My goal in running the Edinburgh Marathon was to qualify for the Boston Marathon. To do so, at my age, I needed to run a 3:30:59 or better. With a finishing time of 3:46:55, I exceeded this time by 14:56.
I think there were two reasons why the wheels came off late in the race:
1) the heat
2) the distance
My pace for each segment of the race was as folllows:
6.2 miles: 7:55/mile
13.1 miles: 7:44
18.6 miles: 8:01
26.2 miles 10:27
So, obviously, I faded pretty badly during the last miles. My pace might have been slowing a bit before this, although there was a climb in mile 18.
At another level, the results are encouraging. I was on pace through 18 miles. Indeed, if my hazy recollection is correct, I think I hit the 23 mile mark right around 3 hours - leaving 30 mins to run the last 3.2 miles.
The heat could have exacerbated my significant fade. I was taking on water and sports drink when I could, but after 16 it really felt hot in the sun. I was unaccustomed to running in hot weather, and this was the warmest weekend of the year thusfar. Indeed, on a TV show the next day about the race, the men's leader pulled up short in the finishing straight with cramps, and was passed. So, it wasn't just me.
But I think the distance was a factor too. In my first half-marathon last March, I'd felt good throuh 10 miles, and then struggled from 11 on to the finish. I developed significant knee pain at the point, and could not keep running well in the last two miles. I was in shape enough to run a 10-mile race, but not a 13.1-mile race. With more training, I was able to run the full distance.
I think a bit of this is true for this past marathon. I was ok-ish for 20 miles, but not 26.2. I need to do more distance training to be able to finish stronger.