Sunday, March 02, 2008

More on The Marathon

Not everything goes as planned. I couldn't find my pace group, so I prepared to run alone, aiming for 11 minute miles with one minute walks through the water stations at each mile marker. I had my trusty Garmin GPS to pace me and measure my heart rate. I'm a scientist -- I like numbers.

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

15 comments:

Charlie said...

Congratulations.
I would say you nailed it.
Eat and sleep well.

Veg*Triathlete said...

Heather, This is awesome! I'm so impressed! And you're soooooooooo ready to take on Ironman this year :-) Congratulations!

herself75 said...

well done! congrats!

Melody Polakow said...

Well, I think you did fantastic.. I am in awe!

Alec said...

Congratulations Heather, job well done. You're on your way to Ironwoman for sure.

affectioknitter said...

Congratulations - that's amazing!

Megan the Vegan said...

Fantastic job. 5,767 out of 17,011 finishers....and 5,767 out of how many millions would never run a marathon!

Really great job. I hope you're feeling great about the experience and not too sore!

yogalynn1 said...

Very impressive! LA is one of the top marathons and you did it. Congratulations on finishing AND doing so well overall.

Jenny said...

Congrats! Even though you hit the wall, it sounds like you got through it well and were able to maintain a pretty steady pace. Nice job!

Vegan Run Amok said...

Heather, that's awesome! I think it's especially awesome that you did so well even in the face of a few things not going as planned! Yay!!

VeganLinda said...

Congratulations!! I'm so inspired!

Melissa said...

I'd say that's pretty darned good!

VeggieGirl said...

Sounds like a successful race to me, Heather!! Be proud!!

Matt Flanzer said...

Way to go! It was a warm day too. Hope you're recovering nicely.

Krista said...

Way to stick to your game plan - hitting the wall at mile 22 is pretty darn good! I hit my wall at about mile 14 when I ran the Toronto Marathon in 2006 - ended up walking a LOT in the second half! I could take some serious advice from you! :)

Way to go on a strong finish!