Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 14

This pretty much sums it up:

Monday: Home from work with the kids, so spent the morning cleaning the house (and swiping their Easter candy). Then I wasn't feeling very well in the afternoon, which likely had to do with the Easter candy. Ugh. Lesson learned. Don't eat so much junk. Admittedly I should have learned that lesson about a million times by this point, but still, candy! It's so yummy!

Tuesday: #5amrunclub. Super sluggish 8k. Not a great feeling run, but it got done. Wore a t shirt! woo! It's almost time to start complaining about the heat!

Oh, and if anyone took the under on how long it would take me to lose my sunglasses, you win! Both they and my headphones have disappeared. Damn it.

Random aside: this recipe comes really close to replicating Old El Paso fajita mix. Close enough no one in my family noticed or commented, and much cheaper than the mix pouches. Winner!

Mmmmm, chorizo. There's vegetables buried under there somewhere, I swear.

Wednesday: 8k at lunch. Out and back on the rail trail. Nothing exciting, although it did kind of turn into a marathon pace run instead of an easy run. Not sure it really matters either way at this point.

My headphones returned! They'd gone home with my brother over the Easter weekend. I guess they wanted a little Scarborough vacation. Fortunately my brother works near my husband so it wasn't hard to get them back. Still no sign of my sunglasses, though. And thus ends the most boring paragraph I have ever written.

Thursday: Lunch hour run - first trip over to Brant St since the fall. Down the hill, weeeeeeeeeeeeee! Good times. 8k at a pace a little faster than I probably should have, but it was a beautiful day and I couldn't resist opening it up on the downhill.

Rockin' the super girl shirt my husband got me for our anniversary. Clearly we take these things very seriously (and are also huge nerds).

Friday: Rest day. About which I will say nothing because really, I am so bored of myself right now.

Saturday: 'Long' run with the girls. Our first time out in ages, between Sam's injury problems and Amy's ski weekends, I don't think we've run as a full group since the fall (and we were missing Nicole, too, who stubbornly insists on living in an entirely different city. What the hell, Nicole.). 16k in the rain. Felt pretty good.

Photo from Patty. Thank god we didn't all show up in the same colour shirts, I admit I almost put the pink top back in the drawer because I was afraid we'd all be in that colour (that's happened before...).
My new shoes have been causing me some issues with foot numbness, so I re-laced them using the high instep method and it made a huge difference. No problems at all over the 16k. I don't know what changes New Balance made to the v4 of this shoe, but it's definitely something because I never had that issue with the v2s or v3s. It may be time to look for a new shoe once my current pairs all start maxing out on mileage.

Looks weird, but feels better.

Sunday: Easy 5k. Finally warm enough to test my planned marathon outfit, and I think it will work. Now I just have to hope a tank top will be appropriate for race day, otherwise I'll need to do a complete outfit overhaul.

I am so happy to see these friendly faces in the front garden again. I think it's really 100% truly spring. Finally.
Weekly summary: 46.7 km run. Legs are feeling good; no nagging aches or pains. Just need to keep things that way all week! A couple of short and easy runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, maybe something very short on Thursday if I'm feeling antsy, then I'll be resting up for the big day.

It's artsy photo time!
So this is totally cheesy, but I've been wearing this bracelet since the taper started as a way of keeping my head on straight. I'm a firm believer that if your training is good, your brain will defeat you long before you body (and the late race mental game is something I've struggled with, many times, and definitely have yet to master - the only race I've done where I felt like it went totally right, mentally, was the Oakville 10k). This is a reminder to myself that I've done the training, and I can do this. I plan to also wear it during the race to use as a mental touchstone when things get tough. Will it work? One week until we find out...

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 13

First week of the taper! This week is all about pictures of awesome trails. I'm just a little bit happy that I'm no longer doing 90% of my running on the rail trail. I love the rail trail, big thanks to the City of Hamilton for the excellent job keeping it snow and ice free this winter, but oh my god was I sick of running on that thing. Time to run in other places!

Monday: Although my knee - which had been a bit twingy feeling on Sunday -  felt fine, I decided to give TRX a miss just to be on the safe side.

Tuesday: The weather was...uninspiring. That's a politer word than what I was thinking when I saw the snow all over my car.

