Before the details get too fuzzy in my mind I want to get down what the race was like on Sunday. More for me to look back on in the future, but feel free to come along on the ramble....
I woke up before the 5am alarm and got in the shower about 4:45am. Yes, it may seem ridiculous to some people to shower before a race, but it helps me wake up and I just feel icky until I've showered. I was on the road at 5:20 to meet up with my coworker, Kelley, since we had decided together to train (on our own) for the race we wanted to travel up together. Otherwise we never would have found each other in the 2500+ runners. I had a piece of toast with peanut butter and a small glass of water with imodium before leaving the house. We arrived at the registration hotel a little before 7am and I ate my banana as we headed for the registration area. We got our bags, went back to the car where I took my inhaler and proceeded to forget the vaseline I brought for my toes. BIG MISTAKE. But I wouldn't realize that for a couple hours yet.
We headed to the start and we were not too far from the front, but it didn't seem as though there was any time seeding, so we stayed where we were. We heard the gun and a few seconds later the crowd near us started moving. About 14 feet later we stopped again. We finally got underway for real, crossing the line about a minute after the gun. Kelley and I have never run together but we were thinking we might be similar pace runners so we stuck together. First mile: 10:14, felt pretty good and we were intermittently chatting. Past the first water stop just after the 1 mile mark but we decided to skip that one. In hindsight that might have been a bad idea because the next one was not until about mile 4.5. We ran through the city and there were some small hills but we were holding under 10 minute mile pace pretty easily for the first three miles. Miles three through six still seemed pretty comfortable for me, but Kelley wasn't feeling so great so at six miles she stopped to walk a bit and I went ahead. To that point I'd thoroughly enjoyed myself running with her. No pressure to talk, but no resistance to conversation, either. Mile seven is basically a long shallow hill. I passed a local guy with cerebral palsy that is working towards completing 51 marathons by pushing himself backwards in his wheelchair with the one leg that he has control over. I think his average marathon time is somewhere around 9 hours and I heard this one took him about 11. As I passed him I wished him luck. Miles 8-10 were on a nice paved trail, I ran most of that on the grass next to the trail and that's where I realized that I had not used the vaseline and I was developing blisters on my big toes.
Mile 10 was probably about the highlight of the day where after a short steep hill I hit a water stop for water and some gatorade as well. When I passed the 10 mile marker my watch time was somewhere around 1:42. I don't think it was entirely psychological because I was really excited when I hit 10 miles and I felt so good. But, things went bad amazingly fast and by about 10.5 miles I was hurting and barely moving forward. I'm not sure whether it was just too little water and no real calories to that point. Maybe it was partly psychological since my longest run ever to that point had been 10 miles. For whatever reason I switched to a run/walk/shuffle that was just slow. Everything from the hips down felt like it was cramped up. My ankles were really hurting for some reason and I've never had that problem before. I also think that if I had an iPod that it would have helped at that point. Kelley and I both read they're not allowed so we didn't bring them, but just about everyone else did. So there was no one to talk with or to work through it with. Kelley passed me a little after 11 miles and she wasn't feeling great, either, but she was moving faster than me. I could see her most of the way. I'm thinking that mile 13 must have been about 20 minutes. I could not imagine that I was going to get through it. It basically sucked. Then, all of a sudden, there was the mile marker and only 0.1 miles left. I was able to get myself running again and I finished running, but I did not feel wonderful. I have no pictures of the race, maybe next time.
I am happy with the overall result, I think that my time was pretty decent for a first-timer and I learned some things to remember for next time. I have to invest in a running water bottle/gel belt and get myself used to taking in nutrition during a long run. That's the key, I think. We'll find out in September.