This race was my first marathon, and I spent around 23 weeks training using the Daniels Plan A with a peak of 90mpw as general guidance. I had two tune-up races, a September 18 miler I finished in 1:54, and a somewhat disappointing 1:20 half marathon in October.
Once I got to the start I jogged about ¾ miles to at least get warm enough to stretch out a little. I wasn’t planning on going out particularly hard, but I never feel comfortable starting a race without at least an abbreviated warm up, but at the same time I wanted to conserve my glycogen stores as much as possible. I came in trying to run 2:48-ish, primarily projecting from the 18 mile race, and a 1:35 15 mile MP run I did 2 weeks out. The plan was 6:30 miles for about 6 miles, then pick it up to 6:25-6:20 for as long as I could manage.
During most LT and marathon pace workouts I have done in preparation for this race I needed 3-4 miles to get into a groove and start feeling comfortable with the pace, but today I remember thinking that I felt really good right from the start, good enough that I actually went a little ahead of planned pace and passed the timing mats that were supposedly at the 10k mark around 39:4x.
I say supposedly because a couple of mile markers at the beginning of the race were almost certainly misplaced. After mile 2 I hit the split button at every mile marker, and my watch showed 6:49 for mile 3 and 6:03 for mile 4. There is no way my pace would vary that much when I am running at a steady effort, and my Garmin recorded 1.07 miles from marker 2 to marker 3, and 0.94 from 3 to 4. Anyway, none of this is really important except for the fact that I was really annoyed and momentarily confused. Maybe I am spoiled because I have run many New York Road Runners races and have never encountered poorly placed mile markers, but I expected better from a major race like Philadelphia. However, I do think that based on the pace my Garmin was indicating that the 10k timing mat was placed correctly.
Anyway, moving on, the race was going pretty smoothly at this point. I was feeling relaxed, taking a few sips of water at every aid station, and sticking to my plan of taking a total of 5 gels, one every 4 miles starting at mile 4. The only thing that did not go to plan is the straw drinking thing. This was going to be my first time using a straw, but at the very first aid station the damn thing fell out of my mouth as I was reaching for a cup of water. Oh well. I found that I don’t have that much trouble drinking without one in a marathon compared to a half because I am not having to gasp for air nearly as much due to the slower pace.
Pretty much everything else went as well as it could have gone. I was focusing on trying to keep a steady 6:20-6:25 pace, easing up a bit on the few up hills, and trying to avoid the temptation to hammer the down hills. The course is indeed fast. I remember just one hill that really forced me to back off my pace, and I think it was around the 9-10 mile mark.
I passed the timing mats at the halfway mark in 1:23:4x, and at that point I was starting to feel fatigued. I never ran into a wall, and I think I finished with glycogen stores to spare, but from the halfway mark I got progressively more fatigued, and past 18 miles it really took concentration to stay on pace. It didn’t get really bad until about 24 miles, at which point my legs were under the kid of distress I had only previously experienced inside a squat rack at the gym. I did fall off pace a little, running my last 4 miles around 6:30 pace and finishing in 2:47:45. Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled with how my race went. I could not have asked for a better day.
|Intervals (GPS Interval) (split button hit at mile markers starting mile 2. Missed mile 1)|