My attempt at getting excited for the race...painted nails
Pre-race taping and stuff
There were 3 weeks of tapering. And I actually ran less miles than planned all 3 weeks. I wanted to make sure I was well rested and when (in those weeks) I felt tired, I ran less. I figured by the time tapering comes being tough isn't all that beneficial.
The week before the race was difficult. Besides being nervous, my right knee randomly started bothering me, my right IT band randomly started to feel tight, I got my period, my asthma was acting up, and I seemed to be fighting off a cold. I iced, stretched, rolled, rested, took my vitamins, took my inhalers, and did my best not to waste my energy worrying about things out my immediate control.
I tried to get excited for the race by watching "The Spirit of the Marathon", but other than the parts about Deena Kastor, I didn't find it particularly inspiring. I was actually a bit nervous that I didn't feel more emotion regarding the upcoming race. I was stuck in my engineer mindset (completely logical, practical, and emotionless).
I did all the normal stuff. My parents picked me up. (Thank you mom and dad!) The last hour was really annoying. I just wanted to start...
My goal for the first mile was to make sure that I didn't run too hard. I kept checking my Garmin because people were flying by me. My first mile was 7:11. Hmmm, could that be too fast? Well, given that the Garmin is always a little off and that my breathing was excellent, I thought I was probably okay. I wanted to be cautious though, so I made an effort to ever so slightly let up on the pace. And I did that. My mile 5 was a 7:20, but then I decided I didn't want to get complaisant either, so I made an effort to ever so slightly increase my effort. And I did.
I felt in control the whole race. My asthma turned out to be fine (though I made an effort not to talk knowing that exacerbates it), my knee and IT band were fine. The one issue I did have was a cramp in my side. The kind you get when you drink too much water, but I hadn't drank too much. That cramp traveled with me starting at mile 5 through the rest of race right to the finish, but as far as things go that's no so bad. Just uncomfortable.
I didn't feel great, but I didn't feel bad either. I don't find running marathon pace easy. I also (in a way) find the first half of race to be more difficult than the second half. I think a lot about how the second half will be harder and the fact that first half isn't easy...well this mentally takes a toll on me. Anyway, I crossed the first half at 1:35:30 (according to the race clock, so it was actually 1:35:23 for me). I was quite pleased. All my training had been geared towards a 7:20 marathon pace which is a 3:12 finishing time, so it was a great half point time. I spent the next mile or so thinking about seeing Nick. He was waiting around the 14 mile marker to switch my bottles. Poor guy, he was stressed about getting the bottle swap right, which went just fine. (Thank you Nick for everything you did to make my race go smooth! I love you soooo much!) Then I was on my own until the finish. Once I hit mile 14, my mental game got better. I thought "12 miles. I've done a ton of 12 miler MP runs. I can do this."
Once I hit 16 miles, my confidence grew (though my legs started to feel tired). I had run so many 10 milers, and I ran 10 miler MP runs the day after almost all my long runs (on tired legs). So I thought, "Yes, my legs are getting tired, but I can do this. I did this all the time in training." When I hit 18 miles, I thought, "At most, I have a little over an hour to go. I can do that." I was slowly passing people. People were starting to fade, but I just kept pushing. It felt controlled and consistent.
I hit 20 miles, and then there was just a 10K left. Less than 50 minutes for sure...my legs were starting to feel tired, my hips were a bit tight, but overall I was just fine. 21, 22, 23 miles past. It was at 24 miles that I really started to feel tired. I was getting warm, but I kept dumping water on myself which helped. I just told myself that I had less than 20 minutes left, and obviously I can handle anything for 20 minutes. It wasn't until the last half mile that I really felt like I was fading. People were yelling only half a mile to go, and I was thinking "sigh, I don't really feel like running anymore." Then I started thinking, "just 4 minutes, just 4 minutes, just 4 minutes." Then with about 100 meters to go, I saw the clock...and started hauling. That clock read 3:11:xx, and I thought "I want to break 3:12." The clock read 3:12:00 when I finished, and I forgot to stop my watch so I wasn't sure until later day if I had actually broken 3:12. My official time was 3:11:53!
My parents and Nick and Kaylee were all at the finish. Nick gave me a hug, and I started to tear up a little. This was the first marathon I've run that I felt like I was actually able to meet my goal. I had trained for a 3:12, actually hoping to run 3:15 (because to run a good marathon I have to train harder than the calculators seem to think I should.) I trained so hard for this marathon, got lucky enough to also have a good day, and am so happy with my time. Now I'm looking forward to not training for a marathon, running a 5K in few weeks, and a 10K on Thanksgiving.
Splits for anyone interested
So there are the Garmin splits, which reported me running 26.52 miles at 7:14 pace, which would be super cool, but I know the Garmin was off a bit. I'm assuming the course is not long. I've assumed that Garmin error is about the same for each mile (which may or may not be the case), and normalized my reported Garmin results to reflect what my splits probably were based on my finishing pace of 7:20 per mile. Mostly it just gives an idea of where in the race I might have been struggling or not struggling...
|Mile||Recorded Garmin splits||Normalized based on official time|