how she does it. Fortunately this year it wasn't as cold so hopefully it wasn't too bad.
I finished 59th overall. Net time: 3:18:18 Finish time: 3:21:54. 6th in my age group.