Unofficial time: 3:53:26 (1:28 PR)
I held off the crash a little longer than my previous races. I didn't drop off pace until mile 20 and then I held off the 10-minute miles until mile 23. My leg cramps returned for this race. I can blame the fact that my Endurolytes got wet and became difficult to grab, or that I have to practice my drinking on the run technique, but really I just need to be tougher. I ran smiling and easy through the half marathon in about 1:50. I felt the need to fight at my typical point in the race, mile 16. I felt that cramp feel and my speed was dropping when I wasn't concentrating, but I kept fighting. I gave in to cramps around the SE/SW Freeway and began to jog backwards. I then started to walk when needed after creating simple goals for myself, "run to that sign post, get to that cone."
When I approached the finish line I actually hit my lap button to mark 26.2 miles (my overall distance traveled was 26.48 mile). Spectators were good-naturedly goading me to pull it together and run and one of them sparked me to go for it. I dropped the hammer with 300 meters to go and hit 5:00 min/mi pace until the finish line. Where did that come from? Well it was honest because I crossed the finish line barely able to move another step and almost falling down.
I really enjoyed this marathon. I liked the run through DC more than the Marine Corps Marathon. The support was really good and the hills didn't really seem too bad. The volunteers did their job cheerfully and well. I think the think the finish festival was a little random - Baltimore seems to do that best out of the marathons I've run. I also think that the expectation of not seeing official results and timing until Friday, April 1st is insane in today's tech-empowered world. Let's hope that this is not really the case. The best part of the race organization is the fact that they made the DC Armory available for us to relax in prior to the race so that the relatively cold starting temp of 40 degrees F didn't really affect the runners. I'll definitely run this race again.