I wanted to take a second and reflect on this race; it was not a bad race, however, my expectations were clearly greater than my performance. Going into this race, I clearly felt as if I could hold a 6:32 pace. In the end, that proved to be far more difficult than I expected. As karl noted, heat does play a part in one’ s race performance, but I am sure there were other factors, too.
Miles 1 – 3 felt pretty good. As I lined up for the start of this race, I told myself I would not get caught up with the pace of other runners. And trust me, I did not. Through the first 3 miles, I was in 6th place. I figured I would find a good pace and catch a few of those other runners that went out way too fast. By mile 3, I was in 3rd place with a sub 3 hour marathoner right behind me. He did a great job using my energy to navigate through the heavy traffic. Because we ran much of this race on a loop trail, there was a great deal of congestion. The full-marathon runners started at 7:15 AM. The half-marathoners started at 7:30. Thus, there were a number of full-marathon runners I found myself weaving through.
Mile 1 6:35
Mile 2 6:36
Mile 3 6:46
By mile 4, the high 70s temps started to hit me. And, I could feel the lactic in my legs. I knew the heat would be a factor, but I just assumed that it was way too early for it to be an issue, and thus I just focused on settling down and not panicking over my pace…which had clearly slowed. My pace would continue to slow from this point until mile 10. By then, I had dropped to 4th place and was questioning my race sharpness.
Above: I felt the heat and the pressure of a sub 3 hour runner behind me by mile 4.
Mile 4 6:49
Mile 5 6:54
Mile 6 6:54
Mile 7 6:53
Mile 8 6:58
Mile 9 7:02
Mile 10 7:11
With less than 3 miles to go, I upped the pace some but was unable to fully gather myself to finish at my ideal race pace. Traffic had thinned out some, but the heat was still present as I finished this race in 1 hour 29 minutes and 20 seconds. Essentially, I ran 9 seconds faster on a much easier course than I did on the very hilly Austin course. But, I am still feeling pretty confident in how I will perform come Boston. I have refocused my Boston goals and have put on hold my aim at a sub 3 hour race; I just do not think that is smart at this point of my growth. And, in a commonsensical way, I would kill my race performance by running a pace too early that I would not be able to hold. So, the focus is to aim for a pace between 6 min 55 sec to 7 min 5 sec per mile pace.
Above: Finished stronger than I had been running in the previous miles.
Mile 11 6:53
Mile 12 6:57
Above: I was excited to have placed 4th overall and 1st with my division. I am holding my trophy beside Janette and a really big bird. Seeing that I am not going to win a race with the above times, I will accept what I get for now; however, watchout because I am only going to get better. I have watched my average running pace go from just above 8 min per mile pace at this time last year, to under 6 min 50 sec per mile.