This was an experience.
My wife says that the only time she has ever seen me emotional was when we got married ("You realized what you had gotten yourself in to.") and when our dog died.
Crossing the finish line with all the soldiers lined up at attention and flags from all fifty states snapping in the wind was... emotional. 'Nuff said.
I finished and met two of my goals 1) I finished; 2) I finished under five hours. I didn't break four hours like I hoped but was right on track for the first 16 miles. Four hours was to ambitious and I probably could have had a better time if I had had a more modest goal. I didn't exactly hit "the wall" for the last ten miles—more like the Slough of Despond. Really tough going. At least I gave some smarter runners somebody to pass.
I can't imagine that any marathon could be conducted better than the Soldier Marathon and IF I ever do this again I'll probably be disappointed.
Thanks again for all the great answers to my questions. Every answer was helpful.
Final question: IF I want to do this again, it seems that my long run training pace was my race pace. Should I slow down on my long runs. I only had one relativley minor injury during my 4.5 month training (IBS and buying new shoes fixed that.)
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