Today was my marathon. I had hoped to finish in under 4 hours. The race began inauspiciously, with the buses arriving more than 30 minutes late to take us to the top. It continued promisingly as I ran well ahead of my pace for the first half of the race (on pace to finish in about 3:40). It ended with me learning a lesson. I had not done enough hill training and the first 17 miles of the race were all downhill (except for more than a mile of uphill). That accounted for my time being so good for the first half, but it also caused my calves and feet to fatigue early because I was using the muscles differently from when I trained. The result was that I started walking after 17 miles because I could hardly lift my feet, a problem I never had when I ran 22 miles on flat ground. I finished the race at a run after adding more than an hour to my time. I crossed the finish line at 4:57:23.
I know that some of my supporters were worried that I might be disappointed by that time but I recognize the deficiency of my training. While I feel I could have pushed myself to do a little better than I did, I could never break 4 hours on this course without some significant hill training before the race. I am not disappointed in the results – I achieved a long-held goal to run a marathon and, as proven by some of the most seasoned runners I met on the course, that is nothing to feel bad about no matter what time the clock says when you finish.