It was a 7:15 am race start time, and it was a crisp 44 degrees at the start, which left me shivering a bit in my short sleeve shirt and shorts, but once I got moving, it was the perfect temp.
Miles 1-3: 6:41, 6:42, 6:45. This was a little faster than I had wanted to start out with. My plan was to start around a 6:50 pace, but at the time, I felt like it wouldn't be too harmful to start out like this. It just felt good to be racing again after tapering since my 25K race 3 weeks ago.
Miles 4-6: 6:59, 6:50, 6:49. I'm really not sure what happened there in mile 4. I must have lost focus or something because I was definitely surprised to see that 6:59 split show up. This part included a loop through one of the residential neighborhoods. It was cool to see the guys front pack guys running past us, and it felt good running by the runners behind us since a lot of them threw out some encouraging words to us as we passed each other. I was still feeling pretty great at this point. Legs were moving well. Breathing was fine. Confidence was way high.
Miles 7-12: 6:57, 6:51, 6:49, 6:57, 6:51, 6:54. Still felling good at this point. Miles 7 and 10 were on the slower side because of slowing down at aid stations. I took at GU at the 10.5 mile aid station, which ended up being my only GU for the whole race. This ended up being a huge mistake. Mile 12 ended up being my last sub 7:00 mile.
Miles 13-16: 7:01, 7:00, 7:01, 7:07. I was obviously slowing down at this point, but I wasn't worried too much. My legs were still feeling pretty good. I decided not to push myself too hard to get back under a 7 minute pace. Given that this was my first marathon, I didn't want to increase my chances of hitting the dreaded wall at the end. I figure I could always try to make that time up at the end if possible. Somewhere along this stretch, two guys set up a cheering station with signs that said "Never trust a fart" and "You're NOT almost there," which I thought were both hilarious. My pre-race plan was to take a GU around the 15-16 mile mark, but stupid me decided not to for some reason. I mean, I freaking had two GU packets in my pockets the entire race. Again, this was a huge mistake that I will never make again. I thought gatorade would be enough, but it definitely wasn't.