Before this 2nd Marathon, I was pretty confident that I would PR. I trained better, I wore lighter running shoes (Asics Piranhas), I used Vespa, I took Gu from a handheld (no more struggling to open Gu packs with numb fingers), I drank less water from the aid stations (it was cold, and I wasn't sweating much), I ran a half mile warmup, I stretched better, I wore a Power-Balance wrist band (bought at the Expo), and I started out slower. My A goal was to run a 3:25, which is what the McMillan Calculator predicted that I would be capable of. My B goal was to break 3:30. My C goal was to break my previous PR of 3:41:41. And my D goal was just to finish, because lets face it, a lot can go wrong in a 26.2 mile race.
I ran a 3:30:48 (gun time), and my chip time was 3:30:21, and I didn't bonk at all this time!
Here are my splits according to my brand new Garmin Forerunner 405 (maiden voyage with this watch):
7:49, 8:10, 8:00, 7:46, 7:44, 7:44, 7:46, 7:47, 7:49, 7:42, 7:25 (my fastest mile thanks to some nice downhills), 7:51, 7:58, 8:15 (trouble opening my Vespa package with numb fingers), 8:26 (my slowest mile due to some nasty headwinds), 8:09, 8:05, 8:05, 8:10, 8:01, 8:03, 8:07, 8:02, 8:08, 8:10, 8:22 (some fatigue is setting in... I was wondering when it would really show up...), 2:39 (0.33 miles at 7:59 pace).
I was skeptical about this Power-Balance wrist band thing, but it clearly gave me more flexibility and strength during some simple tests. If a wrist band made you stronger and more balanced and flexible, would you wear it? I figured it couldn't hurt, and there were clearly many other believers.
I think Vespa allowed me to run a more consistent race with no energy problems. By burning fat more efficiently, you end up burning less sugars, resulting in less lactic acid, less cramping, less soreness, and a quicker recovery. The compression calf sleeves (by Zensah) kept my legs warmer (around 31 degrees at the start) and was supposed to aid in providing better blood flow and circulation (I had a mild calf strain 5 weeks ago). The Asics Piranhas are super light at 4 ounces each, and helped me with a faster foot turnover, even though my feet felt numb most of the time. After being slammed by headwinds at mile 15, I slowed down and found a pace that would keep me close to the 3:30 goal time. And I surprised myself at being able to hold the pace through mile 25. There was no wall and no cramping this time, and the time flew by pretty quick. During my first marathon, these last 5 miles were agonizingly slow.
At mile 26, I had a nephew pace me for about a tenth of a mile, which gave me a final boost to the finish line, for a strong finish.
This is why we run marathons. They feel like awesome accomplishments sometimes (not all the time), and today was one of those awesome accomplishment days.