Standing at the starting line, I still was not sure how I was going to run the race. The race provides a number of pacers; these were runners carrying signs for different overall times. For example, one runner had a sign for an overall time of 4 hours, while another had a sign for 3 hours and 45 minutes. These signs were attached to poles and afixed to their backs so that you could see the signs during the race.
As the race started and I settled into the first mile, the pacer with the 3 hours and 45 minute sign was about 300 yards in front of me. The beginning of the race includes a number of downhills. Probably predictably given the stubborn dutchman that I am, I made a decision to catch the group that was running with this pacer on one of the downhills.
I settled into that group and ran with them for more than 10 miles. At that point, my goal was to try and stay with the 3:45 pace group through 13 or 14 miles and then try to hang on for a sub 4 hour marathon.
The group running with this pacer was pretty large, probably more than 75 people. At an aid station after the 10 mile mark, the road narrowed considerably. I wanted to make sure that I got some water. Everyone was getting in everyone else's way and I ended up coming out of the aid station 200 to 300 yards behind the pacer. I made a small effort to catch back up, but realized that to do so would take a lot of energy and backed off.
I rolled through the half marathon in 1 hour and 56 minutes. From the 11th mile to the 19th mile, I lost speed steadily, but was still able to carry a pace of about 9:45.
I really slowed down in mile 20. Larkin met me at mile 21 and ran with me to the finish. I was very glad to see him at that point. I just could not carry any speed at this point. We ran the last five miles in the range of 10:50 to 11:20 per mile. My overall time was 04:13:47.
I was a little disappointed with the overall result, but I am also realistic. I am not 28 years old anymore and, as Sharon keeps saying, I probably did not do enough long (20 miles or more) training runs. I am pleased with the fact that I never stopped running.
The graph shown below shows my times for each mile. Click on the graph for a larger copy!