I have time to write a timely race report b/c I don't have to get up early to run tomorrow!! It's OFF SEASON BABY!!!
First of all, those internet race predictors should be banned. Flat out banned. They don't work. You could have taken my predicted time per the calculator and added 15 minutes to it and you would have had my race time. And I trained! A lot! Very useful tool (not). I seriously don't want to look at one ever again.
Anyway, J4 and I drove to Philadelphia yesterday and we got a suite (free upgrade!) at the Sheraton a mile from the starting line. It was a madhouse in the hotel and no rooms were ready on time and I've never seen it that crazy before (I stay there for work sometimes) but it all worked out. J4 and I don't typically spend too much time in hotel rooms when we travel but this time we did and having the suite was awesome. It was just more space (we had a table we could eat dinner on-we brought pasta) and when I couldn't sleep (b/c it was early) I went and read in our tv room so I wouldn't bother J4 (who can sleep any time). PLUS, the location was super super amazing.
Race morning, THIS MORNING, we had breakfast, checked the weather on the tv and our phones, debated clothing choices, used the restroom as many times as we wanted, and then at 6:30 AM walked over to the race start and got in our corrals for the 7 AM start. Easy peasy.
AND WE WERE OFF!
The race was crowded. Annoying crowded. I had no space until mile 2.5. I saw one person fall at mile 1 and another fall equally hard at mile 12 when the road narrowed again. It was too many people. J4 on the other hand, maybe b/c he was in a faster corral(?), didn't have issues during the race. I also saw some pictures a friend took of him running and he had plenty of space. But I felt uncomfortably crowded.
I started off at 7:38 min/mile pace. This would lead me to a 3:20 marathon. I held the pace (barely) until 10K. It felt okay...but also a bit hard. I started to slow. There are big hills in the first 1/2. I hit the 1/2 way mark around 1:42. Shortly before this point the 3:25 pace group passed me. I tried to stay with them but...I did not. And my ankle (the bad one) hurt. It hurts when there are hills. And there were hills on this "flat and fast" course they advertised!
But I kept the faith and kept on trucking. My pace kept slowing and, for me, the worst miles were 15-19. I thought: Oh my god. This does not feel good and there is a lot left to race and, frankly, I'm scared-of feeling horrible; of not finishing; of having an awful race. And disappointed. I was far off my mark. So yeah, there was some self-doubt.
BUT THEN, I hit mile 20 and two things happened. I went from feeling poorly (requiring a lot of effort to maintain my pace) to actually hurting AND I got faster. To address the first point, every step hurt lots of different places in both legs. To the second point, I was almost done!!! This is what I trained for and my training and the rest of the race was just a build-up to THESE 6 miles. This was the big show-and I could do it. I dropped my pace to around 8:21-8:06 and soldiered on.
This was a very exciting part of the race for me b/c I could start to do math and see if could hold on for a sub-3:30. I did not drink very much during the last four miles b/c I figured I would only waste seconds at the crowded water stops as the water woudn't hit me in time to help anything anyway.
I hit mile 25 and dropped my pace to sub-8 min/miles. I DID NOT forget about the .2 at the end as I did my math and I made sure I hustled. I hit mile 26 and saw a sub-3:30 would be close. I wanted to look at my watch again. NO AUDREY. SOMEONE ELSE IS TIMING YOU SO JUST GET TO THE FINISH LINE AS FAST AS YOU CAN. LOOKING AT YOUR WATCH WILL NOT MAKE YOU FASTER RIGHT NOW SINCE YOU ARE OFFICIALLY INSTRUCTED TO SPRINT.
I hustled in at a 7:15 min/mile pace for a 3:29:37 finish (8:00 min/mile pace overall).
How do I feel about that? During the race I thought...I cannot believe I trained so hard and this is not going well. Afterwards I thought...I trained really hard and this is supposed to be fun and I am proud of myself for holding it together at the end and I got a 7 minute PR and I feel really happy about it. I do feel really happy. I truly don't care I am not a faster marathoner. And it is just supposed to be fun and it kind of was...as much fun as a marathon can be :) It was nice to make some progress as a marathoner.
J4 pointed out...well since you haven't done a single long run mile at 7:38 pace (or anything sub-8) it probably makes send you can't run a marathon at that pace. Point J4.
I have no interest in another marathon any time soon :) J4 ran a 3:11 and wants a BQ so he may do a spring marathon. I am not.
But the first thing I am going to do is have some wine, and chocolate. Did I mentioned I'm in my off-season? Oh, and I am VERY SORE. I am concerned tomorrow is going to feel not so good...