The short story is that I was on pace for 21 miles for sub-3:05 and had a tough time in the last 5+ miles. As I said in my comments, I am disappointed but not devastated. I trained harder than I thought I could and I moved my time goal from 3:20 to 3:05 in the middle of August. The progress this year is something that has been wonderfully surprising.
Longer story. I decided to warm up since my usual pace is lower 8-minute range for easy runs and I usually don't break 9 minutes in my first mile (rarely below 8:45). I ended up doing 5 minutes, which seemed reasonable beacuase the pace was super slow with 1 or 2 low intensity, short strides. Did some dynamic stretching in there too, but nothing serious. I entered the corrals looking for the 3:05 group, but could only see the 3:10 and the elites just ahead. The 3:10 pacer asked me if I was looking for the 3:05ers, and he pointed them out (strange how a 3:05 pacer, and much faster marathoner wouldn't be super visible in the still-dark morning). I stayed between the two pace groups. I couldn't hear much because of the corral noise and my hat, but we finally got to the start and got moving. Took a bit to navigate for position, even for a smallish race, but I settled in after 3 or 4 miles okay.
Mile 1: The pacers were moving a bit fast. I hit the hit the first mile in 6:50 and I wasn't really gaining on the 3:05 group. Before the second mile, the 3:10 guy was breathing down my neck, and I think he said he hit 7:00 for the first mile (too fast for a 7:17 goal time I think). Throughout the race I felt like the 3:05 group was surging, especially on a flat course, but it was likely my novice sense of pace and pacing, but I found it hard to stay with them, even though I didn't feel a lag in my own pace.
Mile 2: 7:11. I could see the 3:05 group about the same distance as we were at the start, so I figured I would be fine as long as I didn't get too much of a gap that I couldn't close at the end (I was only a few seconds behind them at the start and they weren't much back from gun time).
Mile 3: I passed through Monument Circle and threw my hate to Megan. At this point I think I was sitting right on the 3:05 group. Still 6:47. I realize it was faster because I was trying to get right behind them and had to cover some ground, but we still shouldn't have been too far below pace on a flat course (Obviously each person is the only one responsible for his or her own pacing).
Mile 4 (7:17); Mile 5 (7:08); Mile 6 (7:03) 10k split was 43:47. Right on 7:04 pace; Mile 7 (6:59) Took a gel here; Mile 8 (7:12); Mile 9 (7:15); Mile 10 (7:13); Mile 11 (6:58); Mile 12 (7:03); Mile 13: (6:59) First half split was 1:32:41, which was right where I was hoping to be roughly (1:32:20-1:32:40); Mile 14: (7:01); Mile 15: (7:01) Took another gel, and started to realize I would need to feel really good at mile 20-24. I missed a water station somewhere because they didn't have enough
volunteers and weren't prepared for a big, tightly packed group. I asked a guy if he would mind if I had just a sip of his water if
he was going to toss it. He handed it too me, which was kind. I can't remember but I think I was still pretty much behind the group at
this point. I would be close to them and fall back or they would push
Mile 16: (7:07) Just a 10+ mile tempo run to go!
Mile 17: (6:57). I knew that these were the splits I needed to hit to be on pace for sub-3:05 and I also knew they were getting a bit difficult to hit.
Mile 18: (6:57). Split was dead even like the last one. 30k Split was 2:11:43, still on 7:04 pace.
Mile 19: (6:49) I think this was about where I passed a guy and he asked how I was doing and I said "fine," which was meant to be an hopeful and not arrogant response. May have been the next mile because I took a gel and really did feel better, but not super fresh. I was trying to close in on the group again by mile 20 so they could drag me to the finish line.
Mile 20: (6:58) Took a gel. Hoped some of my faster miles at the end of long runs would save me, but they didn't. I think this is where we entered the park through a narrowish gate. I was off the 3:05 pack, and missed my goal of catching them slowly over 2-3 miles.
Mile 21: The group was visible I think, but I can't remember. I knew I wasn't going to hit 3:05 for sure. I just hoped to come in the 3:05 range (the removal of the 59-second grace period being pushed aside for pride). I still managed 7:12. Oh yeah, and it started to rain a bit. Cold, almost sleeting, rain. Hands and arms were cold (I tossed my gloves because they got wet).
Mile 22 "Somewhere around mile 22 the cramps began to take hold . . . ": Let the geezer games begin (me being the participant)! Little bit of walking to see if the legs were just playing me. Got a few Cliff Bloks that some nice folks had. They had opened the package to help I guess, but I spilled a bunch. I took part of a Cliff gel somewhere in here too hoping it would be miracle fuel. Split 7:55 for this one. Ouchy.
Mile 23: I did some more walk/running here I think and managed a 7:35. I tried to fight the cramps in my side, but I did a good bit of clutching, growling, and grimacing.
Mile 24: More of the same. Tough mile, especially with 3-hour half marathoners walking and covering most of the road. Okay, that was what I was thinking at the time because I was really cursing myself. Growl, grab side, grimace. Repeat. Who is that hunched over geezer in the shop window? It's me . . . 8:09.
Mile 25: 7:48. I tried to tough it out, but I couldn't. I tried to push through the discomfort, but it wasn't helping. Just finish the race, Jason, and don't let that 3:10 pacer mow you down.
Mile 26: The point in the marathon where your eyes should light up and your legs magically find just a small spark of fuel. Again, I tried to push and I did okay but I didn't have anything in my legs either. By this point I had perfected my old man shuffle. Saw a guy on the sidewalk with volunteers. They were trying to stand him up but he was very, very unsteady. Always makes me nervous, especially since I had a friend at Chicago get life-threatening heat stroke (at 37 degrees this other fellow had other issues). 7:24.
Partial: .34 (.04 better than last year): No 5:30-pace kick down, but I did manage 2:34 or 7:02 pace. I also managed to pass one guy just before the turn off from New York into the straightaway to the finish line. Nothing fierce. More like a barely audible purr. Too many people in the finishing area. I got a water and got into an open area. Wasn't until later that I realized I missed my medal.
I walked a bit and drank some water, picking up random abandoned ones as I was leaving. My legs didn't feel too tight or sore even if they weren't in any shape to run. I wasn't that sore in the afternoon/evening and I actually ran a short piece when we went to lunch. A bit sore this morning, but NOTHING compared to my first marathon last year when I couldn't really walk down stairs for 5-7 days. I feel it a bit in my hips because I was such a geezer at the end, but I am pleased I don't feel super trashed and I can run earlier than Thursday (the first day I ran last year).
I am so happy to be a part of the blog. I try to follow and read as much of all your races and training as time will allow. I have learned a good deal from the blog, while better being able to push myself because of it. I have no doubt it has helped with my successful year with 9 races and a PR for every one (one of the many perks of being a newer runner for sure). My first half split was faster than my April half marathon PR by 1 minute and my overall pace wasn't much slower than my half marathon pace at that point. Many of my splits for the marathon were at what I was running the half marathon in June, just two weeks before I started my 16 week marathon buildup.