This would have been beautiful IN DECEMBER. Not so much in April.
I figured I'd slog out 8k or so in the snow and be happy it was over, but I ended up running on part of the Bruce Trail (the Chedoke radial trail section) and it was SO FREAKING AWESOME that I didn't turn around at 4k and just kept going. The only reason I did turn around at 5k was that one of the (many) waterfalls along this section of the trail was waterfalling itself all over the path, and getting swept over the side of the escarpment onto the highway below wasn't in my training plans.

Waterfalls! Stunning views! Interesting rock formations! Hamilton can be pretty great.
I'm really starting to think I'm a trail runner at heart. I've got a mental list of at least a dozen local trails I want to to try running this summer. If only I had more time...

Wednesday: Since I did 10k on Tuesday I only needed 8k on my lunch. Since I'm all TRAILS!!! right now I ran randomly through the trails on the north (? cardinal directions in Hamilton are confusing) side of campus. It was seriously muddy, but super fun. However I had a couple of slips that started to roll my ankle, so I think I'd better knock off with the muddy trails until after the marathon.

The views on these trails aren't half bad either.
Thursday: Back to the Chedoke trail, where this time I didn't get stopped by the waterfall, but by a city crew replacing a bridge. D'oh.

I can't believe this is 4k from my office.
To get around the work crew, I ended up on a side trail that didn't go where I was expecting, then got slightly lost.

Not what I was expecting to find in the woods. Whatever it is, I'm keeping it in mind as a zombie apocalypse bunker.
I ended up cutting across the golf course so I could get back to work within a reasonable amount of time. Um, I don't think the golf course people liked that very much (it's not open yet for the season, I wouldn't have done that if it had been). I may have been yelled at by a course marshall. I'm not admitting anything.

This was soggy, but the fastest way to get back to work.
Friday: Rest day! Cheered for my husband and kids and Nicole at the Good Friday Road Races. One of these years I'll run the 10 miler. It was great to see Sam, who also came to cheer. The kids had a great time, and my husband ran the 5k in 23:00, a new PB by over a minute for him. I wish I could borrow some of his speed.

I think the kids were most excited about the chocolate eggs this guy was handing out.
Being a spectator at a race is really pretty fun! Sam and I were very much enjoying looking at other people's 'I'm at the end of a 5k and I'm in incredible pain' faces. Also, observing how many times little kids outkicked adults to the finish line (if a kid passes you at the end of a race? they are going to beat you. Stupid young lungs).

Saturday: Long run. We were visiting my parents for the day so we left the kids with them and headed out for 20k. My brother also joined us. I wasn't sure how this would go - my parents live in a small town, so finding a decent 20k running route was a challenge. There's a rail trail, but it's primarily used by dirtbikes and snowmobiles so I wasn't sure if it would be in decent enough shape for running.

It...wasn't so much suitable for running.

We ended up running on some side roads, which were fine (although I sure wouldn't want to do that all the time, the road camber would be a nightmare on the IT bands). The roads were pretty quiet other than the occasional farmer passing by in a pick up truck and staring at us, and at one point I cursed the stupid glaciers and the hills they left behind. Because seriously, if I had to run there regularly I'd be a hill running expert, the hills are non stop.

Not bad, Bruce County, not bad.
I felt amazing through this run - I'm used to my legs starting to get a bit sore around 16, 17k but they felt fantastic the whole time. I guess that's from adjusting to the 20 milers? It was a good feeling, and in fact I tacked on an extra km at the end to go half marathon distance and ended up running 21.1.

I could get used to having breakfast ready for me after a long run! Thanks mom & dad!
Sunday: Got up early to do a recovery run by the lake before the Easter egg hunting hoopla. 8k.

Hello lovely.
A few photographers were out taking picture of the sunrise, and a couple of families had dragged their decidedly sullen looking pajama clad teenagers out for sunrise pics. There was also a choir singing hymns! But the weirdest thing was definitely the guy in the bunny costume heading towards the lake carrying a beach towel. I don't even know.

Weekly summary: 58 km run. Which is a lot of km, but is a big drop from last week (about a 30% cut). This week the numbers drop even more and we'll see if taper madness hits - this week there was enough running to keep that at bay, but this week things get a lot shorter. Legs are feeling good, mentally I feel great, so now I just have to focus on picking the perfect marathon outfit. I think I have it, but I need to test run the top this week to make sure it'll work.

