There was no 3:30 pacer. 3:35- yes. 3:25- yes! NO 3:30.
Considering the fact that I owed my last goal hitting marathon to the 3:40 pacers, I was devastated. I had only run 1 other marathon, and I was nervous thinking that if I wanted to hit my 3:30 goal, that I would have to do it on. my. own.
I grabbed a 3:25 pace band just in case I decided I was feeling fast that day.
I *attempted* to eat healthy that day (and in the week leading up to the race). I had a 12" turkey sub from Subway for lunch and a 6" turkey sub and banana for dinner. Subway is the recipe for success, I tell you!
I kept debating about what shoes to wear for the marathon. Nike Trainers? New Balance Minimus? I wore the minimus shoes for my last marathon, but I hadn't been training as much with them this time around. Ultimately my husband made the decision for me and I set out my Nikes- best not to change what you practiced.
At about 10:30 PM is when I started panicking about the pacer all over again. I just didn't feel like it was smart to try to do a 3:25 when I hadn't been training for it, so I madly created my own pace band using the splits that Billy created for me and finished at 11PM- just in time for Pepto and bed.
I slept okay- thanks to taking a melatonin- but woke at 3:15AM and just waited for my alarm at 3:45AM to get out of bed. I've learned over the last 2 1/2 years that lack of sleep doesn't affect race performance. I began my early morning race routine- bath, Pepto again, granola bar and banana for breakfast, lots of water, more than one prayer on my knees, and I was out the door.
I took a Gu with caffeine about 30 minutes before the race started. Let's talk a bit about Gu- it's positively GAGGY. However, it is the only thing I've found that doesn't give me GI issues during the run. The trick is getting it down. I've found that if I swallow it with a swig of water that I do better, but I'll be honest, every time I took one during the race I thought I wasn't going to get it down, and that that was going to be the one that finally made me puke. I never did, but that feels like a miracle. I hope to find something one day that is good on my stomach as well as easy to swallow.
I ran this race one mile at a time. I looked at my pace band and did my best to match my mile pace to the pace that was listed. I was completely focused on this- so focused that I didn't even see my family until I literally ran right into them. It was so great for me to have a little goal to look at and wrap my head around for each mile.
I drank 1-2 cups of liquid at every water stop along the course. If I was taking a Gu, then I took water, and if I wasn't then I chose Powerade. I wanted to be sure I was well hydrated throughout, and I feel like I was. I never felt thirsty. I took a Gu at miles 5, 12, 18, and 22. Gu was my only fuel for this race.
Here's the mile breakdown compared with Billy's splits:
My splits: Pace Band:
1- 7:36 7:37
2- 7:48 8:22
3- 7:39 7:59
4- 7:41 7:59
5- 7:44 7:54
6- 7:43 7:46
7- 7:42 7:49
8- 7:48 7:51
10- 8:01 8:06
11- 8:13 8:08
12- 7:58 8:01
14- 7:54 7:54
15- 8:26 8:27
16- 7:57 8:08
17- 8:00 8:21
18- 7:34 8:07
19- 7:59 7:49
20- 8:22 8:36
22- 7:45 7:49
23- 7:22 7:43
24- 8:09 7:47
25- 8:13 8:01
26- 8:30 8:03
.4- 2:58 .16- 1:18
Garmin time: 26.39 miles, 3:29:00, 7:55 pace
Official time: 26.2 miles, 3:29:00, 7:59 pace
Sure wish I could figure out how to pace myself according to miles rather than using my Garmin. Seems like the distance is always off in races, but I just don't know how to do it without my watch! I still feel like I ran a marathon with a 7:55 pace.
Taking into account that this was only my second marathon ever and that I was able to pace myself to my goal of a sub 3:30 on my own, I am very proud of myself! I love that I can say that I truly ran my own successful race. It still amazes me!
I was so glad I didn't wear my Minimus shoes. Last time my calves were cramping so bad during the last 12 miles and this time I didn't have any cramping at all! I was able to walk around and even run the kids race with Annie that afternoon. I felt fatigued, and had a bit of hamstring pain and IT Band pain that I had been fighting over the last couple of months, but nothing that I felt negatively affected my performance.
As I look back on race day, the only mistake I feel like I made was signing Annie up for the kids race. I finished my marathon at 10:30, and Annie's race didn't start until 12:30. I ended up getting really sick that afternoon and I think it was because I didn't get food- or enough water- in me fast enough; we didn't get lunch until 1:30 and by that time I was feeling SICK. It's important to take care of yourself after you put such a huge demand on your body like this!
My biggest mistake in all of training was running 20 miles on a treadmill. I never train on a treadmill and running on one for such a huge run screwed up my body. I did that treadmill run almost 2 months ago, and I'm still fighting off the injuries from it. I will never do that again.
I trained using the FIRST method from Run Less, Run Faster. I missed an entire month of training within my training cycle, and I really believe that if I hadn't been following this program, I wouldn't have made it to the start line. I'm a convert! I would love to run more frequently than I do, but because I'm prone to injury, it's just not in the cards. This program keeps me healthy AND helped me achieve my goal of a 3:30 marathon.