Sunday, April 5, 2009
Today was the first marathon of the season, in Athens Ohio. Several of my MIT teamates also made the trip down and Sandy even decided to run the full, so I wasn't out there alone today. I felt sick this morning, the car ride down definetly didn't agree with me. I think it was a combination of nerves and car sickness but I was so sick at the starting line that I was holding my knees sure I was going to loose my breakfast...not a good way to start the race. When the race started my nerves calmed and I actually felt good. My average pace was 6:35 for the first 5 miles, which is where I decided to finally slowe down because I was starting to feel tired and winded. I knew it right then and there that I made a big mistake and that it would be a long day. I hit the halfway point in 1:30 and held 7 minute pace through 18, though miles 5 through 18 were really tough miles. At 18 I hit the wall, I couldn't keep my pace up any further and I started walking through the water stops, but only allowed myself 20 seconds to catch my breath. At mile 22 I was in really bad shape, my form was awful and I was having a hard time staying focused. Luckily Sandy's husband Graham has walked to the 22 mile mark to cheer her on, which is right where she passed me (she went on to finish as the 2nd woman). Graham started jogging back to the finish and was nice enough to stop and see how I was doing as he passed me. I said I was really struggling and he stayed with me the rest of the way, encouraging me to keep running and keeping me company. This was a really isolated course and I would go a mile or 2 without seeing anyone, which was really difficult. Graham pulled me through the last few miles and helped me salvage a PR and a 3:20 finish. I missed my Boston qualifying time by a whole 10 minutes, which was really hard to swallow. All that training for nothing because I was an idiot and went out way too fast. I learned a really valuable lesson today...stay on pace. I wasn't planning on racing Cleveland, but if I'm health I might take another shot at 3:10 but this time I'll do it the right way, even splits. That pretty much wraps it up, other than my stop at a gas station to yack up my lunch I feel pretty good...sore but good.