Today I ran the Long Beach Marathon.
I wasn't sure whether to run with the 4 hour pace group or go it alone. As the gun went off and the 4 hour pace group dashed ahead, my choice was made for me and I started on my own. I easily settled into a pace of 9:15-9:20 per mile.
I was nervous about being able to keep that pace, but for the first 13 miles it felt comfortable. Then my legs felt heavier, and I slowed down, averaging 9:59/mile for the second half of the race.
Highlights of the race were running through Cal State Long Beach during miles 17-18 and all the enthusiasm of the students cheering us on, and the nursing home that brought their residents outside -- I've never seen a row of twenty elderly people in wheelchairs bundled up cheering at a marathon, it was awesome!
At mile 25, one of the stomach cramps that I have been plagued with came upon me. I ended up slowing to a walk for about two minutes until it passed, and then I ran the rest. The last mile felt so long, and it felt so good to finish!
My finishing time was 4 hours, 12 minutes, 55 seconds. It's my personal best by almost six minutes over my San Diego Marathon. But, I'm not that pleased. I feel like I missed my goal, and could have gone faster. Maybe I needed more longer runs. Nonetheless, a personal best is a personal best, and I'll take it.
I think that before I race California International Marathon in Sacramento on December 6 that I will do a few things differently: I hope to do more long runs, and I will take two Immodiums instead of my usual one.