Song of the week: Nothing has really grabbed my attention for a while, so I haven't posted a song of the week, but this week I added Natalia Kills - Problem to my playlist. Such a great mid-run pump you up when you are starting to feel a bit tired sort of song.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 12

Holy crap, it's time to taper!

Monday: TRX class. It's always a good sign when the trainer announces the name of the workout is 'The Puke Maker'. Really tough. I had a feeling I would pay for the pistol squats on Tuesday and Wednesday - doesn't seem to matter how often I do those, I'm always in pain for days afterwards.

New shoes! Finally my shoe model comes in a not boring colour!

Tuesday: Got up early and ran 9k in the pouring rain. Seriously, me 3 years ago would have no idea WTF I was thinking. But I needed to get in 16k, so every step I ran in the rain was a step I wouldn't have to run at lunch.

7k at lunch to get up to 16k total on the day. Somehow I was way more tired and sore Tuesday night than I was Saturday after running 33k. I would even say I was more sore than after Around the Bay! The TRX/double run combo was deadly.

Wednesday: Still ridiculously sore. Damn those pistol squats at TRX! And yet another dentist appointment, so I worked at home and slipped out for a very easy 8k early in the afternoon. The sun was shining and the run helped a lot with the DOMS.

Still no leaves on the trees, but the sunshine was glorious.
Thursday: STILL SORE. Gah. 12k at lunch, which isn't ideal (I prefer to keep my lunch runs to 9k max so I'm not away from the office too long). But occasionally it's not a big deal, so off to Princess Point. Ran the middle 6k at a tempo-ish pace. Tempo for what exactly I'm not sure, I just ran what felt good.
Waterfront trail/Bayfront park. I love that I have these places accessible from work!
5:21/5:18/5:24/5:25/5:36/6:10 for the tempo paces. The 6:10 included going uphill into a brutal headwind, so I was just grateful I was still moving forward at that point - pace was irrelevant.

Crashed HARD at around 8:30 and was fast asleep by 9. All the training caught up to me all at once, I think. I'm taking that as a sign I'm about ready for the taper.

Friday: Rest day. Legs finally felt back to normal, which is good, because Saturday's run was scheduled to be a long one.

Saturday: Last really long LSD for this training cycle (next week's 20k suddenly seems almost short). 36k with Amy and Patty. I know 36k is a bit longer than is usually recommended for the longest marathon training run, but I think the mental benefits of running that far once outweigh the physical drawbacks of doing such a long run in training. Just knowing that I can get that close to the full distance makes me fell more confident.

Patty, Amy, me, looking entirely too good after running THIRTY SIX km. THIRTY SIX. Yeah, I have to say that in all caps.
Check out the marathon taper survival kits I assembled for the girls.

Giving Patty her gift. Seriously, we look way too good here. Really, we did run 36k before this, I swear. (thanks Amy for the picture)
On a completely unrelated note, this run also proved that cyclists really need to wear cycling shirts. There's a very good reason cycling shirts are longer in the back, folks. #buttcrack #cantunsee

Sunday: Recovery run. Super easy 8k. Down by the lake because that is my happy place, just me and my tunes and a gazillion other runners/walkers/cyclists out enjoying the day. At one point I totally zoned out and then next thing I knew it was 3k later and I was almost done the run! Love when that happens!

Cloudy and windy, but still a great day because NOT SNOWING.
Weekly Summary: 81k run and a TRX class. Also, some pretty damn good sleep in there. All this training sure makes going to bed early more appealing.

Now to taper! Admittedly this upcoming week still has 58k on the schedule, but with the longest run being 'only' 20k it feels like a nice break. Not gonna lie, this week was exhausting, and I'm glad the training peak is over. My right knee was also a bit sore after Sunday's run - not enough to make me worry, but enough to make me pay attention. It felt better after a walk to the park with the kids, but I'm still glad Monday is going to be a rest day. At this point the tough training is done and it's all about staying/getting healthy for the race, so if I end up with a few unplanned rest days to make sure all is well, I'm OK with that.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Marathon Taper Survival Kit

I wanted to do something special to mark the last 20+ mile long run for this training cycle. After fruitlessly searching Pinterest for ideas (I'm pretty sure if I'd shown up with avocado smoothies Patty & Amy would have kicked me out of the skirt brigade permanently), I went and wandered around the dollar store grabbing things I thought would be useful/amusing to be given at the beginning of a marathon taper.

