Beautiful day for a marathon! Low 40's, very light wind, and no lingering aches/pains. For the most part I ran a solid race, keeping up with the 3hr pace group for 16 miles before shifting to 7min pace and then still felt decent until mile 24. Cramping began to take place with my left hamstring, yet I was able to battle through the final 3 miles (7:49,8:12,8:25) enough to still pr by over 2 minutes (literally galluped mile 26...this does wonders for crowd response!). I'll give a full race report later in the day...
Wide awake at 4:30 am and got up at 5:20. Walked with Ed and Jodi (my wife) about a mile to the starting gate. Each of us talked through our goals- Ed wanted a 3:10-15, Jodi (half) would be satisfied with a 2:10, and I wanted a pr (sub-3:09), yet felt it was attainable enough to aggressively see what I could do (willing to semi-"crash and burn" to test my system). Although things seemed well organized, we cut it close with pit stop, baggage check, and trying to figure out how to get in the proper corral. Made it w/7 minutes to spare! Opening ceremonies included a "rah-rah" moment from Bart Yasso and we were off!
Mile 1: 6:30 (I'd almost forgotten the magic of a taper- too fast, but felt great!)
Mile 2: 6:35 (light rolling hills- very small)
Mile 3: 6:33 (slight downhill...feeling quite comfortable)
Mile 4: 6:43 (slight uphill)
Mile 5: 6:45 (slight up...still feeling great)
Mile 6: 6:54 (1/3 mile stronger hill...people were slowing down...maybe 1/2 marathoners? seemed like I was passing quite a few on this stretch)
Mile 7: 6:42 (nice downhill, followed by light rollers...oh yeah took my first gu/chocolate)
Mile 8: 6:54 (slight uphill and pleasantly surprised I was still doing sub-7's)
Mile 9: 6:41 (slight downhill...really feeling good- new it may not last much longer)
Mile 10: 7:00 (All uphill...nothing steep, but took note of my first 7-minute mile)
Mile 11: 6:42 (light rollers...wow, I'm still feeling fine!)
Mile 12: 6:50 (slight uphill section...took a 2nd gu)
Mile 13: 6:51 (pretty flat)
*Half marathon point: 1:29:06ish? That would be an almost effortless pr for me for 1/2.
Mile 14: 6:38 (flat...where did this come from? Knew I couldn't keep the pace up much longer, yet felt no danger of a "crash and burn")
Mile 15: 6:53 (slight down...I knew this would probably be my last sub-7)
Mile 16: 7:01 (happy with the time, considering I literally stopped to drink 2 gatorades...a little annoyed by a fellow who decided to forearm me in the back, but hey, I stopped, so I'll take it without issue)
Mile 17: 7:00 (got passed by the sub-3hr group and kept them in close view for about a mile)
Mile 18: 7:13 (steep uphill/all relative, but steep for this race...lost hope of keeping the sub-3 folks in range...3rd gu)
Mile 19: 7:14 (flat...hoped I could keep this pace to the finish...thought it was possible)
Mile 20: 7:19 (flat...ok focus on form)
Mile 21: 7:26 (flat..now my new goal is keeping everything at 7:30 pace)
Mile 22: 7:36 (flat...so much for my last goal...ok focus on 7:30 pace)
Mile 23: 7:37 (slight down...could of sworn I was going faster!)
Mile 24: 7:49 (steady uphill...a bit discouraging...felt like a lot of effort w/legs for little return...my systems fine, but my legs are dying...tried to put mind over manner and pick up the pace, since I really had no fear of a "crash", just knew my legs would hurt a bit- determined at the mile marker to kick it into a new gear and just gut it out...maybe a 3:05 or 6 in the cards?)
Mile 25: 8:12 (still a slight uphill, but maybe 7:30ish left...all lost with a bit of a twinge in the left hamstring...battling to keep form and not pull something...no longer focussed on time, just wanting to finish without an injury)
Mile 26: 8:25 (slight up, almost flat- feeling a little silly. There's definitely something with the left hamstring- maybe a cramp? Found relief by literally galluping. Maybe not as bad watching as I felt it looked...well, maybe just as silly looking as I felt, but then noticed more people calling out my name than before- bib's had first names printed on them. Upon positive crowd response I may have begun to exaggerate the gallup a bit, but felt a rush with about a 1/2 mile left in the race. Began galluping past a 1/2 dozen or so people.
Last portion: Don't know exactly the time. However, the clock was pretty close to a 3:07 and I promised my daughters who had predicted my time that I would break all of their predictions (their lowest being a 3:07). As I barrelled in towards the finish line, I unashamingly limped passed a woman, probably in her 40's, who looked much more in control of things than me, but my pride was still on the line. My garmin had me finishing 26.4 mile in 3:06:54...the official time was a 3:06:59 (that last second is worth an entire minute for me in so many different ways!)
Overall, I was satisfied with the course, my effort, and even the time (yes, a pr!). Ed finished in 3:15 (6th in his age division) and my wife ran an impressive 19 minute pr for a half (2:01). For the first time in about 2 years I feel as though I'm in position to have a "break out" race/marathon. I now have 3 years worth of base training (starting 3 years ago today- did a 3 day training program for a local "Turkey Trot"- finished 10k in just over 50 minutes). This past Fall was the strongest I've felt and finally feel as though 70/weeks are managable (vs. always sore and on the verge of injury/breakdown). This blog has been very helpful for my training- insight, encouragement, and inspiritation- even from those who may not even realize I exist (great to read the training of those who are stronger or more experienced runners than myself as well as observe the progress of so many of you at many different levels). Thanks to those who've already commented and I look forward to be part of this community going into the 2011 season!