I came into this marathon with the hopes of qualifying for Boston. I needed to run a 3:15 which I thought was possible. I also knew I wasn’t sure how my body would respond after about 18-20 miles. I ended up with a 3:30 marathon time but as you will see below my time was really closer to 3:20.
I came into this marathon with a lot of racing miles under my belt since mid August. This was my fifth ‘A’ race in the last ten weeks. Which included Timberman; a 1/2 Ironman (8/17), a 20K running race (9/1), Reach The Beach (9/12-9/13), and Ironman Chattanooga (9/28). Of those previous four I performed well at three of them. Only the Labor Day race was a little bit of a disappointment because I couldn’t get my legs to turn over.
I raced the week after IMCHOO and put in a strong effort. The week after I paced someone at the Hartford 1/2 Marathon. Then last weekend (10/18) I pushed my son in a stroller for a fun 5K where we placed second overall and first in my age group. We had a time of 20:57. That took a lot of out me but I recovered in time for the marathon.
The night before the race I drove up and stayed in Exeter, NH. It was a beautiful hotel. I had dinner there then caught up with a friend for a drink from my Ironman group.
Sunday morning I woke up about 4 AM. I had my 2 bottles of Ensure, Oatmeal, and a cup of coffee. I drove to the race and got there about 6 AM. We were getting shuttled about a mile away from the race. Normally I consider this to be a pain but with a small race it wasn’t an issue at all.
The good news is we were able to hang out inside before the race started. The temps were fine. I brought a ton of cloths so I was prepared for all conditions. I ended up wearing shorts, a long sleeve thin tech shirt, and my cycling jersey over it. I love wearing my cycling jersey because it has three pockets and it’s easy to carry GU’s in them. I also ran with my iPhone.
The course was two loops and the race started at 7:30. We lined up at about 7:20 and a few of us made small talk with what our plans were and trying to work together. We were in the 7:25 (3:14/3:15) per minute mile pace group. We met our pacer who was only around for the first 1/2 and then another person would take over for the second half. This kind of annoys me. I get why they do this but I prefer to have one person run the whole thing. I wanted to run with a 7:15 (3:10) pace group but one didn’t exist.
Once the race started we had a group of about 5-7 that was going to stay in the pace group. Our pacer had another girl with her learning how to pace. Within the first 1/4 mile I look at my watch and realize were averaging 6:45 for the first mile. I looked at the guy next to me, David (We chatted about working together), and said “this isn’t going to work”. We slowed down a bit to do a 7:14 minute mile for the first mile. I was okay with this pace but then the second mile we did 7:32 so we were averaging 7:23 overall.
Over the next 5-6 miles I stayed in formation and just went with the pace. A few of us were studying the course so we knew what to expect the second lap. A few of us made an agreement to make our move at mile 16 because the course was fairly flat and wasn’t as rolling the first few miles.
I spend a lot of time looking at my watch during the beginning of a race. I am mostly concerned about my heart rate. I never want to peg it especially on hills. I really felt pretty good overall. I could feel my upper legs were a bit sore and it could have been from pushing my son on the 5K. I am not sure though. I felt this around mile 5 but it wasn’t slowing me down. I remember it going away but wasn’t sure when.
Around mile 8 I decided to go. I just wanted to go a little faster. I was hoping to bank some time and then if I slowed down I would be able to hold on. Miles 8- 18 went according to plan. At the 1/2 way point my time was 1:35:32 with an average of 7:17.
At mile 18 I could feel my legs starting to tire out. I still ran a BQ mile (7:21) but they weren’t responding. Once I completed mile 19 I knew I wasn’t going to BQ. I thought I had enough in me to complete it in 3:20.
At mile 23 I got passed by the 7:25 pacer. He asked me to come along. My legs weren’t going anywhere. :).
The last 2 miles and change are on a dirt path. By mile 24 my legs were spent. My last two miles were slower at this marathon than they were at Ironman last month. I do think my nutrition wasn’t good enough for the last few miles. This would have made the difference to finish at about 3:20 but not enough to qualify.
The last mile:
I tripped in the last mile and became light headed. I actually pulled a chest muscle as well. I thought I was going to pass out but was able to keep moving forward. It was almost surreal. Here I was pretty close to qualifying and right at that moment I thought I wasn’t going to finish. I will fix my nutrition for these last few miles for the next marathon.
Where do I go from here?
I talked to a few people including Todd. I have raced a ton over the last 10 weeks. I know my body needs some rest but I also know I need another 20 miler run in me before my next marathon in December. I have a race this weekend then I plan to get back to training before I go to Texas. I need to get back to basics. I want to put in a solid 3 1/2 weeks of training then look to peak again for Texas.
Below is a break down of my mile splits….