Woke up early (4am) and flipped on the tv. Watched the end of the 2009 Boston Marathon, so had some good motivation as I got ready. Got on the yellow school bus at 5:45am to drop off the Half Marathoners at Mirabeau Park and make our way to the start at Post Falls, ID at the Greyhound Track/industrial complex. Met some nice people (Mike, local, running his 7th, this one with very little training and Rex from IL, who also had some under his belt but was getting back into it with this one) and had time to talk as the bus driver tried to figure out where he was going (just follow the signs and the people pointing; it is not the right place if there is No One in sight!). Not too many people milling about (heard about 350 entered the full, 650 in the half), but doing the usual. Stretching, trying to stay warm in the 47° temps. Sun was already up before we even left the hotel...wish I had brought sunblock I thought as I watched someone put it on. I did go with my sleeveless tech shirt and throwaway long sleeve shirt & gloves, black Race Ready shorts, hat, 4 Gu's (2 vanilla, 2 plain), one of my waist band water bottles and a regular water bottle, chapstick and my 2130's (red with ~200 miles on them). Oh yeah - an ankle band timing chip that was new for me, but didn't think about it once it was on. 7:30am and the gun goes off. 1st 2.5 miles or so was a loop in the industrial park then heading out to the trail going west. Very flat. Leader already had a good lead within the first 1/2 mile. Tossed my gloves at the start and my shirt as we passed the start. Got on the trail and soon crossed the Spokane River and the state line. Ran on and off with Mike for a few miles before he fell back, taking it easy as he should for what his training was. I was going thru in 8:40's or so, feeling good. Not pushing either. First of my "twinges" was the bottom of my left foot after 3-4 miles. Didn't last very long and never returned. Another group came up behind me and chatted while we ran. Rex brought up the FIRST training program. Another girl and I had the same pace for awhile (she was trying to Boston qualify with a 3:45, but was not happening as I was still running 8:45's and she wasn't feeling her best). The river was beautiful...running on our right side and at times, that was the only sound. That and birds. Miles 1-8 went by very quickly and I was thru 10 miles in 1:27???
My plan was (if it worked out this way) to run 1:27 the 1st 10 miles, 1:30 the 2nd ten miles. That would leave me 6.2 miles to run a 10 minute pace and break 4 hrs.
We had a detour around (Barker) mile 9 that took us thru our 1st residential area. All of this had been relatively flat if slightly downhill. Back on the trail was familiar territory for me for the next 6-8 miles. Mile marker 10 (I think) was interesting. Still off trail, water stop void of water in cups and no one saying where to go. I glimpsed someone off the left, but to get there - had to go around a fence on my right. Once around it - some gentleman told me I was supposed to have cut thru off to the left. Now he tells me!
Kept cruising and slowly and steadily passed people. We were pretty spread out, but someone was always in eyesight ahead of me. Saw a few bikers, walkers and small pockets of people cheering us on. This was not NYC! Was feeling pretty good except my right knee (the outside, around the back some) was sore. Lasted a good while, but then that twinge pretty much went away. I finally went over the 9:00/mile pace at mile 15! Mile 17 - another interesting moment. Passed the marker, but it said 16. Time was about 2:33, so I knew I was at 17, after minutes of getting my brain to focus on the math. Funny how different things are after 2 and a half hours on the move. I was then wondering, and for the rest of the race - was it really going to be 27.2 miles? Not knowing where I was in relation to the finish and not being able to see the downtown area made that thought stay with me. Still felt all right thru 22, then could tell I was slowing. Manageable and not off pace totally either. Still a beautiful trail (aside from a 2 mile stretch thru another neighborhood, where I Just missed getting stopped by a train! "but it never comes at that time of day on a Saturday". Went by a lake and would eventually go thru parts of Gonzaga.
Last 3 miles...pain now in both legs. Thighs felt heavy, arms getting tingly, left calf had just a few shooting cramps that never held. Couldn't get enough water. One cup to refill my waist band bottle, one cup to quickly drink and one cup over my head. The sun stayed at our backs with no cloud cover as it rose up, heating up to the mid 60's as 11:30 neared. I'd run, try to keep moving until ~4 minutes had passed, or a disheartening vision of a bridge came into view. Tossed my last Gu unopened - the heat would have made it difficult to swallow/keep down. Would check my watch repeatedly and try the math to determine if breaking 4 hrs was possible. It was until 2 miles left, when I gave up that hope. I was with a group of 4 guys and we would pass each other back and forth as each of us walked at our own time. As I got onto the island in the middle of the river downtown, it still seemed I had further to go to reach the finish than I did and even knowing I had 1.2 miles left did not keep me from walking some. With 4hrs gone, I had little to push for. No one running with me, no one really at that point on the course either. Back over a bridge, winding thru the riverfront park, then over the final bridge. 2 emcees were doing play by plays and I heard my name (mis-pronounced) and that I was from Simpsonville, SC - if they said anything else - I missed it. 4:01:47...Got my finisher's medal, walked some before relenting and let someone take my ankle band/timing chip off. Found water, bananas, bagels, oranges, chicken on a stick and chicken broth. Had some of it all.
Time was closer than I thought it would be to 4 hrs...not sure about the 26 mile marker, but I guess I did the last 1.2 the same as mile 24-25. My last race prediction was 4:05, so beating that and a 7 minute PR from NY in November made this a Great race for me. More thoughts to follow on the post race...seeing if I can beat Megan in post race posts! Photos soon...promise!