Until I have photos from the race to share, here is a picture of my cat sprawled out in a sunbeam. (Edited to add: I have photos now, but I’m still going to leave this here. Everybody loves Nermal.)
So, I ran a PR! My first PR in the Big, Frequently-Run Distances (5K, 10K, half, marathon) since this race last year. A 1:36:33, 2:05 faster than my previous best.
In my buildup (January 1-race day), I ran about 150 miles more than I did to prepare for this race last year. YOWZA. Coaches make you WORK.
We had perfect weather (45 degrees, overcast) except for the wind (intense enough that I tried drafting for the first time). It was 60 and sunny last year. How much of this PR is thanks to the weather? I will never know.
I tucked in for the first 6 miles or so with a coach and his coachee who were aiming for a 1:37. (See below.) I don’t know that they appreciated my company, but…whatever.
Splits: 7:28, 7:28, 7:21, 7:23, ~7:06, ~7:06 (I missed a mile marker.)
Then, they started to slow, so I went around them. This is about when I tried to take a Peanut Butter Gu and realized how important it is for me to have my handheld water bottle for washing-it-down purposes. Couldn’t choke down the whole thing. #FuelingProblems. This would have spelled the death of me in a full marathon. Can anyone recommend savory, caffeine-free gels that aren’t as thick as Gu?
Splits: 7:26, 7:20
Post-Gu, we hit the section in the race that majorly slowed me down last year — a couple crushed-gravel hills, a pass through a kind of treacherous covered bridge (uneven boards + very low lighting + sunglasses = wipeout risk), and then a climb up the race’s largest (paved) hill. Somehow, I kept pace for the first of these two miles. I was pleased with that.
Splits: 7:18, 7:52
Then, just a 5K to go. This is where my coach told me to “ROLL OUT,” so of course I had Ludacris in my head, which was not a bad thing. I did my best, but we were suddenly going into the wind, and this section ain’t flat, either. I tried to tuck in behind people, I may have been hunching over to do so, and that may have been what gave me some pretty gnarly side stitches. Whatever — I finished strong.
Splits: 7:22, 7:27, 7:59 (for last 1.1 — that’s 7:15 pace)
So, I am happy with this, and excited to see what kind of marathon I can run this fall.