I had a major computer crash which is why this wasn't posted sooner. Some new hardware and a lot of effort later it is back on its feet.
I went into Hyannis knowing that I wanted to do something bold. My tempo run at the OFTM had resulted in a new PR and the faster than average long runs I had been doing all helped to convince me that I could set a new marathon PR. The lingering question was by how much. Leading up to the race I settled into a pace, I would go out around 7:45 and then scale back to a 7:50 after half if needed. That would be enough for a 5 minute or so PR.
The day before the race I made a decision, time to go bold or go home. Tomorrow morning I would set out on a 7:30 pace and stick to it for at least half. If I needed to back off I would on the second loop.
Race day; it was cold, the ground was wet, it was snowing. After agonizing for days over what to wear I decided on shorts, a thin compression shirt, my trust red race shirt, some new arm warmers, and my Zensah calf sleeves. And for the third time, my trusty New Balance sneakers would be getting me across the marathon finish line. It was a good choice of an outfit, except at the end; by that time I was freezing my ass off. Did I mention that it was cold and snowing? Well the wind picked up on the second loop too.
I met up with the Wamps who had two hotel rooms right at the start line hotel and started getting ready for the race. Of the 50 or so people there it turns out I was the only one running the marathon, everyone else was doing the relay or the 10K. Yipes. It was nice to have a warm place to get ready because soon enough it was time to get in the corral.
Off goes the gun and away we go for an uneventful 7 miles. We hit the first exchange area for the relay and I am surprised to see that there are at least 4 Wamps there, apparently my marathon pace is faster than some of their 7 mile pace. Go me! Naturally the faster runners all passed me later in the race but it was a good moment.
Halfway comes up with someone on the megaphone yelling for the marathoners to stay left which confused the piss out of me so I just kept running forward until I realized that the halfers turn into the parking lot while us real athletes just continued on. "Let's do that again!" I yelled as we left everyone behind. I got one other enthusiastic runner's support. And then there were a lot fewer runners around me.
My pace was holding, I felt good, 7:30 pace it remained. As I started to get tired I got more confused on who was running the marathon and who was a slow halfer and who was in the relay. At some points I would be running against a stream of relayers flying by only to then find myself on a stretch with only a couple of people. It was a bit strange.
The second time I hit the relay exchange area there were only a couple of people left. As we came upon it there was a van with a guy giving out some sort of coconut sports drink or something and the two guys in front of me actually grabbed them from him (this was a legitimate drink/promotion not some shady dude) and they started drinking them. Now I don't know about you but there is no way in hell that I am going to chug down some never before tried drink at mile 19 of a marathon. That is just a recipe for disaster.
10K to go and I start to slow down. The legs are tired and I am terrified of a cramp so I let the pace slacken a bit. For the last 6 miles I just hung in there. One foot after the other, trying to keep a quick pace but not wanting to cramp up. Finally the end was in sight. I saw the clock and burst the last 100 yards to make sure that I came in under 3:20. The strategy paid off and I savored a 10 minute PR with a 3:19:45. Then I grabbed the side of a drink bin, took a few big breaths, and waddled off to get warm.
What went right:
No cramps! None! Not during the race, not after. I had been concentrating on building my calves before this race so maybe that helped.
The decision to go out faster than planned was a big moral booster. I wasn't sure I could knock out that time but I did. Imagine what I can do if I actually train.
I stopped to pee twice. I guess that means my strategy of drinking everything I could get my hands on worked. No dehydration this race.
No stomach issues at all. Gu and Chomps both went down just fine
What didn't work:
My pace suffered towards the end because of my legs. Further work on fighting fatigue and strengthening the muscles will help.
I stopped to pee twice. Need to work on hydration management.
On to the next race.