Ran the BQ and improved PR by around 20 minutes. Short report: Race went pretty good didn't feel my best but held a good pace most of the way. I gave back some time the last 6 miles but not too bad. Rolling hills were taking there toll on this flat lander. Now I have to drive 6 hours home. More later....
First of all I have to thank everyone on the blog that has given my advice and for the examples that they have set in their training. I know that I wouldn't have achieved the BQ without you.
Slept pretty good and woke up early for a light breakfast before the race. I was feeling pretty good and because I got up early didn't enjoy the waiting around to start. I was ready to get going. The weather was good with around 32 at the start, sunny with some light wind. My main goal on the race was to get the BQ and if I felt good maybe run a little faster. Taking some advice that Jeff gave me earlier to have 3 goals for the race depending on how I felt I would decide after the first few miles if I felt good enough to push it some or settle back to my main goal of just getting the BQ. Since my main goal was the BQ and a little over 7:30 pace was my BQ pace I decided to go out around this pace and see how I felt. Then if I felt good go for the other goal which was 3:15. Here is how it played out:
1st, 2nd - 14:51 (missed the first mile split, I was running real easy at this point but my legs felt flat and that concerned me. Decided at this point that I would try to run 7:30 pace and not push for anything faster. This turned out to be a great decision)
3rd - 7:18 (a little faster than I wanted but still trying to settle into the right pace)
4th - 7:29 (back on pace)
5th - 7:25
6th - 7:29
7th - 7:23
8th - 7:24
9th - 7:21 (slight downhill)
10th - 7:28 (miles 10 thru 13 were into the wind and I was mostly by myself so even though it wasn't that windy still enough to notice)
11th - 7:21
12th - 7:27
13th - 7:23
14th - 7:27
15th - 7:24
16th - 7:37 (this mile was all up hill and the biggest hill on the course)
17th - 7:41 (still running up the hill)
18th - 7:21
19th - 7:23
20th - 7:35 (starting to feel the rolling hills. Any time that I was going up I slowed down)
21st - 7:53 (probably my worst mile. There was a long gradual hill and I lost some focus here. Had to get my mind back on the target and get going again)
22nd - 7:39
23rd - 7:50 (trying to hold it together but my legs were really feeling it. Didn't have a whole lot left)
24th - 7:44 (Still struggling but starting to believe that I had the BQ if I could just keep moving)
25th - 7:56 (I wanted to push to the finish but just couldn't get the legs to move like I wanted to)
26th and .2 - 9:43 (right as I passed the mile maker I got a pretty good cramp in my left calf. I thought to myself "you gotta be kidding me." At this point I knew that I had the BQ if I could hold any kind of pace but that didn't include having to deal with a cramp in the leg or it getting so bad that I would be forced to walk. Luckily I slowed down a little and after about a minute or 2 it went away. After that I tried to pick it back up to the finish but didn't want to get the cramp again so just held it together to the finish)
I was happy to get the BQ and the 20 minute PR especially on a day that I didn't feel I had my best stuff. I felt like I did a good job holding back for the half of the race because at that point I could have pushed it harder and I am sure that I would have paid for it later. This is also the first time that I felt like I held it together pretty good to the finish. My pace did fall off over the last 6 miles but it wasn't real bad. I am still unsure about this whole marathon thing. I feel like I should be able to do better than I do especially based on shorter distance races that I have run. But the good thing is I have ran 3 marathons and been faster in each one and for someone my age I guess that has to be considered success.
The 6 hour drive home by myself wasn't too much fun but I did get to call a lot of friends and family to tell them about the race. But the stop at DQ for the Reese's peanut butter cup blizzard was pretty nice.