The boxes I got at the dollar store were slightly too small for the stuff I wanted to cram in there, so I used the ribbon to hold the lids on:

Grumpy cat seemed appropriate:

So what's inside the box? WHAT'S INSIDE THE BOX??

A few essentials to get my friends through the taper. Fuzzy comfy socks seemed like something our feet might appreciate after all these weeks of long miles - I crammed two pairs into each box, one blue, one pink:

I totally stole an idea from something I got in the kit at the Run for the Toad, although I wasn't Pinterest inspired enough to print nice labels. It's Epsom salts:

Since I'm sure we'll all be convinced we're getting sick and/or injured during the taper, vitamin C tablets to act as a handy placebo, and of course ibuprofen, because duh.

 A little something calming for the 'OH MY GOD I HAVEN'T TRAINED ENOUGH' freakouts:

And finally, hand sanitizer for when we have to be around germy people:

What do you use to survive the taper? Personally I'm planning to do a lot of online window shopping.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mississauga Marathon Training: Week 11

This is the first of the two weeks of big numbers before the marathon taper (well, big numbers for me, at any rate). I can't believe we're getting this close to the marathon!

Monday: Not nearly as stiff/sore as I expected to be, which I think lends some support to the theory that my #epiccollapse at the end of Around the Bay was at least partially due to an illness. If I'd really given full effort at ATB I would expect more post race pain. However I did decide to wait to do my first post-race run until Tuesday because my knees were unusually stiff, and I don't like to mess around with possible knee stuff. I regretted that choice after I got to work and the walk from my car really loosened everything up.

At the race expo, MEC Burlington gave me a 10% off coupon that was only good on Monday, so I stocked up on gels and picked up a new pair of sunglasses. Now I just have to avoid sitting on them or losing them. Over/under on that is about 30 days if you want to place bets.

Tuesday: Patty was planning an easy 16k, which initially I thought was crazy person talk. I just ran 30k! Lunacy! But my legs were feeling OK and I realized my options were either to join her or run a double later in the week, and I would much rather have company and get it over with in one go. So to avoid the double I tagged along. Wasn't that bad; we kept the pace slow and it was manageable. My legs were freezing, though - a skirt was not the right choice this day!

We also both wore our ATB hats and shirts. The shirts are as awesome as always, and I'm pretty fond of the hat, too. Glad I was able to prevent my husband from stealing mine (he didn't run 30k, he's not allowed to wear it, damn it).

Tuesday afternoon featured yet another in a seemingly endless series of dentist appointments. Take care of your teeth, kids, root canals are a time consuming pain in the ass.

Wednesday: 8k lunch run. Hit the trail, but it's not quite running ready yet - still some parts covered in snow, and some serious mud in a few spots. So I probably won't be exploring any local trails for a few more weeks.

Bonus of warmer temps: my phone no longer freezes up and dies after 20 minutes. Which means more mid-run #selfies. YAY! I'm sure everyone has missed those!

Thursday: Up early to run with Patty. 8k at 5 am, oh how I have missed that. /sarcasm

I do enjoy not having to run at lunch and therefore getting to leave work a bit earlier. The passing out in exhaustion at 8:30 pm is not really ideal, though.

You can almost see a hint of a sunrise, maybe.

I also booked my older daughter's birthday party. Several weeks in advance! For once I won't be desperately trying to schedule something at the last minute. Organization skills, I have them. At least this year. I did have a moment of panic when I thought I'd scheduled it for the same day as the marathon, but fortunately I wasn't that dumb. Whew.

Friday: Rest day! Definitely glad to have a rest day before Saturday's long run.

Saturday: Oh, just a little 33k run. That's all. No biggie.

For the first time in months Amy was able to join Patty and I! Sam, unfortunately, is on the injury bench. We miss her! Are we still a skirt brigade if we don't all wear skirts? Stupid cold weather. I wore crops and a complete lack of shame about my unshaven legs. I spent about 20 seconds looking for a razor Friday until I said ain't nobody got time for that, especially when there are old episodes of X-Files to watch on Netflix (how did I never notice before how often Mulder drops his gun? Like clockwork, confront villain, drop gun. Dude was clumsy).

