So I ran the N. Olympic Discovery Trail Marathon on Sunday. Thinking I had an outside chance to break 3 hours for the 3rd consecutive time, I cruised through the first 5 miles feeling very, very comfortable. Other than the first mile at something just over 7 minutes on a slight uphill, the mile splits were quick (32:40 at 5 miles vs 33:00 at Napa Valley).
I began getting suspicious that something was wrong when I hit 9 miles in 58 minutes and 10 in 67. The mile splits were clearly wrong, but I was really thrown off since I had no clue if it was the 9 or the 10 mile (10 miles at Napa was 65:22, which is a little slower than I should have been if the split at 9 was correct). It just so happens that the mile between 11 and 12 was right on the trail portion where I do my 800s, so I checked my split there and clocked something under 3:20, so I was still running on pace.
Turns out it didn't matter, because just after 12 miles I recall thinking that I might be in for a long day. My half split was 1 hr 28, but my 5 miles between 10 and 15 was 34 min (1:41:07 at 15). By comparison, my splits at Napa were 1:05:52 at 10 miles and 1:38:28 at 15 (32:46). Based on personal experience, I believe that for me to run a good marathon, my fastest 5 miles should be those between 10 and 15. I was trying, but just couldn't go.
It was progressively worse after that, running (if you call it that) 38:12 between 15 and 20 and 38:32 between 20 and 25, finishing up with a dreadful last mile (hamstring cramp brought me to a stop- on my good leg!)
What happened? Looking back, I ran a very strong 10K a month ago, and a half way decent 12K 2 weeks ago, so know I was in good shape. Maybe just not marathon shape. Did I go out too fast? I don't think so, because I don't believe those early mile splits were accurate.
The good news is I've experienced minimal leg soreness since the race. I could have jogged today, but still not in the mood. I also placed 11th overall and kept my string of age group victories intact. You have to love these small races!