So, I ran the Run to Remember. The short version is - I definitely did not hit my goal. I basically blew up - went too fast at the start, ended up with last mile as the slowest mile, and although it might have looked like I was okay when I crossed the finish line, inside my mind I wasn't. But - I think that I have some good lessons that came out of this race.
First lesson - Run like I trained. I started out with a slower mile than my goal, which I expected - 10:24. Next mile - 9:15. Danger, danger! What was happening in my mind was I saw that first mile and my brain went stupid and said "Ohmigod - that's too slow. SPEED UP SPEED UP". What I really should have reminded myself of was those training runs where I naturally started out slowly and then GRADUALLY sped up. I also had multiple 10-14 mile runs where I practiced pushing those last 1-2 miles, so I know that I can pick up a lot at the end. All that flew out of my brain in the midst of this frantic need to be FAST FAST FAST way too early in the race.
Second lesson - Adjust to race conditions. I mentioned in my last post that the summer heat was starting to come on. I had been running in those conditions for the past couple days. I wasn't fully adjusted, I believe. It's a few days later and I feel more comfortable to push the pace, but that day? Wasn't there. It especially ties in with the above - I need to remember that even though I'm not feeling the heat yet, it will heat up as I get further into the race. Slow it down now so that I'm not as uncomfortable later in the race. Plus - take the water. I took more than I'm used to and was okay, but I think that skipping the first couple water stops was a bad idea. I've also pretty good now at running through the stops and doing the top squeeze, drink, toss, so no time loss.
Third lesson - Plan for the race, not just the goal. For shorter races like 5Ks it's easier to grab a pace and just try to hold on. Not effective for 10 miles, half marathons, marathon. Those longer races I need to get my mind to a place where I have different comfort levels at different points in the race; easier at the beginning to get adjusted, pick up the pace mid-race, all out (as much as possible) at the end. I need to learn this lesson now, before I crash and burn in my first marathon.
I will say that even though I'm not happy with my result (2:20:42), I still enjoyed the race. It was a good size race - ~8,000 people - but I didn't feel exceedingly crowded, although there was never a time where I was alone on the course. I did like the course because it really made me realize how close areas in Boston are to each other. The course ran from World Trade Center down by Seaport all the way up to Harvard square. Along the way it ran past Government center area and a nice bit along the Charles river. The finisher medal was fun, the t-shirt although not a tech shirt is fairly nice if a bit boring. Overall I came out of the experience wanting to run it again next year.
What's interesting about the whole experience is it really did make me see that I'm at a point where just crossing the line isn't a miracle and that every time I put effort in I will PR. I have to race smart, and I really hope with my next half marathon (BAA in October) I will be ready to get the PR I am looking for. I just have to pull this page back up the day before and remind myself what this race taught me.