The Expo: I hit the expo on Saturday to pick up my race number. I always go to these things with a wad of cash hoping to pick up some good running paraphernalia. I had three items of interest in mind I was looking for: an Endurance Bag, some Smartwool socks (keep hearing raves about these), and Cliff Shot Double Espresso gel (w/100mg of caffeine, yeah). Alas, with all of the vendors there, I couldn’t find these three things or anything else I wanted to blow my money on. I did end up picking up a shirt for my running wife from One More Mile, though, so that was cool. And I did end up playing running groupie and getting an autograph from Catherine Ndereba (won the Boston Marathon 4 times? showoff!), so the expo wasn’t a total waste.
The Race: I was dealing with an achilles tendonitis flareup mid week, so I hadn’t run since Wednesday – 3 days of no running, which is an eternity during marathon training. So I approached the starting line thinking I would at least go out the first couple of miles at marathon pace, which for me is around 9:05 per mile. If the legs felt ok I would try to run negative splits. So that’s exactly what I did – first couple of miles were conservative, just under 9:00 per mile. The leg felt ok so I started to gradually run negative. I ran a half marathon in March of last year (E. Murray Todd HM for those NJ people) where I averaged an 8:48 pace throughout the race. Once the legs felt ok, I figured I would try to run negative splits and just work on getting my average pace under 8:48 (does anyone actually sign up for a race shorter than a marathon and just run marathon pace?). I ended up more or less cruising negative throughtout the race – my final 4 mile splits were:
So I was feeling pretty good, the Garmin showed me averaging 8:42, well on target. However, my chip time at the finish was 1:55:34 – my race in March was 1:55:32 – Ack! I should have realized when my Garmin was recording splits 400 meters before the course mile markers at the end that I was a little off. I guess I did a bad job of running the tangents on the course which screwed me up distance wise. Oh well, another lesson learned about leaning too heavily on the GPS. It did help me run a clean negative split race, though, which is hard to do, especially in those early miles. My training schedule called for 13 miles @ 9:24 on Sunday, so I did 13.x @ 8:48x – not too shabby. I think I’ll focus on a half marathon in the Spring for a goal race to PR in (probably the New Jersey HM, we’ll see).
I was hoping to meet some fellow RWOL people who are training for the Philly Marathon but race morning was crazy and that never happened. I did get a chance to bump into Flyers26 for about 2 minutes, long enough to wish each other luck, while I was waiting in the porta pottie lines. He ran a great race and has a good race report on his blog, along with some quality pictures which I’m missing (http://flyers26.blogspot.com/). So now we get to sit back, relax, and bust our butts for the next 9 weeks prior to race day. I’m thinking it may be time to adjust my race goal, hmmm…