I've been an on and off runner since high school in the 90s and now at 39 years old, the last 5 years of serious training and building up has gotten me to a pretty good place. I mostly run Ultras but I finished my third marathon Sunday at a small race in Harrisburg, PA.
My previous PRs were 2:56 in 2014 at my first one, and a slightly faster 2:56 at Boston in 2016 (fairly hot year). That race at Boston I had a goal of 2:53 but wasn't putting enough miles in and the heat after a cold winter was tough. I ran a very even race despite it.
Over the last 18 months, I really stepped it up and had a lot of success in Ultras and even a shorter 15k trail race. Going into the marathon this past Sunday, I had a goal of getting as close to 2:40 as possible but thought 2:40 was too ambitious. I ended up running a 2:37 which was a big surprise. I think the cold weather and running on blacktop/concrete for once (I usually train on slippery crushed stone) along with me peaking at the right time provided a great result.
I started the race trying to be comfortable and let the lead pack go and just tried to run fast but comfortable. I think I hit 13.1 around 1:19 or 1:20. I increased my effort a little after the half, more so around 15-16 and really dropped the hammer at 20, where I passed 2nd place at mile 24.
I would say my negative split was at least 2 minutes but probably not 3. The winner, however, ran a positive split. He was running low to mid 6s where I was running well under 6. But he held on enough to beat me by 1:17.
Does this sound like I screwed up the first half by running too easy? Maybe my low confidence going in caused me to be too cautious? I never ran in weather that cold and maybe didn't realize how much faster I could push? Overall I can't complain. I had a HUGE PR and a surprise 2nd place. I realize a perfect race is impossible. There will always be seconds if not minutes left on the course, especially for an amateur like myself. But I just don't want to be too obsessed with a substantial negative split in the future if it's going to result in a slower time than I'm capable of.