This was a pretty disappointing race. I was certain I would PR and pretty sure I could run under 1:35 fairly "easily." My goal was to go out around 7 minute pace and try to hold it as long as possible. It ended up not being too long. But, it was a rather small race so I did get third overall and 50 bucks... so not too shabby for a bad day!
There are several excuses for my poor racing, some of which are pretty good ones and taught me some good lessons.
1) Nutrition- I had stomach issues that slowed me down considerably for three or four miles. I don't know what I did wrong but I will not repeat last night's dinner before another long run/race. I also don't have any gu so had nothing to give myself during the race when I was bonking (although I don't know if my stomach could have handled it).
2) Loose gravel = no PR. It killed me. I will never race hard on a surface described this way again. I am lucky I didn't get hurt and was extremely frustrated as I was sliding around. I would do this race again for fun, but slow up considerably on the gravel miles (mainly 4-9).
3) Flat out & back feels more like uphill both ways. I don't race well on flat surfaces (I underperformed my last marathon for the same reasons). I need to keep this in mind when planning my race schedule and making race expectations.
4) I really need to get some miles in leading up to my marathon. My fitness is not at all where it should be. As long as my knee recovers well from the race I will be ready for some higher mileage weeks to finish up my training.
Other things that could have played a role would have been the drive to get there (2.5 hours starting at 4am), but since I don't have many choices I will probably try it again some time and hope for better results.
All-in-all I learned a few things to help me out in the future, although I worry the stomach issues are something that may not be preventable. I am thankful for the ability to run a race like this on a bad day, and just hope to see less of these bad days in the future :)