For the annals of history, my race report from the 2011 Marathon.
Rain was in the forecast for Sunday's race and it must be that fervent prayer from myself and other racers led God to stay his hand. We had a pretty good day for running - not perfect, but not bad either. The temperature was around 57 when we started, a little overcast, slightly drizzely.
Steve, Michelle and I got downtown around 6 and jogged to the Stadium for our warmup. It was cool because we got to stretch inside the stadium which was open for all to use. The bathroom situation was a bit of a disaster - lines out the ying yang. By the time we were making it to the line at 6:50, the place was PACKED. Seriously, next event I'm at the start by 6:40 minimum. We found the pace group we wanted to start with (3:30 marathon time, which would yield a 1:45 half marathon, 8:00 miles).
The first miles were very difficult because it was like the running of the bulls in Spain... we were packed in there like sardines. You can tell by our mile time - 8:35. It is tough - you don't want to be rude, but there are so many people to pass who really should start further back in the pack. We crossed the start almost 1 minute exactly after the gun. To get an idea of what the start was like, check out this video (you can see me around 1:12, green shirt, sideburns):
Steve and I stuck with the pace group for the first 4 or 5 miles, which worked out because they were actually cruising a little below 8 minute pace. We saw my family, waved to the kids, etc at 4.5, right around the turn at W 110th. It was great seeing them there.
Around mile 6, the pace group really started sticking to 8 minute miles so we left them and began pulling away, dropping our mile times down to around 7:30. Steve and I both agreed that we were feeling great. The temp was good, my legs felt good, the course was good, and by this point the pack had thinned out a bit so I didn't have to concentrate as much about not stepping on people.
We saw the family again around mile 8 in Tremont, where Steve Olayas ran with us for 100 feet or so - he was showing Jen and crew where we were so they could be prepared to get some pics. I'll post these here later. I was thinking, "Who the hell is... oh, it's Steve!" Fun moment.
Things went great until mile 11... which is the Carnegie bridge. Got a good taste of a sidewind here that cooled me off. Also the temp must've dropped a little by this point because it is the only time I remember even being aware of the weather at all. The bridge is easily the longest mile on this course. But we ate up mile 11 and kept a strong pace. Same for mile 12.
As I crossed 12, I thought to myself, "You've been training for this for a year... you'd better have nothing left when you cross that finish line." I kicked it up and managed to pull out a sub 7 mile (6:48) to the finish.
Official time: 1:39:36.
The Garmin watch I got the previous day (I'll post about this guy soon) was indispensable during the race. Here is the data from the GPS watch:
I'll post pics once I get 'em!
Great race - thanks to God for a great day and strong body!