The best part of the day was seeing Smooth at the start. She is so amazining and it lifted my spirits to see her and get to talk to her for a while.
I wasn't sure what to expect since I only really ran 1 time in the four weeks previous to the marathon due to some severe tibial pain in my left leg. I did do a lot of elliptical work though and hoped that would be enough to maintain the training level I was at 4 weeks earlier. I believe I was in 3 hour marathon shape 4 weeks ago and hoped I still was, but as I quickly found out, the elliptical can maintain the cardio system just fine, but the muscles needed to absorb the pounding of running, especially down hill, just don't stay maintained like running.
If I hadn't stopped running I wouldn't have been able to make it even a mile though I am sure since even a week out I was still experiencing pain with even mild attempts at running slow for a few seconds. I was super happy as I got started on the race and found that I had no pain.
I ran with my training partner Jeff. We decided to shoot for 3 hours and see how it went. At 9 miles I realized my legs were thrashed, so I wished Jeff well and slowed down. At that point we were on pace for 3 hours. I hit the half at 1:33 so just 3 minutes off pace, but the wheels had already come off and I was in survival mode.
The second half of the marathon was terrible. My quads and calfs were completely trashed, I was in a lot of pain, but I was so happy to be out there running without the tibia pain that I was able to continue on, just very slowly. I mecifully finished at 3:39:51.
I learned that there is no substitution for running. I also am determined to get in a good year of running then do this marathon over. The organization of the event was fabulous. The course is very friendly. The race shirts are sweet. And I need a redo on this race.