I had a fantastic marathon race: 3:34 & negative splits!
My wife Liz, met her half-marathon goal A: 2:09
Last night we went to the expo, bought a few things (found the newer NB Minimus shoes for only $55!) and then we went out for dinner. Several restaurants were very busy so we ended up close to home at 8:30 pm. I had a hamburger, ate half the bun, some fries and a lite beer (my calories for the day 2,750, including 170 g of carbs, so this was "carbo-loading" for me).
Saturday morning we got up at 5:00 am, stepped at the scale, 160 lbs, good. I ate two eggs with cheese, no bread. Now, that's a marathon race day breakfast! Then I made my own version of sports drink by squeezing two oranges, adding tangerine tea, a bit of salt, and some ice cubs. I peeled an orange and ate half of it in the way to Akron. I also took some nuts in case I need them during the race, but ate them before the race started.
The race started at 7:00 exactly. It was still dark. The temperature was 54F and it stayed constant and cloudy for about 2 1/2 hours and then the sun came out and warmed up to 65F. Overall, a very nice day for running.
My goal for the day was 3:45 or about 8:30/mile pace. I decided to follow the 3:40 pacer, which is a friend of mine. At first, we had a hard time running at the required 8:20 pace because of all the slow runners ahead of us! When are these people going to learn and start at their expected pace???
My number had my nickname DrT, but it was written DRT, so some people called me DRY, or DIRT (go Dirt!) Only a few got it right.
I followed the pacer for the first 3 miles: 8:25, 8:19, 823.
Then I pulled ahead a bit, and soon found myself running a bit faster. My Garmin only shows the average pace and every time I looked at it, it was faster, going from 8:20 to 8:10. Miles 4-12 are in roads of Akron: 8:07, 8:11, 8:12, 8:12, 8:18, 7:54 (downhill, going through the University of Akron), 8:08, 8:12, 7:47 (downhill, right before entering the Towpath).
Miles 13-15 are in the Towpath (crashed limestone mostly): 8:11, 8:11, 8:20
Then we entered the Park, an area with rolling hills, going mostly up. This is considered a hard part of the course. Miles 16-19: 8:33, 8:21, 8:33, 8:16
Then we are back running in Akron neighborhoods, one of the hardest parts of the course for me, cumulating in an uphill that leads to the Stan Hywet Museum and Gardens. Miles 20-22: 8:13, 8:14, 8:25.
Up to this point I was drinking water and Gatorade in most aid stations, only occasionally sipping through my orange juice bottle, saving it for the last part of the race. Around mile 21.5 someone was handing out bananas. I took one, and it was huge. I was going to have a bite or two, but didn't know what to do with the rest, so I ate the entire thing. Felt good!
We toured through the Stan Hywet Museum and then exited, for the rest of the course, which is mostly downhill (yeah). You can tell from my first mile, how excited I was: 7:47, 8:03. We then arrived at Market Street, which is definitely downhill: 7:20, 7:34 (I was flying :))
Finally, we turned at Main street for a bit less than a mile, to finish at the baseball stadium. My Garmin showed that after mile 26 there was 0.37 miles and my pace was 6:40!!! I was excited because I realized that I can "break" 3:35 if I hurried a bit, so this is what I did.
My wife was standing on line to take a picture of me, while I was speeding up to turn to the Stadium. It turned out OK:
I knew I had managed to beat 3:35 and was pleased! Banking effort instead of time (as the coach recommends) and running negative splits is uplifting! I passed people who had tags in their backs with 3:35 aim time and I knew they had no chance of meeting their time. I saw tired, demoralized runners. And I passed them running strong. Nothing better!
The race director shook my hand at the finish (as everyone else's) It looks like they were 1,300 marathon runners, 3,200 half marathon runners and a lot of relay runners! I think there were 10 relay runners for every marathon runner, so there were always people around me, going at different paces, some slower, most faster (because they were fresh, running smaller distances like 5 miles), which is a bit irritating because when you get passed on a marathon you are conditioned to question your pace.
My final time: 3:34:40 (8:12 pace). I finished 210/1342 overall and 15/112 in my age group.
I am very pleased with my time, 5-10 minutes faster than expected, my negative splits and lots of strength at the end (even though my legs were hurting after mile 20). My last marathon was New Orleans in January, where I started faster (running well under 8 min miles for the first 17) and then "crashed" (relatively speaking) to finish at 3:36. Then I got injured and had to drop Boston. Now I am slowly coming back.
I picked up my metal, posed for picture, then my bag of goodies. Then went up the stadium steps to pick up my two free beers, met my wife and went home. At home I was very hungry for sausage and cheese and eggs (craving fat) but there was nothing to eat, so we got dressed and went to Bob Evans for a nice omelet with sausage and bacon. Aaahhhh...
My wife's A goal was under 2:10 for the half marathon. She achieved this with 2:09:03. We have another marathon/half marathon in 2 weeks. I think her goal should be 2:05 (her PR is 2:04).
Overall, a great day for both of us!