I started the race with the 4:05 pace group. In retrospect, I should have stayed with them as long as possible, but I felt so good the first part of the race that I pushed too hard in the first half and paid the price later in the race.
My 3.3 mile split was 32:37 (9:53/mile pace), a reasonable start pace with the 4:05group. By the 9.29 mile marker, I had decided to leave the pack with a quicker pace, passing the mark at a 1:26:22split (cumulative pace of 9:18/mile; or 8:58/mile pace over this section of the course). My friend, Chris, had joined me so this also helped pass the time and made it feel much like a long training run than a race. I was right on pace for a four hour marathon at the half way point with a split of 2:00:38at 13.1 miles (cumulative pace of 9:13/mile or 9:01/mile over this section of the course). Still having Chris helped with the 10 miles he ran with me, although I was starting to feel the beginning of the wall towards the end of our time together. At the 19.8 mile mark, my split was 2:59:33(cumulative pace of 9:04/mile or 8:48/mile pace over this section of the course).
That’s about the time I hit the wall. Miles 19.8 to 26.2 took 1:12:42 (11:22 pace over the last 6.4 miles). It was a true struggle to finish the race, especially without Chris by my side. Luckily, I our training mentor that helped me with the last four miles of the race – the exact point I was feeling my worst – breaking down to walk several times outside of aid stations. Mentally, I think I felt I was running slower than I actually was, although the walking breaks certainly had their impact on my times. I finished my first marathon at 4:12:13 and a pace of 9:38/mile.