My 1st official marathon is in the books. It didn't go exactly according to plan, but I completed it and I am happy with the effort that I gave. I finished in 3:19:53 (7:37 / mile), a little off pace from my goal of 3:05 (7:03 / mile), but it is what it is.
Mother Nature wasn't overly cooperative yesterday with 20+ MPH winds at times, although upper 30 degree temps throughout the race were nice. My training partner, Keith, and I made our way close to the front for the 10am start. We both opted to run with our camel packs to avoid having to use the water stops and have a place to store our food. The first mile was a little too fast (6:46) as we escaped the crowds. From there we settled into a low 6:50 pace for the next 3 or 4 miles.
At the 10K point, I jokingly said "only 20 miles to go" and got a couple of nasty looks from runners struggling to get through the half marathon. After we passed mile 8 we had the one true hill on the course and to add insult to injury we had to take it directly into a crazy headwind. Most of the runners around us were all trying to tuck in behind the biggest person they could find in order to minimize the damage. During the last few miles of the 1st lap we eased off a little, but we had already put a significant hurt on our legs running that hard. At this point Keith mentioned he was going to have to make pit stop for the porta-pottie so we started to ease off goal pace and just do our best from there on out.
I went through the half in just under 1:31 (1 min, 30 second faster then goal pace -- 53 seconds slower then my half marathon goal from last year). Between 13 and 15 I held pretty strong but my legs were starting to die. I slowed some but kept moving well and enjoyed the personal attention from the remaining fans on the course. For the entire 1st lap, it was pretty crowded and there was almost no one around on the 2nd lap.
Just after the 18.5 mark I fell off of goal pace. Happy to have held it that long, the new goal was to finish without walking. Unfortunately 3 miles later I hit the one hill on the course again and between the slight climb and the crazy wind I had to take a break. From there on it was a battle. Keith caught back up to me around mile 24 and we jogged together with a few shorts breaks until I sent him off around mile 25.
The last quarter mile was awesome with all my friends and their friends yelling my name out as I went around the last few turns. After crossing the finish I just looked for the closest chair and sat down.
Looking back, my goal was definitely too aggressive. Even after running two 50K trail runs last year, I am still not overly comfortable running that far, not to mention at an aggressive speed. But I am happy to haven given it a go and I am confident that I can get my time down some with more training.
Special thanks too Matt and Rike for putting us up, all my friends for racing and / or supporting us, and Amy for the pep talks and being supportive of my crazy adventures.
Next up: Velox Rota Indoor Time Trial at Fast Splits on 3/24