Wish I had better news to report. I had an incredibly difficult race and I'm really disillusioned about training at the moment.
When I first posted on this board, I asked for advice about training for a first marathon in 6 weeks. However, I wasn't asking for myself - I was asking for a neighbor. Anyway, she did phenomenal even after sustaining great knee pain during a 19 mile training run 3 weeks ago, causing her to limp for a few days. Her knees hurt during the race but she still finished in 4:05.
I, on the other hand, trained very well. Follwed the "Break 4:00 or Bust" plan from Runner's World. Had good training runs and good shorter races and still did horribly in the marathon. My early splits were good but I never really felt like I had the energy almost from the get-go. So I struggled as the race went on and even thought about registering my first DNF. I hit the wall way before mile 20 despite my best efforts to fuel and hydrate properly beforehand. I don't know what else I can do. I'm seriously disillusioned with training though. I'm typing this at 3 in the morning because I can't sleep from beating myself up over this. BTW, my time was 4:25. My other 2 marathon times were 4:21 and 4:25 and I didn't train as well for them. I guess it just goes to show that you never know what's going to happen on race day.
Thank you everyone for your responses. Sorry that I just didn't say it was about my neighbor.
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