Race day was cool and clear, maybe a little windy, but nothing too terrible. The race started on time and I felt a little crappy for the first 6 miles, but that was probably because I was above my desired pace. I ate a gel at mile 6 which seemed to mellow out that transparent feeling. I settled in and the miles just ticked away, I wasn't suffering anymore and I ran reasonably well, enjoying the Fall weather and the course entertainment (there were some very good bands).
Hartford has a portion of the course that's an out and back where the turnaround is at mile 17 so you then have a 9 mile run back to the city and the finish line. I'm always a bit anxious to find the turnaround when I'm running away from where I'll eventually have to finish, but that too was not anything I hadn't been through before.
I seemed to have managed my nutrition and hydration well enough and never really hit the wall. Oh sure, there was a rough patch or two but again, I pushed through those reasonably well and managed to keep moving.
After mile 20 I was still feeling reasonably well and felt like the last 10k was going to be ok without any major issues.
I seemed to have the strength to keep the legs turning over in the last few miles when others seemed to be walking through the hurt. My last two miles were even stronger and faster than I anticipated.
The majority of my marathon finishes have been sub 4 hours, so coming in after the 4 hour mark was somewhat disappointing, but again, nothing too terrible. But as I reflect on the marathon experience I have to look back at the months prior to the event.
One of the first things that comes to mind is that I turned 50 years old in September. This was my first marathon at the ripe old age of 50.
I don't want to make excuses, but in the Northeast this year, we had some terrible rain and late season humidity that made weekend long runs a challenge. The humidity squashed a couple of my planned long runs to no more than 11 miles and I only managed two 17 mile runs and one 20 miler before it was time to taper.
It was definitely not my best training season and I'm a few pounds heavier than I'd like to be, but I knew I could run a marathon. After having a dozen marathons in the bag, I've learned how to run a marathon. I may not be perfect (like going out too fast) but I pretty much know what I'm in for.
Could this mentality have had an impact on my training and ultimately on my race performance? By knowing that I could do it, did I not push my self on those weekend training runs? Maybe.
I guess the real story this year is that my marathon performance was reflective of the effort and training that I put into it.
I'll have to compare this performance with my Spring plans.