Pre-race activities went well although I skipped a warmup for one last trip to the bathroom. I started the race very relaxed and felt smooth as I went through the first three miles in 19:20, the next three in 19:00 and soon thereafter (mile 7) everything unraveled. I was probably in shape to run 2:55 off a conservative first half of 1:28:00 but with a lingering cold/flu and an overly ambitious first 10K I spent the second half of the race struggling with cramps.
I am my own biggest enemy in the marathon. That said what did I learn?
- If the race is over 13 miles wear training shoes, not racing flats. My legs were much more tired than they should have been due to racing flats. In addition my left hip was out of whack which might have been a previous strain but was exacerbated by the racing flats in the second half of the race.
- Sickness takes its toll. The toll is levied on high performance. I had a cold five days before the marathon. While I wasn't feverish and felt reasonably good a few days before, congestion was still lingering. I should have started the race much more conservatively. 6:45 pace would have served me better than 6:25.
- Racing well requires a master plan. Racing well requires a contingency plan in addition to the master plan. I usually set A, B and C goals for a race and these can be the basis for the master plan. But if something goes wrong what is the contingency plan? Give up? Hitch a ride home? Better to detail ahead of time how to approach the B or C goals than to give up.
- I need to be objective in my assessement of race pace for the first half of the race. I started work on a quick tool using Jack Daniel's prediction table as a point of departure