To make a long story short...I decided that I would run Providence with a pace bracelet and NOT my Garmin. You may remember previous posts where I wrote about running PRs withOUT my Garmin. That's right, I'm faster when I leave my trusty pal at home. I think pace bracelets are a GREAT tool. HOWEVER....a pace bracelet only works when the miles are accurate, right? Well apparently whoever put out the mile markers for Providence did not place them in the right spots (or perhaps they were measured wrong?) I have no clue what happened, all I know is that the mile markers were off. I had some miles where (according to my pace bracelet and stopwatch) I ran just over 7 minutes, and I had another mile that was 11 miles. My first mile was 7:40 pace, even though I looked over my shoulder and saw mile 25 before running past mile 1. Mile 2, I was right on pace (8:09 average) but by mile 3, I was running over 9s on average? Mile 4 I was back to 8:09 average. I reached the halfway clock at 1:43:10...but 3 minutes later I ran over a mat in the street that had a race official...wait...was that the halfway mark? Or was it where the clock had been? A couple miles later I ran by another clock...I figured it was mile 15, but a couple of minutes later I ran by a sign (on the wrong side of the road and facing the wrong direction) that said "MILE 15." According to my pace bracelet, sometimes I had a 3-4 minute cushion, and other times I only had a 10 second cushion. What? How is that possible?? By Mile 19 I had a 4 minute cushion and I knew I could keep it going for another 7 miles, I was feeling great. I was confident that I would BQ. The next few miles were more spread out (1.1-1.3 miles I would guess) and all of a sudden by the time I reached mile 21 my 4 minute cushion was completely gone!! What?? I was so confused. The whole way I was so confused. I should have just worn my darn Garmin but when you run a race you expect the mile markers to be accurate. I don't need a GPS to pace myself, running dead-even splits is one of my strongest abilities in running. It's pretty hard to make up time at mile 22 but I was fighting and trying to pick up speed. I got to a pretty big hill and I could feel my pace slowing. I was still so confused...if those last few miles were longer will the next few be shorter? Do I still have it?? I felt sad because earlier int he race I was running with a big pack of women who were trying to BQ, I broke away from them at mile 11 but even as my pace slowed in the final miles not one of those women passed me again. On the final stretch, I ran by mile 12 of the half marathon...but wait, where is mile 25 of the marathon?? Mile 25 should have been before mile 12, since I had an extra .1 miles to run. It's the same course the last 1.5 miles....Mile 25 was about .3 miles AFTER mile 12 (wth?). The whole thing was very confusing. In the end, I didn't make it.
Do I blame the misplaced mile markers for my missed BQ? NO WAY, of course not. It certainly made for some confusion, and it was really frustrating, that's for sure. If the mile markers were more accurate I probably would have had less stress and would have had a more average pace (sometimes I'd pick up the pace bc I thought I was falling behind). I definitely wasted energy with the mile mishaps and I definitely lost some time at the big hill at mile 22, oh well, not a BQ day for me.
So what's next? A secret marathon. Yes, that's right. I have 1 more shot to BQ before the race goes on sale in September. I can't explain why but I kind of just want to keep it on the DL. Sorry friends, but I'm not spilling any beans here. All I'll say is that I'm working hard and feeling confident for the next race.