Well, this race...or situation...was a first for me. Second marathon in a season. MCM came 6 weeks on the heels of the Erie Marathon where, if you (yeah you - the lone reader of this here blog) recall, I scored my first Boston Marathon Qualifying time (3:09:47 - 13 seconds to spare!). So post Erie, my training was sporadic at best. As a friend of ours stated the other day, I take my recovery seriously! I like to say that I rarely miss a rest/recovery day ;). I got in one 16 mile two weeks prior to MCM and I think at that point I thought to myself that I could maybe come close to matching Erie's performance. The problem being, I lacked a major element that I normally have an abundance of in my arsenal - motivation! MCM was my 6th marathon and the previous 5 had all been PRs (yeah, the first one counts as a PR too!). That lack of motivation to either PR or chase a BQ I truly believe hindered my performance and allowed me to slack off a bit in my effort.
Race day came and luckily we avoided the major winds and rain (all the rain, but there was quite a bit of wind) that accompanied Hurricane Sandy (one day later and we could have been either cancelled or miserable). A friend of ours (Julie) decided she wanted to run with me. She just 4 weeks prior ran a PR of 3:20 at Wineglass (oh by the way, my kick ass wife finished 3rd overall there with a 3:01!!!) and decided she wanted to go sub 3:20 at MCM. I had planned on going out at a 7:25 pace and see where I stood at the halfway point. At 13.1, I was on track for a 3:15 (not a PR, but something I was going to be ok with). Unfortunately, the head win at the turn around at Hains Point was pretty stiff and I started to fall off pace. Julie soon fell back at about 14 or 15 and I was then running solo without anyone to push (who in turn would help push me). The remainder of the race was pretty uneventful (although my friend Dan paced me in the final 6 - Thanks Dan! - and I'm pretty sure he was very happy to be done with me because I'm pretty sure I complained non-stop!), except when I saw my in-laws with my daughters at 19.5! That was a huge pick-me-up, but unfortunately, I was on cruise control at that point and just wanted to be done.
I finally finished in 3:20:31 and a few weeks later I'm still unsure of how I feel about this. I'm either ok with it or disappointed...I just can't figure out which. I can say this...I don't like NOT PR'ing and I plan on doing that in Boston in April! I have a big spring/summer planned and if I want to make any kind of a splash, I need to start getting myself in order ASAP!
I can tell you this though, I LOVE the big races a lot more than the little ones! MCM is my hometown marathon more or less and the crowds are absolutely fantastic! I just wish I had given more in return. MCM should definitely be on every marathoner's must do race list!