Annnnnyway we went to Mississauga to run the last 33k of the marathon route. Other than a soul-sucking headwind in some parts, it went really well. My legs were pretty tired by the end but I that's to be expected, given that we're now peaking our training. Race day they should be nice and fresh after the taper. I'm glad we did this run because although the race is a net downhill, there are a handful of rollers after 30k and it's good to know what to expect.

Top photo is the finish area - it'll look a bit different next month...
Sunday: 8k recovery run, nice and slow. Ugh, I wish the leaves would come out on the trees, the greyness is started to get to me. At least it was fabulously sunny and somewhat warm!

It still looks like November. Boooo.
Weekly summary: 74k. Nice. Next week will be peak week and should set a new weekly record for me, assuming all goes well. I think I'm going to have to run at least one double, which I'm not super excited about, but whatever it takes to get in the miles.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Race report: 30k Around the Bay 2014

North America's oldest road race, always one of my favourite races of the year. So how did my third attempt at this race go?

Saturday before the race was spent obsessing about the weather, as this ridiculously long Daily Mile thread attests. The forecast changed to include strong wind gusts, and we all sort of freaked out a bit. Cold, warm, windy? Am I actually crazy to insist on wearing a skirt? Long sleeve shirt? Short sleeve with arm warmers? Who the hell knows?

I settled on the skirt and long sleeve and got my gear organized. Committed to the skirt.

The compression socks are bondi band, and they are awesome. They have a ton of fun patterns and I want them all.
Had a decent night's sleep, although Saturday night I was feeling a little off - headache, nausea, lightheaded. Possibly race nerves, but that's not how nerves typically manifest for me, so I was a bit worried I'd wake up seriously ill Sunday morning. But I felt ok in the morning, so I went through my pre-race nutrition and hydration routine, and then my brother picked me up and we drove to Hamilton.

Photo via Paul. We wouldn't let Nicole in the pic because she wasn't wearing a skirt. Sam's lucky she stayed in, what with the tights and all. Props to Amy for coordinating her KT tape with her outfit. These things matter, OK?

Met up with a ton of great Daily Mile friends, and I was getting a bit worried about the whole bare legs thing. There were only a handful of other runners in shorts/skirts; it was mostly black tights as far as the eye could see. But it didn't really feel that cold out, so I crossed my fingers I would be fine.

One of the best race finish lines. You don't often get to cross the finish line inside an arena.
After lots of nervous chatting and bathroom visits, Patty and I headed out to the start and wormed our way to the front of the open corral. No dodging walkers for us! I quickly become much more confident in my wardrobe choice - it was positively pleasant out. Faith in skirt rewarded.

Pre race start line selfie
And off we went. The first 5k went well. We were behind the 2:45 pacer, who somehow was getting further away from us even though we were definitely running below 2:45 pace, so she must have been banking time. But it felt good. Up until we hit the first overpass on Burlington St at 5k, and the uphill incline made my calves start screaming at me. I had to drop behind Patty and catch up to her after the hill, because I could not maintain pace on the uphill. I had a bad feeling at that point, and sure enough when we reached the second overpass the same thing happened again. My calves were fine on the downhills and flats, but any serious incline made them extremely unhappy. By 8k Patty was well ahead of me and I knew I would be running the rest of the race solo.

I settled into what felt like a good pace (not looking at my watch), put on my music, and decided to just hope for the best. I hit the 10k mark at 54:31, a 5:27/km pace. So still moving along pretty well.

(I'm not going to bother posting the splits from my watch - by the end of the race it was 400m off, so I'm not sure about the accuracy of any of the paces. At one point it was a half km ahead of the course markers!)

The beach strip, where you run most of the middle 10k, is nice and flat, which gave my calves a break. The wind stayed minimal, which helped, and I felt really great during this section. Especially when I crossed the 15k timing mat in 1:22:25 (5:30/km) and realized I was running 2:45 finish pace - I knew the last half would be slower, but it set me up nicely for a sub 2:50. My nutrition plan was going well (gel at 9k and again at 16k) with no stomach problems.

Off the beach and onto Northshore, which initially was also going great. Over the 20k timing mat in 1:50:59 (5:33/km), so all I had to do was get through the last 10k in less than 59 minutes and I'd have that sub 2:50.

