some reflections on yesterday’s marathon

I’ve been thinking about yesterday’s race quite a bit.  It feels a bit compulsive that I’d been annoyed about the course length.  One way or another, I had a really good day out there.  I felt good most of the way, and pushed myself pretty hard.  Check out the split chart to see what I mean :

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The blue line represents my mile pace for each length of the course I ran (it was a double out and back, so I ran it four times).  The splits themselves were pretty consistent, within a minute for each length.  The resulting pace per mile was also pretty consistent as a result.  Better is the downward slope in the red line, which means that I negative split overall.  You can click on the chart for a larger view of it.

One way or another, this means I averaged between 8:09 and 8:14 for the race, even allowing for a slower 0.4 mile run to round out the distance to 26.2 miles.  A good day indeed.

Not sure whether I’ll run another of the races put on by this race director.  He was a nice guy, and it was a nice course.  When you’re putting on so many races at once – triathlon, 5k, 10k, 10 miler, half marathon, marathon – and charging money for them, I’d expect the course length to be pretty close to correct.

This happens a bit in uncertified races.  I believe a marathon in Oregon recently went through the process to get their course USTF certified, and determined that they’d run their race with a short course for years.  It was a tradition for people to go down there and PR, and now they know one of the reasons why that might have happened.  In that case, I believe the course was even shorter than the one I ran.  And to be honest, it wouldn’t have been much of an issue to me if I’d not PR’d.  In fact, on a bad day, I may not have even noticed.

The fact remains that when you’re gauging yourself against your history and your goals, it does matter a bit.

In any case, I’m pleased with my effort and the results – whatever they are.  This time last year, I could not have imagined being in a quandary like this one.  Indeed – I’m one of the most fortunate people on the planet.

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