I’ll break this recap up into 2 parts – the first 13.1 and the second 13.1 – because I feel they were very different races and routes.
The First 13.1
When we parked near the start it was 6am and the sun was just starting to come up. It was chilly out – high 40s – and no wind whatsoever. Perfect race weather. When we lined up at the start it was close to 8am and the sun was shining brightly. It was warming up…fast. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky so I knew all hopes for a cloudy day were off.
During mile 1 I realized my iPod wasn’t working right. The music was playing but there were no words and all the songs were mixing together. Instead of freaking out, I decided to play a “name that tune” game. That got old real fast.
My game plan for the first 13.1 were to run smart and hold back. I watched the 3:50 pace group race way ahead of me. Their balloons were always within sight but they were going out way too fast.
The course was really nice for the first half. We ran through neighborhoods and gorgeous houses. People were out on their front lawns with hoses (thank you!). All the runners around me seemed quite chipper and chatty. Of course, this is always the case during the first half 😉 Ever notice how quiet it gets at mile 20?
The marathon started at 8am and the half marathon didn’t start until 8:30. Around mile 8.5, I got passed by the winner of the half marathon. Seriously?! He was running that fast.
M1 – 8:57
M2 – 8:42
M3 – 8:46
M4 – 8:49
M5 – 8:39
M6 – 8:45
M7 – 8:41
M8 – 8:39
M9 – 8:42
M10 – 8:28
M11 – 8:40
M12 – 8:30
M13 – 8:30
The Second 13.1
I was feeling really good crossing the halfway point (as you can see from my splits at miles 12 and 13). In fact, according to my pace chart, I was closer to a 3:45 finish time that a 3:50. Yet, the 3:50 pace group was still ahead of me. I never trust pace groups.
Before I started the race Matt told me to “go for it” (meaning go for the BQ). He told me to leave everything out on the course and don’t finish thinking “I could have gone faster”. He knows me too well. I’m a conservative racer. I only run the pace that I trained for. In order to BQ, I had to go faster than what I trained for. If I failed miserably, I knew I would probably still PR. So I decided to ignore my Garmin for the second half (GASP!) and run based on feel. Gusty move for this conservative racer 🙂
I banged out miles 14 to 19 fast. The course during those miles was awful. A long, straight stretch of black asphalt with nothing but sun beating down. I could feel my face getting redder and hotter by the minute (sidenote: since I knew my chances of getting dehydrated were high, I chugged 2-3 cups of water at each aid station…beginning at mile 2). At mile 19 I was annoyed for numerous reasons:
1. The course was pissing me off. We would go down random streets and go around random lakes just to make up mileage. I could always see all the runners ahead of me and where they were going. There was so much twisting and turning.
2. This bald guy next to me kept launching snot rockets. Like every 10 seconds. Loudly. I couldn’t loose him either.
3. The sun was pissing me off.
4. My left quad felt crampy.
At mile 20, my quad really hurt so I stopped at the aid station and stretched it. At this point I knew I wouldn’t BQ and I was OK with that. I still thought I could pull off a 3:50. The stretching helped a little and I started back on the lonely stretch to the finish. I had passed the 3:50 pace group at mile 14 (that’s how fast they went out…it took me 14 miles to catch up to them). I was nearing mile 22 and I heard them behind me. When they got next to me, I hopped right into the group. There were about 8 of them and I thought if I could just hang with them, I could guarantee a 3:50. I tucked in and tried to ignore my spastic quad. I lasted with them for a mile. Without even consciously thinking about it, I stopped and walked. I watched the 3:50 pace group go. This was a very low moment.
I was hot and my quad was going crazy. It felt like it was in a constant state of contraction. I altered my stride and did a “gimp-skip”. It wasn’t pretty but it got me to the finish.
Around mile 25.5, Mr. Snot Rocket made a reappearance by my side and said to me, “Let’s go kid. I don’t care if you have to drag that leg across, you are finishing!” I actually laughed because he called me “kid”. He gave me that little boost of motivation to pick up my
gimp pace and get to the finish line quickly. Thank you Mr. Snot Rocket…sorry I gave you a dirty look at mile 19.
Splits (some of these are averages, I forgot to “lap” my Garmin):
M14 – 8:24
M15 – 8:25
M16 – 8:22
M17 – 8:26
M18 – 8:38
M19 – 8:38
M20 – 9:04
M21 – 9:23
M22 – 8:55
M23 – 9:25 (the start of the “gimp-skip”)
M24 – 9:38
M25 – 9:38
M26 – 8:57
Official time: 3:52:59…a (very close) 6-minute PR! OK, so technically it’s a 5-minute PR.
Matt was at the finish line and said 1 person actually finished with the 3:50 pace group. There were 8 people with them at mile 23!
I feel really good today, better than I’ve ever felt post-marathon. My left quad is still sore but I really think it was due to dehydration. I’m not worried that I’m injured or anything. I’m going to enjoy a feel days of solid rest before attempting some easy runs. And in 2 weeks, I’ll be in Ireland!!!!!!