Garmin distance: 26.35 miles (7:53 pace). Numbers adjusted above for official race distance. Time changed to official time as reported online (reduced 3 seconds).
2nd ever marathon, first in three years. Overall - great experience, great race. PR by about 25 minutes (National Marathon, March 2011).
I pushed it more than I should have. But, that's par for the course for me. Kept with the 3:25 pace group until Mile 11 when I pushed the pace a little bit. They passed me at around Mile 22, which is when I hit a wall (my first split over 8 minutes was Mile 22).
I felt my knee from about Mile 10 on. I wouldn't quite call it pain, but it was a sensation that bothered me and I did go to the medical tent afterwards to get some ice. I also had some shoulder pain/stitch in the early going (miles 6-12), and later in the race my left foot hurt, particularly my second toenail (though I lost it, but I didn't). I need to trim my nails a few days before a big race (especially that deformed nail). Also, more training, including some weights, will strengthen my leg and hopefully make the knee less of a problem in my next big race.
While these pains didn't help, I simply ran out of gas at Mile 22. Would more or different nutrition have helped? It did get warmer by the end of the race, and the winds really picked up in spots in the second half, and especially the last 8 miles. I slept well this week and ate well, So, while these slight injuries and the wind and heat didn't help, there's something else that contributed to my wall-hitting.
- I think I need more of a base, more mileage. I came into this race after a summer of no training, a light/moderate fall, and then jumped in to some significant training in December. As long as I keep up some moderate mileage and put a few seasons of good training back-to-back, I think I'll see my strength and endurance improve.
- Better pacing. Had I stayed with the 3:25 group, would I have stuck with them the whole time? Not sure, but it seems that I probably pushed the pace too fast too early in the race.
- If I drop more weight it'll be easier. I'm in the low 200s (ranging between 204-209 recently). A focus on weight loss will help. My goal is to range within the mid-190s.
- I will be giving more attention to strengthening my core and upper body in the coming months. That might also help with the shoulder pain I felt early in the run.
Overall, a great race. Yes, running in suburbia is boring, but after about 13 miles that doesn't matter. You don't look at the scenery - just the road before you. And I am very happy with how it all went. I had a "reach" goal of 3:25, but a primary goal of 3:30 (and another goal of simply getting my PR). I hit my primary goal, and that is great.
Next goal: Boston Qualifier - 3:15. That's a midterm, 18-month, 2015 goal. One thing at a time. I have more work to do before I'm ready to shoot for Boston.