I had been looking forward to this race all year, thinking that I'd be able to run a substatial PR on the flat, fast course, and maybe even finish in the top 5 (in the money). Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate with my plans. Temperatures were fine, but there was a strong wind (from 15-20mph) out of the NNE, which is obliquely in your face from miles 7-10, and directly in your face from mile 10 onward (with the exception of a few protected areas in town during the last 5 miles).
I left Brackettville Thursday afternoon and drove to my brother's in College Station, then got up early Friday morning to drive up to Greenville, MS. Did the packet pickup thing, then met up with another Maniac (George Southgate) who I was sharing a room with. I got up early the next morning (5:30am) to load the buses to the start. The buses took us around to Lake Chicot State Park, where, as last year, there were several fires already burning for us runners to stand around while waiting to start.
First thing I noticed at the start was that they had moved the starting line up between 200 and 300 yards . . . yes, last year's course really was longer than 26.2 miles (last year my watch read 26.5, this year it read 26.3)! Despite what the race website says about measurement, etc, being more accurate than Garmins (which I agree is true, but moving the start up as they did sure makes the case that last year's course really was longer than 26.2, else how/why would they have move the start up?).
Anyway, I still had in my head that I would try for a 2:56ish time, so I went out fairly (too?) fast, just behind the lead group of 5 runners. I was able to maintain that spot until I started to be affected by the wind badly after mile 10. I honestly don't know if I started too fast (meaning, would I have faded even without the wind?) or if I'm really that badly affected by headwinds (I know that I am) or if it just wasn't going to be my day no matter what.
But after the bridge and fighting the uphill AND the wind, I knew that running a sub-3, much less a PR, just wasn't in the cards. I did try to hold on to a decent pace, but just didn't manage it. By mile 20, I was just hoping to finish in a 3:10, and I didn't even manage to do that. I ended up running my slowest non-pacer marathon in 2 year, finishing in a 3:11:55 in 12th place overall and 3rd in the Master's Division. But everyone was affected by the wind - the same guy won both this year and last - last year he ran a 2:28, this year he ran a 2:51, so he was affected even more than I was LOL.
So, overall, this was a disappointing day of running, but I did finish a marathon in my 10th state (counting this year for Arkansas, since I counted last year for Mississippi) and my 18th marathon or ultra overall. Hopefully, I rn better next month at Arbuckles to Ardmore in OK.
Shoes: I ran in Merrel Bare Access 3s, size 10.5 that I bought off eBay.
Shorts: I ran in my pin-striped gray split shorts from Adidas.
Shirt: I wore a "Flash" compression singlet that I bought off eBay from China. I think my presumption of wearing a shirt that was too fast for me brought down the wrath of the running gods who assaulted me with the ridiculous headwind. I also wore "Lust" sleeves from InkNBurn, and I wore "throw away" cotton gloves that I picked up at the Tucson expo in case I wanted to toss them at an aid station along the way.
Hydration: I alternated water and gatorade at aid stations, but could have probably taken more. Probably took liquid at every other aid station.
Socks: Injinji medium weight no-show toe socks.
Fuel: I took Apple/Cinnamon Hammer Gels at miles 8 and 16. I also ate a 4-5 gummi worms along the way. I alternated water and gatorade at aid stations, but could have probably taken more.
Hat: Marathon Maniacs classic hat.
Glasses: I wore my usual Custom Oakley Flak Jackets with Red Iridium lenses.
Watch: Garmin 610. No problems