Well, well, well………. This marathon was a totally different experience. It was not even slightly the same as other marathons that I have run, even other Portland Marathons.
It was a mighty good challenge to say the least and I am very happy to say that I got a new PR and actually finished in like the top 10% of all runners. That was something very pleasing and new to me. I ended up with a time of 3:33 for the marathon. This is an improvement of 25 minutes compared to my former personal record marathon time. For that day, on that course, using the strategy I used; I COULD NOT HAVE GONE FASTER. That was it. I gave it my all. I have had to fight off the disappointment of not finishing the marathon with my goal pace range of 7:30-7:50 miles but I am trying to focus on the positive. In the last 10 months I have went from a 4:14 (9:41 miles) to a 3:33 (8:06 miles). This is a vast improvement and my hard work paid off very well.
One mistake that I made was to try and do the marathon using the strategy of the Pace Groups. They use an effort based model where each mile is run in a different time in order to create the same “feeling” or “effort”. This is not how I have practiced. I always run mile goal paced miles strictly within my 7:30-7:50 range. Using the pace group strategy I was doing some miles in the 6’s and that just was to fast for me even if it was only for one mile at a time. I normally stick to my plan, go slower on the uphill and make up for it going down the hill. This has always worked out well. I should have been more confident in my own plan. I may not have finished with a 3:20 (the pace group I ran with) but I would have probably finished better than I did. But like I said, I did the best I could with how things were in reality and I exploded my previous PR.
Running a marathon faster like this is totally different than what I am used to. It is not as enjoyable to run like this but it has it’s own special appeal and allure. It is very satisfying in it own way. For one, you run along side some very focused people and you are just going, going, going, very focused like. There are also WAY MORE SPECTATORS. This was shocking to me. Usually by the time I go by most of the spectators are gone because there person has already passed through. Being in the top 10% made it that 90% of the people had not yet passed through so 90% of the spectators were still waiting. And that was a lot of family and friends. It is fun though, they call out your name (it is on the bib) and it is motivating.
Overall I am pleased with how things went. I am also sore as hell today. Much more than normal.