Chip Time: 3:58:08
On my seventh marathon I learned that you should not disrespect the distance. I thought I had this marathon thing figured out and can go do it with ease. It was not the case. This marathon hurt. My experience, though, helped get me through it but I wound up running it eight minutes slower than last year's personal best. The marathon doesn't really get any easier. Afterwards I was hurting like it was my first race. Still, I did finish under four hours again, so it wasn't all bad.
A couple of things undid me last Sunday. First I didn't maintain my training the last couple of weeks. I ran twice in the last two weeks. As a result my legs and I felt sluggish the entire race. I also started off too fast and at mile 8 I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain the pace. I was already feeling tired by then. But I kept the pace longer than I expected, but perhaps if I only slowed down a little I might have staved off the cramping that occurred beginning at mile 18.
Mile 18 was the wall for me. Looking back at my splits I maintained a decent pace through mile 21 and then quickly faded. The cramping was tough. It started with my left calf, followed by the right, followed by the muscle just above my right knee. By the finish even my groin was cramping. It was awful. I imagined I looked like Igor as I dragged my legs in the last few miles.
The weather was also a factor. Even with the early morning cloud cover, the temperature wasn't cool. By mile 14 the haze burned off and the sun just sapped my energy. Last year I finished the race without the sun peaking through the clouds. I had to pour water over my head several times to keep cool.
So, no PR, but I doubted I would do it anyway. Still I was hoping for a time closer to it, but I'll take the sub four as a consolation prize.
On the upside, my pictures are up and they're not bad. Perhaps one of my better races picture-wise. Maybe it's the sunshine. At least it did some good after all.
Somewhere in the middle
Crossing the finish line.
Other photos can be seen here.