I signed up for the July 4th Foot Traffic Flat Marathon a few months ago with hopes of using the flat course as an attempt to qualify for next year's Boston Marathon. So, with my BQ already in hand (smiley face), I had no other choice but to use this race as an attempt for a new world record.
Goal A - smash world record
Goal B - barely beat world record
Goal C - run under 3 hrs
Goal D - not get heat stroke and die
Lots of porta-potties and a beautiful sunrise: a runner's dream
Sadie going over race strategy with me
I started off very, very strong, but (and I'm not ashamed to say this) I fell off world record pace early. Some days you just don't have it.
So the next goal was to go under 3 hrs. I ran 3:03 last month and figured all I had to do was run a little faster this time. So that's what I did. After my dreams of a world record were shattered in only a few footsteps, I decided to settle in at a 6:30mile/min pace. "Let's see what you can do with this," I said to myself in third-person.
I feel pretty new and inexperienced running these faster paces. Just this year I ran a 5k in 19:30 (6:16mile/min pace), and I think that's just about the first time I'd ever recorded myself running a 6-anything pace. If previous years were about how many miles I could run, then this year has started to become about seeing how fast I can actually run these miles. I suppose it's simply about pushing boundaries.
So I kept at 6:30min/mile pace for the first 13 miles, but never felt 100% comfortable. I felt like I was just about at my limit the entire time, like I was just waiting for a wheel to fall off. But the 1:25 split at the half gave me some confidence as I had given myself a little bit of a buffer for the expected slow-down during the second half.
Sure enough, I hit a low spot around mile 17. It was warming up, I didn't know if I was drinking too much water or too little, and I thought for sure that I was within a minute from just shutting down and going for a long walk. Not only did I believe 3 hrs was out of the question, but I was wondering if 4 hrs was doable if I just walked the rest of the way. I may not be the most experienced runner, but I have run enough so far to know that these lows are often temporary. So I kept pushing until mile 20 ("Just get to mile 20, then it's just a 10k to the finish," I kept telling myself), though my overall pace had slipped to around 6:38min/mile.
Around mile 20 I had pushed through the low (after a short walk through an aid station while pouring a few cups of cold water on my head and back) and I knew I was back in business.
My feet were hurting, but I kept pushing. A couple times I nearly lost my stomach.
3 miles to go. Tired. Sore. Hurting. Hot. But locked in a 6:40min/mile pace.
1.5 miles to go. I caught up with another marathoner (it had been 10 miles of running around half-marathoners). It was nice to pace off him. I had been running solo the entire race. We ran in together.
Finish time: 2:55:23. 8/395 overall. 3rd age group. (full results)
A sub-3 marathon. Another PR. Wow, it's been some kind of year. I sure am enjoying it.
This was the most sore I've been after a marathon. This was the hardest I've pushed myself in a marathon. I think if I trained properly for speed (instead of simply "trying to run faster") I could knock several more minutes of this time. But for now I'm happy with where I'm at as a runner. I'm having a lot of fun. I'm enjoying every minute of it. Not much more I can ask for.
I have a few ultras coming up next, and then a lot of training for my upcoming Chile adventure.
Happy Birthday USA!
View from the drive home - the beautiful Columbia River Gorge
Hope everyone is having a run-filled summer. Keep running!