Posted: Yesterday at 23:05
The day leading up to the event was not ideal. The race was 3+ hrs away and near my in-laws place (we stayed w/them the night before the race). Had a hard time finding the start on Saturday afternoon as my Garmin couldn't recognize the address and had scrambled the streets. But saw some landmarks and figured I'd be OK on race morning. Dinner plans w/my wife's family that night went wrong and I ended up eating something questionable and not getting to bed until late. Then my father-in-law got calls starting at 2 am (he was on call w/the hospital) and I ended up with about 3 hrs of sleep (maybe). Arrived at the race in pitch black darkness and in a massive traffic jam of racers (and I was lost!). Ended up just barely making it to the start line. No proper warm up and I have to admit was not in a great state of mind in the corral.
Race day weather was a mixed bag. Temps were in the mid40s (good) but winds were 16-20 mph (not so good). There were about 1500 runners total and the course was a double loop.
I set out at a very steady 7:15 pace. HR surprisingly was not too high and the pace didn't feel taxing. Despite this, my calves felt weird (tight/tired?) and in the back of my mind I wondered if I'd have some problems later. I ended up partnering with another runner in the second mile and we basically paced each other and talked to stay loose. Miles 4-8 were directly into the wind and uphill, then we looped back the way we had come and got a nice break from the wind. Came through the halfway point at 1:35:56, so about a minute off 3:10 pace. Because this was a double loop course, I kept seeing the later miles on the first loop (e.g. mile 10 also had mile 20 shown). I remember at mile 10 thinking I would be hard pressed to simply finish (if it really were 20 already) and wondering how I’d feel in 10 more miles when it actually was the 20 mile mark. But I kept checking my HR and it stayed in the upper 150s (79-80% max) through all these miles and that gave me confidence that I could feel better later (and I knew my training should hold).
I lost my partner at mile 14 (he just disappeared after looking so fresh) so joined a new pack that came surging up to me. Then the pack eroded to myself and one other from 16 to 18. We were just cruising by people by this point. When we made the final turn (out of the wind) at mile 18 I had a huge mental lift. My new companion was running his first marathon and was feeling wildly euphoric. I have to admit this is when I really started to feel good, but knew I had to be careful as everything can change so quickly. We now started slowly dialing up the pace. Mile 19 was 7:09, miles 20 and 21 were 7:10 (yet my HR was still sitting at 160!). Mile 22 was 7:01 (and my last running companion hit the wall). I remember thinking that I may still have a shot at 3:10. Then I turned into the wind again. At mile 23 my legs finally began to feel heavy, but I knew the only thing that could get me now would be cramps. My mind was still focused and amazingly I felt like I was on a fast finish LR (as opposed to the end of the marathon). Racing now…Mile 24 7:12, mile 25 7:02, mile 26 6:59. Rounded the final corner at 5:50 pace and was howling. Saw the clock at 3:10:10. Could I have missed sub-3:10 by 10 seconds?!! Took me a minute to figure it out, but had forgotten about the staggered start!
Chip time: 3:09:56
Final stats: 1st half 1:35:56, 2nd half 1:34:00, HR ave 160 (80%). And an 11 minute PB to boot.
Boston 2016 awaits!