I learned a few lessons during this race:
1. Women are jealous of men being able to pee standing up. I can not begin to tell you how many women I heard complain about the hundreds of men I saw within the first mile of the racing standing at the tree line peeing.
2. Things can go downhill very quickly while running (I'll explain later)
3. Dont talk to your fellow racers in the final 2 miles of a marathon because nobody (other then me apparently) is in the mood to have a discussion.
So, I came into this race with my longest run beforehand being a 14 mile.... which, was not nearly enough. I was actually very worried about even being physically able to complete the race. However, I knew that I could hold my pace of high 9 minute to low 10 minute miles and hopefully reach my goal of 4:30:00. My first marathon was the Shamrock in Virginia Beach a few years back which I finished in 4:53:00.
Details about this race that anybody who is considering a marathon should know:
- completely flat course which runs along the beach
- not too many people (only 2000 marathoners although they did have the half marathoners run along until the split around mile 11)
- good shuttle services on school buses to get you to and from the race on time
- great post race party and good food provided
- the race shirts were kinda boring, but the arm warmers and bag they gave away were nice. The finishers medal was really nice too
I didnt eat breakfast or drink coffee before the race. That was I think my first problem with the day. I normally do not exercise in the mornings and don't usually have the stomach for food until 10am or so. So, I decided to not change things up race day and just rely upon the food I packed to eat during the race. The weather was absolutely ideal for the race. It was 50 degrees by the 630am start time and when the sun came up it was a perfect 65 degrees with a slight breeze coming in off of the water which was very nice especially once I started really warming up. People were shedding clothing everywhere, but I stayed wrapped up. I think they should have bins along the course of a triathlon for people who want to donate clothing to charity (recycled clothes), and whoever collects the bins can wash the clothing and give it to charity....just a thought.
The course is flat and on well paved roads. There were a lot of small bands playing music along the route. My goal was to maintain a steady 10 minute mile pace for the first 20 miles and then kick it in the last 10K to finish with negative splits. I really was feeling great up until the 20 mile marker. When I reached that 20 mile marker in 3hours 21 minutes I was very proud of myself, and knew that I had put myself in a great position to finish well below my goal time. However, I tried to simply kick it up by 15 seconds per mile and about half a mile after the 20 mile marker my body started giving out on me.
I really struggled getting to the finish line. It was a lot of shuffling and walking and talking to myself. Coming into the last half mile I had a huge surge of adrenaline and was able to finish strong, but the damage was done in that last 10k. I blame it on my lack of conditioning for that part of the race, but overall I can not complain. I PR'ed by 12 minutes and I have a long life ahead of me to improve. I would definitely recommend this race to anybody who is looking to set a PR, or who wants to spend some time by the beach in February!! It is a beautiful location with lots of great local attractions even in the off season! Ok...time to stop writing and get back to training :)