Spoiler alert: that didn't happen.

The last 8k of my race.
I don't recall exactly which hill it was on Northshore (I think the small one right after crossing the 20k mat), but my calves were still hurting on the uphills and suddenly I got really, really lightheaded. Sort of felt like I was floating, and I started seriously wondering if I was about to pass out. Once I started downhill again the feeling went away, but then returned on the next uphill. The only way to make it go away was to run the uphills very, very slowly.

So that's what I did. I made up time well on the downhills, but overall things started to suck mightily at this point. I was tired, my legs were not cooperating, and the lightheaded feeling kept returning. I tried taking a 3rd gel, which I really didn't want and it didn't help. I told myself to just keep running until the water station at  Spring Gardens Road, at 24 k, and when I got there I grabbed some Gatorade and and orange slice and walked for probably 20-30 seconds. It was a major low point. Every time I've run ATB, I've had a crisis moment at that spot, where I'm just not sure I can go on. I reminded myself that this was not the goal race for this spring. The goal is Mississauga. I gave myself permission to go as slowly as I needed to go, and just get the thing done in a reasonable amount of time without injuring myself.

I got my legs moving again and heard the strains of 'We Will Rock You'. I love that race tradition. I gave Stan a high five and ran down Spring Gardens like I was flying.

And then I walked up Valley Inn. My legs were Not Having It on that hill. Just before the top the 2:50 pacer passed me, which was another low point. Zero interest in trying to keep up with him.

I got my legs moving before the gate at the top of Valley Inn, and told myself this is it, 4k, that's nothing, get your ass over that finish. And I kept moving. Past the Reaper. Past Dundurn castle, where unexpectedly Janice was there with her kids cheering, which gave me a big motivational boost, and I managed to pick the pace back up a bit.

There I am! Thanks for the cheers and photo, Janice! (another advantage of being one of the only people in a skirt, probably made me easier to spot)
Towards CoppsFirst Ontario PlaceCentre (I cannot get used to the name change). So far in the distance. Why is it so far? Ugh. Past the cheering crowds lining York (awesome). Down the ramp (painful). Across the finish.

Awkwardly happy to be done.
Chip time: 2:52:23.3
Gun time: 2:54:51.5
Place: 2657/6762
Gender place: 888/3305
Category place: 146/492

So yeah, it took me over an hour to cover that last 10k. That's LSD pace! Ouch. After the race I blamed the calf soreness, which was part of it, but usually I can work through that sort of thing. In retrospect the dizziness/lightheadedness was, I think, a bigger factor, and Sunday night it came back pretty strongly. I suspect I may have picked up the stomach flu type illness my kids and coworkers have been passing around lately, only in a very mild form, and that had me feeling off Saturday and Sunday. If so, that may have played a role in my come apart on the last 8k (20 and 21 were still pretty decent in terms of pace, it's really 22 that started the suffering - which coincidentally is the km with my most hated hill on the ATB course, the one right after Lasalle park. You expect Valley Inn to suck. The post Lasalle hill sneaks up on you and then seems to go on forever).

After I collected my food and medal, I met back up with various Daily Mile folks and my brother to share victories and commiseration, depending on how their races went. The race itself was as usual very well organized - really can't complain about a thing from a logistics perspective. I'm not a huge fan of the change to the course this year, which added 3 reasonably significant climbs to the first 10k and featured some fairly uninspiring and smelly scenery (industrial Hamilton, fun). But if I have to choose between that and a possible train delay, I'll take the hills (yeah, still slightly bitter at that train delay from 2013).

Post race with my little brother.
So, lots to learn from this race I think, and there are some definite positives. A new 30k PB by 13 minutes is not too shabby at all! I did hold pace well through 22k, and even after that my paces did largely stay below 6 min/km with the exception of where I stopped to walk during km 24, and walking up Valley Inn. If you'd told me 2 years ago I'd be able to run ATB at an averge pace of 5:45/km I'd have laughed in your face, since at that time I would have been lucky to run a 10k that fast. I've come a long way from my first ATB, which I finished in 3:28:56. Yeah, I'd say I've gotten a bit faster.

I'm also happy I followed my nutrition plan, which was good practice for the marathon. And boy do I love this race; I can't wait to tackle it again next year. One of these years I will get this thing figured out. 4th time is the charm?