The expo was okay, though clearly not on the scale I saw at Big Sur, which was worth visiting every day for the good stuff that was free. The Flying Pig was also decent. But I really don't care much about the expo anyway. Check-in was a breeze, and I was quickly on my way to see what interesting stuff was around. I did see running legend Bill Rodgers at one of the tables, and picked up some shot blocks at the Runner's Forum "booth" which saved me a stop on my way home.
I ate well during the week, and had a decent night's sleep. I awoke and had my normal pre-race meal: oatmeal, bagel, peanut butter, and coffee. I arrived at the venue an hour before the start, and hung out at the Westin. I liked that there were corrals this time, though given my finish it didn't really matter...
The race started well, and I was able to move freely the entire time. There were no walkers or slow people around me, and the congestion was clear in the first half mile. Very cool. The temperature was such that I dumped my $4 Goodwill fleece before I got to Lucas Oil stadium and was beginning to question my Pearl Izumi arm sleeves. These I pulled down around mile 3. I was running comfortably and pretty steady, finally settling in at about mile 10. I realized I was going too fast, though to get a BQ again I'd have to average 7:49. I actually PR'd the first half, getting a 1:41:09, which leads me to believe I could have run a 1:38 or better, had I chosen the half marathon and entered the pain cave.
But by mile 17, the soles of my feet were beginning to hurt, and I was struggling to consume anything. Throughout the whole race, I consumed one gel, and six Clif Shot Blocks, all before the 1st half. I didn't have anything after that. My stomach and mouth would not have it.
Around mile 20, I was passed by a guy - actually at this point I was passed by at least a hundred people - but he commented on the cross I had on my back. He said, "God bless you" and gave me a fist bump, telling me he was in a dark place and it had lifted his spirit. I was glad to hear it, as it was the sole purpose for putting it there, as I had also been inspired seeing similar things in the past.
During the last six miles, I had to walk some, as shown by my pace. My feet hurt, and I didn't have the energy to run. Mentally I was spent and just wanted to get to the end. I had someone pass me and said, "Come on." She was also in distress, but I appreciated the kick in the rear. I ran for a bit, but the legs did not want to go with the rhythm. It was like I had forgotten the normal breathing rate, which had been a normal 3-step the entire time (until the meltdown),
Anyway, I finished the race at 3:48:08, a lousy finish for me. While the 1st half was a 1:41, the second half was 2:07. Ugly. And much of that loss was in the last six miles.
But hey, along with the finisher medal was a stocking cap. Sweet! And Jimmy Johns was giving away Scooby snacks too. I wasn't hungry, but saved it for later.
Overall, I learned something this race, as I always do. This was number 7 full marathon for me. When and where will number 8 be?