Last two weeks of training went something like this:
Two weeks to go:
Ran a few times pretty easy, played tag with my cross country team (for an hour and a half!), "long" run of 13 miles (around 45 miles total)
One week to go:
Ran a few times really easy, two miles at marathon pace on Thursday, 4 miles easy on Saturday... and the marathon (16 miles before the race plus 26, 42 total)
I was so busy with work that I didn't make it a priority to post anything.. plus there wasn't much to report since we were tapering anyway. The biggest struggle for me was that last week. I didn't wear a watch at all because I was forcing myself to run slowly... I just didn't want to know my pace. I also had a hard time with the whole carbo-loading thing, but I sucked it up and did it anyway. Three days of almost no running and what felt like constanty eating. I thought I would enjoy it a little more but nope.
So.. the race. I really couldn't be more happy with how it went. I was really worried because we found out it was going to be a high of 82, and it was going to be a challenge to stay hydrated. After the first two water stops I actually stopped to take a few cups of water and I walked through them to make sure I got enough fluids. I stopped a few other times to take orange slices and gels and say a few word to my family (my fans). I noticed that I quickly caught up to the people I was running with before the water stop. Eventually I would catch up to the people I was running with and pass them. There was a water stop every two miles, and I was completely focused on my water stop strategy for the entire race.
I went through a bad patch from miles 11-13, and I was starting to worry because my race plan was not quite working out the way I had hoped. I was supposed to average 7:00 for the first 8 miles, then drop it down to 6:50 until mile 18, then run 6:40s for the last 8.2 miles. My pacing was pretty erratic all the way up until the halfway point, although I ended up coming through in 1:31 and some change which was on pace. After the next water stop I decided to stick with my 6:50- 7:00 pace until I felt better. Fortunately I worked though it and was able to pick it up on a downhill section. I started passing TONS of people. I was constantly picking off people from miles 14-16 toward the end of the Mohawk River trail. When I came out of the trail into the city of Cohoes around mile 16 one of the race officials told me I was in sixth, which was a surprise to me. When I looked ahead I saw two women in the distance and I got really pumped. I ended up running a 6:30 mile, followed by a 6:40 and picked off a bunch more people. I went through a few brief points where I got worried I was going to hit the wall, but I powered through it. My last mile was a 7:14 and I sprinted the last .2 miles. Only two people passed me in the entire second half even though I technically slowed down to a 1:34 half.
So, yeah I wish I had broken 3:00, but I'm happy to have stood on the podium in my first marathon. I'm also really excited to run another one. I wish I could run one again this weekend! But of course, we have to be smart and take a little down time and start training again for a spring marathon. We decided to run the full marathon at Shamrock instead of the half marathon... so stay tuned for Keep it Simple Part Deux!