...and it shall be minimal. Maybe. :O)
Not a course PR, not a distance PR.
As I close out my marathoning days, my 26.2 PR shall remain at 4:42. I have had 4:20-4:30 in me twice. Before Chicago 2010 and this one...but with one weather got me and the other...well my leg/foot got me (along with the weather; it got hot yesterday with full sun). Thankfully today the foot is better, but the calf, not so much...its moved also to the Achilles...ugh. Anyway...
From the start of yesterdays marathon, I was so ready. I felt SO good. Yes 2 days prior, my left calf (the outer part of it) had begun to feel 'ouchy' when I ran the last two short runs on Thurs and Fri but I kept taking ibuprofen to deaden it and that helped, so I didn't give it too much thought. However when it started kicking in during the race and kept getting worse, I knew that eventually it was going to just cave, I just didn't know when.
I was running 10:20's like I should, most times running closer to 10, but then when I would see my lap pace under 10:20, I would slow down until it settled in where it should. A few times I was at 10:30 or so and was fine with that too.
And I was walking every single water stop whether or not I took water or not. I never once took Gatorade, and probably should have since once it started getting warm I could feel the salt residue on me. It was indeed much lower humidity than I ever remember at any marathon I've ever done except for Chicago 2010 when by the time I finished my shorts were literally stiff from the amount of salt that had built up in them.
The crowds were SPECTACULAR this year, and I wonder how much all the television coverage all week of the Olympic Trials and the marathon were being showcased. I am certain it had something to do with it. Once you pass the half marathon turn, its usually scarce in some places, but yesterday I don't remember a place where it was scarce at all. Other than that tiny bit of road after the Westpark Bridge and before you get to Richmond.
I knew by the clocks near the timing mats along the course that between my watch and that clock was about 5-6 minutes, but then when I stopped at 17.5 for about 5 minutes (not sure on that) when I saw the timing clocks again, I had switched to intervals and now had no idea of the differential. If I remember correctly at around mile 24 or so, I saw the timing clock at 4:38, or maybe it was just before 24, can't remember now, but I knew I would be cutting it close to still come in under 5 hours.
I mean I had stopped for a potty break at 16, then with my family at 17.5, then maybe around 19 or so to stretch my calf/Achilles, then along Memorial at a med tent to ask to have my calf taped up, and then the DNF discussion at 22...I mean thats a LOT of time that I had stopped...and how much time had I really taken?
I was clueless, but when I did see that 4:38 part of me thought 'shit, I shouldnt have spent so much time talking...but then I would think how much it meant to me to spend that time with them...
When I got to that last part of the course, just before you get into downtown, where you see the overhead sign that says "1.5 miles to go", I knew everything was going to be OK and that I was indeed going to finish this thing, gimpy leg or not. And whether or not I had to pay for it for a few days afterwards no longer mattered.
I also picked it up a bit, ignoring the beep that told me it was time for that 1 minute walk. Before I even reached the last left hand turn where I knew the finish line hoopla would be awaiting me, I started fist pumping and 'Ryan Hall-ing' it (if you've never seen Ryan Hall hype up the crowd at the finish of a great race, you wont know what I am talking about), but for me, just like Ryan Hall, it made the crowds closer to the fence go nuts and I loved every minute of it. I ran that last bit like my life depended on it and I wanted to go out with a bang...
Now I am super glad I ignored the beeps and ran my heart out at the end, otherwise it would have been over 5 and while I still would have been OK with that, I am glad that I haven't seen a '5' in my marathon finish times since that first one back in January 2007. :O)
Much much more to come....So many pictures and so many blog posts with such a phenomenal weekend, that I just have to parcel it out!