Sunday was a nice day to run the towpath marathon. I was up around 5, ate a protein bar (my daily breakfast) plus a bowl of cereal, and drank some water. I was on the road by 5:45 and I arrived about 90 minutes early.
I took one more bathroom break at Bostom Mills, changed my shoes, ditched the long sleeve shirt, drank a 20 oz Gatorade, and headed to the start. Today was my first day wearing my new Team Fox shirt. I am now wearing it in all my races, hoping to raise some funds for Parkinson's research.
Once I got there, I had to pee again. Many guys were stepping off the road and across the train-tracks, so I joined the crowd. Then back to the start. I started near the front, 2nd or 3rd row. The start is on the road (slight downhill). The national anthem played and we were off!
My goal was to start slow but not slower then 8:00, then cut down to 7:20's and hold that pace as long as I could. My safe goal was 3:20 which is 7:38 pace so I figured I had some wiggle room.
I looked at the watch about 1/2 mile in and it showed 6:46 pace. I eased off a bit more and my first mile clicked 7:17. (The Garmin had my miles before theirs all day long by less than .01 per mile).
I held an even but choppy pace between 7:15-7:30 pretty much through the half. One slower mile when I was taking a gel but felt like I was still running easy and saving energy. But the quads started getting heavy right around 1/2. My times started fading fast and I fell apart mentally as much as physically. Kept resetting goals (3:26 PR (Columbus 1991), 3:37 Milica's time, 3:42 (Columbus 93), 3:53 first marathon (Columbus 90).
20th mile was so slow (11:50) that I walked part of 21 (13:11), then took a potty break during 22 (14:19).
Finally hooked up with some Team Fox guys, talked a little and they are from N. Olmsted and know my brother-in-law Ken! Ran 10:02 & 9:58 for 23 & 24.
I started slowing again and declared myself the 4 hour pace group, encouraging all who passed me in the last 2 miles (and there were plenty).
I took plenty (I think) of water, Heed, and Hammer Gel. Quarter to half a cup about every 2 miles for the first half of the race. Then switched to a half cup of water and HEED at most of the water stops (almost every mile) once I started slowing. I actually stopped at a port-a-pot to pee around mile 21-22.
The course is mostly shaded. Although it did reach near 80 by the finish, at the time when I started fading, I was actually still a little chilly so I don't think it was the heat.
Bathroom breaks before the race were successful so that was not a problem.
I did splash some water or HEED on my sunglasses and they were a little blurry, I took them off, carried for about a mile, passed off to Marty Lucas around 15 miles then got them back around 24. This was about the time I was slowing down but I think it was a coincidence.
Official results aren posted. I was 3:59:21, 215th of 604 overall and 27th of 77 in my age group, men 40-44.
I did consider dropping at 17 (near the finish) and taking another shot either 10/17 at Columbus, or 10/24 at Inland Trail, but I honestly don't know what to blame my failure on, so I don't know that it would go significantly better.
Randy thinks I need to do my longer runs faster - he is probably right.
My next race is the Skeleton Run, I am trying to place in the top 5 overall in the Hermes Road Race Series. Then the Running With Scissors double-marathon, and I will start training for the Burning River 100 next summer.
Here are my splits, per my watch.
7:48 - opening gel
13:11 - walked
14:19 - potty
(10:21 pace, last .2+)