So does that mean I had a bad day on Sunday? No. It was a spectacular day. I felt good. The virus that has been plaguing our home seemed to lift Saturday, I've been getting a reasonable amount of sleep (6-7 hours), and there was nothing wrong with my legs. All great omens come race day. The weather was beautiful being sunny and 50-58 degrees during the race. The 3:07:11 time I posted is a 4.5 minute personal record, and I was the 3rd female finisher. Coming in 3rd really made the day. I might have been a tiny bit disappointed that I didn't go under 3:05 had I not had such a nice finishing place.
If I was feeling ready to go, the course was flat and fast, and the weather was cool, then why wasn't I able to post my initial goal? Well, it was probably a combination of going out too fast and a nasty headwind. My first mile was 6:52, which was good, but by the 8 mile mark I was averaging slightly under 6:45 pace. That was based on the race clocks not my Garmin (looking through my Garmin splits it reports some of my miles being in the 6:37 range). I didn't look at my Garmin at all during the race. I tried to run more by feel, but I guess I was getting a little a head of myself. I crossed the half around 1:29, which I didn't think was too too fast, but there was also a 14 mph headwind for a good stretch of the course. The course is a loop done twice, so there were portions with a tailwind too, but from what I've read the two don't cancel each other out. A runner doesn't gain the same benefit with a tailwind, as the deficit that is acquired with a headwind. You can check out the Daniel's calculator where you can enter headwinds and tailwinds and predict what times might have been. Using the Daniels calculator and guessing that roughly half course had a tailwind and half had a headwind, it seems I might lost 3-4 minutes there. That combined with running a little faster than I should have for the first half probably accounts for my finishing time. My legs were dead after about 17-18 miles, and by the time I hit 20 I was telling myself to "just keep running". Really the finish couldn't come fast enough. My two final miles were 8:10ish (and I was surprised they were that fast), because at the time it felt like I was running slower than 10 minute pace.
Now I would hate for anyone to think that I'm complaining. I am so happy! Overall, my race experience was great. There were a good number of men running near me, and they were all supportive. Guys passing would say things like "you're crushing this race" or "you're awesome". A few times I found myself in a group of guys, and they were always friendly. Spectators seemed excited to see the "3rd female". So as much as the last 8 miles were a suffer fest (which was probably my own fault), everyone was just amazing. My parents, Nick, and the kids were all at the finish. And I ran a 4.5 minute PR! It really was a great day.
Running the race also made me realize even more how great the Greater Lowell Road Runners (GLRR) are. (The GLRR hosts the BayState Marathon.) Technically I'm member of the GLRR, but I don't really participate. I just don't have the time right now (or my priorities are just elsewhere at the moment), but every single person I've met from the group is so nice. Some are fast and some aren't, but all of them are great.
Here are some post race pictures! I'm sure they're boring to you, but it's the first time I remembered to take some pics with my phone after a big race, so I'm excited to have them!
Ahhh, family photo!
Nana and Grampy get in on the action
My ladies and me :)
And Nick and me
What's next you ask? Some rest and recovery for now. Then I have my sights set on Boston, though I don't know that Boston is the course for me set any crazy PR's, but a solid time would set me up nicely for another go of it next Fall. :)