Well, my first marathon is over and here is how it went down. I ran with my friend Heidi and we got there plenty early for the start. Stretched a little, waited in the bathroom lines (Heidi had to go twice!!!) and finally seeded ourselves for the start of the race with about 5 minutes to the start. The weather was great, probably right around 50 at the start, clear sky and no wind.
The race plan as previously mentioned was to run 5 – 5 milers @ 7:20-7:30 pace and bring it home with a smile as Coach Braz said. Heidi was planning on doing a 3:20 or 3:25 race and I said why not just start with me and see how it goes. We don’t talk much when running but it is nice to have someone to run with and help pace with.
The race starts and we head out. It took us about a half mile to get to our pace because it was so crowded with the marathon and half-marathon starting at the same time. About 2 miles in though the half-marathon turns off so we started to get some spacing. Since Baystate is a two loop course we passed the 13.1 mile park on the first loop and I could remember thinking I’ll be looking forward to seeing that next time around. The first 5 miles went very smoothly and we averaged 7:22. We both took our gels just after mile 5 at the next water stop and kept going. Around mile 8 we cross the bridge in Tyngsboro to head back toward Lowell. From this point back to the bridge that we crossed to head back out for the second loop it feels like it is very flat to down hill.
At mile 10 we took our second Gel and were again averaging about 7:22 pace. We were both feeling pretty good. I was listening to Heidi breath and thinking she is having a great race and having no problem keeping this pace. We were drinking at each water stop, but for me I have a lot of trouble drinking and running. It is more of a gulp and splash. My inefficiency at drinking and running would come back to haunt me later.
Heading through mile 15 we passed the half way point and were just cruising along, another 5 miles down at 7:21 pace. Back at around mile 8 we realized that we were running with a guy who had his own personal water station biking along side him. The cool thing for us was that he was going our pace. We just figured let him pace us and fell in behind him. Once and a while we would take the lead when he was drinking or getting nutrition but he would eventually be up front again with his biking buddy riding along beside him.
Through mile 20 I was still feeling pretty good and I handed Heidi her last Gel and was planning to start to push a little harder. Heidi dropped back a little bit but not much. I was really just keeping pace with the guy running with his bike buddy. Again through mile 20 we had averaged 7:21 pace.
The next 5 miles is when disaster struck. My calves started twitching around mile 22 and became very bad at mile 23. Heidi who never dropped far back came running up next to me and we were running together again. Then around mile 24 I had to stop and stretch my calves. They were just so tight that I could hardly walk. I stretched them and started running and was ok for probably another half mile and then would have to repeat the stretching. This went on for the rest of the 5 miles. Finally in the middle of he last mile I had to stop for probably 30 seconds to loosen them up even more. At the water stops I would literally stop and just drink 3 or 4 cups of gatorade/water. It was too late though, I was dehydrated and couldn’t do anything about it at this point. I lost almost 2 minutes of time over the last mile.
Heidi was nice enough to slow down and run with me and keep encouraging me. It was a very tough last mile. I ended up running a 3:17:15 and missing qualifying for Boston by 2 minutes and 15 seconds.
Here is the tale of the tape on Garmin and Starva where you can see how things fell apart toward the end of mile 22.
Congratulations to Heidi on having a great race and Personal Best time. She could have easily been under 3:15 if she had not waited for me.
While it was discouraging to not meet my goal. I know that I am capable of running a 3:15 and just have to be more conscious of drinking through the water stops.