Another issue: My garmin has proven itself insanely inaccurate: not only is the distance totally off, but the readouts are not even close to what the watch registers. When I view average pace or lap average (and I rely on lap average a lot in races), it will show a stable number - say, 7:14, maybe jump around to 7:15 or something. But then when I hit lap or it auto-laps, it reads 7:03. Like, I can still see the "7:14" average pace AS IT POPS UP WITH A 7:03 MILE. Nuts. It makes the garmin useless in races, basically just a stopwatch.
|Prerace, back when I was smiling|
Miles 1- 8: All these miles get lumped together. They're basically an out and back on St. Charles Ave, and it was crowded. Most of the runners were half-marathoners, and there are a lot of them. Mile after mile I'd adjust my pace, hit the lap key at the mile marker, and be astonished at what it said. I am not such a great pacer in a crowd, especially a crowd that's speeding up to finish a half-marathon, and my "slow start" was too fast. I kept my Garmin average pace right where it should be, but it was totally off the actual laps. So confusing, especially since I was already feeling a little off and couldn't appropriately gauge my effort.
By mile three, I felt terrible and knew this would be a hard race. I just felt tired, unprepared, not ready. I didn't have any pep in my step! I was hot already, and I could tell by my breathing that I was working way too hard.
I saw David by the St. Charles Avenue turnaround, and he got some good pictures (then he walked straight to church!). I *almost* dropped and went home with him.
Miles 9-16: The race runs down Elysian Fields, and then the half splits off. Here's where I could bail. I didn't go with the half, but at mile 14 or 15 we were back near the park and I could hear the finish line. I was tempted to drop out there, really tempted, but I talked myself out of it. I just felt bad. Now that we were on the full marathon course, it was empty. There were few spectators, few runners, and precious little shade. The majority of the second half is full sun, with a brisk wind off the lakefront. Mile 16 seems to be where I fall apart lately, and sure enough - I started to slow and felt even worse.
|Still early, on St. Charles Ave.|
Miles 21 - 26.2: As I turned around on the lakefront, I decided to cheer for every single runner coming the other way. It was an excellent distraction! I started passing people, all guys. Finally we got off the lake and onto Wisner. While still warm, at least you get a tailwind off the lake for a mile before the course turns. I was totally alone, but I saw a woman ahead of me, and I slowly crept up behind her. I passed her at mile 22, and I was shocked to see that she was one of the elite woman I'd run into in the bathroom line! Passing another woman was a boost, and I was still chugging away. Almost there! I could finish! At every mile I calculated the pace I'd need to squeeze under 3:12, but as I got closer to the finish, I realized that it was possible to even get a 3:10:xx, close to my goal of 3:10. It wasn't until mile 25 - a solid 7:17! - that I knew I could definitely hit it, though. But I just didn't have a sprint in me. Wayne, a local runner for the PowerMiler track club, passed me at mile 25. I really tried to hang onto him, but he eased ahead. Still, he drew me along and finally I could see the finish line. I crossed in 3:10:14 as sixth female!
Goal met? Not quite. Am I still thrilled? Yes! I just didn't want another 3:12, and I just didn't want to give up at the end of this race.