This was a GOOD race. Maybe not the race of my life or even the race I pictured two months ago, but I'm very proud of a well-executed race in less-than-ideal conditions.
I never really took this whole Hyannis idea all that seriously, but before I knew it, I was making travel arrangements along with four of RPI's finest alums! Rob and Shannon signed up for the marathon relay and Jarrett came out to pace Pat most of the way in the full. Shannon was taking the first half of the relay with a goal of 85' and then Rob was aiming for 6:10-6:15 for 10 and then LIR to the end. I adjusted my goal a couple times over the last few weeks until I finally decided that I'd definitely run with Shannon for the first half and then make a mid-race decision on whether I was feeling amazing enough to confidently go with Rob or just continue on my own. Official goal was 2:50, which I figured it was still conservative even considering the past month or so, but the ultimate purpose here was a BM19 qualifier after all.
Pretty awful! We unluckily got the one bad day sandwiched between two great days. Windy, rainy, and cold... and boy was I feeling cold on some of the windy miles late in the race. But overall, though it wasn't ideal, it wasn't too horrible for me, and I'd definitely take it over a warmer day like Boston.
Two 13-mile loops, mostly flat with little hills here and there, nothing particularly tough. There were a few slightly ambiguous turns but only when volunteers weren't around or paying attention for a minute. Nice enough course but the weather made it tough to enjoy any scenery. It wasn't closed to traffic but that wasn't a problem ever, annoying at worst.
Bagel at around 8 and Clif bar around 8:30, NO caffeine this time (intentionally). Everything was super smooth with travel and parking. We met up with Rob and Shannon easily and stayed inside as late as we could. I was shivering on the line thanks to a needlessly long recording of the national anthem so I was itching to go if for no other reason than to get warm. During the race, GU every 4.5mi and stopped at almost every drink stop to be safe (actually stopped to drink since I couldn't pinch the plastic cups easily). Mostly went for Gatorade.
THE FIRST HALF
Shannon and I were lined up with Jarrett and Pat probably a little further back than we should have been, but as the race got underway we found our way through the crowd without much trouble. Despite the traffic, we still came through the first mile a little quick but we seemed to be fairly settled in by the end of it. Achilles was reasonably warmed up after the first mile. It never felt great but it was holding up fine, though I never really stopped noticing it until late in the race. Some of those first few miles were a little quick but nothing was unreasonable -- we were DIALED IN. I think in general I was trying to hold Shannon back some but we were never so far off pace that either of us had to say anything or make any major adjustments. We were almost always side-by-side except for whenever I'd grab water and she didn't, but I'd gradually catch up over the next minute or two. Unlike some of the softies out there, we were going straight through the big puddles (should I say ponds?). We just kept ticking off 6:20s-6:30s and slowly but surely mowed people down. Shannon was killing it and looking strong so we picked it up on that last mile and reached halfway somewhere around 84:30. Team Shan On! made the exchange and though I wasn't feeling bad, I didn't want to risk it and told Rob I was just going to keep doing my own thing.
THE SECOND HALF
I'm not sure how many times I asked myself "I'm okay, right?" on the second half. After that quicker final mile with Shannon I settled back in and I felt good but I didn't think I felt great. I got in my head a little bit on mile 15 as I tried to compare how I felt then to how I felt at that point in my previous two marathons. I had all but convinced myself I was headed for disaster when I realized I had picked it up again, so I settled back down, composed myself, and got back into a groove. I still was feeling my Achilles and overall only feeling good-not-great but before I knew it, I was at 20, under pace and feeling like I had a lot left in my legs.
THE THIRD HALF
By 20 I was feeling pretty confident, but not quite confident enough to pick it up. I knew that if I just maintained pace I'd be on track for a big PR still and I still felt good at that pace so I wasn't ready to risk it, especially with some of the windiest miles to go (and I thought hillier miles but I guess not). I reminded myself that I didn't actually walk until mile 23 at Boston after all. It wasn't until after 24 that I finally felt safe enough to give it some more juice and MAN what an awesome feeling that was! I felt like I was FLYING on those last two miles... even though they weren't actually all that much faster. What a difference from my other two finishes... this one felt AMAZING.
2:47 is certainly a time I felt I was well-capable of running, but at the end of the day, I still needed to actually DO it. It wasn't landmark goal or anything and I still believe I'm capable of low 2:40s (and eventually maybe sub 2:40?) but it was good to snap the streak of misjudging marathons. I'm very happy with how I executed this one. Yeah, I made some mistakes in the past few weeks, and yeah I'm sure I could have shaved some seconds off, but ultimately I'm just proud of how I did on the day.
When I went back and looked at the splits I was pretty amazed at how consistent they were. For most of the race I was probably only checking my watch once or twice per mile and generally just going by feel, letting the pace ebb and flow with the wind and inclines. Definitely some good learning about listening to my body there. After halfway I was pretty much alone but that didn't bother me much. I don't know if it ever really sunk in that I was running a marathon. That's probably partially because of how low-key this was in comparison to Boston but I also tried to keep this one low-pressure/low-expectation and I think that contributed to allowing myself to go more by feel and judge better.
And hey, 3rd OA was a cool little surprise but I know where a 2:47 really stacks up... still pretty fun to say though, and I can't help it if faster people don't show up!
Best guess from RA is something like 84:31/83:00. Didn't catch BM17 Paul until the 25th mile!