File this under What?
Somehow by the skin of my teeth I set a teenie tiny personal record for the marathon yesterday. I clocked 4:27:46 which beats my Rome time by just over a minute.
I was undertrained for this race. My plan of hitting the miles after Ironman Chattanooga -- failed. I was following a Pete Pfitzinger plan of 8 weeks between marathons but I only did about 80% of the runs and seriously none of the speedwork. I mentally wasn't too focused on the goal. I expected about a 5 hour finish.
I did everything wrong. I spent the day before walking around the space center with my kids. I have a cold and a mystery hip pain all day the day before. I was up too late. I am 10 pounds over peak marathon weight. I wasn't nervous at all. Even my husband commented that he'd never seen me so relaxed before a race.
But at the start I went ahead and lined up with the 4:30 pacer. I figured I would lose him around mile 10 and then just see what happened. He started off a little ahead of pace but not too much and when he backed off to be on his assigned pace I pulled ahead a little bit. I kept trying to slow down but I was just in that rhythm. I even stopped 3 times to go to the bathroom - during the whole race not the first few miles :-)
|The space theme is fun. All the volunteers wear suits and they do a countdown at the start. It's fun and the medal is huge.|
At mile 14 I did the math and realized that I was ahead of pace. I actually was hoping to negative split. Which is something I've never actually done in a marathon before. I felt great until mile 22. At mile 20 I thought ... hmmm I've never felt this good at mile 20 before ... that's wierd. Then at mile 21 my legs were really tired and at mile 22 I was ready to stop. Pain everywhere. So there I pulled out my mantra which for this race turned out to be from that sign ... it will take all you've got and I just kept going. But I did slow down. I couldn't help it - that was maximum speed.
To make matters worse this is the first race I've ever taken my ipod with me. I did it because I knew it was small, I was running by myself and I thought it might help. It did. I didn't start with the music until after about 10 miles. But then it was great until I realized that I was looping through just one artist. I could not for the life of me get it to play anything else. It's a little ipod shuffle without a screen just a dial. And of course I wasn't going to stop and fiddle with it. Grrr.
The race facts
This is a runners race. There are under 7000 people in the whole thing and they split the half and the full so you aren't running together until the end.
Packet pickup was at a local running store so I didn't even go to the expo. I was in and out in a minute (not exagerating).
They run shuttles from the host hotels to get you to and from the race. I literally walked out of my hotel and into the bus. Perfectly executed by the race director.
This is the fastest course I've ever run
The hardest marathon course I've run is either Chattanooga or New York. This was the opposite. It is completely flat and there are a total of two turns in the whole thing. The entire course is by the waterfront ... it's the banana river I think. It's very pretty and lots of shade.
There is water / gatorade and gu (after the half mark) every mile. There were plenty of porta potties with no line and shocker all of them had toilet paper.
The only slightly negative thing is that there is never a big crowd to cheer. I could have really used a big crowd at mile 23 but I made it on my own. I don't even want to say that this was a bad thing seriously it's a great race.
It's a very simple finish line. But plenty cool. You can't see the line until you're practically on top of it. Apparently my kids almost missed me finish because they were playing on a playground which is fine. The start and finish is in a park and it's very family friendly.
I did this race because I've heard for years that it's a great event. I can't agree more. I do wish I'd trained more but if I ever want to go for a marathon pr again - this might be the course.