>Racing>Blew up in Dallas. Help me determine the most likely culprit?
I ran easy long runs on both Sat and Sun near Austin, humidity was also in the 90's here. I ran with a group on Sunday, and everyone I ran with (seasoned runners and beginners) were drenched and thought it sucked. So yeah, humidity played a big part I think.
I think that part of the beauty of the marathon is that you are (or at least I am) almost always a little disappointed with yourself after the race (unless it was your first). At your first marathon, you are able to remember that completing a marathon is an accomplishment in itself (we tend to start forgetting this the more of them we run).
At the marathon you typically either blow up or you finish strong.
If you blow up you're disappointed that you didn't do something differently (pace, liquids, fuel etc) so that you could have finished stronger.
Unfortunately, even if you finish strong, you start thinking that you kept too much in the tank and should have run harder out on the course or skipped a water stop or gone into your sprint sooner for a faster finish.
The more well trained athletes who actually race these things might get to the finish line at a steady pace feeling like the spent everything out on the course a bit more frequently but for the rest of us it's a rare occurrence and dependent on many variables, not just training or pacing (remember that 2/3 of the American men at the 2012 Olympic marathon did not finish in a field that went out somewhat slowly by elite standards due to the humidity).
Be happy that you finished!
Be happy with the PR! (Congratulations!)
Be hungry for a faster finish at your next marathon!
Enjoy your training and don't think of your next marathon as a "do-over", think of it as your next marathon.
As for: "Help me determine the most likely culprit?"
The simple answer when you blow up is always pace. Your pace wasn't matched to your fitness, your fueling and the conditions on race day. But saying that is useless and doesn't help you prepare for the next marathon (because there are so many variables that go into finding that pace that is just right on race day). If you keep running and keep racing and keep listening to your body while you race, then you will learn what pace is right for you and your PR will keep on moving in the right direction.
Conditions were bad -- even the winners of the race ran huge positive splits. So it goes.
The Logic of Long Distance
I'm in Fort Worth and ran 16 miles yesterday morning while most of my running friends suffered in Dallas running 13.1 or 26.2. No doubt in my mind that weather was the most determining factor in your failed 3:30. If you averaged 8:15 for the first half it would mean you were 3+ minutes behind goal by the half which, at best would have put you at 3:34 for the full. 15 seconds/mile is almost the difference between your half and full marathon pace, there is no way you could have made that up in the second half, not even under ideal conditions.
I looked at the finishing times and I think weather cost about 6 minutes for a 3 hr marathoner so it probably affected you by closer to 8 minutes. A 3:44 given the conditions and the rough start is not that far off that mark, the rest of it can be attributed to you trying to make up time. The strength training/core workout and whatever is just fluff....
Probably a combination of the items you discuss here.
Fueling probably played a pretty big role. Making it through a 20-mile run at MP+20% is way different than making it through 26 miles at MP. You will burn through your glycogen stores and you will need to replenish them.
But lack of consistent pacing and bad weather played a part too, I'm sure.
I'm happy, hope you're happy too...
Yeah, weather and dumb pacing. But congrats on the PR and better luck next time.
PRs: 10 1:12:59 (4/2014) 13.1 1:35:55 (10/2013) 26.2 3:23:31 (12/2013)
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mab, I ran the Bryan College Station Half Marathon yesterday and could have written your first post word for word...even down to being in the porta potty line when the race started. I am much slower, but all the same principles are in effect. I should have taken my 2nd gu as planned at 9, I started to fast and tried to catch up with the 3:00 pace group (stayed with them till about 7), the first 5 miles had a lot of small uphills I wasnt prepared for, a good deal of wind in my face and at least as much humidity as Dallas. I also didn't drink quite enough water (I'm used to taking water with me and sipping as needed...I hate gulping) or gatorade.
I'll write a report tonight, but I finished in 3:12 and my goal was 3:00. I was actually very happy with that, given the weather, wind, my need of calories and water, and my fast start. I knew sub 3 was possible, but only if everything was perfect. I'm very happy that I finished and wasn't very sore yesterday and by today feel great.
But seriously...just take my miles I got into trouble on and double for mab. I read that all and thought...deja vu!