|Near the end... a grimace, not a smile.|
When setting goals, and therefore my initial pace, I failed to take two things into account.
- While I had trained to cover this distance I had not been training to race it, this race was just tucked into my marathon training. (Yes, these distinctions do make a difference.)
- The temperature at 6:30 a.m. was not the same as at 7:35, approximately halfway through.
By finishing better I don't mean faster, though I'd certainly take that too. I mean stronger, enjoying myself more, able to feel that in the last miles I was actually racing, as opposed to just trying to run (not walk) as much as possible and keep from overheating.
Ah well. I promptly signed up for a second half, in August (when it may well be hotter and more humid). I've made adjustments to my hydration/nutrition system which seem to be working out well. (No more heavy bottles on my chest - I have graduated into full runner geek mode and now have a bladder for my race vest.) I have adjusted my training to better prepare for this next one and also rethought how I'm going about the marathon. I feel good.
I do love this distance. It is long enough to be challenging, to require strategy, to have to be smart about it, but I don't really worry about my ability to finish it. Even if I do have to stop and walk more than I'd like sometimes.
One very cool thing that happened: After the finish a young woman tapped me on the shoulder and told me that she'd been following me the entire time, I had set a very steady pace and it helped her. I don't know what she'd been doing those last five miles - perhaps walking as well? - but it was a real kindness of her to tell me that.
Bring on the miles!