First off, my time for this race was 3:16:04, so no Boston qualifier yet. It was certainly disappointing not making my goal for this race, especially with my confidence going in. I was pretty emotional at the end, but I realized pretty quickly that this race was a huge PR for me, even coming only 6 months after my last marathon. So what happened?
I don't really know what went wrong in this race, perhaps nothing went wrong. If there is one thing that is true about the marathon it's that anything can and will go wrong over the distance; all you can do is do what you can with what you get. Today was great from a pacing perspective, and every mile for the first half was right where I wanted it to be. Unfortunately, I experienced some intestinal issues and was forced to use the port-a-potty at the halfway point. This took away about 2 minutes of time and I ended up crossing the 13.1 mark in 1:36:44. This would mean I would need a big negative split for the race, but I was confident I could make up the time. I spent the next 8 miles slowly catching up to one of the other racers that I had been running with for a while. She had been holding a very steady pace and I knew if I could get back I would have a shot. We hit a fairly big uphill and my pace dropped to 7:37 from the 7:07s I had been holding, but the next mile (20) was back down at 6:55. I was confident with only 10k remaining. At mile 21 though I hit the wall hard. I started cramping up pretty bad and had to slow down and regulate my breathing to keep going. My pace dropped to 8:20, but I was able to battle back and keep it in the low 8s (a considerable victory given how I was feeling). But, the loss took its toll and with 50 seconds or so gone on each mile the deficit added up over the last 4 miles and 3:10 was out of reach. I fought hard to finish, and I realized that this really was a tough course. With the continual downhill and the banking curves this course deals out plenty of pain.
I am really happy with how I fought through the pain at the end to keep my pace in line. Even though I missed my goal I ran a strong race, and it was paced perfectly. Without the "pit stop" I could have been in the 3:14 range I think, but you never know how things would end up. It was a great day for a race and a great time, I have nothing to complain about.