It was great weather and a really fun course. A few months ago I was hoping for a faster time, then at one point I had come close to scrapping this marathon completely, which turned into I think I can complete it but it will be real slow, finally to "I'll see what I can do"
Having missed a full month of running, followed by building back up with lots of slower miles including some treadmill miles I came back pretty well and came pretty close to being back to 100%.
The traffic to get to the race was rather heavy. With less than a mile to get to the start line cars were crawling. So, finally at 6:00 I did what others were doing, and got out of the car and walked the rest of the way while my brother stayed in the car and headed towards the spectator parking.
I made it to my corral after a good walking warm up including a pretty big hill up Laurel Street. I grabbed some salt packets at the corral entrance and took one, finishing off my Gatorade. Before I knew it, it was time to start and we were off. Not sure what kind of pace I was going to get, but I would soon find out. Despite the crowds I managed a 7:57 for the first mile, feeling pretty good. The next 5 miles were downhill over about a 275 foot drop to downtown. I made up a little bit of time but did not want to get too carried away.
While running through downtown I saw a guy with no shirt on who had written on his back "Follow me to Boston - 3:20", his name was Kenny. He was planning on doing a negative split. I ran with him for a while but eventually pulled ahead as I didn't want to have to do too much of a negative split. Besides I wasn't really planning on going for BQ today but hadn't ruled it out either.
Just after seven miles the course began to climb back up the to the starting elevation. From yesterday's run I knew it wouldn't be that tough. At about mile 9, I saw my brother and his family, they had made two signs, one with a big smiley face and one that said "Uncle Mark Rocks!". They had found a really good spot to cheer me on along the 163 Highway. There weren't many people around them as it didn't look very easy to get to. I was curious as to how they could have gotten there with two small kids, oh well, they had done it and I was glad to see them.
At about 9.8 miles one of the volunteers shouted - "you're almost at the top of the hill!", then i was going down hill for the next 3.3 miles or so. It felt really good. Again, I tried not to get too carried away as there was still a lot more running to go.
The course flattened out and I was continuing to make pretty good splits.
Then, at about 16 point something miles I ran into a glitch. My pace started slowing dramatically, but I didn't feel slower. Maybe I was crashing? But I didn't seem to be slowing compared to others. I was fiddling with my Garmin, then I looked up and could see Kenny's back, up ahead a little bit. He had started his negative split and was moving pretty good.
I saw the 17 mile sign, but my Garmin said said 16.77 miles. Well that explains the pace. Then the pace was gone. I tried turning it off and back on but it never found the signal again. Now, it was just a stopwatch. And now, I was no longer going to be able to stick to a pace by watching my Garmin. I managed to hang in there and saw that I wasn't slowing down that much, however I was slowing down a bit but nothing too drastic.
Miles 21 - 25 were not very pleasant. The scenery wasn't very nice for much of it. But I was picking off the miles. I wasn't sure what kind of time I would get, but my whole strategy was to just keep going and try to keep it under 8:00, which I pretty much did.
Finally I saw the entrance to the Marine Corps base, knowing the finish line was close, and it was!
Here are my chip splits:
10K - 48:07
Half - 1:40:57
21M - 2:42:32
Finish - 3:24:18
There were many good things about this race, it was a lot of fun and it was great to see my brother and his family (I think they must have almost walked a marathon distance to see me, including climbing over a fence and down a steep highway embankment to see me run). While I was running, I thought about the people who would be watching my times online each time I made it to one of the chip sensor mats - Jenny and her friends and family, my brother Jim, and my running friends. There were a lot of people supporting me so that I could make it to the finish line. I was glad that I hadn't scratched doing this one, and had made it to see Dr. Denys who said nothing was broken, then Joe the PT who helped fix me and told me to get a good sports massage, and Jessica, my massage therapist, who helped fix me the rest of the way.