So after taking 3 years off from the marathon distance I decided last fall that I was ready to tackle another one. I had never been able to put together a complete race of that distance and wanted another shot at it. Suffice to say... I still haven't! I took a different approach this time around and enlisted the outstanding coaching skills of Dave Orlik to help me get ready so that I could show up ready to run. We were going to try some different things through training including taking the long runs up to 26-28 miles as well as a very long base building cycle before throwing in the speed work and hills. My plan was slightly derailed early by an ankle injury in November but I rebounded pretty well from that. All in all the training went great. I was constantly bugging Dave because I am not a big fan of slow runs and just wanted to run hard but he assured me and kept me in check by telling me that running slowly early on would lead to more speed later on. After going through base training I felt pretty good and was feeling confident about my race. My speed work went well and my times were dropping quickly and I was starting to feel fast again. Dave had told me that he would come and run with me but he was supposed to be doing a 50k the day before so he would run as long as possible. Well on race morning he said that he decided not to run Saturday because of the weather so I figured I would have a running mate for the entire time to help pass the miles! My realistic goal time was 3:45 with an outside goal of 3:40 and I felt like that was within reach. The weather was beautiful and we were off! Dave set his watch to keep me on pace for 3:40 and periodically gave me splits as we went. The first half of the race was pretty uneventful with little wind and not much traffic. We had a man and woman who decided around mile 8-9 to tuck in behind us to stay out of the wind which was alright. We went through the half at 1:47:18 or 8:11/mile and was feeling good. We had plenty of time in the bank and we were just biding our time. The wind picked up over the second half and I started getting a little frustrated because the same 2 people were still sitting behind us out of the wind and refused to take a turn. I didn't feel like I needed the help but it would have been polite in my opinion to offer. We slowed down a little bit as we made our way up towards the turn around at mile 19 to save energy and Dave was fighting a little Achilles problem. At mile 17ish Dave decided to pull off and stretch it out and pick me back up on the way back through. As soon as Dave pulled off I decided that I wanted to leave those 2 behind so I dropped the pace down to 8:00-8:05 through mile 19 and pulled clear. My legs still felt great and I started dreaming of going under 3:40. Now they say that the halfway point of a marathon is mile 20 and I was hoping that I wouldn't hit the wall until mile 23-24. I had started to develop a twinge in my left foot around mile 18 but I was keeping it at bay. I met up with Dave around mile 20 and was still feeling good although the foot was started to hurt more. I felt like I could push through it but we decided to back the pace down a little bit and see if that would help. The pain continued to get worse and by mile 21 I was doing a hobble/walk/jog that was mixed in with some grunts, growls, and profanity and I tried to beat the pain mentally. It continued to get worse to the point were I was having trouble just walking and by mile 23 I knew my day was over and it was about survival. I told Dave to go ahead but he refused and said he was going to come in with me so we continued our crawl towards the finish. I saw Megan Ressler around mile 24 1/2 which was a nice sight to see someone who still looked happy! Aleah made her way by with Lisa around mile 25 with Kim on her heals a couple of minutes later. They were looking good and hunting the 4 hour mark. Congrats to both of them for going sub 4 hours! I made my way toward the finish and just couldn't wait to get off of my feet. I crossed the line, received my medal, and knelt down on a curb! A big thanks goes out to Lara Blatchford who held my gear for while taking pictures of club members. She helped me up and into the school, got my food and drink and sat with Dave, Janice and I to make sure i was ok. She even gave me a ride to my car so I wouldn't have to walk! What awesome club members we have! I'm thinking that the foot pain was caused by running in shoes that were a little too minimal for me so next time I will try something with a little more cushion! I sent Dave a message and told him that I wanted to do another marathon this year. I can't let that be my only shot this year as I have seen the training work and I know that I can put it all together. I also have decided that I will be back at B&A next year with revenge on my mind! A big shout out to Dave for all of the help with training and being a sounding board with all of my questions and opinions. He also kept me in check when my mind started getting all crazy and I wanted to run harder and farther(Illchester Run Tuesday night before the race anyone?) than my plan allowed. Also a congratulations goes out to Dave's wife Janice who ran her first 1/2 marathon in a while since coming back from injury!