Miles 1-6 (Surprised by the lack 'o' flatness)
The start was uneventful, and I found my appropriate starting pace quite easily (8:56-9:05). Then I noticed hills, and more hills. Very few sections of this marathon were flat. Plus, potholes and more potholes. I really had to concentrate on my footing and found myself dodging around a bunch on the course (which helps explain why I ran an EXTRA 1/2 mile in this race).
A couple stretches of the course were very exposed and sunny, and I felt really hot. So, I dumped water on my head and hoped for the best...
Miles 7-13 (Attempting to stick to my plan and follow Garmlade's orders)
I tried taking advantage of the downhills, but--dang--there were still uphills. It was fun seeing Jenica after I turned around. The trees continued to amaze me, and I got a chance to do some moving meditation on this segment of the course. In this part of the race, I ran several miles in the low 8:50s but a couple miles around 9:20, which led me to believe that 3:54 wasn't gonna happen at the Avenue. But at the half, I thought sub-4 was possible if the card aligned on the second half of the course.
Miles 14-20 (Yes, more trees)
I was feeling decent when starting the second out-and-back. I tried talking myself into believing that this segment would be flat. But I think the ups and downs from the first out and back had already done me in, and I was working very, very hard to eek out 9:10-9:20 miles. I ran and chatted for awhile with a woman who was running this race with her niece. She helped me pick up the pace for a couple miles, and I think it was a good strategy to stick with her while I could. But after miles 17-18, I just didn't have any poof in my leggies.
Miles 21-26.7 (Aargh for running over 26.2!)
I definitely hit the wall, and my legs paid zero respect to orders from my brain to move. Specifically, I ran 11+ minute miles and needed walk breaks. I saw some giant, grody slugs (perhaps banana slugs?!?!) on the course. A couple were smooshed---aka slugkill. I felt a little slugkill-like myself :( At an aid station, I grabbed a few orange segments and hoped that the sugar would kick in. I had a tiny kick at the end of the race, finishing in 4:17:59!!