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!!!!!!
I think you did an amazing job! I would be so excited to run a sub-4 hour marathon!!
Awesome job on the PR!! 🙂
i think you did great!! and even with the quad that was acting up you still got a PR! that is amazing 🙂 LOVE the shirts!
Amanda Kenney says
Thank you for recapping. I was so drawn into each word of this entry that I actually signed audibly at your “low moment”. Then I smiled at Mr. Snot Rocket’s encouraging words. I think you did awesome!
Thanks! The “low moment” was kinda dramatic but *it was* a low moment!
Congratulations on your PR! It bugs the hell out of me when they do all that looping to make up distance on a course- you think you’re pretty close to a group of people ahead to later realize you have to go do random laps to catch them…pace groups usually freak me out too because I assume that they’re going the exact pace I should be going if I want to finish in *that* time- thanks for sharing that about them, now I know I can run my own race and still get the time i want!
I’ve seen too many pace groups “bank time” in a marathon and that never works. This 3:50 pace group went out so fast no wonder they lost almost all their people towards the end. I like to run my own race. That’s the point of training runs…to develop your own race “style”.
Congrats! great job!!!
Running on Faith says
At the time, the fellow “motivating” runners who try to pick you up towards the end of the race annoy me, BUT once I finish, I am so grateful. It is crazy what thoughts we put in our heads towards the end and the extra outside push we need to finish. Great job and congrats on the PR!
Congratulations on a PR. I read the past few posts and know you were a tad upset about not getting a BQ finish – or the 3:50, but you still did A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I have to say, a lot has changed with this marathon. It used to be a double LOOP course. I loathe the loops courses. Also, the medals are much nicer and I like the way they have your name on the BIB! I know that sounds corny, but I think it’s neat.
Congratulations again!!! And BTW, it’s a 6-minute PR in my books. HA.
Thank you! I know I shouldn’t complain about the sun, since last year’s weather was way more brutal. I loathe a 2-loop course too but the second half was rough. Few spectators, not very scenic…and no shade.
The medal was awesome and so was the race T. I love when races put your name on the bib too. I don’t think it’s corny…it’s great!
Great recap. Looks like you were following your plan pretty closely and then the sun and leg issues just got to you.
I used pace groups for my first 2 or 3 marathons, because I wasn’t confident in my own ability and just wanted to zone out and follow along someone else who was doing all the thinking about pace. I’ve never been able to stay with them past mile 15ish. When I go back and look at my early splits from those races, they were all going CRAZY fast.
I’ve also been there done that on seeing a slower-than-I-planned/wanted-to-be pace group go by me in the later miles and then I just thought “ok, I can hang with them, I can do this”. But I couldn’t. And that is SO discouraging at that point.
With better weather, you have a faster time in you for sure.
But a 6 minute PR off of an already good time is AMAZING! Recover well, enjoy those Irish beers and then back to it!
Thanks for sharing your experiences with pace groups. I started to feel bad because I was trashing them but I really don’t trust them. It amazes me how people run all their training runs solo, sign up for a pace group, and put their “fate” into someones else’s hands. I think you either love ’em or hate ’em.
Nice job! Looked like a beautiful day for it as well! Ireland will be a blast! Have so much fun!
Congrats on the PR! Sorry you didn’t have the race you wanted, but you still totally kicked ass. Nice job!
Thanks Beth….and so did you! I’m so impressed!!!!! That’s a BQ, right? I can’t wait to read the race recap!
You did great girl!!! I know it wasn’t the time you hoped, but you still ran a great race and PRed so you should be very proud 🙂 hope you are recovering well!!
Congratulations on the PR!! I’m sorry you had a tough second half (and especially a tough last 6 miles) but the fact that you pushed through the problems with your quad and STILL PR’d is amazing!! I hope you are feeling much better now. You are so close to that BQ!!
And in terms of pace groups – I experienced the same thing with my last marathon!! They were going out way too fast! It was so frustrating, because I had hoped to stay with them. And then when I was about a mile from the finish, a leader of a pace group that I thought I was going to beat (I was calculating that I’d come in faster based on my splits) suddenly passed me. It freaked me out so much that I had to run over and ask him if he was really running the pace he said he was – to which he replied ‘no” I don’t know – I can’t speak to what actually went on in the group and maybe the people running with him wanted to go faster, but my feeling is – if you say you’re going to be running a certain pace, then you should stick to it!
That’s ridiculous! I keep reading more and more comments that are similar to yours. I will never run with one…I just don’t trust them!
Jess @ Blonde Ponytail says
Kristy! YWay to power through this marathon! CONGRATULATIONS on your PR! You had to be mentally tough with an injury like that…glad SNOT ROCKET pulled you along!
I know you will nail that BQ in the future…every race is a learning experience!
congrats, kristy!!! it’s so frustrating when a race doesn’t quite go as planned – the other comment you included in your other post really summed it up – but still, a 6 minute PR is great and i’m glad you’re resting up and feeling good post -race. have an amazing time in ireland!!