About 40 degrees and overcast, with about 85% humidity for this morning's marathon in downtown Indy. A couple buddies - (Tim and Thomas) from Lexington (KY) came up to run the half and stayed out my house last night. We got up and left at about 6 from the house. Got to the parking garage (and parked) at about 7:15. It was a comical Friday night and race morning - Tim is a financial consultant from Kentucky, and Thomas is a heavily French-accented exercise physiologist. They are training partners and have a lot of funny stories that come from two very different perspectives :) The fun this morning was Tim having to go to the bathroom really bad and Thomas teasing him about it... He made it :)
Anyway, we got there and did my usual bathroom stops and little bit of jogging around after meeting up with Nathan. We found our way up to near the front and meeted and greeted a lot of the familiar faces - with the usual exchanging of goal times and pleasantries. I positioned myself slightly behind the half marathon guys that I know are aiming for about 1:20.
I did catch a glimpse of the back of Jake's head on the front line :) I was about 10 rows back, though.
The gun goes off, and away we go - right from the start, I felt like today was going to be a good day - I relax right away and fall in to a steady 6:30 pace:
6:28, 6:27, 5:44 (lost signal under bridge), 6:28, 6:31, 6:25, 6:27 -- at mile 7 or 8 the half split off, and I was surprised to find that a huge group of about 10-12 (including the 5th-10th place women) were full marathoners. This really worked to everyone's advantage. I eat a gel and discover that the women had elite water tables set up with their personal nutrition (one even shared her sports drink :) )
Awesome friendly group that stayed together most of the rest of the race:
6:34, 6:22, 6:28, 6:32, 6:26, 6:23 -- at the half timing mat we all (still about 10 of us) cross in about 1:24:30. I'm feeling awesome at this point and about 20 seconds ahead of my goal. I don't start to feel like I'm pushing until after the steady climbing portion (from about 16mi - 18mi.) our splits don't seem to be affected:
6:24, 24, 26, 34, 30, 28, 18, 18, -- by about 20-22 miles the group has spread out and it is down to me, the four women, and one or 2 other guys. We are through 20 miles in 2:08:44, and I am feeling strong, considering this is a 1:30 20 mile PR. I have continued to eat gels and really hit the aid stations well up to this point and tell myself to continue the successful trend. I know at this point that I have the fuel and legs left to do something I have never done today (actually finish a marathon well...)
The consecutive 6:18's are real confidence builders when I notice that I still feel strong after them - in retrospect, maybe this was unwise? At 23 miles, the four women put the hammer down and start racing each other. The slowly spread out and I am left in the dust, hanging on to my 6:20's range, but still okay and feeling stong, enough...
6:22, 6:27, 6:23, 6:29... until right about 24.5-25 miles - I start to cramp up in my right hamstring and little bit in my right calf - I have to focus on straightening out my leg. Fortunately, it doesn't completely contract/lock up and I am able to continue with a hobbled/straight leg stride approach. So, I finish up with 6:47, 6:53, and thne I trry to sprint at the finish line causing it immediatley to lock back up. I end with a painful stiff legged (and probably comical finish line photo) 6:28 pace for last 0.39 mi. (GPSed). I would've definitely been under 2:50 today without the cramp! Even with that setback, huge PR today!!
2:50:08 - 26.39 GPSed