Tomorrow I'd like to go through the half between 1:33 - 1:34. That way if I'm feeling good I can negative split and run 3:05. If things are just okay, I can still hang on for a 3:10.
That’s basically what happened – I went through the half in 1:34:32 and after that, things were “just okay” and I hung on for a 3:09:38 finish. While the half as a little slower than I wanted, it’s because I had to stop to pee at mile 11 and that cost me 50 seconds. Without that stop, I’d have gone through the half in 1:33:42. So my pacing was exactly what I wanted – during the first half my fastest mile was 7:03 and my slowest was 7:15. Another stop to pee at mile 15 cost me 50 more seconds. Without those stops I’d have been just under 3:08. Unfortunately, the clock doesn’t stop when you pull off the course.
Looking back at what I wrote, I think it was a pipedream to think I could run 1:33 / 1:32 or 1:34 / 1:31. The second half of this course is a grid and in order to negative split, the first half would have to feel like a jog. While the first half did feel relatively easy, it wasn’t a jog. And, history has shown, increasing the effort on the second half usually still leads to a 1-minute positive split – at least for me. With that said, my fastest mile during the second half was 7-flat (twice) and my slowest was 7:26. My last 5 mile splits were 7:24, 7:26, 7:12, 7:18, 7:22. Although I slowed on the hills, I ended up moving from 603rd place at the half to 412th at the finish.
I also like to combine my splits into 2 or 3-mile buckets because it eliminates some of the terrain. Looking at 3-mile buckets, here are my splits (they don’t include my two 50-second pit stops);
21:20 – 3 miles
21:27 – 6 miles
21:32 – 9 miles
21:32 – 12 miles
21:17 - 15 miles
21:20 – 18 miles
21:19 – 21 miles
22:02 – 24 miles
14:40 – 26 miles
I kind of forgot about this, but my last 4 of my last 5 marathons have been very consistent;
3:09:43 – Grandma’s 2009
3:10:36 – Whistlestop 2009
3:09:42 – Grandma’s 2010
3:24:41 – Grandma’s 2011
3:09:38 – TCM 2013
I guess the good news is that even though that’s a 4 ½ year stretch, I’m still running just as fast. And now that I think about it, the last 4 have been as a Masters runner, so yesterday’s race is my Master’s PR.
I should mention the weather. It was 45 degrees at the start, the flags were hanging, and the sun was coming out. I don’t think we could’ve asked for better weather – at least for anyone that broke 3:15. After that it started to rain, but I timed it well.
One thing that stands out to me in this race was running with this guy I didn't know, from mile 15 all the way to the finish. We were constantly passing each other back and forth and we never said a word to one another. Heck, I didn’t even know if he knew I was keying off of him. Once we finished and were in the chute we started talking about how much we helped each other. It was really cool – one of those things you can’t plan - they just happen.
|High-fives at mile 24. Thanks to Terrance Lee for the photo.|
I’ll end by saying that this whole training cycle has been a blast; changing my diet, shedding weight, mixing in cross training, cutting my mileage, feeling great for workouts, getting in some solid long runs, and just getting back on the marathon “horse” has been great. After the last 3 years of training, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run a decent marathon again. So, it’s nice to be back.