by, 11-22-2011 at 09:41 AM (1961 Views)
I had a solid run of marathons; CIM - 2:54, NYC - 2:48, San Diego - 2:46, LA - 2:43:50. In the past my marathon had been my best race of the year, I had peaked at the right time and always seemed to rise to the occasion. I also knew the streak of improvement would come to an end someday, that day was Sunday.
Leading up to the marathon I had low confidence, I wasn't racing well and I simply lacked confidence. However, I thought I still had a 50% chance of PR'ing, so I set a goal for a 2:43 and paced myself accordingly.
This was my first time visiting Philadelphia, stayed near the U of Penn and Drexler at the Sheraton. Arrived late Thursday night in time to watch the finish of the Broncos game and woke up the next day to do an easy five mile around Penn and Drexel, Penn's campus was gorgeous what one would expect from an Ivy League school. Saturday my college friend Mark arrived from Iowa City, we hit up the expo and took it easy the rest of the night watching the USC Vs. Oregon game.
I knew the temperature would be perfect, 40's-50's but the one wildcard was the wind, it had been windy the previous days so I knew a stiff headwind might present itself on race morning. Mark and I woke up at 5AM for the 7AM start, I ate a huge pretzel and drank a 16oz Red Bull as we walked to the starting line. The lines for the port-o-lets were incredible long, would have loved to have used the bathrooms once last time but didn't think I would have the time so we headed over to the start line.
The start of the race was hectic and my opening mile was 6:32, my goal was to stay as close to 6:14s as possible, thus I picked up the pace and was running 6:14 pace by mile 7. At mile 7, I simply knew that I would not PR, I just felt off, hard to describe. I didn't have any specific pain I just knew that I would not be able to crank out 19 more miles at that pace. We also hit a hill for the next mile and I watched my pace drop to 6:17 and lost a ton of confidence.
At mile 13 we separated from the half marathoners and for the next four to five miles we had the wind to our back and a slight downhill. At this point I was runnning 6:15s and thought if I'm struggling this much to run a 6:15 with a downhill and a wind to my back the return was going to get ugly. The last four to five mile were a gradual uphill and into a decent headwind of 15mph, it hurt. I slowed to 7 minute pace, but the odd thing was I was being passed but I was also still passing people, seemed like a lot of people were hurting. I finished in 2:51 flat.
When I'm racing confidence is huge, it's why I try to negative split, when I knew that I wasn't going to PR or have a good race, I lost a ton of motivation. It didn't matter to me if I finished in 2:46 or 2:55, it was immaterial. I race for time and it wasn't in the cards on Sunday.
I enjoyed the course, however I would not say it was fast and flat as I heard it described. I think even had I had an A race, I wouldn't have been able to PR due to the strong wind, maybe a 2:45 but that's about it. I would have had to of run a 6 minute effort those last 4-5 miles to maintain that 6:14 pace into the windy and gradual uphill, made for a tough finish.
It is, what it is. Looking forward to taking some time off and resting up.