I think, therefore, that my pacing problem had less to do with how I was corraled and more to do with the crowd: It was just un-navigable. Plus, some people just don't seem to abide by race etiquette. I think that it's great that so many newcomers are signing up for races like the half marathon and the full marathon, but with such a new field of participants, this means that many people don't know the following:
- Run with no more than 2 abreast. You can't run with six people stretched out side-by-side across the road!
- Don't walk in the middle of the road! If you take walk breaks, that's fine, but move to either the left or right, so you're not in the middle of runners. And, absolutely, don't come to a complete stop in the middle of the road! If you need to stretch, vomit, whatever, move to the side.
- Walk through water stations, stay to the side while drinking your fluids (if you're still walking), and toss your cups to the side. Plus, remember that the beginning of any water station is gonna be packed with participants, but the end of it has plenty of fluids and no waiting -- so run a few extra feet, then move over to the aid station.
- Lastly, be polite: If you bump someone, or cut directly in front of someone, say "sorry." And ideally, say "to your right!" or "to your left!" before trying to pass a fellow runner.
Based on the above, you can probably assume that I saw runners violating all of the above etiquette, and this is what primarily made the congestion so intolerable.
Anyhoo...beyond my gripes: I felt good yesterday afternoon, and Jerry even made of fun of me for remarking, "I don't feel tired at all!" But, I really didn't. I mean, yes, I could tell I had run 13 miles that morning, but my legs, etc didn't feel all that fatigued. And today, I have some residual soreness, but nothing bad. In general, I hate to be blase about it, but I feel like I could go out and repeat the distance tomorrow. I think this is due in large part to the slightly slower pace, and is almost definitely a sign that I didn't get the chance to really push myself.
I'm hoping that chance arises in 3 weeks when I run the A1A Half in Ft. Lauderdale: Smaller race, flatter course, closer to home.