I wanted to make sure I didn't start too fast, and I was partially successful at that. The first mile was all uphill and the next four were all downhill. It was tempting to run full gear down the hill, but I remembered the advice from Coach Mary: In the first few miles, two types of people will pass you: People who are faster than you, and people who will be walking at mile 22. Seven years ago, at my last marathon, I was the girl walking at mile 22, and I didn't want that to happen.
The first 10K split had me at 1:08:19, a 10:59 per mile pace. And I kept going, felt good, a little aching in my knees but otherwise fine. Half marathon (13.1) split was 2:26:44, 11:11 per mile pace, a little slower, but I felt good. I felt fabulous through mile 18 or 19, not too much aching, able to run more than the people around me who were too often slowing to a walk. My 30K split was 3:27:41, a 11:08 per mile average.
Hit the wall? Is there a wall? I don't see it.
And there it was at Mile 22. The bottoms of my feet ached, but mostly, I just felt tired out. There was a hill, and I took an extra minute and a half walk break to get up the hill rather than run it. And I started running again, slowly, like a 12 minute mile pace. I changed my rhythm to five minutes running, one minute walking. Those five minutes were the longest five minutes ever.
At mile 24, there was a photographer, and I was the only runner in his view. I put on my best smile to hide how miserable I felt. I wonder how that came out.
And then at mile 25, I found some steam. The end was in sight. In fifteen minutes, or sooner, I'd be done, so now was the time to give it everything. We headed through downtown, past mile 26, turned right on Flower Street, and through the finish.
My time: 4 hours, 57 minutes, 35 seconds. An average of 11:21 per mile.
I wanted to run faster, to finish in 4:45. But I'm still proud of myself. This was 18 minutes faster than my marathon seven years ago, and a more consistent running effort. To put it into perspective, my place was:
5,767 out of 17,011 finishers
1,390 out of 6,520 women
217 out of 778 women in my age group.
All in all, not too bad.
Photo courtesy of www.answers.com