I was a mess yesterday. I was sporadically confident and questioning my abilities throughout the entire day. Basically, I was driving Jake crazy with my mood swings (but I'm a girl, so what can he really expect?). We walked around Long Beach a little but didn't want to wear ourselves out, so mostly spent the afternoon/evening watching college football. Fell asleep ~8:30pm, the usual these days.
Woke up at 4:25am wide awake. I tried to just stay in bed, but the adrenaline was already pumping. We turned on the Chicago marathon live streaming for about an hour while we were getting ready which was surprisingly relaxing to me. I always wish they would talk about people besides the front pack, though.
Our hotel was only a couple of blocks to the start line, so we ran a mile warmup there. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful and the mass of people was quite impressive. I've never been to a big marathon before with 25,000 people. It's exciting.
I put myself in a position right behind Jake for the start. The announcer was having trouble sorting out the elites with the other runners, so I just had to laugh when he said "If you paid for your shoes, please stand behind the rope". Haha I can't believe I'm considered elite - what a thrill.
Gun started and I got into what I thought was a sustainable pace. Mile one was 5:45. The start is always fast, so that was fine with me. I was running with another girl through miles 2 and 3, but I got really frustrated when I came in the second mile at 6:41. Even though I knew it wasn't correct, I hated the fact that the mile splits weren't correct and spent the next five minutes questioning how fast I was really going. I didn't trust any of the splits after that (and I'm pretty sure a few of them were off). I had to just go by feel. Mile 3 was 4:50. Funny how I was so focused on racing that I couldn't even do the math to figure out how those miles evened out. I tried several times too, and yes I am an engineering nerd.
The girl next to me dropped, and mile four pretty much set the stage for the rest of the race. 5:51. I caught up to a couple guys running together and decided to tuck in behind them and let them pull me as far as I could stay with them. Mile 5 and 6 were 5:47 and 5:42, respectively.
Sidenote: I love being the first girl. People get so excited yelling "FIRST GIRL!!" and it really pumps me up. I tried to feed off the crowd as much as I could.
Miles 7-9.5 were along the beach, but I was so in tune with the race that I had no idea that the ocean was less than 50 yards away. 5:48, 6:17, 5:56. That middle split just made me mad because there was no way I ran 6:17. My guess is that miles 6 and 7 were a little short. Who knows.
The guys I was running with edged ahead and then I ran solo. We hit the turnaround and started a very gradual uphill for the next 1.5 miles. Miles 10 and 11 were 5:56 and 6:04. I didn't slow too much, so that was uplifting. The course got pretty lonely here with not many spectators.
Another sidenote - Jake and I read this article about improved performance with foul language. If you say swear words as a method to tolerate pain (especially for women and when curse words are not in the typically vocabulary aka me), there is an increased threshold. So guess what I was doing at this point?! lol
Mile 12 was 5:57. And then I heard "There's a girl right behind you!" Well crap. That is not what I wanted to hear. She passed me right at my weakest point and I just couldn't get myself to go with her. I wish that I had that super competitive personality. 12.5 to the end was a great downhill. Mile 13 was 5:55. I saw the clock ticking 1:16:54...55....56 and I was soo close to breaking 1:17. Four seconds too slow. Ahhhhhhh! [Updated: they added 2 seconds to everyone's time after the fact.]
Despite getting beat at the end and barely missing sub-1:17, how can I be unhappy with a 50 second PR? It's still hard to get over not breaking the tape and missing the time that I keep replaying in my head. I am so excited about my performance though! I did go out a little fast and slowed during the second half. I still feel like I ran a great race. The guys that I ran with for 5 miles made a huge difference in my mental attitude. I ran hard and strong.
So this time in the half marathon is a good indication for an OTQ in the marathon in 6 weeks. If I can get a little more endurance in this next training cycle, I have a shot. During the race, I got a muscle twinge in my hamstring (which has happened two other times in the last 4 weeks) so that makes me really worried. If anyone has recommendations, I would love to hear them. I want to be 100% healthy going into Philadelphia.
Spent the afternoon walking around Long Beach, eating brunch with Jake's family and eating ice cream. I'm so proud of Jake for his amazing performance of 1:05:43. He has an even better shot at the OTQ in 6 weeks! Long Beach is beautiful.