I've spent the past 6 months working up to this day. Twice in the past 16 months, I've been sidelined from running for more than 6 weeks. I began running everyday at the end of my last injury recovery, making it my goal to be able to run the next day, and trying to increase mileage by about 2.5 miles per week (0.1 mile per day, with two half mileage days). Once I was up to around 50 miles per week, I felt comfortable that my bad habits had subsided enough to introduce rest days.
I hit 70 miles in a week, felt some familiar pain, and decided to back off and build-up again. This time I cruised past 80 miles in a week with little difficulty.
As for the marathon race itself, this was my fastest marathon by 7 minutes and 25 seconds, but it was not my best performance. My Flying Pig Marathon last May (just before all the injuries) had even splits to negative splits. However, I did manage to run this race without my GPS watch on--just a simple stopwatch.
I started this race out at a pretty solid 7:30 to 7:40 pace. My stated goal time was 3:18, and I was right on target at the 10k split. That was probably a sign of trouble right there. I was running at the peak speed of my natural stride.
The 10k-halfway segment was only about 4 seconds slower pace. At the half, I was at 1:39:40, which would be a 6 minute and 28 second PR for a half (although, that half PR was set the Saturday before my old Marathon PR, so I probably held back.)
This is the point where my training has fallen short: My longest race this year was before my injury--a 10 miler. Since recovery, I haven't run a race longer than 5k. I neither had the mental fortitude or mental training to adjust my pace.
I faltered around mile 16, and my splits started slipping past 7:40 to around 8:30. The 30k split actually benefited from a descent down an exit ramp.
Around mile 20, I was no longer shielded from the wind that was whipping all around. For the last 6 miles, I was perpetually running with my head down, arms flailing, running sideways... anything to push through the wind. For the final few miles approaching and in downtown Indianapolis, the wind blew even harder, whipping between the buildings.
Post race, I struggled to stabilize myself while retrieving food and powerade. The 1 mile walk back to the hotel was brutal, and slow--but I still managed to get back to the hotel sooner than I would have finished my first marathon time in... 4:34 vs. 3:32.
A comparison of hitting walls:
It's amazing how differently hitting a wall looks today than in my first marathon (OBX in 2007). I hit those last miles at a 12 minute pace. There was a lot of walking.
|Average Pace at Split||09:12.4||09:53.2||10:27.2|
For my marathon today in Indianapolis, the wall constituted of a 8:56 average pace segment. More importantly, only two of those miles were slower than 9 minutes.
|Average Pace at Split||07:34.0||07:36.5||07:45.3||08:05.9|