What I did right:
I learned my lesson from the Providence marathon: no alcohol the night before, even though there's no better way to celebrate the start of the weekend. It made the celebratory rum and coconut cocktail at post-race brunch all the better.
I used a great tip courtesy of Lauren at Health On The Run: affix your energy goo to your waistband using a safety pin. Worked like a charm: it tore off at the perforation right when I needed it, and meant I didn't need to wear the dreaded fanny pack. (Yes, in the past I wasn't an advocate of fueling during anything shorter than 18 miles.)
Two full loops around Prospect Park and then an unbearably long, straight trudge on the less-than-scenic Ocean Parkway made for some pretty boring miles. Thank goodness I brought my iPod shuffle, because around mile 6, I decided I needed it.
Other than the first mile (more on that below), our splits were beautiful:
We kicked ass. My very ambitious goal was to finish in 1 hour and 55 minutes, which - to my surprise - we surpassed. This was a 9 minute PR and, should I be able to sustain that pace, puts me at a 3 hour and 45 minute marathon.
What I did wrong:
Although I was physically prepared for this race (I'd upped my daily runs to 8 miles per day), I was not mentally prepared. I've found that if I psych myself up the night before by thinking about the length of the next morning's run, it' a piece of cake (whether it's 6 miles or 26 miles). Friday night, I didn't contemplate Saturday's run like I should have. Because it wasn't a full marathon, I didn't give it the thought it deserved.
We started in the wrong corral. Everyone else overinflates their pace; we underinflated, causing us to dodge and weave around the plodding wishful thinkers huffing and puffing right out of the starting line. Our first spit was an alarmingly slow 9:15. "Next time we're gonna have to lie just like everyone else does," Shawn muttered as he darted around a "walker" - and he's right.
I fell. It happens every three months when I'm running, almost like clockwork, for no apparent reason. Until now, however, it has never happened during a race with hundreds of other runners and spectators to witness it. This photo was taken seconds before my wipeout (look at how blissfully ignorant I am to the fate that awaits me):
After hurtling several yards, then rolling, I made the split-second decision to get up and keep running. Had I not been less than a half mile from the finish line, I don't know if I could have recovered from such a blow to my morale. (Amazingly, it didn't hurt our time: our 12th mile wasn't our slowest.) My tumble took the wind out of my sails and prevented me from enjoying a very special moment. I didn't bask in our spectacular finishing time because my pride was so wounded (come to find out, my right side, which always breaks my fall, is pretty damn wounded too). This is my right hip, one day later:Final thoughts:
I love Frank Shorter's quote "You have to forget your last marathon before you try another. Your mind can't know what's coming." Running the Brooklyn Half made me realize the Providence marathon is still too fresh in our memories to attempt the Charlevoix (Michigan) marathon at the end of June (an idea we had been -insanely- batting around). I'm happy to take a break from racing to focus on running. By the time the Chicago marathon rolls around in October, we will be itching for another 26.2. (When they visited me last week, my parents broached the possibility of coming to Chicago for the event, an idea that delighted me beyond words.)
One final unofficial picture from the race: our D-Tags on the subway ride home from Coney Island, which seemed to take almost as long as the race itself...