I'm kind of telling myself this one after the marathon.
Yes, the goal of a first marathon (for most of us) is simply to finish.
That was my goal.
But, I figured with my long run paces, that I would come in somewhere around 4:45. To finish a full 20 minutes slower is frustrating to me.
Something that I think really affected my race, but I didn't realize it at the time, was the half-marathoners on the course.
In Baltimore, the half-marathon starts an hour and 45 minutes after the marathon, and at the 13 mile point on the marathon course. The marathon course runs alongside the half-marathon start corrals, and then the courses separate until mile 3 of the half and mile 16 of the full.
When Mark and the 3:45 pace group arrived at mile 16, he said the merge was crazy busy. When I arrived somewhere between the 4:45 and 5:00 groups, there was literally ONE half marathoner merging.
This left me with a LOT of slower half-marathoners to pass. This might seem motivating, but it wasn't. Everywhere I looked there were people walking. And they weren't race walking or even really "walking with purpose" (Gruver Fitness favorite phrase). The people at the back of the half-marathon pack were, in large part, just meandering. This was REALLY demotivating. It's hard enough to push yourself to keep running when you're at mile 16 and it's hot and you're tired, but when everyone around you is walking, it's even harder.
I'm definitely NOT disappointed in my performance -- I ran a marathon! I loved the whole experience, and I will be doing it again. I was just looking back over my race and thinking about what I would do differently next time, and this whole "walker" realization came to me.
In the end, though, like the quote says -- it doesn't matter the pace or the time. I set out to complete 26.2 miles and I did every last step! I'm proud!