...At race start, it was upper 60s and foggy(humid). Jake and I worked our up our corral to a spot just behind the pace leader for the 3:10 group. That is the time Jake needed to qualify for Boston. I trained to finish at that pace as well since all of my runs were with Jake, at his pace. That would give me a 5 minute cushion for bathroom breaks, walking at water stops...Slowing down...whatever the day threw at me. I kept pace during all of the training without too much problem, I was at prepared and confident as I could ever hope for this race.
The fireworks shot off into the pre-dawn darkness to signal the start of the race. We were pretty close to the front so we were up to pace pretty quickly. There were 100s of people out along the first few miles, cheering us along. We stayed right behind the 3:10 group as planned. After about 3 miles, I was getting pretty hot already, the air seemed heavy and wet as we navigated the foggy darkness. I decided to get just in front of that 3:10 pace group to see if I could get some fresh air..It did seem to help some. Jake and I were ripping off 7:05 miles over the fist 8 miles and I felt decent, but the pace was not as effortless as I had hoped, that humid air was something I had not felt since last August and I had not had tine to train in it. At about mile 8, Jake told me he had to stop to pee, I told him I was not stopping. 2 miles later, he catches up with me, I looked back at him and his face is as red as a tomato, He didn't look good at all. I commented that he caught up with me pretty fast...That was the last I saw him until mile 21.
At this point, Mile 10, I was till in front of the 3:10 group as we entered the Magic Kingdom where I knew Jenee would be there among the crowds to cheer me on. As I entered the park, the crowd pulled me along with their cheers. The leader of the 3:10 group was right at my heels, I saw Jenee, I thought of my 8 wk old daughter, Sydney and emotion welled up...."What a Sappy guy I am!!" I said to myself as my throat slightly restricted the airflow into my lungs as I fought back tears. It's only mile 10 and I am emotional for some reason. Strange...
As we left the part at mile 11, the 3:10 group passed me. My goal now was to keep them in sight.
My plan was to hit every water stop and have water and powerade at every one since I know the heat would drain my fluids. I pretty much kept that plan except for one stop, I skipped it because I thought the 3:10 group was getting too far ahead and I wanted to keep pace and drinking would slow me down.
By mile 18, I had lost site of the 3:10 group and my pace was slipping to about 7:40 or so. The foggy darkness had been replaced by a blazing sun. I felt the beginning of some cramping in my calves so I popped a few Endurolytes to maybe stop the cramps from shutting me down. So far, I was hot, my stride was labored and my legs were starting to cramp, but I was still on pace to hit that 3:15 mark to qualify....IF only I could avoid the major, incapacitating cramps that stop you in your tracks.
There is one out and back section of the course that is about a mile. it's flat, exposed to sunlight and is about miles 20-21. As I was leaving the out and back part, Jake was just entering, he was a mile behind me and looking exhausted. Poor guy...I knew how he felt because of my many trips to that place in my races. The past park you come to is MGM Studios at mile 22. At this point I am feeling pretty bad. I had slowed to an 8min pace and the cramping was getting a little worse. I needed to pop some more salt pills...NOW! I saw a drinking fountain, Popped 2 pills into my dry mouth and pushed the button....THE STUPID THING WAS TURNED OFF!!!! Now I had to run to the next wast stop with 2 salt capsules stuck in the back of my throat...YUCK.
At mile 23, as I exited MGM, The wheels fell off. Both calves, the left hamstring and even my arm locked up with cramps. I had to go to the ground. I laid on my back trying to stretch them out. They were not going to go away, I had not had cramps like that since Lake Placid.
I decided I had to just try to run through them, if that was even possible. I spent the next 3 miles, running with my toes pointing up, trying to keep my calves from shutting me down. Each step brought with it a new level of pain. I winced with every one. I must have looked like Hell as I made my way though Disney, "the Happiest Place On Earth". Finally, I got a side stitch, one more layer of pain to deal with. Usually they hurt real bad, but in comparison to all of the other things I had going on, the side stitch was mild. I limped across the finish line in 3:25...10 minutes too slow.Jake finished in 3:31, not bad for a first Marathon. The heat got me again. Again, I was shown that, Now matter how well trained you are, you are still at the mercy of things unrelated to fitness.