A few other observations about the Flying Pig:
I'm not very fond of their mascot Never did like pigs much. But I didn't choose this marathon; that was done by my family. Perhaps the Nashville marathon would've been better.
The number pick-up was a zoo. This wasn't my first race, it was my first marathon. I truly hope that not all marathons arrange their packet pick-up in such an excruciating manner. One had to go to one floor to pick up a number. If you were picking up numbers for other people, that mmight be found at other tables, depending if they were running full or half marathons or the relay. It took way too long just to get the numbers. Then had to go downstairs and run a gauntlet of vendors to pickup the (worth it) swag. (Hey, the t-shirts and bags were part of the entry fee after all.) While I agree there should be an opportunity to browse vendors before (and after) the race, being forced to run a maze of them was just too much. In New York, you go to one room and state your name. They throw your packet at you and kindly ask you to get out. Lingering only creates traffic jams. Sometimes t-shirt pickup is in a separate area -- usually on the way out the door!
Splurge on the right hotel room the night before and get a good night's sleep. My mom was kind enough to lay out the cash for a hotel room within minutes of walking distance of the starting line. My sister is claiming it was a mile, but it was perhaps a quarter mile. However, four people in one room, even for a quick night's sleep, is difficult. We would have been better off with two rooms, I think. I felt bad for my sister, who managed to have a miserable night in wet sheets after dousing her bed and her son in water trying to get him a drink in the middle of the night. Mom didn't sleep much either, though to her credit she didn't disturb my sleep much. I arose having slept "enough" if not soundly.
Shoes. I trained 317.7 miles for this marathon -- that doesn't count the mileage needed to train enough to BEGIN the training program. Besides that not being enough mileage, probably, for proper training, it was too much for my shoes. My shoes are shot, and were before the marathon. What I should have done was buy new shoes a month before the marathon and done my last two big weeks of training in them, breaking them in for the marathon. On the outside of the heels of my current pair, the rubber is worn nearly to the stuff underneath.
Fueling and hydration Hammer gel -- A+ I use the Rasberry cut with Plain in a 1:2 ratio. Hammer HEED, also A+. A good sports drink at a good price without an overwhelming taste, though I think I mixed it too strongly for the marathon. Perpetuem...well, I need more practice with that. And I need to flavor it. Probably a very good idea, but I didn't execute it well, or early enough in the marathon. Live and learn, eh?
Clothing. Here's where my training and experience at previous races paid off! I gauged my needs perfectly for the temperature and predicted temperatures. I dropped my sweatshirt at the baggage truck before the race and never felt a need for less or more clothing than the two t's I had on (one long-sleeve over one short-sleeve). As things warmed up, I put away my hat, gloves, and rolled up my sleeves a bit, but nothing else. Later, by the river again, I pulled the gloves on. Socks: I chose the socks I'd trained in -- plain, uncushioned white tube socks. I have some running socks, just have never used them. Didn't want to chance it during the race. And even with crappy cotton tube socks: no blisters! That alone made me feel like the winner, as I saw a LOT of people being treated for blisters en route and my sister and mom each had a few.
People who keep telling you "it's all downhill from here". Only the last one wasn't a liar! I know they mean to be encouraging, not literal, but please...until you lend me your legs for the last six miles, I don't wanna hear it. As Kara noted, even gently rolling hills feel like mountains late in the race.
People who cheer and/or play a musical instrument for us, however badly: thank you. Thank you all!
My lungs. I needed a shot of albuterol about mile 15, but other than that, no real troubles. Running at the pace I do, one doesn't need much in the way of lungs, I guess, though I reckon that if my lung function weren't 36% of normal I'd be able to turn in faster times. We'll see what the future holds on that -- I think the running is helping my lung capacity and no matter what the numbers day, endurance racing is about endurance, not VO2 max.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has sent comments in about yesterday's post. It's nice to know I'm not alone and, with Kara out there, was not alone on that course! (At least as bloggers go.)